A gorgeous and well-maintained timber deck can jazz up any outdoor space. From lounging to parties, the deck is the perfect hub for it all!

However, you have to properly maintain the deck to enhance its longevity and improve its functionality. While this might seem easy, deck maintenance is a complex task, as timber is susceptible to warping and splintering.

Timber Deck Maintenance

Besides, one wrong step, and you might irreparably damage your deck. So, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of how to clean and seal your deck and add to its lifespan. Out here, we will talk about all that and much more.

So, without further ado, let's begin!

Importance Of Deck Maintenance

Outdoor structures are vulnerable to weather action and damage. Therefore, a proper maintenance schedule is of utmost importance to enhance their longevity and provide sufficient returns on investment, and a timber deck is no exception.

A common misconception is that sturdy wooden decking, once installed, does not have any maintenance requirements. However, that's far from the truth.

Even hardwood and pressure-treated timber have specific requirements that prevent deterioration from dirt and exposure to mould formation, weather elements, and insect infestation. Besides, general wear and tear can hamper the natural look of your timber, and to keep your deck looking as good as new, regular maintenance is mandatory.

Tips To Maintain Your Timber Decking

Out here, we have listed some essential steps to deck maintenance. You must follow each of these steps correctly to restore your decking and improve its lifespan.

Sanding An Old Timber Deck

1. Clear The Area

The first step is to clear out the area. Remove furniture, plants, and other decorative pieces that you have placed on the timber deck. This allows you to access the entire site and apply the cleaning product evenly.

Avoid dragging furniture across the deck, as you might leave scuff marks on the boards. If the pieces are too heavy to be moved, a good idea would be to cover them with plastic wraps or a tarp.

2. Sweep And Scrub The Deck

With the help of a broom or soft-bristled brush, sweep the deck to remove any debris, mould, or dirt that might have accumulated over time.

The next step would be to use a cleaning solution specially formulated for timbers. Remember, cleaning solutions are of various types, and some are made for composite decks while others cater to wood decks. So, read the product label and search for a suitable cleaning agent.

After application, use a scrubber to gently clean the surface and remove any grit or debris. Alternatively, you can use a pressure washer to clean the surface thoroughly. But, although power washing is a time-saving cleaning method, it can damage the wood and lead to deformities in the structure.

3. Wash The Deck

After scrubbing, rinse the deck properly with water to remove soap residue and suds. For this, make use of a garden hose. Buildup on the deck can lead to fading or uneven colouring, so pay particular attention to rinsing.

Before moving on to the next step, wait for the deck to dry.

4. Maintenance And Repair

Once you're done cleaning the timber deck, it becomes easier to identify loose screws, nails, and other repair needs. If you notice protruding nails, simply grab a nail punch and hammer to fix them in place.

In addition, you should carefully inspect the decking wood for rotten, loose, or splintering boards. You must repair or replace these boards, or it might lead to further damage and warping.

Besides, replacing rusting nails or screws should be a top priority for two reasons. One, they can lead to deck discolouration. But, more importantly, they swell and cause splintering of wood. This is more serious, and you will have to call in professionals for repair.

5. Sand The Deck

Another important aspect of timber deck maintenance is sanding. It is the best way to remove any irregularities after cleaning the deck and before applying a stain. In addition, it gently removes any coating or existing stains that might still be there on the deck.

Sanding also removes splinters that a power wash leaves behind and lends smoothness to your timber deck. If the surface isn't sanded, it doesn't absorb the oil uniformly, leading to uneven colouring.

6. Sealing

Sealing is the last step in efficient timber deck maintenance. It is essential to protect the natural colour of the wood and prevents water damage. In addition, sealing prevents your deck from cracking or splintering. You can choose between stain or oil as per your preference and decking material.

Most composite decking does not require a sealer, but you can stain it to get a new colour and enhance its overall appearance. On the other hand, timber decking is susceptible to damage and, therefore, requires a penetrative sealer.

Keep in mind that high-quality decking oil or sealant will prevent your expensive deck from warping, mould formation, water damage, and rot. So, even if you have to shell out more money, it is worth the investment.

Staining Versus Oiling: Which Is Better For Wooden Deck?

You'll find multiple online posts about whether oiling or staining is better for your timber decking. We are here to tell you that both have their advantages, and it's ultimately your choice.

Finishing A Timber Deck With Oil

For instance, oil prevents your decking from UV damage that leads to cracking and shrinking. In addition, it enhances the natural colour of your deck. People with Merbau or Jarrah decking prefer oiling their boards since it nourishes the deck and accentuates its natural dark colour.

As some of you might already know, decking oil is water-based or oil-based. While water-based variants last longer, oil-based variants enhance the timber colour. You can use a brush to apply the oil evenly on the deck.

Staining your timber deck will give it a lustrous appearance and highlight its unique texture. Besides, it is an excellent idea if you want to change the appearance of your deck. The good news is a premium-quality stain will be water and UV-resistant too. So, you can choose between either of the two methods to protect your deck.

Timber Deck Maintenance: What To Avoid

When it comes to deck maintenance, there are certain things you should steer clear of. For one, avoid using strong chemicals or chlorine bleach to clean the deck. This strips the timber of its natural oils and leads to discolouration.

In addition, avoid using a pressure washer, especially if you are a novice, as they are strong enough to damage the deck. Consider using a garden hose to clean the deck.

Lastly, remember that paint and sealant are not interchangeable. You should always use a sealant to protect the decking.

Hiring A Professional Timber Deck Maintenance Service

Timber deck maintenance is not a simple job, and not everyone has the necessary expertise or time for it. Even though going down the DIY route will save quite a few bucks, hiring a professional service will minimise the chances of damage.

If you are already drowning in office and household chores, hiring a professional team for timber deck maintenance might be the perfect solution to your problems.

You can start your search online. A reputed company will have experts on board who have all the required expertise and tools for the job. They will provide a range of services - from repairing loose boards and nails to washing and sealing the timber.

So, pick up the phone and contact a top deck maintenance provider the next time you're worried about neglecting your deck. Most companies offer a free inspection, so get in touch with them to keep your deck in pristine condition.

How Long Do Timber Decks Last?

If you adhere to a proper maintenance schedule, timber decks can last for decades. Yes, that's right! Pressure-treated timber can last anywhere between 40 and 50 years, whereas untreated wood can last for 10 to 20 years.

That said, timely maintenance is the key to ensuring the longevity of your deck. Usually, timber decks need to be refinished every 12 to 24 months, as they become prone to warping and splintering without regular cleaning and oiling.

So, pay careful attention to its refinishing needs, and your timber deck will live up to its potential!

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