Summer provides great weather to enjoy your home’s porch or deck. But like the rest of your home, cleaning and maintenance of your outdoor living spaces will help them last longer and keep them in good shape for optimal comfort. To help you enjoy your outdoor living space, here are some tips for porch or deck maintenance.

Cleaning:  Regularly sweep your deck and remove debris trapped in between your deck boards. A simple spray of water with a garden hose can remove dirt. Bleach will discolor your deck and wire brush can damage wood. To remove mold and mildew, purchase a deck cleaning solution. Some cleaners can be harmful to plants, so make sure your plants are moved or covered before applying a solution.

Repairing: Wear and tear from weather can damage your porch. Conduct a visual inspection for loose boards and nails. Small issues can be repaired by removing the boards, flipping, and refastening them. Splinters in wood can be sanded down. If you see rotting wood under the boards, you may need to consult a professional for repairs. Cracked deck boards is a sign that your deck needs to be sealed, and completely split boards means you will need to replace the entire damaged board.

Staining: After your deck is cleaned and repaired, consider adding a sealer for a refreshed and uniform look, especially if your deck does not repel water easily. You should follow the manufacturer’s directions for any seal you apply. Drying time depends on the temperature and humidity level. Avoid applying any product to your deck or porch in the direct sunlight, which will result in the finish drying too quickly, leading to an early failure of the finish.

Decorating: New patio or deck décor can liven up any outdoor space. Avoid selecting natural fibers such as jute or bamboo. This type of material absorbs moisture and could lead to mildew on your deck or porch. Add rugs and mats made of recycled plastics to maximize longevity and avoid mildew. Select furniture constructed with materials designed to withstand the elements, like cedar or teak, which also are resistant to insect damage. Metallic furniture made from iron, especially with rust-resistant coating, is another durable option. You can top off any style of furniture with pillows and cushions made of synthetic fibers that are resistant to mildew as well as UV-rays from the sun.

You can meet professionals to help you with your outdoor living project at the Southern Home and Garden Show on September 20-22 at the Greenville Convention Center. Visit to see a list of exhibitors.