Category: General Contractor

How to Keep Your Deck Looking Its Best

Like any outdoor living area, decks need periodic cleaning to keep them safe for outdoor gatherings. Using a natural cleaner can prevent the need for harsh chemicals and can extend the life of wood decks and furniture.

Mix the following ingredients in a bucket of warm water: 2 cups powdered oxygen bleach (such as OxiClean, available at most grocery stores). For more information visit Deck Repair Charleston SC.

As the weather warms and people start spending more time outdoors, a clean deck becomes a must. This is especially true for people with outdoor pools, as a clean deck makes the transition between pool and home more pleasant. However, a dirty deck is not only unattractive but can also lead to injuries due to splinters and slippery surfaces. While it may seem like a hassle, the best way to keep your deck looking its best is to sweep it regularly. This will remove loose dirt and debris, as well as prevent the buildup of mold and mildew, which can cause stains.

Sweeping is a simple task that can be done using a regular broom or a power washer. Before you begin, remove furniture, plants, and other items from the deck so they do not get dirty or wet during cleaning. It is also important to use a broom with tightly spaced bristles to remove dust and other small particles without damaging the surface of the deck board.

If you choose to use a power washer, be careful not to overdo it and damage the surface of the deck or the wood fibers in it. It is best to start with the lowest water pressure and move up if necessary. Before you begin, be sure to put on appropriate protective gear, such as rubber gloves and eye protection. It is also a good idea to cover any plants in the surrounding area that could be damaged by soapy water from the wash hose or power washer nozzle.

Once you have prepared the surrounding areas, mix a cleaning solution of water and mild soap or deck cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Wet the deck with a garden hose or bucket of water, and scrub away dirt, mold, mildew, and surface stains. Always work one section at a time and rinse the brush frequently with a hose or bucket of clean water. This helps to prevent the soap from sitting or drying on the boards and staining them.

A dirty deck isn’t just ugly; it prevents new stains from penetrating the wood. This can lead to peeling and cracking. You must thoroughly wash the deck before staining it again if you want the fresh coat to last long.

Remove furniture, grills, and plants from the deck and spray them with a garden hose or a power washer to a low-pressure setting. Keep the nozzle at least 6-12 inches from the surface to avoid damaging it. It would be best always to use a non-toxic cleaner such as oxygen bleach, which isn’t harmful to the environment or plant life. Avoid chlorine bleach, which can damage a deck by whitening it unnaturally and even corrode metal elements such as nails in the wood.

The best chemical cleaners are available in liquid form or in a powder you mix with water. Wear rubber gloves when mixing and applying the cleaner. If the cleaning solution contains ammonia or bleach, it can cause eye, nose, and mouth irritation. If you need to banish mildew stains, add 1 cup of Borax (a natural mineral compound that won’t harm plants) to your cleaner at the same time you add the oxygen bleach.

Rinse the deck well after the homemade cleaning solution has been on it for a few minutes to remove residual chemicals. Some solutions must be left on the wood for a few hours or days to break down embedded contaminants. Cover landscape plants around the deck, if necessary, so the oxalic acid or other compounds in the cleaner don’t leach into and kill them.

Scrub the deck with a scrub brush as needed, especially on areas with stubborn stains. Rinse it well afterward to remove any remaining cleaners and brighten the wood. If you need to, you can also apply a wood brightener, which is sold in most hardware stores. This is particularly important if the deck has grayed or darkened with age and has developed iron and brown-black tannin stains. Brighteners can be used on both cedar and redwood.

A good rinse is just as important as the sweep and wash because it clears away any cleaning solution that may have dried on the deck’s surface. Without rinsing, this cleaning residue can etch the surface of your wood or even cause damage to your deck stain. If you used a pressure washer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and maintain a safe distance from your deck to avoid sanding it off.

Some deck cleaners contain chemicals that can negatively affect nearby plants and grass. You can reduce the risk of damage by wetting down plants and lawn areas before cleaning your deck and rinsing them off as soon as you finish the wash.

If you’re washing a stained deck, you can try a natural cleaning alternative to bleach that’s gentle on the environment and your wallet. Vinegar can remove grease, kill mold and mildew, and eliminate stubborn odors. Combine equal parts of white vinegar and water in a bucket, scrub the surface with a soft-bristled brush, then rinse well. You can also use a pressure washer set to low pressure for particularly soiled or grimy sections of your deck.

Scrub away dirt, mold, mildew, and any other surface stains, working one section of your deck at a time. Ensure you have a hose nearby and spray the scrubbed area frequently to keep it wet.

When you’re ready to start the final rinse, use a garden hose with a spray nozzle so the water doesn’t fall off the boards or dry on the deck’s surface. The nozzle should be slightly lower than the height of your deck to prevent water from pooling on the top boards and staining them.

After you’re done rinsing your deck, it will need to dry completely before you can start using it again. It may take 24-48 hours for your deck to dry fully, especially if the weather is cool or humid. During this time, you can use the push broom to sweep off any standing debris and help the deck dry faster.

A deck that’s not dry is an invitation to mold, mildew, and wood rot. These substances look unsightly and smell unpleasant, but they damage the wood and turn it from a sturdy, load-bearing structure into a shaky mess. Moisture that clings to the surface or between boards can also cause warping and cracking that weakens the deck and invites insects. The best way to protect your deck and avoid costly repairs is to keep up with cleaning and staining.

When you’re ready to wash your deck, spritz it with water to soften the cellulose fibers and make the cleaning solution more effective. Then, mix up a cleaning solution compatible with your deck material. You can purchase a commercial cleaner or a simple homemade solution of oxygen bleach and warm water. If you use a power washer, point the sprayer away from people and windows. The pressure from the sprayer can damage them and harm plants or pets that may be nearby.

Once your deck is clean and sanitized, be sure to let it dry completely before applying any additional treatments, such as staining or painting. Then, you can enjoy your newly cleaned deck and avoid the unsightly damage that can occur if you don’t keep up with regular cleanings.

Allow the deck to dry for 48 hours before walking on it. Touching the surface and testing with litmus strips that change color based on moisture can help determine if the deck is fully dry and ready for foot traffic. Taking these precautions will protect the investment you’ve made in your deck and will make it more resistant to future damage from moisture buildup.

Landscaping and Retaining Walls

Retaining walls offer a unique and eye-catching look to any landscape. They also serve important functions like protecting your property from landslides and floods. For more information, visit this Website.

A retaining wall is an engineering structure that professionals should only build. This includes a certified landscape contractor knowledgeable in building codes and engineering considerations.

Soil erosion can be a serious issue for homeowners who live on sloped terrain. It can damage your yard, ruin garden beds, cause drainage issues, and even run off chemicals from fertilizer into nearby bodies of water. Fortunately, soil erosion can be prevented with the use of retaining walls. Retaining walls are structures that hold back the soil on a sloped property to prevent it from washing away during heavy rains. In addition to preventing erosion, retaining walls improve drainage and add usable space to your landscape.

Various factors can cause erosion, but the two leading causes are wind and water. If you have a sloped yard, erosion is a real concern that can be expensive to repair and dangerous for your family or pets. A retaining wall can make your yard safe and more functional for you and your loved ones.

During heavy rains, erosion is a natural phenomenon that can occur in un-leveled areas of your yard. The force of the rainwater can be so strong that it sweeps the dirt and rocks up a slope and away from your home. The best way to avoid this is by using a retaining wall that has been properly constructed and designed.

The design of a retaining wall will take into account the size and character of the soil it is built on. It may be necessary to include a backfill that will be porous enough to help water flow through it and relieve pressure on the wall. Weep holes are also often incorporated into the construction of a retaining wall, which helps prevent water buildup and allows for drainage.

When your retaining wall is designed correctly, it will be able to withstand the pressure from erosion and other forces without collapsing. Working with an experienced landscaping company that understands the challenges of building a retaining wall is important. If the retaining wall is designed and constructed correctly, it can quickly collapse or become muddy and dangerous.

Retaining walls help control flooding on residential properties. They can also be used on commercial and industrial projects to prevent erosion and flood damage. Besides helping with erosion, retaining walls can increase stability and safety by controlling water flow in sloped areas. These walls can be constructed in various styles to suit your landscaping or property architecture style. They can even be tiered to allow more space for your garden or other home structures.

Retain walls can also prevent flooding by keeping the soil in place and directing water away from your house. This is important because standing water can damage the foundation of your home. Floodwaters also carry sand and silt that can cause further structural damage to your home.

Flooding can happen when the ground soil is washed away or when a river or stream flows into an area with poor drainage. It can also occur when the water is sloughed off by a heavy rainstorm or during snowmelt.

The good news is that if you have a newer retaining wall, you are unlikely to be responsible for any flooding it causes on your neighbors’ property. However, if the wall was built without a permit and has been compromised by erosion or other factors, you might be liable for any damages.

Despite their practical uses, retaining walls can be visually unappealing and detract from the beauty of your yard. They can also be a costly project to repair, especially for DIYers. It’s best to hire a professional team that understands how to build and maintain these walls to avoid potential problems.

Retaining walls are a popular choice for homeowners to curb erosion and flooding. They can be constructed using various materials, including concrete, treated timbers, natural stone, and boulders. They are often used to bind soils between different elevations or to support terraced gardens and filled earth. In addition, retaining walls can add to the value of your home by enhancing its landscape and providing a beautiful vista. They can also be used as a backdrop for plants and flowers, which further help retain the soil they are planted in.

If you live in an area with a lot of erosion, a retaining wall can save your property and keep your home intact. However, if you don’t maintain your retaining walls, you may see them start to tilt or sink. If this happens, you’ll need to get a professional mason in to fix the problem so it doesn’t become worse.

Tilting and sinking retaining walls can occur for several reasons. One reason is that water pressure builds up against the wall, which can cause the soil to erode. Another is that weep holes are created in retaining walls during installation to allow drainage to be clogged. If weep holes are clogged, it will force the water to gather next to the wall, and over time, it can cause the foundation of the retaining wall to weaken or even collapse.

Another reason for retaining wall issues is that the structure must be built or waterproofed correctly. When a retaining wall isn’t waterproofed, it can leak, which can damage the structure and the landscaping surrounding it.

Retaining walls also help with erosion control by redirecting water flow away from homes. This can prevent freeze-thaw cycles that can wreak havoc on a home’s foundation and lead to expensive repairs.

A retaining wall can also create level areas on sloping sites, stabilize natural slopes, and build terraces for infrastructure like roads or driveways. Many types of retaining walls are available, including gravity and cantilever walls; MSE, counterfort, or buttressed walls; and gabion and crib walls.

No matter what type of retaining wall you have on your property, it is vital to check for problems regularly. A reputable landscaping company can inspect your retaining wall and recommend maintenance to prevent future erosion, flooding, and sinking of the structure and its foundations. They can also waterproof your retaining wall to protect it from weather damage and ensure its longevity. If you notice any problems with your retaining wall, contact a professional landscaping company to schedule a visit and a quote before the ground starts freezing.

The law regarding property lines and retaining walls varies by region, so it’s important to check the laws in your area. The general rule is that a retaining wall must be on the land its owner occupies or has an interest in. However, there are exceptions.

For example, a retaining wall can be built with a common law right of lateral support for land. If this is the case, it can straddle the property line, and costs will be apportioned according to the benefit received by each party. Good communication and agreement between neighbors is key to preventing conflicts later on.

Generally, the property owner who owns the land where the retaining wall is located is responsible for maintaining it. However, the retaining wall owner must ensure that the structure does not cause damage to neighboring properties or structures. This includes providing the retaining wall is not causing drainage problems or subsidence. It is also important to protect retaining walls from repeated impacts, such as those from vehicles or children playing on the ground.

Another consideration is whether the retaining wall has been constructed without approval. If it has, the retaining wall owner is responsible for repairing it and may be required to compensate the neighbor.

The rules about retaining walls and property lines can be confusing. However, it is important to know the laws in your area and understand them well to avoid issues down the road.

Retaining walls is a great way to add curb appeal and value to your home, but they can also be problematic if not properly maintained. Remember the tips above and use a professional to help build and repair your retaining walls.

In addition to a retaining wall, you might need to install a fence on your property. Fences differ from retaining walls, so you must follow different laws when building them. You should check with your local city to see what the laws are before you start construction.