To restore a deck be quite a significant job; there are many factors that can impede upon your capacity to maintain or restore your deck and potentially make the process more difficult. There are four main stages to restoring or maintaining a deck – inspect condition of boards, cleaning it, removing stains or discolouration and finishing it to perfection – all of which depend on the weather. Excessive rain, harsh sunlight, high humidity and strong winds can all pose a threat to the finish of your deck and for this reason, it is important to restore your deck under the right conditions. When considering the seasonal weather conditions of Brisbane and the wider South-East Queensland region, winter is the best time at which to undertake any restorative steps; its typically consistent temperatures, stable winds, low humidity and infrequent rain all combine to create an ideal environment.
The importance of maintaining your deck
Decks are an important feature of homes across Queensland and there are many reasons for this. Firstly, a deck is an important design tool, which is often utilised by architects and engineers alike to complement the features of your home and create a specific spatial arrangement or ambience. Secondly, decks enable homeowners across Brisbane to embrace a relaxed, alfresco lifestyle of open-air living. Their outdoor placement can, however, act to their detriment; harsh weather conditions and frequent use have the potential to gradually wear down protective layers and this poses a number of threats to both the aesthetic appeal and structural integrity of the deck. Decks are usually positioned on the outside of a home, so as to render it visible from the street. Because of this, it can have quite an effect on the external perspective of your home and a poorly maintained deck will create somewhat of an unwelcoming atmosphere and in extreme cases, even reduce the value of your home. Fortunately, this needn’t be the case; periodic maintenance and perhaps even infrequent restorations – where necessary – will ensure that your deck looks fantastic and fosters an inviting ambience in your home.
The four basic stages of deck restoration
Given the importance of deck maintenance and restoration, it is commonly misconceived that such an undertaking is reserved for those with ‘handyman’ skills. This is not the case in many circumstances and fortunately, deck maintenance involves a series of simple steps that, if done effectively, can greatly contribute to the appearance and structural integrity of your deck. Full deck restoration can be slightly more difficult, although a well maintained deck will require far less work in the long term. It is important that restoration is undertaken only in the right conditions – typically during winter – however basic maintenance is important throughout the year.
Basic Stages Of Deck Restoration
Inspect your deck frequently for signs of decay
It is an unfortunate fact that wet timber can rot and because of Brisbane’s frequent periods of high seasonal rainfall, decks around the region are all at risk of decay. The first step in deck maintenance or restoration is to inspect your deck for any signs of decay or other structural damage (contact registered builder) – including potential termite damage (contact pest inspection). These inspections ought to be thorough and one of the primary areas of a deck that are prone to decay is the gap in between each timber board. These gaps, and other such areas, have a tendency to collect dirt or decomposing leaf litter, which can harbour moisture for months at a time and facilitate the potentially rapid decay of your deck. It is particularly important to inspect these areas during winter, as the cool temperatures make it harder for the timber to dry out.
Wash your deck
Washing your deck is an important stage of both maintaining and restoring it. The first step in washing your deck is to clear it entirely of debris, dust dirt and leaves – all of which can easily build up in the gaps and joins of the timber. For the best results begin with a thorough sweep, before using a leaf blower to remove any fine particles and a hose to ensure that no dust remains. Once the deck is clear, you can use a detergent cleaning solution to gently scrub the timber decking with a stiff-bristled brush. During this stage, it is important to get into all gaps and joins of the deck, so as to ensure that no dirt or leaves are building up. If your deck is particularly large and it is not practical to scrub the entire platform, then you can use a pressure cleaner to strip all dust, mould and lichen from the timber. Often, these steps combined will be sufficient to return your deck to its original state.
Removing stains and discolouration
If the previous steps have failed to yield the results you are looking for, then it may be necessary to use a harsher, more targeted cleaning solution. These products usually use acidic or basic chemicals to strip mould, mildew and any other decolourant from the wood. Before using any of these products, it is important to clarify its suitability with an expert and test a small amount on a discreet area, to ensure that it does not damage the timber on your deck. Standard deck-cleaning solutions are divided into two categories: acid based products to address colour loss and stains, or bleach based products to address mould and mildew. Consult an expert for further advice on choosing the right solution and ensure that adequate precautions are taken when handling harsh chemicals.
Treating the timber
A good stain or varnish is vital in all timber decks – particularly given the humidity and seasonal rainfall of Brisbane. This is a relatively time-consuming job, however a failure to finish your deck will cause it to decay and eventually become unsafe. You can tell when your deck requires a new finish, because water will no longer bead on the timber boards – instead it will soak in. Choosing the right stain will depend on the type of timber that comprises your deck and the preparation of the timber. Consult an expert to ensure that you choose a product that will both protect your deck, and give it the finish you desire. It is vital that you choose the right time to apply the varnish or stain; ideally you would do so in a period of clear skies and low humidity, which is why winter is ideal.
For any further information on how to restore a deck, get in touch Brisbane’s Finest Floors today on 411 220 488.