Decking is a beautiful addition to any garden. It provides an area to grow veggies and fruits, to relax in, to do yoga, to entertain in – the list of uses for decking is endless.
The one thing that can turn decking from a gorgeous feature, into an aesthetic blip in your outdoor space, primarily if it’s poorly maintained. If the decking is neglected, it can look old, ugly, and it can even be unsafe.
To help you to keep your decking looking fantastic, we’ve got everything you need to know about decking care and maintenance in the UK:
- 1 What Can Go Wrong With Decking?
- 2 Why Should You Maintain Decking?
- 3 How To Know Which Decking Treatment Is Needed
- 4 The Different Ways To Treat Your Decking
- 5 Are Your Decking Boards Treated Or Untreated?
- 6 How To Prepare Decking For Maintenance?
- 7 How To Maintain Different Decking Types?
- 8 Softwood
- 9 Hardwood
What Can Go Wrong With Decking?
Decking can have a whole host of problems if it is not maintained correctly.
One of the most common issues is moss or algae on the surface, which turns the decking an unsightly green colour. Moss or algae can also be very dangerous as it makes the surface of the wood slippy, which isn’t ideal if you need to use the decking to get to the rest of the garden.
Another common issue with decking boards is fading, which is where the colour fades away leaving the wood looking lacklustre and grey.
Decking may also look chipped, cracked, peeling or flaking over time without care and attention.
Why Should You Maintain Decking?
It is so vital to maintaining decking to avoid it degrading and eventually rotting away. Fundamental issues will usually be visual, with fading and ugly cracks and peeling causing an eyesore. Then, if algae grow, you may find the surface is slippy enough to be unsafe, rendering the surface unusable.
Eventually, the decking can rot right through and become dilapidated, requiring you to replace the entire thing which is time-consuming and costly. The right maintenance enables you to keep the decking robust, safe and looking great.
How To Know Which Decking Treatment Is Needed
When you install decking, it is a good idea to take a picture of any manufacturer’s instructions you get with the wood or kit. You can then refer to this when it comes to maintaining your decking.
If you had your decking professionally installed, you could contact the company who did the job and ask them what you need to do to maintain it.
If you are unable to get specific information about your decking, don’t worry, there are lots of things you can do to work it out.
Usually, there are vital factors that can help you understand what your deck needs and they are:
- Is it currently treated or not
- Is it hardwood or softwood (composite doesn’t usually require treatment)
- How old is the decking?
It can be handy to write down the answers to all of these factors along with the size of the decking if you plan to go to a hardware store and ask what you need for your treatment.
The Different Ways To Treat Your Decking
There is a wide range of ways to treat decking depending on the factors we mentioned above. Of the most part, treatments are:
- Decking Oils
All of these treatments are specific to decking, and you should only use decking-suitable products.
Are Your Decking Boards Treated Or Untreated?
The best place to start when it comes to treating decking is to figure out if it is bare wood or previously treated timber. If it is suffering from fading, then the chances are either it is long overdue treatment, or it has never been oiled and has been affected by the weather.
If it’s cracking or peeling, it likely there was staining on it before that has started to come away.
Another sign your decking boards have not been treated for a long time is the growth of mould or algae, which you may notice for the first time when you step on a plank, and it’s slippery.
If the decking is bare or long overdue a treatment, you can then prepare your deck for maintenance.
How To Prepare Decking For Maintenance?
To ready your decking boards for maintenance, you will want to complete the work on a dry day and ideally a warm day too. In most instances, a dry week is the best for completing decking work.
Once you have the right conditions, you can prepare your deck for renovation. You will want to remove all furniture, pots and accessories first.
Now you can do a clean sweep and then use something like a stiff broom and warm water, or a jet washer, to clean off all organic debris and matter from the surface. Is the decking still unclean? Consider using a high-strength decking stripper.
Once you have cleaned your decking, you can then leave it for a few days to dry out.
How To Maintain Different Decking Types?
To maintain your softwood decking, it is a good idea to consider the following:
- Wood preservative (2 coats)
- Decking oil, stain or paint
Follow all instructions on the products and leave plenty of time between layers for complete drying.
When you treat hardwood, it must be left for a couple of months after installation so that the natural oil can settle. Once you have allowed this to happen and it has dried after cleaning, then you can apply a hardwood specific decking oil.
You must understand the specifics of your decking before you make a treatment plan for it. In all cases, using the most high-quality products that you can afford is a great idea as it an investment in the future protection of your decking.
Well maintained decking can deal with UK weather well and treating it will prolong the life of the decking by years.
If you’d like some inspiration and guidance Wezaggle has a whole decking section on the blog. We regularly update and improve our decking blog to ensure you get the latest tips and tricks to keep your outdoor space in great shape.