Preparing your home for winter

Phantom Screens / August 4, 2016

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Preparing your home for winter ensures that your deck, windows and retractable screen systems are sure to look great come spring.

Deck

Seasonal changes can do a great deal of damage to your deck, and winter is a particularly harsh season. Before temperatures drop to freezing and snow burdens your deck, there are a few ways you can protect the wood from the worst.

Get it clean

You’ll want to get any mold, mildew, dirt or other stains off the deck by cleaning it with a formulated deck cleaner. Remove your patio furniture and plants and give the deck a thorough sweep. Once the deck is clear, spray on the bleach-free cleaner and work it into the wood with a gentle scrub brush. Pay special attention to the areas with the most grime.
When you do this, make sure you’ve put up your retractable screen systems so you can access the areas of the porch that fall beneath the screens. You may not have as much dirt if your deck is screened in, as the elements have largely been kept at bay. However, you should still be thorough when cleaning. Moisture from potted plants may have seeped into the wood and furniture blocks sections from sun bleaching. A good cleaning will help prepare your deck for a more even finish.

Seal it up

Ice, snow and sleet are all moisture traps that can harm the look of your deck. They will penetrate unprotected surfaces, cracking, splinting and warping the wood. A good protective finish or seal will keep water out. To combine staining with sealing, pick a premium stain that also protects against moisture. These are available in a range of colors sure to give your deck the new look you want. Run a padded brush over the wood, evenly distributing the stain. Give the deck time to dry and it will look amazing come spring.

Screens

Retractable screen systems expand the space you live in by adding outdoor rooms. But because these screens are exposed to the elements, they get dirty. You should deep clean your screens a couple times a year. A clean screen maintains proper airflow and visibility. Open your screens all the way and run a vacuum hose with a soft brush attachment over them. Go slowly and be gentle with the mesh. If the vacuum doesn’t get the screen perfectly clean, you can use water. Spray down the screen with water and a mild detergent, and wipe it off with a sponge. Do not scrub the screen with a brush, especially if the brush has hard bristles.

Guides and slides

The screen tracks can quite often build up dust and debris. Run a brush inside the guide to loosen dirt, then vacuum it away. If the screen sticks when sliding, you should apply silicone spray to cleaned tracks. Do not use lubricants, as these products can damage the screen. To be 100-percent sure the product you use is safe for your screen, contact your Phantom Screens representative and ask for a branded spray.

Windows

Windows should also be thoroughly cleaned at least twice a year. For the best results, use a few tools. Apply the cleaning solution with a cloth squeegee head. Dip the cloth in soapy water and coat the entire window. This will get dirt and grime off the glass without running the risk of scratching it. Warm water and lots of suds help. Remove the cloth head and drag the squeegee over the window. Wipe away any access water with a dry microfiber cloth. Microfiber will prevent streaks from forming.

By cleaning your deck, screens and windows before winter, you are ensuring an easy spring.