Magazine article Sunset

Ask Sunset

Magazine article Sunset

Ask Sunset

Article excerpt

HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT LIFE IN THE WEST? WE HAVE THE ANSWERS.

Q: My wood deck was restored three years ago. It's back to the same condition as before, covered with black sooty mildew that gets tracked into the house. How do I remove this once and for all, and be able to enjoy my deck again?--T.B., CARMEL VALLEY, CA

DEAR T.B. No onetime treatment will permanently rid you of a mildew problem--a deck is outdoors after all. An annual cleaning should prevent mildew buildup and tracking. But to clean this three-year accumulation, you'll need to take extra steps, says Mark Clement of Wood, Naturally (woodnaturally. com). First, if you applied a finish three years ago, use a finish remover to strip the deck (it has probably degraded in three years and provided a place for mildew to grow). Then, use a mild soap solution, such as Simple Green and water, and a soft-bristle brush to clean the deck. If any spots are left behind, a diluted trisodium phosphate mixture should remove them. (You'll find this at big-box or paint stores.) Finally, apply a deck brightener to restore that "fresh from the lumberyard" look. Next summer and thereafter, a scrubbing with the mild soap solution should be all your deck needs.

Q: We want to take our son and daughter (8 and 10) on a real Wild West summer vacation--complete with cowboys, horses, and adventure. Where should we go? --L.R., TACOMA

DEAR L.R. For one-stop, kid-thrilling Wild West-ness, it's hard to beat Cody, Wyoming (ydlowstonecountry. …

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