If you neglect to take proper care of your timber deck it is definitely going to fall into disrepair, and fail to serve for its intended lifespan. The most common problems people face are discolouration, loose boards, insects, shrinking, cracking protruding nails and mould. None of this is particularly pleasant, but if you simple follow this quick guide to timber decking maintenance your deck should be looking a good as new!
Maintaining a timber deck requires less time and money than you might think. Follow these simple rules below and you too can enjoy a quality deck for the full time period its intended for.
1. Scrub the Deck
So when should you scrub your deck? It is a good idea to clean it if you notice any growth of mould or algae.If your home irrigation system comes in contact with your decking, you may find you need to inspect the deck a little more often. Otherwise clean it any other time you reckon it looks a bit old and grubby.
- Start off by having a quick read of the precautions associated with the products you are going to use to clean your deck. You'll thank me later.
- Brush off leaves and debris from the deck.
- You can use a putty knife to remove substances stuck between the gaps in the deck.
- If you choose to use a power washer hold the nozzle at least 30cm away from the wood to avoid damage. Also remember is is NOT a good idea to repeatedly concentrate the nozzle on one area for an extended period of time.
- Use a large bucket filled with detergent and warm water to scrub the deck with a stiff broom.
- Wash off the residue by gently rinsing water over the deck.
2. Oil/Stain your Deck
Why choose oil? The oil helps the deck resist UV rays that cause cracked and shrunken boards. A timber deck can dry out and appear very dry and faded when no oil is applied.
- Remove splinters and water damaged timber using sandpaper or a sanding device. This should easily remove the damaged surface layer of the timber.
- Opt for either a water based or oil based decking oil.
- Use a roll or brush the oil onto the deck smoothly, covering all areas where the deck is exposed.
- The frequency with which you need to apply the oil will depend on whether the deck has a covering to shield rain and sunlight.
Why stain? Stain will give a lustrous, polished look and highlight the unique features of the timber. A good quality stain should also be water resistant and contain UV protection for prevention against weathering.
When should you stain? You can tell when you drop water on the deck and the beads soak in, rather than beading up.
- Decide whether you want a transparent stain (highlights the wood texture) or a solid colour (hides the timber grain).
- Use an applicator brush to apply the stain to all visible areas of the deck. Be sure to get the stain in all of the cracks. If you do this well enough it should last for up to two years.
Overall, it is quite simple to care for your timber decking. The most significant aspect of care will be keeping the deck clean and performing regular timber deck maintenance tasks, such as deep cleaning, oiling and staining on a semi-regular basis. A timber deck adds beautiful aesthetic to every home, and it is definitely much easier to take care of on a regular basis than pay for a full replacement.
Michael Rowney is the Managing Director of Austim, timber decking specialists in Perth, Western Australia.