Decking is an investment that needs to be taken care of all year-round for everyone to enjoy, but this needn’t be a strenuous task.
In this guide, we explore some simple steps you can follow to help your decking make it through the wrath of winter and ready for summer-time again.
While it may seem obvious, many people often neglect to clean their decking – especially with the winter months coming up. But cleaning your decking really is the most cost effective way of maintaining its longevity.
The first step is to tackle any debris, moss or mould that may have formed on top of the decking. This can easily be achieved with a stiff brush – sweeping, repeatedly until clear. Then you can go ahead and wash the decking down, using a hose pipe or pressure-washer, to remove any additional dirt built up.
There’s no rule for how often you should clean your decking – everyone’s will be different and have different variables, like the unpredictable British weather or the amount of battering it has taken. But the best way to keep it in good condition is to sweep it regularly, ensuring it’s free of anything that makes it damp or brings dirt to the party, such as a build-up of leaves, moss or even snow.
For a more intense-clean, you can use a power spray or proprietary cleaner (as recommended by TDCA) to lift any stubborn stains. You should allow around two days for your decking to dry before you apply a protective coat – which brings us to our next point.
To keep your decking looking the best it can be, you should protect your decking once a year. There are three main types of products that can help you do this: decking protector, decking stain and decking oil.
Decking protector absorbs into the water, creating a translucent, water-proof layer. Decking stain, on the other hand, comes in a variety of colours, as well as weather-proofing the wood. Decking oils replaces the woods natural oils, while leaving a subtle colour.
Not only will these protective layers make it weatherproof, the decking will look fantastic and be shielded from knocks and scuffs.
Bear in mind, if you’re using oil, apply a thin coating in the first instance – using too much can leave oily deposits on the surface, which will take ages to dry. A well-applied coat of oil will comfortably dry in a day.
Decking is at its most vulnerable during the winter so while you may not want to, keeping on top of your cleaning and giving your decking some TLC is important to comfort it in those colder months. A thick protective cover, such as Heavy Duty Plastic Sheeting will do the job nicely, held securely by breeze-blocks sat on top. This will protect it from snow and frost. However, leaving it on for long periods of time may risk condensation and it’s not the most attractive garden accessory. So let your decking breathe and give it the attention it deserves.
If you’re decking is already looking a worse for wear, you can put on a decking restorer to return it to its original colour before adding any special protector, mentioned above.
A great tip to bear in mind when using a restorer is to work on small, manageable areas at a time, of around three to four deck boards. The whole process (application, scrubbing and rinsing) can take around fifteen minutes for just a small area – so you don’t want to over-face yourself.
Apply the restorer to your clean, dry decking with a brush. Immediately after, you should work the applicant into the surface of the wood by scrubbing with a pad or stiff brush. You should then leave it to stand for about 1 hour, before rinsing thoroughly.
We hope the above has eased your mind on how you can simply – and cost effectively – protect your decking, but as always, if you’ve got any questions, or you’d like to share any of your own tips, then give us a shout on Twitter.
And if you’re looking to invest in a new product, you can see our diverse range of decking available or get in touch with International Timber today to see how we can help.