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How to Maintain Decking

A beautiful timber deck really has the power to add huge value to a home. Providing a great space to relax and entertain, as well as an additional dining area for the family, nothing beats sitting out on the deck on a warm sunny night.

The key though to keeping your timber deck in tiptop condition is regular maintenance, so at least every twelve months it is important to give it some tender love and care, to protect it from rotting, cracking or gradually deteriorating.

Maintaining a deck does not have to be a complicated task, ultimately it comes down to a few key actions that will keep your deck in tip-top shape for years to come. Constant attention is needed though. If you are short of time, maybe you can consider a low maintenance decking option such as composite decking. Find out more about composite decking here.

Below is a step by step guide on maintaining timber deck:

Prepare Your Deck

Before you start to clean or perform any types of maintenance, it is important to prepare your deck. This means removing all items and furniture off of it. If there are items that cannot be moved, then to protect them, consider placing a tarp or sheet over them to avoid any water, oil or stain ruining them.

It is important then to give your deck a good sweep, especially to remove any organic debris. Organic debris like leaves can start to rot on your deck if they are left too long, which in turn can become acidic and seep into the timber, damaging your deck. Once the deck is thoroughly swept, you can move onto the next step.

Washing Your Deck

Now washing your deck does not require any fancy products, but if the water runoff is into the garden, then it may be a good idea to invest in a non-toxic and eco-friendly detergent.

Mixing the detergent with the water you can either use a power washer to really blast it and get the job done quickly, or you can go in thoroughly with a bristle, brush and good old manual cleaning to scrub the deck of all dust, dirt and grime.

Depending on the condition of your deck, you may not have to do much more than this. Either way though, you have to ensure that you are careful when you wash because timber is quite susceptible to scratches and damage, so while you do need to clean thoroughly, remember not to be too harsh.

This is another reason choosing less harsh chemicals to wash your deck is a smart idea. After washing, leave it to thoroughly dry before subjecting it to any foot traffic or replacing furniture as when the timber is wet, it is a lot softer and more susceptible to damage from an external force.

Staining or Oiling; Which Option Is the Best?

If your deck requires a little bit extra work, you may need to give your deck good staining or oiling.
In turn, both do similar things and are super effective at protecting your deck but there may be a few reasons to choose one over the other. Both stains and oils help increase the deck’s UV resistance, so where possible, try not to skip this step in your deck’s regular maintenance schedule.

It mainly comes down whether you want to change the decks colour or not. If you want to preserve the current colour of your decking, then the oil is your safest bet. The decision from there will be whether to choose a water-based or non-water-based oil.

The difference being a water-based oil likes to sit on top of the wood, which means it does last a little longer. It tends to also preserve the current colour. If you want to help protect the wood a little more from water damage, then a non-water-based oil is a good choice. While it may darken the colour of the wood a bit, the oil will actually penetrate the wood, which is how it protects it from water damage.

If you want to have an impact on the colour of your deck, then staining is a great alternative to oil. Stains can significantly affect the colour and really add a lot of warmth and life back into your deck. Either way, stains and oils do help preserve and protect your deck, especially from the harsh UV rays, so it is important to not skip this step.

Timber decks are one of the greatest additions to the home, but the life and condition of your deck thoroughly depend on how well you look after it. Heavy foot traffic, harsher climates and just the general wear and tear of being an outdoor structure can have a lasting impact on your deck’s condition, so to avoid any issues like rotting, splintering and cracking, make sure that you schedule in time to really give your deck the love and attention that it deserves because if you do, it will continue to give you years of entertainment and memories.