Queensland homes are famous for their decks, and if you have one you will know why! Timber decks are more than just a good-looking extension of your home; they are a place to enjoy the laidback Queensland lifestyle. So naturally, it’s important to keep them in good shape. But what exactly does that involve? Well, timber deck maintenance is an ongoing process with a few different steps. And it does more than just keep your deck looking good. Timber deck maintenance is also about safety.
If you’re like a lot of Queenslanders, your timber deck is probably pretty high off the ground. If your deck doesn’t get the love and care it needs, rot can set in. If left for long enough, the rot can actually make your deck unsafe. But with the right timber deck maintenance, you will have nothing to worry about! That’s why we have put together a list of our favourite five timber deck maintenance tips. With these tips, you will be able to keep your deck looking great for many years to come.
Resist the temptation of painting your deck: timber deck maintenance requires stain, not paint
We use paint around the house to protect against water damage and improve colour schemes. So why can’t we paint our decks? The truth is, timber decks don’t respond very well to paint. The timbers that we use in decks aren’t really suitable surfaces for a layer of paint. That means that after a while, the paint will flake, peel and look a little unsightly in general. And when it comes to protecting the timber of your deck, stain is always more effective anyway.
Staining your deck is a vital part of timber deck maintenance. The timber absorbs the stain, which repels water and enlivens the natural colours of the timber. Basically, it looks great and protects your deck. So how often should you be staining your deck? It really depends on a range of things including the climate, the wear of your deck, it’s age and the type of timber. The best way to tell is by looking – if your deck is a little dull and seems to be absorbing water when it rains, it probably needs to be stained.
Select an appropriate cleaning agent
Unlike a lot of flooring materials, timber really responds to the products you use on it. That is why we love it so much, after all! But it does mean that you need to take extra care when you’re cleaning your deck. Cleaning your deck is another very important step in deck maintenance. Getting all the dust and grit off is vital, as the particles are quite abrasive and can actually wear away at the timber surface.
So which cleaning approach is best? Well, the best place to start is with a sweep. Then it’s a matter of cleaning it with a damp mop. During this stage, it is a good idea to use a cleaning agent. But not just any cleaning agent – some are a little too harsh for the timber. We recommend a mild detergent diluted with water and applied with a damp mop. And remember, you don’t want too much moisture so avoid saturating the mop!
Keep an eye on your nails and screws when you’re doing timber deck maintenance
Most timber decks are fixed with nails or screws – you should be able to see them running along the struts. In terms of timber deck maintenance, having a handle on the condition of your nails and screws is a bit of a priority. Over time, these can rust away. And if your deck is fixed with nails, the timber can even start pushing them out again! If you start to see your nails protruding more than they used to, it might be timber to bust out the hammer. All you’ll need is a hammer and a nail punch – simply use them to hit the nails back below the surface of the timber.
But what if you see rust? Rusty screws or nails are bad for two reasons. Firstly, they can discolour the timber and look a bit average. There’s not always a lot you can do about this, but replacing the screws is a good place to start. Secondly, they can swell. Swelling nails or screws is a little more serious; as they swell they can split the timber in some cases. If this happens to your timber deck, you might have to call in the professionals. Getting a flooring specialist around to take a look is the best way to work out what you need in terms of timber deck maintenance.
Good timber deck maintenance is all about addressing any damage as it arises
Maintenance is always preventative. And timber deck maintenance is no different! Timber deck maintenance is all about catching damage or deterioration as it arises, and then fixing it. Whether it’s an issue with the nails and screws, or a bit of wear and tear on the surface, having a good timber deck maintenance routine will help. It’s all about going over every part of your deck and assessing it. Start with the timber itself, and then look at screws, nails. Our favourite part about timber deck maintenance is that it needn’t be done in a hurry! Chances are, your deck won’t collapse overnight. So as long as you’re giving it a good once-over every month, you have nothing to worry about.
Finally, watch out for moisture during your timber deck maintenance routine!
We mentioned earlier that you don’t want to saturate your mop when you clean your deck. There’s a really good reason for this: water and timber don’t go very well together. Timber is quite absorbent and it will hold a fair bit of water if you let it. When your timber absorbs water, it will soften and that’s when rot can set in. But don’t worry too much – we have the solution! Keeping up the stain is the first step. Deck stain helps repel water and reduces that volume of water that is absorbed by the timber. Once your deck is stained, it’s just a matter of keeping the amount of water on the surface to a minimum. There’s no real trick to it – put your deck maintenance routine into action today!
For all your timber deck maintenance needs, contact the experts at Brisbanes Finest Floors today on 0411 220 488.