During the summer months, you must get your outdoor area looking perfect for all those BBQs with your friends and family. There’s no better way to make your guests jealous than with a well-maintained decking area. The only problem with decking is that it can get pretty dirty and damaged over the winter if you don’t keep up with proper maintenance.
To keep your decking looking amazing, here are a few decking tips to ensure you care for it correctly and keep it looking new for longer.
How To Maintain Your Garden’s Wooden Decking
Sweeping Off Debris
During the autumn, dead leaves will fall and if they’ve become damp, you’ll likely end up with mulch on your decking that needs to be removed. It’s best to get a stiff-bristle sweeping brush to remove any of the larger pieces of debris – ensure you press down fairly hard to remove any dirt stuck in the cracks of the decking.
In damp weather, mould and mildew can build up on the top of wooden decking and it’s tough to shift. Hardwood and softwood are both affected, so your choices in decking material won’t be a factor in the amount of cleaning you need to do unless you go with a composite material.
However, the more often you do a deep clean, the longer it’ll stay unstained from mildew. It’s recommended to do a deep clean every 6 months but keep up with sweeping in between to ensure the dirt doesn’t get too ingrained in the decking.
Soap and Water
If you keep your decking fairly clean, you may be able to get off the worst of the dirt using a stiff brush and some hot, soapy water. Using dish soap is a good way to ensure you aren’t damaging the wood. The trick is not to soak it too much though, and always do this on a dry day to ensure it can dry as quickly as possible. Leaving your wood damp for long periods could encourage more mould to grow, ruining all your efforts.
The soap and water method is often enough to ensure a brand-new look for composite decking, which is much lower maintenance than wooden decking, though more expensive to purchase and install initially.
Using Cleaning Products
If you’re not managing to clean off the worst of the dirt with dish soap, you may need to move on to stronger wood cleaning products. Specialist deck cleaning products can be purchased from a DIY shop and can be mixed with water to achieve the same effect.
Decking Cleaning Tip:
Always sweep or scrub in the same direction as the wood grain. This allows the wood to maintain its integrity and strength, making it last much longer and helps avoid dangerous splinters.
If you have a large decking area, you may want to invest in a power washer. Don’t ever use the jet wash nozzle, as the power of the water can erode some of the wood. Use the buffing power wash attachment to focus the water over a larger surface area and never leave it sitting in one place. You’ll also want to put it on the highest-level setting, so you don’t buff off too much of the surface.
It’s natural for the surface of the wood to become a little discoloured over time. If you notice any darker patches, lightly sand the wood to get rid of the damaged area before laying any treatment. This ensures an even tone across the decking. Sanding down the wood will also make it much easier to apply the wood treatment.
If you want to maintain the wood’s natural colour, it’s a good idea to treat it with oil. The oil will freshen up the natural colour and make it more waterproof as some of the oil is absorbed into the wood’s surface. This also prevents the wood from splitting, as the wood won’t expand and contract as much if less water is absorbed into the decking.
If you want to add a colour to the decking, you can get coloured treatments, which essentially do the same job as oils, but can be applied in the same way as paint. It’s advisable to use a roller or spray set to apply the colour to avoid the unevenness of a paintbrush.
Decking Treatment Tip:
Don’t walk on your decking after treatment for at least 48 hours. This ensures even coverage and allows for adequate absorption of the coating (without your footprints becoming a permanent fixture).
For more tips on how to maintain your decking or to get a new decking made, contact us today and let us help you have your dream garden.