A Homeowner’s Quick Guide to Maintaining and Protecting Your Hardwood Alfresco
Having a great alfresco installed is definitely a great way to make the most of your home’s surroundings. Not only is a well-kept patio the perfect place for lounging and dining, but it’s also a boon to homeowners in how much it boosts your property’s value.
Keeping your alfresco design at peak condition can be something of a challenge for many homeowners though, especially for those of us who aren’t all too maintenance-and-DIY-savvy. So we put together this handy little guide for all of you out there who want to stay on top of your hardwood alfresco maintenance.
One of the first things you’d want to look out for is what material your alfresco is actually made of. This will determine how you would proceed with your maintenance. If you had a hand in the building of your deck yourself (or at least the picking out part of it), you’d already know what you’re be dealing with. If you have no idea, you can try to get in touch with the contractors who built it for you, or consult with a local expert.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll only be discussing care and maintenance for your hardwood decks. While we definitely recognize that there are other materials used for other alfresco design and such, we find that hardwood remains the leading choice for its tenacity, dependability, and style.
KEEPING IT CLEAN
“I thought this was about alfresco protection and maintenance!” It is. Hear me out. Keeping your outdoor room or patio clean is arguably the best way to actually keep it protected and well-cared for. An ounce of prevention and all that.
If you make it a point to keep your alfresco clean and spotless, it’s less likely for it to degrade and suffer from problems in the future. You’d want to regularly vacuum your hardwood floor with a soft bristle head to keep it free of dirt. You can also wipe it down with an electrostatic apparatus to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Mopping up your deck is also great, especially for tougher dirt smudges. Use a damp mop with a pH sensitive cleaning agent.
- DO NOT use commonly-used household cleaning materials such as bleaches, detergents, methylated solutions, or kerosene as they could be too harsh for your hardwood or degrade your coating or even stain or dull your floor.
- DO NOT use abrasive cleaning/scouring pads such as steel wool or metal brushes – you’d be doing more harm than good to your timber patio flooring.
- DO NOT use common home surface polishes – while it may give your hardwood floor a nice sheen, you may be inadvertently coating it with a layer of wax that could accumulate and cause problems for you in the future should you decide to recoat your floorboards.
- DO NOT treat your hardwood floors with a steam cleaner or steam mop. Steam pressure buildup in between your boards could cause warping or cupping in your floors. It could also damage your floor’s coating.
Just as with most things in life, keeping your hardwood patio in great condition requires that you put in some time to keep it properly maintained. Regular cleaning is great to get your patio looking awesome, but proper maintenance will make sure it stays that way for a long time. Consider having your patio inspected at least once a year to make sure it’s in good condition.
Watch out for any loose screws or nails that need hammering in or retightening. Make sure to check each and every panel/board for signs of looseness or hairline damage. Replace boards if necessary. Once you’re done with your inspection, clean your patio one last time before resealing.
Sand your hardwood alfresco lightly to get rid of light scratches and splinters.Make sure you sand in the direction of the timber. Apply a stain that’s compatible with your material and goes with the aesthetic you’re going for. Cover any furniture or plants that you wouldn’t want your decking finish to get into. Make sure you dry everything out properly before you use your timber patio again.
Of course, after every other such project, it’s important to clean after yourself. The whole point of this was to keep your outdoor room spiffy, after all. Should you encounter anything you are unsure about how to tackle, best stay safe and consult with a professional lest you damage your alfresco even more.