Sadly, the time for flip-flops and shorts is ending in Pittsburgh, and the time for flannel and boots is right around the corner. With the weather cooling down, now is the perfect time to tackle some last-minute upgrades before fall approaches. Here are some ideas for late-summer cleaning projects or bigger projects to start before next summer begins.
Chances are the outside deck has taken a beating over the spring and summer. Wooden decks need maintenance year-round, so use the end of summer for deep cleaning or to fix any issues. Start by inspecting the deck for any rot and structural damage. The easiest way to test for rot is using a screwdriver. If you press the screwdriver into the wood and it goes in beyond a ½ inch, then it’s time to replace the piece of wood.
If nothing needs to be replaced, then give your deck a cleaning and new paint job. Pressure washers are great for getting dirt off. However, make sure to use the correct technique in order to avoid damaging the wood. Next, use water and a cleaning solution to get deep-set grime off. Follow with a bleach solution to treat any areas with algae or mildew growth. Finish by re-sealing the wood. There is a variety of re-sealers available. Some protect against water damage, and others contain mildewcide. Replace all of the deck furniture once the wood sealer has completely dried.
Use the end of summer to replace dying fruits with vegetables that grow in cooler weather. Popular fall crops include kale, carrots, cabbage and beets. The best part is these crops grow easily, so you don’t have to spend hours pruning or watering in the cold.
Landscaping is one of the easier ways to add value to a home. That’s why this time of the year is great for upgrading the current landscaping to that it’s ready for the spring. Start by removing any dead plants and pruning trees. Next, get rid of any weeds that pose a threat to the garden in the spring. Then add mulch around flower beds and trees to protect them from frost in the winter.
Consider hiring a landscape architect for advice. Most charge between $75 and $150 for a one-hour consultation. Otherwise, look into a local gardening center to see if they offer landscaping consultations for free. There are many DIY options as well for people who want to test their own creativity.
Many stores offer great deals on patio furniture between September and August. Some items, such as all-weather chairs, umbrellas and dining tables, can be found up to 40 percent off their normal prices. Other items, such as lawn mowers are also available for a discount.
Take the time to deep clean the furniture you already have. Most plastic and aluminum items need a simple wipe down, but other wooden pieces need an oil to preserve their finishes. Vacuum and clean any fabric cushions according to their instructions, and use a vacuum as well to get debris out of wicker furniture.
Give the grill a deep cleaning and degreasing after Labor Day. For propane grills, make sure to close the tank’s valve and detach the tank for storage. This time of year is also good for replacing the grill, as many are on sale.
The roof is constantly exposed to the sun and rain, and it will start to break down after time. Hire a roof inspector to check for any damage that will need fixing before winter comes. Things to watch out for include loose or missing shingles, cracked flashing or dark spots along the roof’s surface. Look inside the home too for stained ceilings or bubbling paint.
Give the roof a good cleaning and treat any moss, mold or algae. Moss is especially dangerous, as it can soak up water in between the roof shingles and damage the sheathing underneath. Install a copper or zinc strip on the roof to protect against unwanted growth. Once the roof is squared away, clean any debris from the gutter and fix issues with the chimney if needed.
The garage is one of the easiest spaces to gather junk and other items. In fact, some become so cluttered that people can’t fit their cars inside. Use the end of summer to reevaluate which items you really need and sell or donate the rest. Once everything is cleared out, then clean the floors of any oil or grease stains. Is the paint cracking or are there any dents? If so, then consider replacing the garage door. A new garage door brings up a home’s curb appeal significantly, and it’s a simple way to get a positive return on investment.