The Right Way For Deck Restoration And Maintenance
Are you frustrated that your timber deck fades and flakes not long after you’ve had it restored?
Woodcare and maintenance are critical to a long-lasting deck.
Different timbers will also require different maintenance. The right timber selection should have been done when you built your deck. This timber guide may help you before you build or if you are needing to rebuild your deck.
Every one to two years, a deck should be cleaned and stained to protect the wood from the harsh elements.
UV rays and unwanted moisture can wreak havoc on an unprotected deck. The most common reason a decking stain fails is the lack of proper wood preparation.
Any outdoor wood surface must be adequately cleaned and prepared for the deck oil to work as expected.
Failure to do so can cause the oil barrier to fail prematurely and compromise the integrity of the wood.
Let’s look at the best way to maintain your deck, and this is what all deck professionals should use as well.
These guidelines are important to keep your patio looking good for more than 12 months.
Deck Oil And Hot Weather
Never apply oil to your deck in the heat of the day. If you are applying oil in summer, do it as early as possible before the day heats up.
If it is too hot, the oil will dry on the timber surface before it has a chance to soak into your boards.
When the deck oil sits on the timber surface, it forms into a skin or film. This will come away from the boards instead of soaking into the wood.
When the oil soaks into the surface of your boards, it provides greater protection for your boards, and it keeps the oil coating in good shape as well. When the oil penetrates deeply into the timber, it protects the wood against the weather and general wear and tear.
Apply Decking Oil To Dry Timber
Allow the decking timber to be completely dry before applying any oil or stain.
Do not try and oil or stain your deck if there has been recent rain.
The moisture in the deck will prevent the oil from penetrating the boards and trap the moisture below the surface.
If there is moisture in the timber, anything you apply will eventually peel off.
Use Deck Brightner
Always use a deck brightener before oiling a deck.
A brightener is used to clean the surface, but it has a much more important role than that.
Wood brightener, also called deck neutraliser, is an acid-based product that neutralises corrosive cleaning agents and lowers the pH, making the wood more acidic.
This opens the wood pores and lightens the wood, revealing the natural beauty of the grain.
Even if you’ve sanded your deck back to bare wood, you always need to clean it with a deck brightener before you oil it.
Deck refurbishment is all about preparing the boards to absorb as much oil as possible.
Deck Preparation And Cleaning
Proper cleaning and preparation of a deck starts with a wood cleaner.
An oxygenated sodium percarbonate based cleaner is recommended. This type of wood cleaner has been proven to best remove dirt, mould, mildew, wood greying, and in some cases, an old sealant that is no longer working.
It is essential to remove all of these contaminants so that the new stain can penetrate properly.
Most oxygenated cleaners contain surfactants that enhance the overall effect of the cleaner. These caustic cleaners do an excellent job of dissolving impurities, but they also raise the pH of the wood.
Why is this important?
The decking stain penetrates better under acidic conditions.
The wood pores are opened to accept a new layer of stain.
A low pH also darkens the wood, so the true beauty of the wood is not shown.
A simple application of Deck Lightener after cleaning is all that is needed to lighten and neutralise the cleaners, completing the proper preparation required for a superior, lasting stain finish.
Use The Right Tools
Never use a lambswool applicator. Always use a deck brush applicator
A lambskin applicator applies too much oil, and it sits on the surface without penetrating properly.
You only want to apply as much oil as your deck can hold. A thick coat of oil on the surface may seem to offer more protection, but it’s doesn’t.
When oil is applied thickly, it dries up before it has a chance to soak into the surface of the deck boards.
The decking oil needs to penetrate as deeply as possible into your decking boards.
With the deck brush applicator, you can apply only as much oil as your deck can absorb and then brush off the excess oil.
The bristles of the brush help push the oil deeper into the surface of the deck boards.
It also helps coat the side or spaces between the boards, which provides greater protection and looks much better.
Using a deck brush, you will still need to apply 2 or 3 coats of oil.
Sanding Back Your Deck
Never sand your deck with sandpaper finer than 80 grit.
Interior wooden floors are sanded with 240 grit sandpaper to give them a nice, smooth, polished look, but these are decking boards.
If you sand your deck too fine and smooth, you close up your timber’s pores and surface, which prevents oil from being absorbed.
If you use 80 grit sandpaper, you will get a nice smooth finish, but it will not close the surface of the planks.
When you are sanding back your deck, it is suggested to start with a 36-40 grit sandpaper and then go over it again with 80 grit sandpaper to smooth it out.
This will give you a smooth deck and leave the surface open to absorb the oil.
We will start with this comment “Never paint a deck; always use oil or stain.”
Now for the reason why.
When painting any wood that is exposed to the elements, make sure you paint all sides of the wood, or the eventually paint will peel and flake off.
If you paint a deck, you can only paint the top of the boards.
When it rains, water runs between the boards and settles under your deck. This water creates moisture that is absorbed by the underside of the boards and makes its way to the surface, right under your paint.
The result: your paint swells up and flakes off, making a massive mess on your entertainment area.
If moisture penetrates up through the unprotected underside, the oil and stain will stop it before it reaches the surface.
Remember, the paint sits on the surface and doesn’t soak into the boards, so it can’t stop the water from seeping through and making its way to the surface.
So unless you can paint every board on all sides – Never paint your deck, always use oil or stain.
Regular Deck Maintenance
The last “tried and tested rule” of deck renovation is to maintain it consistently.
Deck maintenance includes cleaning and inspection.
If you catch it early, it’s just a simple cleaning and refreshing with oil.
This really is the key to a long-lasting deck.
Correctly preparing your deck to absorb the oil and allowing the oil to penetrate as deeply into the timber will give you longer-lasting results.
This will set your deck up to surviving Brisbane’s harsh weather.
Here is a simple guideline for maintenance
- Every 3 months – Scrub and clean your deck and check for any issues
- Scrub, clean and re coat the oil after 12 months
This is really the most important factor for a deck to look good for years, not just months.
If you leave your deck for more than 12 to 18 months, be prepared to need a complete deck restoration.
That means sanding it down and starting over!
You can see why it is cheaper and easier to clean a deck than to sand it down!
Hiring A Deck Restoration Team
When looking to hire a deck restoration company, they may have the equipment and tools to restore a deck, but they may not understand the best deck care methods.
An easy way to assess the workmanship of your decking expert is to have them come to you in person and give you a quote.
Are they in a hurry to get out and move on to the next job?
Or do they take the time to explain what your deck needs and answer any questions you might have?
You’ll get a good feel for what a company is like when you meet with them and get a first impression.
If you are looking for a Brisbane deck restoration team that will do the job right – Call us Today to get a quote for your deck restoration or deck rebuild.