There is no doubt that decking can be a great addition to any home. It can improve the aesthetic and property value of your house and also looks great too!
However, as the decking gets exposed to the natural elements it can soon start to look faded, become green, slimy and dangerously slippery underfoot. Keeping your decking clean and safe can feel like an upward battle, however our top tips will soon have your decking looking good as new.
It is advisable to treat and protect your decking twice a year,once in Spring and once in Autumn. Keep an eye out for the weather reports when deciding to treat or stain your decking, as extremely hot weather may cause the product to dry overly quickly without being absorbed into the wood, whilst wet weather will wash it way before it has had time to dry.
If your decking is less than 6 months old, it is advisable to let it weather naturally before being stained or oiled. This will allow any existing treatment of the boards to have eroded, allowing the new treatment to adhere and penetrate the surface of the timber.
Cleaning The Decking
As part of your routine maintenance of protecting and extending the life ofyour decking, you should regularly clean your boards. First of all, make sure you move any patio furniture and examine the boards for any protruding screws which will need to be screwed back in first. Next, give the decking a good sweep with a stiff broom, this will allow you to get rid of any general dirt and bits of wood. If you have smooth boards you can use a sander to remove any existing finishes, this won’t work with grooved decking though. Once you have sanded the decking, you can then prepare to stain or oil the surface. If you haven’t been able to sand the boards, you can apply decking cleaner to the boards. It is always recommended to use branded decking cleaners as certain chemicals can damage your decking, such as bleaches. It is best to work in small areas, 3-4 boards at a time and use a scrubbing brush to thoroughly clean the boards from algae, fungus and general dirt. Then simply rinse off the decking with water from one end to the other. This may be quicker with a jet washer but be wary of using high powered jet washers as these can damage the surface of the decking. Once you have cleaned the decking, it is advisable to leave this for 24 hours to dry. Neil from non-slip decking manufacturer Rubadeck said “Be careful when the decking is still wet as it will be slippery under foot.”
You have two options to finishing your decking either oil based or use a decking sealer. This will all depend upon the finish you are looking for. If you are looking for your decking to retain its natural look and feel an oil-based finished is recommended. This is because the decking absorbs the oil only allowing a little to remain on its surface allowing the grain to show through. Oil based finishes are easier to maintain and repair too. Sealers on the other hand appear on the surface of the decking and give it a shiny texture, a bit like varnishing. This hides the texture of the boards and is smooth to the touch. However, it takes a lot more effort to maintain as eventually it will start to peel and flake. You will then need to remove the existing sealer before adding another similar product.