During the winter months, many people eagerly anticipate the sunny days of summer. But, when summer rolls around, these same people are often busy looking for ways to cool off.
Getting outside on the deck or porch is an ideal way to relax and escape stifling indoor heat for many Americans. To make sure your outdoor living retreat is a cool oasis, consider these three tips to beat the heat:
1. Create stylish shade
While an umbrella or a roll-up sunshade provides a fast and easy way to block direct sun, they can quickly fade or become a dingy eyesore. A stylish alternative is to cast refreshing shade with a gazebo or arbor. With either option, you also can create a lush and fragrant grotto using climbing vines such as roses, clematis, wisteria or honeysuckle.
For a weekend do-it-yourself project, look for gazebo and arbor plans on popular social media sites like Pinterest or Houzz. If you prefer to have someone else do the work, many deck builders will complete the project for you without breaking the bank.
2. Spritz yourself with a mister
Sunbelt residents and visitors are familiar with outdoor cooling misters installed at popular outdoor cafes, theme parks and other places people gather on hot days. Now, homeowners throughout the U.S. are installing these systems on their decks or porches. The ultrafine droplets of water created by these systems can cool the air as much as 35 degrees. In addition to providing cool and refreshing moisture on hot summer days, some manufacturers report the systems help repel flying insects and clear the air of smoke and pollen. Easy-to-install misters are available online or from your local home improvement store, starting at under $100.
3. Don’t forget the deck surface
Many deck surfaces become uncomfortably hot in direct sun. The problem is especially acute for dark-colored deck boards, which absorb heat throughout the day, as well as some dense composite boards that hold heat. As a result, rather than a comfortable stroll to your favorite chair, you might end up hot-footing it across a scorching deck. An overly hot deck is especially problematic for young children and pets, whose feet are more heat sensitive.
“Many people tell us they love the beauty and durability of their composite deck, but not the heat,” says Brent Gwatney, vice president of MoistureShield decking. His company has developed a solution they call CoolDeck(R) technology. The boards are engineered to absorb up to 35 percent less heat than other composites in similar colors, for a noticeably lower surface temperature in direct sun.
Whether you're building a new deck or upgrading an existing one, these three ways to beat the heat will provide you with a cool and relaxing outdoor spot to snooze, cook or entertain friends and family, even on the hottest summer days.