How To Maintain Your Deck This Summer

Hey there, neighbor—do you have wobbly deck railings, loose nails popping up, or little Johnny just came in crying with a splinter? If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to do a little repair or replacement work to your deck.

Maintaining your deck is more than just making it look nice and safe for your family and guests—it’s completing Ace Hardware’s Three C’s of Deck Maintenance. Now, if these Three C’s sound a little overwhelming, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call; we can come to your backyard and complete them all for you and have your deck looking new again! Now let’s “hammer” down just what Ace’s Three C’s are.

1. CHECK Your Deck’s Condition

The first step to maintaining your deck is identifying the damage. There are a few key ways to check its condition and to determine whether you need to re-stain, or if you might have mold or mildew that will require treating.

To test your deck to see if it’s ready to stain or needs to be re-stained, you can conduct the Water Test. Pour a little bit of water on the wood; if it beads up, then it isn’t quite ready. Wait and retest in a few weeks. If by then it doesn’t bead, you are ready to apply stain.

The Bleach Test tells if your deck has any mold or mildew. If you see fuzzy grey or black areas, take a bleach-soaked rag and hold it on that spot for a few seconds. If the grey or black area is gone when you remove it, you’ve got mold or mildew.  We recommend using Mold Armor E-Z Deck, Fence and Patio Wash 64 oz. Liquid, available at your local Ace Hardware store.

If you think your deck has some damage from the sun and weather, do the Fingernail Test. Press your fingernail into the wood; if it leaves an indentation, you have weathering or UV damage that will require treating before staining.

AHS Craftsman Tip: The enduring quality of a deck is maintained by looking at its underside, as well as the top.  It’s equally important to check for other signs of structural damage, such as loose, rotten or twisted support posts and beams, as well as inspecting the points at which your deck is attached to the house.  Consult an Ace Handyman Services if you are unsure about any of these issues.

2. COMPLETE Simple Repairs 

During the Check phase above, you’ll want to note the condition of all the boards, railings, spindles and steps to determine they are all solid, sound and safe.

Give Nails and Screws Some Love 

• If you see nails popping out of the deck’s surface or they do not look level, hammer them back down, or replace the nails with screws. 

• While nails are more convenient, screws do a much better job at keeping the wood in place long-term.

• Apply the same process and thinking to a deck installed with screws. Get out your variable speed drill and tighten them down.

• Since many natural woods shrink over time, take the time to complete this step – your guests and family will thank you for preventing trips and challenges that arise from an uneven, dangerous, surface.

If you have any loose posts, securely tighten and/or replace the bolts or hinges securing them. If the wood is in poor shape, or will not resecure with these tightening steps, replace those sections with new material to finish the job.

3. CLEAN Your Deck

Once you have a good idea of its overall condition and you’ve fixed the problems you uncovered, take the time to clean your deck. Ignoring this important step will negate everything else that comes after this. Click on the link below to find the appropriate cleaning product, based on the condition of your deck: 


Once you find the product best suited for your deck:

• Wet the surface with the cleaner 

• Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes 

• Scrub with a stiff bristle deck brush (if needed), then rinse the cleaner off with a garden hose

• Repeat if needed

AHS Craftsman Tip: To really save time and do a thorough job, rent a power washer. It’s an effective way to clean, rinse and replace the scrubbing that you would otherwise do on your hands and knees with a deck brush.

Experts recommend that you lightly sand the deck surface. This will remove any splinters or rough areas, and it will “open” the grains of the wood so when the stain is applied it, will not only penetrate better, but will also bring out the natural beauty of the wood.

Let your deck dry for 24-48 hours.

Stain Your Deck

Now that you have completed the Three C’s of Deck Maintinance, it’s time to stain the surface to prolong its life and keep it looking great. There are plenty of choices when it comes to the types of finishes you can apply. To ensure you are getting the right stain, either call your local Ace Handyman Services or head to your neighborhood Ace Hardware and ask your Red-Vested Hero to choose the right product for your deck. (

Once you have the correct stain for your deck’s condition:

• Stain the deck boards using a roller or a paint pad applicator

• Apply one coat of stain, using long, even strokes

• Use a paintbrush to stain between cracks and in problem areas

• Allow stain to dry for at least 24 hours

You can reapply stain every few years so your deck stays beautiful and durable

Again, if any of these tasks seem daunting and you’d rather have someone else tackle the job, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call. Our Multi-Skilled Craftsmen can complete your deck maintenance for you, and then all you will have to do is enjoy your deck all summer long!

More Tips From Ace Hardware:

Great Gardens ≠ Hard Work

If you believe that gardening is difficult, allow us to change your paradigm. Today’s raised gardens are easily retrofitted with automatic, low-cost watering systems, virtually weed-free, and highly productive. We want to change your mind about yesterday’s what used to be with today’s what it can be. Best of all, it’s EASY.

New Challenges Have Spurred New Skills

The reality of this past year, which for most of us meant spending a lot more time in our homes, led to more new DIYers than any other year of the past decade. Whether you were in the kitchen baking loaves of sourdough bread, building a custom desk for your new at-home office or figuring out how to develop a green thumb, many of us increased our capabilities in and around the house. Now, a year later, many are taking their new skill sets to the next level. 

Flower and Vegetable Gardens Keep on Giving

Whether you are a new or experienced gardener, with warmer weather on the way, vegetable and flower enthusiasts are moving into high gear. There are few pursuits that offer more satisfaction than having healthy vegetables grown in your own garden or a yard filled with beautiful, colorful flowers. It’s an instant smile trigger that many enjoy over the summer.

Taking Gardening to the Next Level  

How about adding a few raised garden beds?  Your back will thank you, you’ll have better soil drainage and less weeding, and these will look really great in your back yard.  So let’s talk about making it easy. Ace Handyman Services has the multi-skilled Craftsmen to build them for you, so all you need to do is the fun part – the planting! 

All You Need, All in One Place—Ace Hardware

Once you have your garden bed prepared and you’re ready to plant, go to your local Ace Hardware store for some seed starter kits ( These kits are a great way to help start some plants indoors before transferring them outside. Watch the video below for a step-by-step on How To Start Your Plant Seeds:

Get Outside and Plant!

After a few weeks indoors, your seedlings will sprout, and it will be time to transfer them to your garden bed or flower boxes (TIP: Know when it’s safe to move them – timetables vary across the country!). 

• First, make sure you plant them in a good location, sun vs. shade, based on the seed packet instructions.

• Next, you will transfer your Peat Pots or Plant Starters to the soil in your garden bed. You’ll want to make sure you have some rich, nutrient soil to put down with your plants ( 

• Place your seeds or plants into the soil, following the depth and spacing directions carefully. Then add water. 

• When you first put the plants into the garden, you’ll want to saturate them so they get a good amount of water, but then, after that, gently water the garden to keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season.

• From there, let the sunshine do its job! After a few weeks you should see your beautiful plants start to grow. You’ll want to make sure you keep the weeds out (if you didn’t first install weed mats), fertilize if needed and harvest when ready. 

Good luck Neighbor, and remember if you need help creating the gardening tools or executing some prep work, give your local Ace Handyman Services a call.

More Resources: 

How to Start a Vegtable Garden from Ace Hardware 

DIY Resource Links for Simple Flower Boxes for DIY’ers from Ace Hardware

5 Things that Make Gardening Easier From Ace Hardware’s Expert

You’ll Get to The To-Do List…Some Day

We all have those project/projects that we put on the backburner and tell ourselves we’ll get to them later. “Later” turns into “next week” and “next week” turns into “next month,” and so on. At Ace Handyman Services, we get it. We know time is precious and it’s hard to make time to get a paintbrush in your hand.

That is why Ace Hardware and Ace Handyman Services have teamed and declared April 3rd “Some Day.” Some Day was created because we all have that room we want to paint someday, and Ace can help you move that painting project from a dream to a reality. Here are the details for the promotion

“Paint is the easiest way to put a fresh face on tired walls or make old siding look and feel new again. We also realize paint procrastination is real,” says Kim Lefko, Chief Marketing Officer at Ace Hardware. “A new pop of color or walls that make your friends talk is the perfect way to kickstart spring; fresh paint feels better than your deepest spring cleaning. Rest assured, your locally owned Ace store is here to help, every step of the way.”

Along with picking out the perfect paint color, the biggest hurdle for customers is the prep work. In fact, nearly 37% report the prep work and clean-up are the biggest obstacles. To alleviate some of those obstacles, below are a few important tips, and some links to Ace Hardware to get the most out of your project.

• Scrape any cracked or flaking paint with a paint scraper. For other small imperfections on the wall such as plaster bumps, smooth them away with sandpaper.

          How To Prep Walls for Painting

• A high-quality primer will help hide small imperfections on walls. Use a good water-based primer on new drywall. Choose an oil-based primer for walls that have heavy stains from water or smoke damage, or if the wall has paneling.

          How To Choose A Paint Primer
• Before painting, protect wall trim, baseboards and floor with painter’s tape.

          How To Use Painter’s Tape

Always remember, if those tips seem too daunting, give Ace Handyman Services a call. We are here for you for all things prep work, clean-up and, of course, helping you with all tasks you want to do… Some Day.

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Products To Look for at Ace Hardware:

Painters Tape

Simple Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Early spring is the best time to get to those home projects done that have been pushed out too long. The weather is beginning to warm up, and everyone is thinking about the to-do projects they’d like to get on their calendar. Get your house looking great in time for the summer months so you can enjoy the warmer months ahead. Here are some simple DIY projects to get you thinking. But if you want some help, you can call us, or connect with us online at, and we’d love to do it for you.


Shutters are a great accent for a home. Whether you install them or paint the ones you have, don’t overlook this simple way to add real personality to your home. Shutters are quick to install, and you can personalize them to your style. There are also a variety of options. You can go with a rustic, Mediterranean, Victorian, or ranch as just some of the many choices. You can select a bold color for a unique twist, or stick with a classic. Ace Hardware has the primers and paints you need. If you are repainting, here’s a great video to help you do a great job.

Create an Outdoor Social Area

Spring means the start of spending more time outside. Create a space where you can enjoy the great outdoors. Install a porch swing or some outdoor seating areas that offer shade from the summer sun. Add some additional touches like a porch rug, comfortable patio furniture and plants that reflect your personal style. This will help you and your family enjoy these spring afternoons even more. Before you start, here’s a great video to inspire you to get going.

Add Potted Flowers or a Garden

It isn’t really spring without some fresh flowers. There are a variety of ways you can place them to add a natural pop of color to your home. Plant some along the front of your house. Or you can add potted plants, utilizing decorative pots. Maybe you want to start a garden, with a mix of perennials (flowers that come back every year) and the immediate gratification of annuals, those plants you buy that are in full bloom and stay that way all summer. First time gardener? Here’s a great video to get you started.

Explore New Colors for Your Home

One simple way to change the style of your home is to paint. It’s an affordable way to make a big impact. Whether it’s the whole house or just the accent colors on the trim, it can make your home stand out on the block. A lot of homeowners look at painting as a chore and have a difficult time choosing the right color, so they avoid it altogether. Here are two tips to get you started. The first is a fun on-line “visualizer” called The Paint Studio, where you can let your imagination loose and have fun exploring your space. You can literally choose different color combinations and see how they look when they are complete. Now that you have your colors selected, here’s a great video that will help you truly experience your color finalists on the wall in your home, so you can select your new paint with confidence.

Let Ace Handyman Services do it for you

If you don’t have the time, but want to increase your love of your home, give us a call or connect with us online at Ace Handyman and we help you get ready for Spring. We have Half-Day and Full-Day options to schedule one of our Multi-skilled Craftsmen to help you with any of these projects.

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3 Steps to Prepare Your Deck This Spring

Warm weather and sunnier days are approaching, and for many it can’t come soon enough. Spring rolling around means transitioning to the outdoors, and your deck is the perfect spot in your home for guests to take in the beautiful season. With winter quickly coming to its end, is your patio ready to accommodate them? Take a look at three steps to ensure that it is.

1. Inspect the Structure

To prevent your outdoor gatherings from falling apart, make sure your deck doesn’t. Inspect the following key areas to make sure everything is in good shape. Wood close to the ground is susceptible to rotting; examine it by feeling to determine if it has become soft. Make sure joints and beams are stable, as well, and double-check for loose screws. Cracks along the patio should also raise concern. If your deck has any of these issues, contact your Craftsman right away to repair it for you. He will make sure it holds up under the pressure for your next gathering.

2. Clean and Re-finish

Winters can be rough on your home, and your deck is no exception. Use a leaf blower to remove some of nature’s clutter. Then take the time to power-wash your deck to get a deep clean. One of the best ways to make it glisten under the sun is by refinishing it. Head over to your local Ace and select a finish that will suit your deck. Refinishing and adding sealant will also help make sure your deck lasts longer. Once selected, you can call a Craftsman to add the finish while you focus on the next step of preparation.

3. Deck it Out

Now that your Craftsman has taken care of most of the steps, the last one is the best part. Decorate your deck just the way you like it. Add pots that hold freshly bloomed flowers. Arrange eye-catching patio furniture that will make your time outside very comfortable. Using bold colors while decorating will leave your guests impressed. You can even have a Craftsman install outdoor string lighting for a warm evening ambiance. There are many ways to take your deck to the next level.

That is all you have to do to get your deck ready for the spring. Don’t let the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors this spring slip by. Call one of our reliable Craftsmen, and you will be out relaxing in no time.

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Must Know Safety Tips Next Time You Use a Ladder

There’s a moment when you’re at the top of a trembling ladder and you grip on for dear life. You then wonder, “Am I doing this right”? A ladder can often be something you must endure to get your high up tasks done. That’s why we’ve prepared a shortlist of precautions to keep in mind to help you next time you have to climb a ladder.

1. One Person at a Time

Two heads may be better than one, but using a ladder is a different story. Never have more than one person on a ladder at a time. It may be tempting to get multiple things done at once, but two different weights moving on one ladder can be very dangerous.

2. Avoid the Top 2 Steps

Sometimes you’re going to be tempted to climb higher to reach your project but you should avoid stepping on the top two steps of the ladder. Most ladders aren’t designed for you to be that high, and you also risk losing your balance. The safest place to do your work is from the middle steps of the ladder.

3. Keep 3 Points of Contact

The best way to secure yourself when climbing up or down a ladder is with three points of contact; two hands and at least one foot on the ladder at all times will help keep you secure and avoid failing. Another thing you want to avoid is overreaching. That will shift the weight on the ladder, leading to a higher risk of an accident.

4. The 4 to 1 Rule

When placing a ladder against a building, one of the best ways to ensure its stability is following this rule. Place the ladder one foot away from the building for every four feet of height. For example, if the ladder is resting 16 feet high, then you should place the bottom four feet away from the building.

If you follow these four easy rules, then you can minimize the risk of an injury. For more tips on ladder safety, take a look at the U.S. Department of Labor’s recommendations here. And of course, if ladders are still an object you want to avoid, no worries. We can send one of our Craftsmen and get the job taken care of for you.

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Home Resolutions to Strive for This New Year

Every January, lots of people sign up for the gym, promise to finish projects, or declare that this year is where they turn their life around. Although self-improvement is good, why not have some goals for your home this year, too? Below are areas to focus on that will improve your home and, by extension, how you operate within your home.

1. Make Your Home Safer

Family safety is always needed, but now is a perfect time to take the initiative on home protection. Home fire prevention is one crucial goal to complete for your home. Getting a fire extinguisher and updating detectors are easy ways to safeguard your house. Securing your home from intruders is another area to examine. Have a Craftsman install a door brace, a deadbolt, or even reinforce weak points in your entryways. They can even install a smart doorbell you may have seen a neighbor add. Take the time to make these updates, or have a Craftsman do it.

2. Clean and Organize Your Home

Something we are all probably struggling with, now that we are operating from home is keeping things organized and clean. Now is the perfect time to take all the clutter from the past year and finally get re-organized. Here you can find a list of places to start that will make a huge difference. Once it is all organized, another goal you can implement is creating a new weekly cleaning routine. Then you can stay on top of the clutter more consistently. You will have a home where you can focus on some of your other resolutions.

3. Update Your Kitchen / Bathroom

This home resolution is likely the most exciting. Take some time to upgrade either your kitchen or bathroom. You don’t have to do full renovations, either, to make a difference. A Craftsman can make just a few tweaks, and the whole room will feel fresh and new. A new coat of paint or a fixture upgrade are just some of the ways you can do something different for your home this year.

If tackle these resolutions, your home will be ready for the new year. A call to your local Ace Handyman Services can check most of these resolutions done in just one appointment. Don’t let a better home slip away from you this year.

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We All Dream of Being More Organized, Don’t We?

A new year is upon us… phew! 2020 may not have gone the way you wanted, but there is still so much potential to fulfill your goals in the upcoming year. To get a fresh start, get organized and clear out anything you don’t need anymore, make your home more peaceful, and set yourself up for an awesome year. 

Clean Out that Junk Drawer 

Yes, we all have one or even several of them. Maybe it’s your bathroom cabinet that’s a mess, the hall closet, or that drawer in the kitchen you can barely open. Empty the space completely and throw away any trash and unused items. Sort items in boxes, bins or use dividers—you can even bust out the label maker you’ve been waiting to use!  

Declutter your Desk or Workspace 

Whether you’re working from home or in an office, clean and organize your workspace. This will help you feel more productive and accomplished while working. Go through all your paperwork and throw away or shred documents you do not need. Refresh all your pens, scissors, tape, paperclips, etc. Install shelves so you can fully utilize your desk and create a perfect space to store and organize your work.  Not only will a refreshed and organized workspace help make you more productive, having a comfortable, new office space might be a great work-attitude adjustment, too! 

Organize your Garage 

You may have to dedicate a weekend day for this task, but it sure will make the difference you need for the New Year. Pull everything out that’s in the way and create zones for items that can be trashed or recycled. Then think vertical—putting in some cabinets and overhead storage are all options to getting a clutter-free zone. Put your least-used items on the top shelves and store items you want easy access to in the middle, so you have easy access. And when you’re done, you may actually have room to park your car – what a concept! 

These three ways to make your dream of being more organized are a great start to kick off 2021. And if you’d like some assistance in installing storage, shelves and creating vertical organization, your local Ace Handyman Services office is always willing to step in and make your dream a reality of becoming more organized in 2021.   

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Start the New Year off with Some Quick Home Improvement Projects

The holidays are in full swing, and with them, the most challenging year we’ve ever had to face. It’s likely that with sheltering at home, your house saw more wear and tear in 2020 than in any other year up until now. This would be a great time to do a quick assessment of the things around your place that could use a touch-up or some repair.

Consider replacing door and cabinet hardware.  This is a quick and inexpensive way to give your kitchen, bathroom and other areas a facelift with new door handles, locksets and cabinetry hardware.

If you haven’t already installed programmable thermostats, it’s time to consider making the change.  This improvement project enables homeowners to customize heating and cooling to suit their needs and save as much as 10% on heating bills in the process.

And speaking of saving money on heating, how well insulated is your house?  Consider engaging the services of a home energy auditor to determine just exactly where your greatest heat loss is occurring.  The average cost of a professional audit is just around $400, but it can easily pay off in the long run.  Or check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s website for tips on how to conduct your own audit, if you’d prefer to avoid paying a professional to do the job for you. Your attic is the most likely culprit, but the seams around doors and windows are possible causes, as well.  Applying some caulking or installing weatherstripping can go long way toward keeping in the heat in winter and the cooler air in summer.

Insulating your attic is a considerably and more expensive project, of course, but well worth it in the long run.  It will lower your energy bill 5 to 10 percent each month.

Are you looking to refurbish a room or two without spending a lot?  Crown molding is a great way to give a room a facelift without a lot of time and trouble.  You might also consider refurbishing a door with a fresh coat of paint, changing out the knobs, or even adding a bit of molding to give it a sense of dimension.

These are just a few suggestions for a mid-winter home upgrade.  Most can be accomplished in a day or less.  And if your own craft skills aren’t quite up to the challenge, remember that you can always call your local Ace Handyman Services office to arrange for a visit from a helpful, courteous and professional Craftsman to help you love your home just a little bit more in 2021!

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Enter the New Year with a New Front Door

The warm feeling of coming home from a long day or the excitement of guests visiting all begins at your home’s entrance. The front door is the first thing people see when they arrive at your house. So, as you enter the new year, think about the ways you can enhance your doorway to create a lasting impression for your guests.

For a simple update, try a new color. Bold red is a classic, but you can also experiment with a deep blue, forest green, or even a bright yellow. A pop of color will help your doorway stand out and make your home look unique. Our Craftsman will detach the door, professionally paint it the color of your choice, and then rehang it.  The results will be clean, elegant, and inviting.

The trim around your front door provides another opportunity to revitalize your entryway. Consider having a Craftsman paint the trim an accent color that complements the color of the door itself. Another option is to replace your current trim with a more decorative molding to give it a more dramatic look.

Aging or rusted hardware, fixtures or house numbers on your front door can easily be replaced for a quick, simple improvement. Small changes make a big difference.   If the job is bigger than these enhancement ideas, then look into replacing the door itself. A big change may be what you need to enter the new year. Our Craftsman can expertly hang a new front door.

No matter what level of renovation you plan on using to spruce up your doorway, our Craftsman are happy to take care of it for you. With just one call and an update, your front door can make a wonderful first impression.

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