Three Tips for Getting More Life Out of Your Grill

We’re getting closer to the summer months, which means it’s grilling season.  One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not putting in the time to keep your gas grill cleaned and well-maintained. You will not only have to make repairs or replace the grill sooner; your food will suffer too. Luckily, it is not very difficult to keep up with grill maintenance, and most tasks will only require a few minutes of your time. Here are several things we would like you to do to get more life out of your grill:

Check Your Grill for Any Leaks: This is one of a few safety tasks you should do before you operate a grill. You’re literally playing with fire so it’s best to heed on the side of caution at all times. First and foremost, you should always make sure that your gas cylinder is not over-filled. Propane expands so, by law, you can only have a cylinder filled up to eighty percent. Second, check your hoses for any leaks using a soap and water solution. It’s never a good idea to use a flame. If you notice any leaks, replace them immediately before use. Also, be sure to place the in a well-ventilated, open spot.

Clean Your Grill’s Grates, Lid, and Exterior: You’re dealing with grease here so your grill is bound to get dirty. Before you start cooking, be sure to pre-heat the grill to remove any leftover debris on the grates with a bristle brush. You can clean the grate more deeply once the grill is turned off and cool, using regular dish soap. It’s recommended that you remove the grill tray after using it to remove the excess grease. You should also clean the lid and outside of your grill with a non-toxic, non-abrasive cleaner at least once every few weeks to ensure it keeps its shine.

Use a Grill Cover: Let’s say you purchased a really expensive grill; would you then allow it to withstand the elements on its own? That wouldn’t be a good idea. We highly recommend you check out island grill covers so you can make sure your grill isn’t exposed to rain, dirt, and other things that will cause your grill to rust or become damaged any other way. At Creative Covers, we provide grill owners with customized island grill covers sewn specifically to your grill’s dimensions. Call us today at (800) 970-0901 to order your custom grill cover.

Covering the Winter Patio Basics

curved-sectional-sunbrella-coverThe weather is starting to cool down. The air is getting crisper. Staying outside for long periods of time doesn’t feel as comfortable without 12 layers of clothing and a small fire going. Yes, winter is quickly approaching and snow is on the horizon. We have the option of moving all of that furniture indoors, but heaving it all back and forth doesn’t sound like our idea of a good time. Even though most patio and backyard furniture is designed to remain outdoors, there are still certain precautions that should be taken in order to preserve your precious furniture for years to come.

Treat According to Material/Framework
The beauty of patio furniture is that like real indoor furniture, it comes in all types of shapes, colors, sizes, and materials. The different options we have for patio furniture means we can really customize our backyards to the style that we like. It also means that we are faced with understanding how to care for each type of framework and material. Metal, like aluminum and steel need preventative rust care as they are more prone to natural rusting over time. Natural materials like teak and wood need a simple oil covering, but their durability makes them able to last the winter outdoors. Plastic is the most low-maintenance of all materials, as it just needs a simple hosing down to clean.

Cover Your Furniture
After you have vacuumed and dusted off the cushions, removing any seasonal debris that has already tried to take up residence in the seats of your chairs, you should cover your furniture. Breathable fabrics for your outdoor sectional covers and other patio furniture are perfect for this time of year as it helps to air out the furniture while also preventing further debris to fall on the furniture. Decaying debris can leave hard to remove stains on your cushions, ruining it or causing costly cleaning repairs.

Store Properly
Last but not least, once it is all said and done, the furniture is cleaned and covered, it is time to begrudgingly usher in the end of summer and store your patio furniture accordingly. Store frames right side up to help remove any residual moisture. This prevents water that is trapped inside the frames from freezing over the winter and ruining the furniture from the inside out. Most patio furniture is made to withstand staying outdoors, but others like mosaics and plastics need to be stored indoors to also prevent cracking, and the dislodging of pieces.

We’re all sad to see summer go. Grills are being replaced with fire places and cold drinks with hot teas. None of us are ready to let it go. With these preventative measures for your patio furniture, your outdoor sets will be as good as new when summer comes back before you know it.

Outdoor Gas Grill Covers and Other Winter Preventative Grill Maintenance

Let’s start with some good news. The first official day of the fall season may arrive this week, but grilling season is far from over! You can still enjoy grilling deep into autumn. With that being said, it’s important to understand that your grill needs to be winterized before the first freeze. Keep an eye on the forecast and take advantage of these winterizing tips to ensure your grill is ready to rock and roll at the first hint of spring.

Start With Some Heat – The easiest way to ruin the value of your grill is to leave residue on your grill and throw on your outdoor gas grill covers for the season. You’re going to open up your grill in the spring and it’s going to be covered in filth. This will not only lead to an extensive cleaning, it could lead to lesser taste in future uses. Instead of waking up to a headache, turn your grill to high heat and close the lid for 15-20 minutes. This will eliminate the residue left on the grill.

Grill Grate Cleaning – Just as you wouldn’t want to skimp on your outdoor gas grill cover, you shouldn’t skimp on a great grill brush. Utilizing a wire brush and scraping the surface while the grill is hot is best. Afterwards, let your grill get cool and break out the soapy water. You can take off the grill grates and scrub thoroughly. Afterwards, rinse with hot water and put your grill grates back on.

Soap for the Outside – Leave out the soapy water from the grill grates and wipe down the outside of your grill with a rag. Also, open up the lid and make sure both sides get wiped down. Avoid using anything other than a rag unless you absolutely have to. Certain scrubbing devices can do damage to the exterior.

Have the Right Outdoor Gas Grill Cover – We offer grill covers that are tailored to match your grill. This is important. A proper fitting grill cover can ensure that dirt and debris don’t seep into your grill. If at all possible, after applying your grill cover, roll your grill into a covered location. A garage would be great, but a carport or something similar will do just fine.

A little preventative maintenance can go a long way. It can extend the life of your grill and maximize the flavor you get out of your grill for years to come.

It’s Grilling Season: Don’t Forget the Importance of Grill Maintenance

Blue Grill Cover

Whether you and your family love traditional summer favorites like hot dogs and burgers or you like to make the grill your official summer cooking destination for everything from chicken and kabobs to pizza pies, there’s nothing like a meal fresh off the grill. We want to ensure that you get to enjoy these meals summer after summer and it’s why we offer outdoor grill covers to protect your grill from the elements, but it’s also why the theme of this post is grill maintenance. There are things you can be doing after every meal to ensure that your grill can be relied upon for delicious meals day in and day out.

There’s a lot of strain put on your grill during the summer months and maintenance is a must. Without it, you run the risk of lower temperatures, increased sticking of food to the grates and uneven heat. As soon as you take off your outdoor grill cover, every meal should begin with some high heat. Turn your grill on high heat and close it. Allow for 10-15 minutes of burning to turn any leftover residue from your last meal to ash. A high quality stainless steel brush should then be used to wipe away debris and provide a clean grilling surface that will help ensure what you put on the grill is all that you eat and all that you taste.

It’s a good idea to clean your cook box at least once per month. Obviously, this should be done when the grill is completely cool. Remove cooking grates and any bars. Use your grill brush to find all grease and debris in the area that’s been left over from previous cooking sessions and move them to the bottom tray. It’s then simple enough to discard and have your grill in tiptop shape.

Beyond the interior of your grill, don’t forget to acknowledge the cleanliness of the exterior. In particular, wipe down the side tables regularly. This is not only key  to maintaining a proper appearance, but it’s also a great way to keep your family safe through sanitation as side items will be placed on those side tables regularly. Microfiber towels are the best tool for this job, but you can use paper towels as well. Keep one of outdoor grill covers on when the grill isn’t in use and your grill will look as great as the food you are making tastes.

Tips to Store Your Grill for Winter

winter grillWhile many of us enjoy the summer and autumn seasons, winter is well on its way which means it’s time to start preparing for the cold months that lie ahead. As you transition to winter and begin to tuck away your summer and autumn items, don’t forget to properly pack away your grill. In the midst of switching wardrobes and home decorations, many forget about their outdoor grill and leave it outside and unprotected in the cold where it usually hides under a foot of snow. It’s not until spring rolls around that we remember our grill and by then it’s too late to save because it’s rusted and worn down. Don’t let that happen this year; take good care of your grill this winter by following these tips.

Watch the Weather

Although you can grill year-round, most associate grilling as a summer and fall activity. If you want to grill for as long as possible before the cold really kicks in, keep an eye on the weather. As with any season, weather can change quite fast. Know when temperatures are really beginning to drop and when days are extra windy.

Give Your Grill a Thorough Cleaning

Once you decide it’s definitely time to cover the grill until spring, give it a good cleaning before you store it. Make sure all the coal and grease buildup is removed and there is no food residue on or in the grill or its parts.

Ensure it is Dry Before You Store it

Never store away a wet grill since water can damage it, causing rust. After you clean it, make sure that all parts are dry.

Store it Indoors, If You Can

To ensure the best protection and keep your grill in tip top shape, if you have the room, store it indoors. A garage, laundry room or enclosed balcony are suitable areas. This way your grill is not exposed to the harsh winter elements.

Detach the Propane Tank

For safety measures, you should take off the propane tank to prevent an accidental fire. You can store it in the cold, but avoid keeping it in the garage since there is a risk of pressure buildup.

Keep it Protected with a Grill Cover

 Covering your grill with an island cover will protect it from outside elements, keep it well maintained, and keep it clean. If you have a patio furniture set with a table and chairs, make sure you keep furniture protected with outdoor sectional covers as well. These will shield your furniture from harsh weather conditions, prevent paint from chipping and rust from building.

Fall is Coming: Get Your Grill Ready the Right Way

football

Fall is finally here. Autumn brings us many great things like cooler weather, beautiful leaves, and most importantly, football. While it may be time to pack away your swimsuits and beach chairs, don’t rush to put away your grill just yet. If you’re like most, you turn your house into football game day headquarters during the fall months. And what’s a good football game without some outdoor cooking?

Fall is the Prime Time to Grill

According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 76% of consumers polled in a survey said that fall is the prime time for outdoor grilling because of the cooler weather. Despite daylight-saving time making days shorter and nights longer, about 75% of consumers indicated that they intend to use their grills well past Labor Day.

Why is Grilling so Popular?

Outdooring grilling is a favorite activity that people love for a number of reasons. Aside from the obvious of grilling tasty foods like burgers, hot dogs and steaks, and adding more flavor to foods, grilling is a simple and fun way of bringing your friends and family together. While grilling certainly makes for a great activity, especially during football season, it’s important to take good care of your grill to ensure it performs at its best year-round. A well-maintained grill will not only keep your food safe but bring out the best flavors in your favorite foods.

Make sure your grill is ready to fire up this fall with these tips:

  1. For safety precautions, set up you grill in an open, well-ventilated space at least 10 feet from your house. Make sure it is away from overhead surfaces, dry leaves and other objects.
  2. Place a grill pad under your grill before you start cooking. This will protect your deck or patio from any drips of grease that may miss the drip pan.
  3. After each use, clear away grease and ash by removing the bottom tray from under the grill and removing the excess grease.
  4. Keep the grate clean and brushed. Turn the grill on pre-heat and once it is hot, use a stainless steel bristle brush to remove any ash and debris. For a deep clean, remove the grates when the grill is cool and using dishwashing liquid scrub it with a wire brush.
  5. Don’t forget to clean the outside of your grill. You can use a paper towel and cleaner and carefully wipe away about dust or debris.
  6. To ensure your grill is protected when not in use, cover your grill with an island grill cover. This will prevent leaves, rain or snow from covering your grill which can cause damage. It also keeps bugs and outside animals away from it.

Home Improvement 101: Going Beyond Backyard Basics

home improvement concept The real estate market in the United States has been on a rebound since the dreaded 2008 recession which is good news for realtors, homeowners and home hunters! In fact, the latest REALTORS® Confidence Index report, published in June by the National Association of Realtors®, found that the real estate climate remained strong in many local markets. Also noted in the report, Realtors are strongly confident about the real estate outlook over the next six months.

However, homebuyers are facing a tight inventory on the market.  This is subjecting millennials (ages 25 – 34 years old), the largest portion of homebuyers accounting for 32% of all buyers, to a house hunting challenge. And interestingly enough, millennials make up 68% of first-time homebuyers which shows a generational shift. The reason as to why the market is tight and challenging for homebuyers may be due to the fact that current homeowners are opting to take on home improvement projects rather than selling their house.

Big Boxed Gains

Two national home improvement stores, Lowes and Home Depot, experienced an increase in their stock prices by 40% compared to last year’s numbers according to a recent article from US News. What does this mean? More people are hitting the stores to purchase supplies and materials for home improvement projects. And given the massive jump, home improvement stores took in revenue of $144 billion in 2014 which is safe to assume this year’s profits are expected to be more. But out of all the major chains and over 5,300 stores across the nation, Ace Hardware took the win for the highest customer satisfaction.

What Are Homeowners Improving?

backyard kitchen Statistics from a three-year period, 2009 to 2011, show that homeowners spent a total of $359 billion on home improvement projects. These numbers indicate that homeowners are willing to spend a few dollars to improve their houses and the improvement movement is booming; just in 2012, they spent $284 billion. But that’s not all – figures from 2014 were reported at $303 billion and 2015 is expected to exceed $320 billion according to the Home Improvement Research Institute. This begs the question: what projects are homeowners taking on?

For starters, the average amount spent on all home improvement projects came to $3,200 where 57% of owner-occupied housing units made improvements (43.7 million housing units out of 76.1 million). Of those homeowners who decided to take on home improvement projects, 37% were do-it-yourselfers and 63% hired professionals. While there were plenty of renovations that involved various interior updates, approximately 20 million projects that took place were exterior improvements. About 20% of those projects consisted of backyard upgrades such as patios, detached decking, outdoor kitchens, landscaping and more.

More homeowners are turning their backyards into year-round living spaces with things like fire pits, speaker systems, lighting and anything else you can imagine. Outdoor cooking spaces are among the most popular improvements that include high-end grills with grill covers, counters with storage, hidden mini-fridges and covered decking. It’s without a doubt that backyards are no longer that drab space behind your house because homeowners are taking them to the next level.

Not to mention, real estate experts agree that renovating your backyard will be a distinguishing factor if you decide to place it on the market. If two homes are for sale in the same area that are similar in size, the one with the stellar backyard can be expected to sell faster and first.

Are you ready to improve your backyard’s appeal and function with the above trends? Start designing your backyard paradise and let Creative Covers create a custom grill cover to protect your new investment!


 

Sources:

  • http://www.realtor.org/reports/realtors-confidence-index
  • http://www.ibisworld.com/industry/default.aspx?indid=1031
  • https://www.hiri.org/?page=Media
  • http://www.statista.com/topics/1732/home-improvement/
  • http://www.census.gov/how/pdf/home_improvements_text.pdf
  • http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/08/05/why-millennials-are-dominating-the-housing-market
  • http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/mutual-funds/articles/2015/07/27/why-lowes-and-home-depot-stock-is-soaring

3 Tips for Beating the Weather as an Outdoor Vendor

shutterstock_254989831The summer is in full effect and everyone everywhere is enjoying everything the season has to offer! This prime time is the perfect opportunity for outdoor vendors and merchants to capitalize on the influx of shoppers. Even though the sun may be shining, the weather can drastically change in a moment’s notice and that means you have to be prepared for anything Mother Nature throws at you. Whether you run your business under a tent or with a pop-up cart, protection from the elements is crucial because you can’t afford the risk of damaged or ruined merchandise. So what can you do to protect your outdoor business.

  1. Weather Check

One of the most important things you can do every day before you open up shop is check the weather! While the summer is generally a sunny season, it is also susceptible to precipitation that can vary from a light and quick drizzle to an intense and lengthy thunderstorm. Depending on the days’ outlook, prepare to be either opened or closed during certain times of the day. As a general rule of thumb, view hour-by-hour conditions and make the best judgement call before you set everything up.

  1. Custom Equipment Cover

Is your outdoor business operated on a cart, kiosk, table or tent? Whichever kind of set up you have, you must always be mindful of how your merchandise could be affected by a quick change in weather conditions. It’s a fact that the weather forecast can instantly change which makes it extremely important to have outdoor equipment covers to protect your business and products. By having equipment covers readily available, you can turn your business from open to close just as fast as the weather changes. This is very beneficial because you won’t have to run around with merchandise in hand to find it protection.

  1. Storage, Storage & More Storage

As another safeguard against unpredictable weather, make sure you have rainproof storage boxes, large plastic tubs (with lids) and plastic bags. In the event it starts to downpour while your outdoor shop is open, you can quickly place merchandise and products into these storage solutions. Additionally, the plastic tubs and boxes can act as display tables and overflow storage for products.

Stave Off the Cold With Winter Grilling

It may be winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be enjoying the outdoors. One of the most relaxing outdoor activities is firing up the grill and cooking up some mouth-watering, food-coma inducing food. Of course that normally happens in the spring, summer, and fall because you’re able to be outside when the weather’s a bit milder. However, a true grill enthusiast will even bear the brunt of the colder weather to enjoy cooking on the grill.

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Many people may write off cooking on the grill off as nothing special, or when they hear you’re grilling simply think of hot dogs and hamburgers. It’s always disappointing to hear others only think of that when they hear those words because there is so much more to cooking on a grill. Personally, we enjoy cooking on a charcoal grill because of the flexibility and type of options it provides for cooking and flavoring your food. You can use all kinds of woods, such as White Cedar, Golden Birch, Wild Apple, and many more for flavoring all kinds of seafood and meat. Each one has its own distinctive flavor which adds a unique flair to the food you’re preparing.

Caring For Your Grill

Regardless of what kind of grill you do decide to cook on, be sure you have a protective grill cover for when it’s not in use. It’s a shame to see a grill become damaged by the elements or sometimes curious animals.

 

Cooking With Wood
Now when it comes down to cooking with wood, there’s a couple ways to do it and it depends on how long you’ll be cooking for and what you’re cooking. If you are going to be cooking for less than ten minutes it’s best to use chips of your preferred wood because they will burn faster and give you the flavoring you need in a short time for whatever you’re cooking. If you’re planning to cook for a while then using larger chunks is preferable. The large chunks will be slower to burn and last the duration of that long cookout.

Adding Flavor

For those who are feeling really adventurous and want to try adding more flavors or uniqueness to their cooking then they can soak the wood in juice or brandy. Soaking the wood puts more flavors into it so that when the wood is smoking and burning that flavor gets released and absorbed by the meat or seafood. Cooking with wood is truly a rewarding and fun experience because of how customizable it is and how delicious the results are!

So don’t let the winter’s cold keep you away from that grill, and be sure to protect it with a grill cover, so that it isn’t taking a beating in the harsh weather.

Four Great Gift Ideas for Backyard Enthusiasts

December has finally arrived and has made no short work of turning our cool autumn into a blisteringly cold winter. Fortunately, we still have the promise of warm holiday cheer on the horizon. However your friends and family choose to celebrate, the season is best known as a time for selflessness and giving.

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If you’ve been starting a shopping list, but can’t quite seem to find something for that backyard warrior in your life, remember that your gift doesn’t need to be immediately useable. Sometimes the added suspense of receiving a gift that can be used in the future is a bonus. If this fits the description of someone you still need to shop for, consider the following great ideas:

Embrace the Comfort of Nature with a Hammock

If your gift recipient is the outdoorsy type, there’s a strong chance that they love spending quiet nights under the stars. Unfortunately, busy schedules can prevent us from packing up and traveling to the local camp grounds to capture that experience. The bright side, however, is that the stars are wherever you go – including your backyard! A hammock will give that special someone the opportunity to enjoy the night sky in their favorite surroundings.

Make the Backyard More Social with Furniture

Just because they like being outside doesn’t mean they want to be separated from everyone else. In recent years our culture has shifted the social space indoors, leaving those who enjoy being outside somewhat ostracized. Giving them a nice set of chairs or a lawn table might be the perfect way to invite your social circle into the recipient’s favorite hangout spot – his yard. Not only is this a considerate gift idea, but it’s also a perfectly practical one.

Keeping things Looking Fresh with Lawn Tools

If they’re proud of their backyard, they probably put a great deal of work into it. Slaving away under the hot sun can be detrimental to one’s wellbeing, however. To show them that you care about their health, a new pair of lawn tools will leave a lasting impression. Since there are many different types of tools to choose from, you’re sure to find something they have been wanting or needing.

Getting Great Grill Accessories

An American pastime that finds its home in the backyard is the traditional act of grilling. While a new grill may be a bit out of your price range, there are many accessories for grills that are useful and affordable. Outdoor grill covers, for example, help prevent damage from weather and ensure the machine’s longevity. Best of all, they come in multiple different sizes and colors, allowing you to select the perfect match for whomever will receive it.