Tips for Cleaning, Stripping and Maintaining Decks | Ep. 75

Wood deck at Emily Cottingham's home
Wood decks — we love ’em. But remember: you need to regularly maintain ’em.

We get so many phone calls and emails about decks. People are building decks, stripping them and renovating them, so that’s how we’ll kick off this week’s episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast: we’ll talk all about decks!

Learn how Chelsea’s making a big job — stripping her deck — manageable and listen for our tips to make your deck look great. Whether you want to know about the best wood for an outdoor deck, want to learn more about kiln-dried after treatment wood, or wonder how to remove paint from your deck, we’ve got it covered.  

  • [2:01] All about designing, building, refinishing and maintaining decks
  • [8:27] A brick wall on a garage has come loose — can it be repaired?
  • [13:31] Best New Product: Bessey GearKlamp
  • [15:17] How to prepare and paint old, varnished pine cabinets
  • [20:50] ‘Paint spilled on my bricks — here’s what removed it!’
  • [21:43] How to remove a large stump without using a stump grinder
  • [28:18] Simple Solution: 5 tips for helping your lawn survive a drought
  • [31:02] Question of the Week: ‘Help! Both sinks back up when I run my garbage disposal!’

Simple Solutions

Save Drought-Stricken Lawns — Five tips for helping any lawn survive a prolonged drought: 1.) de-thatch, 2.) aerate, 3.) mow, as necessary, 4.) don’t bag clippings, and finally 5.) avoid excess traffic (foot and equipment) on lawn. 

Bulb Removal Trick — Here’s how to use duct tape to remove hard-to-reach or difficult light bulbs (like ones mounted flush in range hoods). Take an 8-inch length of duct tape and pinch it together in the middle to create a T shape with adhesive exposed on top of the horizontal surface. Use the vertical, pinched-together flap as a handle. Stick the tape to the bulb and twist, if it’s threaded. If the bulb has two lugs that fit into slots inside the socket, stick on the tape, press up, and then twist.

Question of the Week

Q: When I run my garbage disposal both sinks back up — what’s the problem?

A: It sounds like a clog, and you’ll need to plunge one drain while plugging up the other drain. Then switch drains. After that, remove the trap from under the sink and use a plumber’s snake to remove the clog.


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