by Sam Hickey | Nov 13, 2020 | Custom Features, Home Improvement, Maintenance, Outdoor Lifestyle, Patio Covers
If you love spending most of the time outdoors, especially in summer, it’s essential to learn how to clean a patio umbrella. It can accumulate a lot of grime and dirt if exposed to the elements for a very long time. Not to mention, the bird droppings can worsen the situation. How do you clean your patio umbrella after using it outdoors for a full season?
Cleaning and maintaining your patio umbrella regularly will make it look fantastic all the time. You have to ensure that the umbrella is super-clean before storing it away during off-seasons. The good news is, it’s easy to clean and maintain. In this guide, we’ll look at the tips of cleaning and maintaining a patio umbrella.
Cleaning the Canopy
Cleaning an umbrella’s canopy can be pretty simple if it’s detachable. Here are the tips on how to clean an umbrella’s canopy.
- Remove loose dirt on the canopy using a sponge or a soft, bristle brush to prevent the soil from getting deeper into the fabric
- Using a cleaner or a mixture of warm water and mild detergent, scrub the canopy in circular motions
- After scrubbing the canopy, let the cleaning solution stay on it for 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly to remove stains and mildew
- Leave the canopy open until it’s completely dry
Some fabrics like Sunbrella require a quality fabric protector to restore its UV inhibitors and improve water repellency.
Cleaning the Frame
The method you’ll use to clean an umbrella frame will depend on the nature of its material. Here is how to clean both wooden and aluminum frames.
a) Wooden Frames
You can clean most wooden umbrella frames with a mixture of water and mild detergent and a soft brush. Follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions if available. However, you shouldn’t oversaturate the frame’s surface. Allow it to dry after cleaning.
b) Aluminum Frames
Wipe the frame using a soft towel and a mixture of mild detergent and lukewarm water. If there are build-ups or water spots, mix one part of white distilled vinegar with nine water parts. Soak a soft cloth in the solution and wipe down the frame. You can then rinse the frame with clean water and dry it using a towel.
Patio Umbrella Maintenance
Maintaining a patio umbrella can help to keep it in great shape and extend its lifespan. Here are some of the maintenance tips to practice.
- Always ensure that the umbrella is clean before storing it
- Don’t force the umbrella to close or open as that could destroy its functionality
- Add a cover on the patio umbrella to protect it from adverse weather conditions
- Store the umbrella indoors when there’s an impending storm or strong winds
- Avoid using abrasive cleaners on the umbrella’s frames or canopies
Pro Tip: You can clean fabrics such as Sunbrella using bleach solutions, and it won’t fade. However, it’s imperative to check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that.
Keeping Your Patio Umbrella Looking Like New
Now that you know how to clean a patio umbrella, you can make yours look super-clean without struggles. Ensure that you follow the patio umbrella cleaning and maintenance tips we’ve shared in this guide. That way, you’ll keep your umbrella in excellent condition.
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by Sam Hickey | Nov 6, 2020 | Grills, Maintenance, Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Lifestyle
If you don’t know much about kitchen knife care, you’re probably finding it hard to keep your knives sharp. Many materials in your kitchen can destroy the sharp edges of your high-quality kitchen cutlery. Tile, marble, and granite countertops are some of the things that can damage your sharp grilling tools. How can you take care of the kitchen knives?
Keeping your kitchen knives clean and sharp is very important. You need to avoid practices that might damage the cutlery, such as using the knives directly on glass and metal surfaces. We’ll show you some simple tips for storing and caring for your precious knife collection. Here are the ideas to consider:
Properly Storing Cutlery
The safest place to store your kitchen knives is either on a knife block or magnetic strip. Tossing a sharp knife in the drawer can destroy the sharp edges. You also risk cutting your hands when reaching the drawers. When using a magnetic knife strip, ensure that it’s strong enough to hold the heaviest knives in your cutlery. Use a magnetic strip made of stainless steel and wood in front of magnets to prevent metals from rubbing against each other.
How Often to Sharpen Knives
Keeping your kitchen knives honed and sharpened throughout is the secret to owning quality cutlery. To ensure that the blades remain sharp, remember to hone and sharpen them frequently. You can do that before and after every use, and even polishing them with a leather strop to keep them in great shape. The blades will last for many years.
Pro Tip: To give your top-quality cutlery the proper care and maintenance they deserve, hone and sharpen the knives regularly using the sharpening blocks and honing steels.
Quality Cleaning Guidelines
Cleaning your kitchen knives properly can keep them in great condition. Avoid washing the cutlery in a dishwasher, which tends to remove any protective coatings on the knives. The dishwasher uses highly-caustic chemicals that can wear the blades’ edges, making the knives dull. Always wash the blades by hand using hot water and mild detergent.
Taking Great Care of Your Cooking Utensils
Since your cutlery is one of the most valuable assets in your kitchen, you need to embrace all the knife care tips we’ve discussed. Make sure you hone and sharpen the knives frequently, wash them regularly, and store them properly. With these knife maintenance ideas, you can keep your blades sharp for a very long time.
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by Sam Hickey | Oct 30, 2020 | Grills, Maintenance, Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Lifestyle
Learning how to clean a gas grill can help to extend your grill’s lifespan. If not removed, the carbon buildup and food residue remaining on the grill will form rust and damage its components. You will have to buy replacement parts or even a new gas grill every time.
While cleaning a gas grill may not be as easy as grilling a savory meal for dinner, you should clean the grates after cooking. To ensure that the gas grill is in great shape, you should deep-clean it occasionally. It involves cleaning the grill from the top down. Here is how to clean gas grill components.
First Steps to Take
If you intend to deep-clean your gas grill, you should first clean the grates by burning off the leftover grease and grime. Here are the first steps to take for quick cleaning.
- Set all burners to high while keeping the lid closed for around 10- 15 minutes
- Open the lid, turn off all the burners, and disconnect the gas supply
- Let the grill cool to a moderate temperature of around 250°F – 300°F
- Scrub the grates back and forth using a wadded ball of foil or grill brush
After scrubbing the grates, ensure there’s no grime left before cleaning the whole grill.
Cleaning Supplies to Use
As the gas grill cools, get all the cleaning supplies for deep cleaning ready. You’ll need water, a sponge, and mild dish detergent to wash the grill’s components. The mild detergent is ideal for grills that require surface cleaning only. For hard-to-clean grills, use Bar Keepers Friend, which is tough on rust. It’s available as a powder or liquid.
Getting a Deep Clean
To deep-clean the gas grill, start by setting aside the cleaned grill grates to access the flame tamers. Remove and scrub each flame tamer using a stainless steel wire brush. Check if there are food residues on the grill’s underside and clean it. Exposing foods to direct flame can burn off drippings, which find their way to the bottom.
When you remove all the flame tamers, you’ll access the burners and heat baffles, if present. Clean the burners one at a time by scrapping the exterior using the grill brush and unclogging the gas ports using a paperclip. Scrub the grill’s firebox walls and side walls using the wire brush.
Pro Tip: Remember to check for carbon buildup on the hood’s underside and at the back of the hood’s thermometer’s back and clean it off with a soft cloth and Carbon-Off.
Deep Cleaning Your Gas Grill for Grilling Season
Now that you know how to clean a gas grill, you’ll find it easy to keep your gas grill clean. Ensure that you deep-clean the gas grill occasionally during the grilling season. Finally, avoid using cleaners that might react with your grill components.
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by Sam Hickey | Oct 23, 2020 | Outdoor Accessories, Outdoor Kitchen, Outdoor Lifestyle
Choosing an outdoor kitchen design that matches your style is the best way to add fun to your outdoor living space. Before you dive into the basics of outdoor kitchen planning, spend some time looking for the type of space that will best fit your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at some of the best outdoor kitchen ideas to consider.
What are some essentials to keep in mind for your outdoor kitchen?
When setting up a kitchen in your backyard, you must install all the essentials to complete the space. Some of the must-have accessories in an outdoor kitchen include refrigerators, barbeque grills, and ovens. Consider equipment made from stainless steel to withstand adverse weather conditions.
Here are the critical factors to consider when setting up an outdoor kitchen.
- The Basics
- Cooking & Grilling
- Insulation & Ventilation
1) The Basics
You want an outdoor kitchen design that fits your lifestyle. But where should you start? Install the basic outdoor kitchen equipment, such as built-in gas grills, access doors, a compact refrigerator, a side burner, and a trash bin. The patio kitchen should also have a sink and sizable counter space for meal prepping foods.
2) Cooking & Grilling
Adding a grill to your outdoor kitchen can make cooking more convenient. There are various types of grills, including gas grills, charcoal grills, pellet grills, and portable grills. Select a design that fits your needs and lifestyle. Other essentials that can add cooking versatility to the grill area include a smoker, power burner, or kamado.
If you love entertainment, take your kitchen space to the next level by adding ice makers, wine coolers, beverage centers, and kegerators. When organizing poolside adventures, turn your outdoor kitchen into a cocktail paradise by installing the outdoor refrigeration appliances. Your family and friends will enjoy having ice-cold beverages.
Keeping all the appliances and accessories organized can improve your outdoor décor and help you save more space in the outdoor dining area. Ensure the kitchen has a big dining table and enough storage compartments to store all the ingredients you’ll need to grill your favorite meal. You’ll easily access the items while grilling.
5) Insulation & Ventilation
When setting up an outdoor kitchen, your safety should come first. One of the best ways to ensure that is by insulating and ventilating the outdoor kitchen. Use insulated jackets when installing your cooking appliances on a combustible island. Vent panels or vent hoods are also essential for proper gas venting in the kitchen.
Pro Tip: Look at design ideas online to find the outdoor decor that will best suit your new kitchen!
The Perfect Outdoor Kitchen Design for Your Home
Modern outdoor kitchens are an excellent example of a perfect outdoor kitchen design. Ensure you select the appliances that can spice up your outdoor living space. Consider modern outdoor cooking appliances over the traditional ones. The bottom line is to find an outdoor kitchen design that fits your needs and lifestyle.
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by Sam Hickey | Oct 16, 2020 | Outdoor Accessories, Outdoor Bar, Outdoor Lifestyle
Setting up outdoor bars in a backyard is an excellent way for homeowners to maximize outdoor space in a home. As you add an outdoor bar in your home, implement features that will ‘fire up’ the place and make it more inviting to guests. What are the best features to consider?
What should your outdoor bar include for entertainment?
The size and location of your new outdoor bar will influence the accessories you will add to its’ space. If you don’t know what equipment you should add to your outdoor bar, don’t worry, we’ll help you figure it out. Here are some of the outdoor bar appliances to consider:
- Bar Center
- Wine Cooler
- Bar Furniture
- Fire Pit
- Pizza Oven
- Charcoal Grill
1) Bar Center
With a bar center outdoors, you can have all the things you’ll need for entertainment, including an ice bin, bottle opener, condiment holders, and a sink & faucet. If you are a mixologist, add a well near the bar center to store your favorite mixers.
If you intend to serve the guests with some briskly cold beer, add a kegerator to the outdoor bar. A kegerator is a small refrigerator that comes with one or two taps for dispensing beer. So, you won’t have to buy many beer bottles to serve your guests, helping you save more money.
3) Wine Cooler
Enjoy chilly wine bottles while hosting a party in your backyard by adding a wine cooler to your outdoor bar. Unlike other outdoor refrigeration accessories, wine coolers work at a slightly higher temperature range. Most wine coolers have removable horizontal shelves for easy storage.
4) Bar Furniture
One of the essential features in an outdoor space is adequate seating. Consider adding some bar stools and chairs around the bar island and let the guests enjoy the party while sitting. It’s an excellent way to interact with the guests as you grill a savory meal.
Pro Tip: If your outdoor bar has no island, add a separate bar table and a set of chairs on one side. Select chairs that match the right height of the counter or bar table so you can enjoy and relax in comfort.
5) Fire Pit
You can also inspire your outdoor bar by adding a fire pit to your space. It will make the place more inviting for guests and family members. With the fire pits put in place, you can host night parties in your backyard throughout the year. Learn more about our fabulous fire pits to inspire your outdoor living.
6) Pizza Oven
An outdoor pizza oven is one of the best outdoor kitchen appliances that can also inspire your outdoor bar space. It’s highly versatile and easy to use, making it a must-have accessory for pizza lovers. The common types of pizza ovens include gas pizza ovens and wood pizza ovens.
7) Charcoal Grill
A night party is not all about drinking. Alongside drinks, you can add a charcoal grill for an outdoor barbeque party. However, there are many charcoal BBQ grills, such as a built-in grill and a portable grill. The Big Green Egg is an excellent example of a portable grill.
Building the Outdoor Bar of Your Dreams
Designing outdoor bars is an excellent way to spice up the outdoor living. If you have a big backyard, you can add an outdoor bar that matches your style. Install high-quality accessories that can withstand extreme environmental conditions.
Contact us to learn more about getting your perfect outdoor bar started!
by Sam Hickey | Jul 3, 2020 | Design Inspiration, Home Improvement, Outdoor Lifestyle
Hot, humid Houston summers aren’t always the most pleasant times to be outdoors. Fortunately, you can still enjoy the fresh air and gentle breezes by adding a few features to your backyard to protect yourself from the heat. You can even have outdoor parties during the summer! All you have to do is make sure your outdoor kitchen and hangout spots are ready to provide comfort during the hot weather.
Getting Your Backyard Ready for Summer
With strategic designs for your outdoor kitchen and hangout space, you can create a backyard ready for any summer day. Here are just a few ideas to spruce up your yard for warmer weather:
- Tidy up the yard
- Cover your dining area
- Upgrade your appliances
- Style outdoor furniture
- Add a bar
1) Tidy Up the Yard
Nobody wants to party in a dirty, overgrown yard! Mow the grass and haul away any trash. Consider pressure washing your patio and any concrete surfaces for a brand new look. In general, just take the time to make your yard look appealing and ready for when guests arrive.
2) Cover Your Dining Area
An outdoor dining room may sound appealing for backyard parties of any kind, but if it starts to rain or the sun gets too hot, your guests will have to run indoors again. Prevent this issue by installing a new patio cover over your dining space! Let the party continue, rain or shine, and enjoy a shady spot all year round.
3) Upgrade Your Appliances
Whether you have an entire outdoor kitchen or just a grilling station in the backyard, you likely enjoy the ability to cook fresh food for your guests. Why not upgrade your appliances to make your experience easier? Swap your old grill for a more efficient model or see what your outdoor kitchen still needs. A few new cooking appliances could make a big difference in your party hosting experience.
Pro Tip: Hosting parties after dark? Hang string lights or install solar pathway lights for an elegant touch and to let everyone see in the dark!
4) Style Outdoor Furniture
Outdoor dining areas or hangout spots need comfortable seating for all your guests. Of course, it’s equally important to make sure that the furniture you choose can withstand the elements. Find outdoor-safe furniture to match your design scheme and furnish your backyard to get the party started!
5) Add a Bar
Finally, add the finishing touch to your summer party space: an outdoor bar. A nearby wine fridge or full-sized refrigerator can keep drinks cold and produce ice for everyone. A well-designed, comfortable bar is the perfect addition to a summer evening spent with friends outdoors. Give it a try!
Enjoy Your Summer!
Upgrading your backyard relaxation spaces goes a long way toward making summer days that much more enjoyable. Try throwing a family cookout or moving a planned party outdoors. Take full advantage of your newly refurbished space!
Connect with us for more backyard inspiration.