Your deck needs upkeep and care, so before you think your decking maintenance can wait, it can’t!
You spent thousands of your hard earned dollars installing the perfect entertaining deck, now you need to spend the time and money to keep it in peak condition. Your deck is an investment and you should treat it as such. These tips will help you save time and money in the long run!
Decking maintenance – is it really important?
Not only is decking maintenance important, it is the crucial factor to ensuring your timber deck looks its best. Keeping your outdoor entertaining area in good condition doesn’t have to be difficult or take weeks of valuable free time. If you commit to general upkeep as needed it makes the job more manageable. Here are five tips to keeping your deck in top condition.
1. General upkeep and deck checks
General upkeep and checks are chores many tenants and homeowners overlook. This is unfortunate, as if minor problems are not resolved, they can become serious issues. When performing checks of your timber deck you should be on the lookout for:
Loose and cracked timber boards. Over time, as the timber comes in contact with the varying Queensland weather conditions, the boards can become loose. If you find any problem boards you will need to resecure or replace them. Leaving the loose boards will lead to further problems.
Cracked planks. This will occur in older wood, or sometimes due to impact damage. While not all cracks will cause structural weaknesses, they will only get worse with time, so it is important that you replace them as soon you find them.
Nails and screws. Loose floor boards in addition to weathering can lead to protruding nails and screws. Hammer the nails back in and refix the screws before they cause damage to feet, particularly if you have children and pets.
2. Day to day cleaning
It is normal for dirt, leaves and debris to fall into the gaps of the timber boards, but you should under no circumstances leave it there. You need to give your deck a quick clean every week by removing the debris, sweeping and hosing down your deck. Leaving the garden matter, rubbish and dirt to accumulate can lead to serious issues like rotting of the wood.
By avoiding the task of removing this green waste, you will prevent water from running off. This will result in water pooling on the boards which could potentially cause your boards to twist and warp. Stagnant water also breeds bugs and will eventually cause decay in your timber boards.
In addition to removing dirt and debris, you should also regularly give the decking boards a good sweep and hose down with mild detergent to remove excess dirt that will cause damage to the timber.
3. Annual cleaning
Around once or twice a year, you should give your deck some thorough TLC. To clean your deck you need to sweep all the excess dirt off (just as you would for your weekly clean), then wash with an appropriate non alkaline cleaner. Do not use a deck acid wash (contains oxalic acid) as this will damage coatings. Follow the directions on your preferred cleaner to ensure the dilution quantities are correct.
From there, you pour it over your deck and use the ‘wet mop’ method to cover your timber boards completely. After letting the solution sit for the recommended duration, typically 15-20 minutes, pour additional cleaner over the timber and start scrubbing with a hard bristled broom or decking brush. Scrub with the grain in smooth motions to bring out a dirt and oils and then hose your deck down thoroughly.
Your deck will not survive if you do not put the effort in to keeping it clean. By performing an in depth annual clean you can be assured that you are giving your timber outdoor entertaining area the best chance at longevity.
4. Coating your deck
If you want your deck to appear clean, fresh and cared for, you need to re-coat your deck at least twice a year in direct sunlight. Decks that are not well kept appear old, dirty and rough. To avoid your deck taking on these characteristics, you need to apply two coats of superior deck coating.
An easy way to tell if your deck is due to be refinished is to splash some water on the boards. If the water beads off it means your coating is still working; if the water soaks into the timber than you need to get your deck coated as soon as possible. Just make sure that that the weather is optimal with no rain predicted.
5. Seal your deck
Sealing your deck is a great way to ensure you give your deck the best protection against sunlight. Think of sealing your deck as a combination of waterproofing and sunscreen; water will bead off and as a result the timber won’t stay wet for long periods of time. Decks that forgo the seal or tint typically require premature replacement as timber is left exposed to the weather. This will cause the timber to crack, split and potentially rot.
Follow the directions on the seal tin annually to keep your deck in top condition.
Inspect you decking regularly
One of the best protections you can give your decking is to keep an eye on it! As you go about your daily business, watch for signs of rot, small patches of decay or cracks. A small problem can become a big problem if not attended to quickly.
Check floor boards as well as railings and supports. One method is to use a flat-head screwdriver and probe sections of the wood looking for ‘soft spots’. If your screwdriver can be inserted more than 5mm, you may have rot in the suspected area. You should call a professional to get this rectified ASAP.
Before you get your deck installed, you should research decking maintenance so you know exactly what is required to prevent your outdoor entertaining space from deteriorating before its time. Caring for your timber deck is a lot easier than a complete deck restoration!
Decking maintenance seem too hard? Contact the expert team at Brisbane’s Finest Floors on 0411 220 488 to discuss all your decking needs!