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It’s Not Too Early to Plan End of Summer Home Improvement Projects

Ideally, summer is for drinking lemonade and taking long naps in a hammock. But while you’re taking time off to relax and regroup, you can spend some quiet moments thinking about the projects you’d like to start as soon as the heat lets up and we head into fall.

While all these projects are in the planning stage and you’re still taking it easy, though, don’t forget about your lawn. Grass is a living thing and needs respite from stress just the way we do. High temperatures and irregular watering and mowing are the primary factors that lead to fading color, weeds, insects, and disease. You may be on vacation, but these lawn care tips will keep your lawn thriving through the summer and all year.

Give Your Patio Furniture Some TLC

Even if you’re lucky enough to live in a climate where outdoor living isn’t confined to summer, your patio furniture and equipment do get their hardest workouts during the hot weather months. The end of the season is a good time to clean them even if you’ll still be using them.

  • Plastic and aluminum tables and chairs just need a good wipe-down with an all-purpose cleaner and maybe a few blasts from the hose. Some experts recommend applying a coat of car wax.

  • Wooden pieces should be wiped with a damp rag to remove surface dirt, and then oiled to preserve finishes.

  • Debris in the intricacies of wicker and rattan can be dislodged with a dry paint brush or your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment. You could also use the kind of compressed air made for electronic equipment.

  • Clean fabric cushions according to label directions. (If you’ve cut the labels off, check for cleaning advice here.) At the least, give cushions a good brushing with a whisk broom or vacuum them with the furniture attachment, and spot-treat any stains.

  • If you’re covering or storing furniture at the end of the season, make sure everything is completely dry before you do it.

Clean and Protect Your Deck Give your deck a good sweeping, and then clear all debris out of the cracks with a putty knife or other tool. (You don’t want anything left behind to rot and mildew and begin eating into the wood.) The next step is to clean the wood with a scrub brush or stiff broom and either a product designed for the purpose or with a simple half-and-half solution of bleach and water. Rinse thoroughly and let the wood dry completely before applying a coat of waterproofing deck sealer. De-Commission Your Barbecue Grill

If Labor Day pretty much signals the end of grilling where you live, give your barbecue a thorough cleaning and de-greasing before you close up shop. If you’ve got a propane grill, make sure the tank’s valve is closed and then detach the tank and store it in a protected but well-ventilated spot outside. Tanks do create rust stains on concrete when they get wet, so sit it on some bricks or boards.

Clean Gutters and Check Downspouts

Gutters collect debris all year, but as soon as leaves start to fall they can clog quickly, keeping water from flowing through them as it should, and doing real damage to your eaves and roof. Particularly if you’ve got anything more than a one-story structure, call a professional to clean out the gutters and inspect connections with downspouts. Making necessary repairs before the rainy season can save substantial money down the line.

Get To The Garage Cleaning out the garage is the topic of a lot of cartoons, but it’s really no joke. It might even be nice to consider being among the 30 percent of homeowners who actually have room in their garages to park a car or two. But even if not, letting your garage become a permanent “we’ll deal with it later” collection of things that have lost their usefulness – or would be useful if you could find them – is an awful waste of space. Set aside a weekend for the task and then get in there and clear everything out. (While you’re at it, run a test on your garage door’s auto-stop safety feature.) Then toss the junk, organize the rest, and sweep out every corner before you start putting things back. You might even want to give the floor a coat of epoxy paint to protect it against oil and grease stains and generally make it easier to clean in the future. It’s best to use the summer to do these fairly simple, if time-consuming, tasks while the weather is ideal and when many people’s schedules are a little less strenuous. Don’t wait until the weather turns or you might have a tougher time ensuring your gutters, deck, and patio furniture stay in good condition for longer.


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