6 tips to tidy up outside

6 tips to tidy up outside

Spring cleaning isn’t limited to just indoor activities. Yes, scrubbing the floors and dusting the drapes are worthy chores, but now is also the perfect time to stroll around your property and find ways to spruce up the exterior of your home. From staining the deck to pressure washing the house — even maintaining the mailbox — our highly rated experts offer their suggestions on how to make this outdoor season sparkle.

1. Hose down the drive

Power washing the driveway and sidewalks can certainly increase your home’s curb appeal. James Poppenhouse, owner of highly rated Scrubbing Bubbles in Oldsmar, Fla., says a wash every two years is usually sufficient, and costs for cleaning the hardscape can range between $75 and $125.

2. Don’t mail it in

Take a look at your mailbox — if the post is cedar, it typically lasts five to eight years before rotting in the ground, says Ron Rahmer of highly rated Handyman Ron Rahmer in Collegeville, Pa. “A metal mailbox and post may cost between $300 and $500, but will outlast any cedar post for years to come,” he says.

3. Save yourself time

Greg Clark, owner of highly rated Protect A Deck in Waxhaw, N.C., says customers often hire him in the spring to wash and restore decks with the average job ranging between $400 and $500. “Many customers who price out cleaning and sealing their own deck often find the savings don’t justify the hassle of doing it themselves,” he says.

4. No pain, please stain

Clark recommends restoring a deck with semi-transparent stain every one to two years, while a solid color stain can last four. “Many sealers have to be stripped during restoration,” he says. “We use a penetrating oil product that doesn’t have to be stripped, making future restoration projects easy.”

5. Touch up the trim

Prepare to paint the trim around your house every three to five years. “If you have a contractor who scrapes off the old paint down to the bare wood, make sure he primes the wood before the final coat,” Rahmer says. “A lot of contractors try to skip that step, and a year later the paint is peeling off.”

6. Blast off the past

The longer you neglect a home, the longer it takes to clean with a power washer, which translates to a higher cost. “Leave mold and automotive carbon on your painted surfaces too long and you’ll need painting rather than cleaning,” says Poppenhouse, adding that the cost to wash a 2,500-square-foot, single-story home averages around $300.

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Deck Rescue in Hinckley, Ohio, power washed and stained the deck to give it a fresh look. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Catherine Rock of Akron, Ohio)
Deck Rescue in Hinckley, Ohio, power washed and stained the deck to give it a fresh look. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Catherine Rock of Akron, Ohio)

A freshly stained deck plays host to a neighborhood wine party after this Akron, Ohio, Angie’s List member hired the right deck maintenance company.

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