Adding timber decking to your garden can significantly enhance its appearance, but it’s not enough just to throw down a deck and leave it as is thereafter. It requires due care and attention throughout the year so that it doesn’t lose its visual appeal, nor is the timber’s quality compromised. Here’s a few tips and pointers on how to keep your decking looking its finest all year round.
With the spring months almost upon us, it will soon be time to wash and seal timber decking. This will entail removing any debris that accumulated over winter, sweeping and cleansing the deck comprehensively, rinsing it with clean water, and sealing and sanding the deck.
Once summer arrives, conditions should be ideal for undertaking the primary repair work. Firstly, you will need to inspect every part of the decking (and underneath, too) for signs of rot. When that’s done, replace boards which are cracked or warped and ensure that railings are securely fitted. You should also seal with exterior-grade adhesive any cracks you find around nails or fasteners.
Autumn is the time for trimming any bushes or trees near the timber so that the onset of wintertime rot or mould is minimised and clearing leaves or debris which may have accumulated on the deck. It’s important, too, to inspect gutters and downspouts near the deck in case moss has built up, while it’s an ideal time to mark off any washing or sealing that wasn’t done during springtime, as it will be too cold for this in winter.
That all seems like a lot of effort, but think about what would happen to your decking if you didn’t perform these jobs. The timber would become discoloured and you will be left with a grotty-looking garden eyesore. The timber would also be subject to rot and decay from the accumulation of mould, dirt and grime, while the deck would become an unsafe place to walk due to boards becoming loose or cracked.
Here’s a few tips on how to best manage the maintenance of your timber decking:
- When applying deck cleaner, always wear goggles and gloves, as the cleaner could contain harsh chemicals which might damage your eyes or skin.
- When using a power washer, don’t spray the timber up close as the water pressure would damage the timber.
- Buy a scrubber attachment for a power washer so large areas can be covered faster (and still adequately covered).
- Don’t forget to check underneath your boards, as this is where rot is most likely to occur.
- If you see loose nails or boards, don’t hammer into them. Replace loose nails with longer alternatives.
- Choose cleaning products carefully. Bleach-based cleaners are best for removing mildew, while acid-based cleaners effectively eliminate stains and discolouration.
You can find out more about timber decking maintenance in this superb infographic from Crowe Sawmills – http://www.crowesawmills.ie/douglas-fir-larch-timber/ .