Owning a timber deck is a fantastic way to extend your outdoor living area, and the ideal way to enjoy those endless summer days entertaining. However, dirt, debris and daily wear and tear can wreak havoc on even the most well maintained timber deck, particularly when combined with Australia’s brutal elements. And that includes our increasingly regular thunderstorms! Here is a list of basic deck maintenance tips that will have you transforming your deck from storm-lashed to sunshine-dappled in no time.
Start by cleaning all deck items and then move them to a safe place
If your deck has copped a beating from a nasty thunderstorm, then no doubt your deck furniture has too. So now’s the time to don those rubber gloves and wipe down your outdoor table and chairs, and make sure that any plants and decorative items are still intact. Remove any dirt, water and cobwebs and then transfer everything to a safe place so you can get started on the bigger task of cleaning your deck.
Items that are too heavy or too big to move (like your super-impressive BBQ) should be covered with a tarp or plastic sheeting to avoid them getting dirty while you’re cleaning the deck itself.
Sweep away dirt and debris to prevent damage later down the track
Continuing with your deck care plan, use a long handled broom and start from the top of your timber deck and work your way down, removing any dirt, debris and cobwebs from all of its surfaces. If you’ve got the time (better now than never!) you should also clean the tracks of the doors, in and around any hinges and the outsides of any windows.
Sweep the deck itself down with a soft broom or use a leaf blower to remove any loose dirt, sticks and leaves – organic debris (especially if it’s wet after a storm) can decompose and become acidic causing untold damage to the surface of your deck.
Rinse away residual dirt and debris with a hose or high pressure cleaner
Rinse your whole deck carefully with a high-pressure cleaner or an old fashioned hose (yes, it will still do the job adequately!). If you’re using a high-pressure cleaner on an older deck, be careful that that it doesn’t crack or split the wood, and for safety reasons, make sure you wear safety glasses, earmuffs and enclosed shoes.
Scrub the deck with a recommended deck cleaning solution
Another integral part of deck maintenance is to choose a good deck cleaning solution. Mix this thoroughly with water, making sure you follow the instructions so that you obtain the correct balance. Ideally you should choose something that is non-toxic and eco-friendly so that chemicals are not absorbed into the soil of your garden. Thoroughly clean the entire deck removing all dirt and grime with a bucket-dipped bristled brush to avoid spotting, or alternatively you can use a combination of a brush and a high-pressure cleaner. If using the second option, it’s best to clean the deck in rows, similar to how you’d mow the lawn. Scrub any railings, pay particular attention to spots that are heavily soiled, and then leave the cleaning solution on for 10 to 20 minutes to do its job.
Give the deck a second rinse with a hose or high pressure cleaner
After leaving your cleaning solution on for no more than 20 minutes, rinse the deck with a hose or high pressure cleaner. A large part of maintaining a deck is to make sure you are thorough with rinsing, as you don’t want to leave behind any soapy residue. Detergents (even eco-friendly ones) can fade and discolour timber and if left over time, will leave your deck looking damaged and worn.
Leave the deck to dry completely before you set furniture on the wood to avoid scratching the decking – patience is the key here. Hopefully the weather has cleared and the sun is out by now, which will help with the drying process even more!
Consult an expert who can help with general maintenance and sanding
DIY deck maintenance is all well and good, however some issues need the expertise of a professional deck restorer to revitalise and rejuvenate wooden surfaces and bring them back to their former glory. Timber decks are generally high traffic areas that naturally succumb to wear and tear, especially after continual exposure to harsh weather. Nails can pop, boards can become twisted or damaged, and the end result can be a deck that is extremely battered, is structurally unsafe and just looks plain uninviting.
Over time, exposed areas of deck can also warp, become sun bleached and even deteriorate, and that’s when the process of deck sanding comes in. Deck sanding works to remove old colour, helps to even out the colour of pre-existing timber coats, and ensures that the re-coating process is effective. It’s also recommended for removing splinters and smoothing out rough edges so that your timber deck is wonderfully comfortable underfoot.
Ensure your deck is professionally coated every few years
Dirt, pollution, dust and UV rays can also damage unprotected wooden decking, so decking coating on a regular basis is also advised. Moisture in particular (hello, thunderstorms) can cause wood to soften and eventually swell, while heat from the after-storm sun can cause the wood to dry and shrink. When this happens on a regular basis, wooden decks can crack, split and warp – and that’s not a good look!
With the professional services of your own expert deck restorer at hand, you’ll not only be adding years to the life of your deck, you’ll be saving time on your own deck maintenance as the years go by. Now that’s a win-win! Is your regular deck maintenance overdue? Contact the experts at Brisbane’s Finest Floors today on 0411 220 488.