Stone and Paver Patios and Walkways
- Sweep debris and dirt from the pavers. Removing nature's debris from the bricks keeps them clean and reduces the risk of staining to the brick surface.
- Wash away dirt and grime by spraying the pavers with a hose. Avoid directing the water spray straight into the joints, as it can disrupt the sand joints.
- Scrub stains using a mild detergent mixed with water. Use a stiff brush to remove the stain. Test out the brush and detergent in a hidden area to test for damage to the pavers before using it in a highly visible area. Wash away the detergent completely after cleaning.
- Regular maintenance keeps your outdoor paver area looking good while preventing damage, like cracking and shifting of the individual stone or pavers.
- Every year or so sweep sand up the joints between pavers. For tumbled pavers play or washed sand is fine. Polymeric sand can be used. This special sand helps hold the pavers in place and prevents weeds from growing between the stones. Ensure the pavers are bone dry before applying polymeric sand and sweep thoroughly before adding water (it is difficult to use and will adhere to the surface if it is wet).
- For tight jointed pavers, such as Abbotsford Texada, use #00 sand - available from Salmon Bay Sand and Gravel.
- If using sealant, seal the pavers every two to three years using a sealant designed for pavers. Apply the sealant evenly according to the product's directions. Sealant helps protect the pavers from environmental factors and staining. Ensure pavers are very clean, and very dry before applying - moisture will make the sealer turn milky or cloudy.
- Efflorescence - A white stain on the pavers from salts leaching out from the concrete. Efflorescence is especially visible on dark colored pavers and may look like a white stain or tide mark. Wait 2-3 months after installation to allow all salts to leach out of the concrete pavers before applying sealer. Efflorescence will eventually dissipate after a few months.
Wood Decking: Cedar
- Keeping the surface free of dirt, leaves, tree needles and other debris.
- Moving planters, benches and other deck accessories from time to time to permit the Deck beneath them to dry thoroughly and ensuring that the ventilation under the deck is not inhibited. A deck that dries after wetting will last longer than one that stays damp.
- Make sure to use proper wood cleaning tools to clean your deck. Wash with special deck cleaners as needed (usually once a year) to remove mildew and dirt. Deck cleaners also enhance the natural wood tone. Use either a liquid deck cleaner, such as Cuprinol’s Revive Liquid Deck Wash, or an environmentally-friendly, biodegradable wood deck maintenance product.
- The key to wood deck maintenance is protecting the deck from the elements and keeping it looking fresh and clean. Some woods are better equipped to battle the elements than others, but the fact remains that all wood surfaces need a little TLC.
- If the deck sits in the shade it may be prone to mildew. After initial cleaning and finishing, apply a deck cleaner annually to help keep mildew at bay. For best results, choose a cleaner containing a mildew inhibitor.
- When removing anything from the deck surface (for instance, snow) do not use metal of any kind, plastic or fiberglass are okay.
- Re-stain regularly to maintain a fresh look and to protect the wood.
Wood Decking: IPE
- Your deck should be sealed and protected, and you want to keep it looking great. The secret to the longevity of Ipe is maintenance. Keeping your Ipe deck clean and free from pollen and dirt will extend the life of your finish. Dirt acts as an abrasive, wearing away at the finish as you walk on the Ipe, and pollen can become a food source for mold and mildew.
- The cleaning practices from Wood Decking - Cedar apply to Ipe as well.
Decking: Composite & Synthetic
- To maintain a composite deck a little care and cleaning go a long way. We recommend annual cleaning with a composite deck cleaner. Soap and water cleaning or a gentle pressure washing will do the trick.
- The deck manufacturer will provide specific cleaning guidelines if there are any.
Wood Fencing: Cedar
- Cedar contains oils that resist rot and if left untreated weather to a silver color. Staining a fence keeps a fresh ‘wood’ look and lengthens the life of the boards.
- To stain a weathered fence, spray the fence with a power washer (1,500 to 2,000 pounds per square inch, this level of pressure should not damage the wood.). Keep the nozzle 18 inches from the fence surface and move the spray evenly over the fence. Do not linger too long in one area. The outer gray layers will wash off, exposing the wood underneath. Wear old clothing and eye protection as the spray will bounce off the fence back toward you.
- Combine 3 quarts of warm water and 1 quart of oxygen bleach in a bucket. Spray the solution on the fence with a garden sprayer, allowing it to sit for 10 minutes. Scrub the fence with a scrub brush to remove mildew and dirt. Rinse the fence with clean water when you are finished. Do the fence in sections to keep the oxygen bleach solution from drying before you scrub. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
- Inspect the fence for loose sections. Tighten or replace any loose or missing screws or nails.
- It is best to re-apply stain or sealant every three years or so, depending on the fence location. Brush a coat of sealant evenly over the entire fence. Let the sealant dry and apply a second coat. Wash the fence and allow it to dry before each application.
- Remove weeds that climb around the fence posts, they may damage the wood.
- Avoid placing sprinklers or hoses near the fence to minimize damage.
- The best time to perform a pond clean-out is the early spring. Spring is the time to drain, clean out, and wash the pond contents.
- The best way to make sure your water feature stays clean is to clean the filter baskets regularly, and to make sure debris does not build up in or near the drain.
- Keep the water pump running 24 hours a day so that the pump stays clean. In winter, either drain the water feature or keep it running so that the pump doesn’t freeze.
Outdoor furniture and outdoor accessories come in various materials: wicker, wood, fabric, aluminum, wrought iron, steel and resin. Each material requires different maintenance methods. Monthly cleaning and maintenance can help the furniture maintain a good appearance and make your investment last longer. You can clean most outdoor furniture with soap and water, and here are some specific tips for each material.
Wicker Outdoor Furniture:
- Wicker outdoor furniture can be cleaned using a hose or pressure washer. Remove the cushions, and spray off dirt and spills. If the wicker is especially dirty, use a sponge, mild soap and cold water to wash. Allow the furniture to dry completely. Then apply a paste wax to the frame to keep it shiny and water-resistant.
- Store cushions indoors and keep frames covered during the off-season.
Wooden Outdoor Furniture:
- Wooden outdoor furniture that's been coated with an exterior-grade varnish can be cleaned using soapy water. Be sure to completely rinse the furniture with clean water.
- It is best to keep wooden furniture stored indoors during the winter.
Metal-Framed Outdoor Furniture:
- Aluminum, wrought iron and steel frames require cleaning with water and mild soap.
- Many modern metal frames are rust-resistant or rust-free. If your metal furniture isn't, use paste wax or naval jelly to protect from corroding or rusting.
Resin Outdoor Furniture:
- More commonly known as plastic, resin furniture requires the least amount of care. Spray with clean water, and allow to air dry.
- If scuff marks are present, use a gentle abrasive to remove.
- Mildew can be removed using a mixture of 1 cup of bleach, 2 cups of detergent and 1 gallon of water.
- Acrylic cushions should be removed from the frame before cleaning.
- Spot-clean using a sponge, mild soap and water. Rinse with clean water.
- To prevent mildew, allow to dry completely before using or storing.
- Some types of cushions are mildew-resistant, but if you have a problem with mildew, use a solution of 1 cup of bleach, 2 cups of detergent and 1 gallon of water to clean. Mix thoroughly and spray on the entire cushion. Allow it to soak for 30 minutes. Scrub with a sponge or clean rag. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry completely. When storing, never wrap cushions in plastic. Plastic doesn't allow the cushion to breathe and can cause it to mildew if there's any moisture present.
- Cloth outdoor furniture, such as hammocks and cloth chairs, should be machine-washed using the gentle cycle. Add bleach for white items. Air dry.
- To avoid shrinkage, stretch back over the frame before the fabric is completely dry.
- Frames should be cared for based on the material.
- Store fabric furniture indoors during the winter.
- Umbrellas require maintenance after being in storage. Covers need washing and umbrella frame joints need oiling.
- Wash covers using a soft-bristled brush, mild soap and cold water. Use a spray lubricant on the joints of a wire-frame umbrella.
- If you have a wooden-frame umbrella, use paste wax to restore its shine.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when caring for your outdoor furniture. Keep the instructions in a safe place for easy access.