Summer is for entertaining. It’s for family barbecues, dinner parties, and winding down on those balmy summer evenings with a glass of wine. Daniel Westbrook offers a few tips on keeping your summer spaces entertainment-ready.

Deck Maintenance

Your deck gets utilized all summer long, so be good to it. Clean your deck with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate), or any other deck cleaning solution that won’t hurt your plants, as per the directions on the box. You can use a pressure washer, but be careful not to gouge any soft wood with the spray. If you are going to re-stain or paint, you must allow the core of the wood to dry. If the wood is wet, the moisture come out of the wood and your stain will not adhere properly or the paint will bubble, even with proper prep work. Every deck is different, but Daniel recommends waiting on a week or two of hot weather before applying any finish. This will ensure the best adhesion and ensure longevity. Always read the application directions on the product you’re using.

Basement Upkeep

As the temperatures go up, you might escape to the basement, taking advantage of the naturally cooler temperatures. Remember the water you saw coming through the concrete slab or foundation wall during the winter? Perhaps you think to yourself, “I wonder if that will happen again?” Well…yes. Water will find a way.

The first thing you can do is make sure gutter water is directed away from your home by making sure you have drain tile, the plastic pipe that comes out of the ground and connects to the downspouts. If you only have splash blocks, then you might think about installing drain tile around your home that will not only collect gutter water, but also groundwater.

If this seems too expensive then you can dig a trench and install a 4-inch plastic drain pipe out into the yard as far as possible (I recommend 20 or 30 feet). To start, dig a hole down four to five feet and fill halfway with drain rock. Next, fill with soil. You’ve now created a natural dry well where the gutter water can drain. Do this for all downspouts, and you will substantially reduce surface groundwater against your foundation.

(By the way, moisture finds its way into a basement through what is called hydrostatic pressure. Giving water a path of least resistance to follow and directing it away from the foundation will reduce that pressure build up!)

To Paint or Not To Paint

Painting the exterior of your home can be a big project. You might wonder whether or not you should consult a professional. Well, the answer is it depends. Size matters! A good painting company will have all the equipment needed for all the hard-to-reach places, as well as the expertise to deal with lead dust. If your current paint job was done properly, your home is small, then by all means, DIY! Just follow proper prep and application directions.

On the other hand if your home is large and really needs proper prep, or has lead in previous layers of paint, then it’s best to have a professional company accomplish the project. I’ve noticed a wide range of costs when it comes to painting homes, and the old adage is still true… you get what you pay for! Cheap is more expensive in the long run! So please, do your due diligence, and be sure you know what you are paying for. The future of your home depends on it!