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boys canoeing in a lake
The Baileys’ sons canoe in the lake on the property.

Robert and Leigh Bailey bought their home about eight months ago immediately after their first viewing, mostly because of the gorgeous lake in the backyard. But, there were several areas of the house that needed attention. So, we helped the Baileys tackle some maintenance chores, and we used our 4 Seasons of Homeownership summer checklist to guide our efforts.

We’ve taken all the chores that need to be done around a house and divided them up into four manageable lists that coincide with the seasons of the year. Granted, changing air filters, cleaning the grill and inspecting the chimney may go unnoticed by the neighbors, but those chores give you peace of mind. And when you can make a big change, like repairing the Baileys’ deck, then you also have something tangible to point to with pride.

For the full summer checklist and interactive infographic, visit 4 Seasons of Homeownership: Summer.

damaged deck boards
Repairing the Baileys’ damaged deck proved to be a larger project than we anticipated.

Repairing a Damaged Deck

The Baileys’ biggest concern was their deck. Using a tool called a deck wrecker, we removed all the rotten and damaged wood. Unfortunately, the problem was even bigger than we thought. Many of the joists that support the deck boards were completely rotten, and the deck was infested with termites. We called in an exterminator to address the termite problem before we started making repairs.

Watch How to Prevent Termite Damage to Your Home for more info.

The wood used to build the deck was pressure-treated to resist rot, decay and termites; but it was not rated for ground contact. We replaced the rotten joists with YellaWood treated 2x10s that are rated for ground contact. The tag on the end of each piece of lumber will tell you whether the product is approved for use “above ground” or “ground contact” applications.

Danny Lipford shows the lumber crown facing up.
Danny Lipford shows the crown facing up.

Whether you are replacing a few boards on an existing deck or building a deck from scratch, be sure every board is installed with the crown side up to prevent warping and pooling of water. The crown is the natural curve or arch of a piece of lumber. Use exterior coated deck screws or, if shooting with a nail gun, use exterior galvanized ring shank nails.

Watch How to Maintain a Wood Deck for more info.

deck with patio furniture
The deck after all the rotten wood was replaced.

Adding Mulch to the Planting Beds

You can certainly buy mulch for your garden, but since we love any excuse to operate heavy equipment, we rented a wood chipper from Compact Power for this job. Robert and Leigh had a lot of limbs and branches on the side of the road waiting for trash pickup. Instead of sending the wood to the landfill, we recycled it into mulch for the yard.

Allen Lyle adds limbs to the wood chipper.
Allen Lyle adds limbs to the wood chipper.

As with all machinery, safety is key when operating a wood chipper. Wear full goggles, ear plugs and gloves; and make sure the equipment is facing away from you. We used a large tarp to catch all the freshly chipped mulch.

Read Using Mulch in Your Garden for details.

Other Tips from This Episode

weed killer ingredients

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Make a Nontoxic Weed Killer

Use this inexpensive formula of epsom salt, white vinegar, and dish detergent to make an affordable, nontoxic weed killer. Watch video.

electric lawn mower

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ryobi Brushless Electric Lawn Mower

Ryobi’s 20-inch brushless lawn mower, which runs on a 40-volt lithium-ion battery, is easy to operate and is whisper-quiet. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.

replacing broken window pane

Ask Danny Lipford:
How to Replace a Broken Window

Are windows safe for homeowners to replace themselves? It depends on whether the windows are single pane or insulated glass units. Watch video.

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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