3 Summer Home Improvement Projects

The summer season is here, and you know it by the whirl of the air conditioner and the weekday presence of wild kids running through the house and around the neighborhood. You may also know it by the list of summer to-dos you have taped to your refrigerator door. Want help tackling three common summer home improvement projects? Our team would love to help. Stop by our Grand Rapids store or shop online to check off a few of your to-dos:

Ready to get started? Use coupon code FIX4SUMMER during checkout to receive 10% off any of these items! Valid through August 31, 2021 for online purchases only.

1. Washing and maintaining your composite deck

As a composite deck gets older, mildew becomes a bigger issue. But cleaning and maintenance are manageable tasks when done the right way. Here’s what you need:

Composite Deck Cleaner: Don’t use a bleach solution to clean your deck. Use this cleaner from Defy instead. You’ll get a more comprehensive clean without harming the plant life surrounding your space. Defy Composite Deck Cleaner can be applied using a pressure washer or simply with some elbow grease. 

Deck Brush: Use this deck brush in conjunction with the cleaner above to scrub away all the dirt and grime that has accumulated on your deck.

Deck Sealer: This step isn’t necessary, but it is worth it. Why go through the effort of cleaning a deck if mold and mildew will be back within a year’s time? Roll on or spray on following the instructions on the backside of the bottle. 

Car Wash Brush: Applying sealer isn’t your last step. The sealer works much better if you brush it while still wet, working the material into the pores of the composite wood. We recommend using this soft bristle car wash brush instead of a traditional paint brush or roller. Then, once it dries (give it a full day), you’re ready to enjoy your deck for the rest of the summer.


2. Cleaning and tuckpointing brick

Cleaning and maintaining your exterior brick presents a unique challenge, but with some know-how and proper safety precautions, it is one you can accomplish. Here’s what you’ll need: 

Muriatic Acid: You need a strong cleaning agent to clean something as porous as brick. Prepare both your space and your body before beginning this project. Keep pets and children away from the area. Eye protection and gloves are a must and be sure to wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants that cover any skin. And be sure to put down a good tarp to cover the area and make sure you have running water nearby. When you are diluting the acid (it must be diluted!) always add the acid to the water in a clean plastic bucket. Never add water to the acid. Above all: Make sure to follow all the safety precautions on the bottle!

Latex Stripping Glove: Make sure your gloves can stand up to the acid you are using. Proper gloves are an incredibly important part of the prep work leading up to cleaning brick. 

Tapered Acid Brush: The first step is using a brush to clean the surface of the brick and to layer it with water. This removes excess dirt and prevents the acid from having a burning effect. Once the brick is wet, apply the muriatic acid solution onto the dirty surface using a different brush. Watch as the grime trickles away.

Tuckpointing and maintaining brickwork is also essential for keeping it visually appealing. When mortar is chipped or eroded away, the entire brickwork suffers structurally and visually. Here are a few products that can help you keep your brick in tip top shape.

Mortar Repair: This product is great for a quick fix to a small chip or minor area. Clean and chisel out the area before applying. Wipe off any excess with a wet rag.

Mortar Mix: This Quikrete product is designed for masonry and allows you to tackle larger brickwork projects. 

⅜ Tuck Pointer: The right tuck pointing trowel applies mortar cleanly and effectively.


3. Re-puttying and sealing old windows

Old, single pane windows are a beautiful feature on many older homes. But they don’t stay perfectly sealed and sightly forever. This summer project pays dividends come wintertime.

Heat Gun: Use a heat gun with heat shield to remove no-longer-functional putty. A scrap of sheet metal may also be necessary to loosen the putty without damaging the glass.

Scraper: Use a putty knife to pry the old putty free from the window framing.

Primer: Apply primer to any bare wood exposed by the removal of old putty. This will help the new putty form up with no visual or functional defects.

Glazing Compound: Spread the compound evenly around the edges of the pane. Focus on coverage first, then smoothness. 

Putty Knife: Use this tool to apply the Glazing Compound above. Apply then go back to smooth out each edge. This putty knife also allows you to pull away excess compound, leaving only a cleanly puttied window.


Tackle these 3 summer home improvement projects this season, and get everything you need from Modern Hardware. Follow us on social media @modernhardwaregr and share your projects with us on Facebook and Instagram using #modernhardwaregr.