A timber deck is a beloved part of the Australian lifestyle – particularly in summer. A worthy investment and perfect place to entertain family and friends, read the paper or have the kids play.
However, being exposed to the elements all year round, a deck does take quite a beating. So regular maintenance is super important, to ensure that your deck is protected and still looking great for many years to come.
Don’t know where to start? Here’s how to maintain your deck throughout the year – and spring is the perfect time to begin!
Step 1: Start with a simple wash.
Mildew and mould, often caused by overhanging foliage or a build up of leaves, particularly over the cooler months will lead the timber to rot and deteriorate quickly. Remove any loose and stubborn leaf matter, giving particular attention to in between boards and where the boards cross joists. A spatula or paint scraper are great tools to assist with this step.
Once clear, give the deck a good sweep.
Next, give the deck a once over with deck cleanser, preferably on an overcast day so that the sun doesn’t dry out the cleanser.
NOTE: Ensure that you use the correct cleanser for the right type of board material. For example, we recommend Cabots deck cleanser for a timber deck, and mild, soapy water with a soft brush for composite decking.
Let the deck dry completely – waiting at least 2 days until you seal.
Step 2: Sealing A Timber Deck
While typically both used for the same purpose, to preserve and protect decking, there is a difference between a seal and a stain. A deck sealant is usually a clear finish that either penetrates the timber or forms a clear seal on top. It helps to lock out moisture and reduces water intrusion, which can lead to fungal growth and wood rot. NOTE: Sealant will not provide UV protection to the timber.
A stain has the same properties of protection as the seal does, but with a few additions. It also includes pigment or tone, which gives UV blocking abilities to assist in preventing sun damage which can cause greying and fading – as well as drying up the timber’s natural oils, causing cracking and splitting.
The darker the colour or more pigment added, the more UV protection the stain will provide.
This step will require two days – a weekend is great, so long as it’s going to be dry and mild.
- Lightly sand the deck.
- Replace any missing or popped nails or screws.
- Apply the sealer or stain
Step 3: Summer Inspection
While the weather is warm and dry, give your deck a good look over. You are checking for any early signs of damage, deterioration, rust and loose fixings.
Step 4: Autumn Follow Up
If you missed the opportunity in spring, Autumn is another ideal time to wash and seal the deck.
Trim and tidy up any foliage that sits over or around the deck. Clean up any leaf buildup in the corners or under furniture and pots – and move these pieces around to avoid staining.
Now you know how to maintain your deck, following this simple year-round routine will ensure that it remains strong and undamaged for as long as possible. If during the inspection or care, you notice damage or deterioration, we advise that you contact a builder or carpenter as soon as possible to ensure that you’re able to get on top of it before it spreads or causes more damage.
Fairley Constructions is available to assist with the update, replacement or construction of your deck. Simply fill in our enquiry form here, and we will get in touch as soon as possible.