Garden Decking Maintenance

These days, many homeowners invest in decking areas to utilise much needed outdoor space, with the added benefit of increasing the value of the home. It is therefore surprising that many people are not aware that decked areas require maintenance, and if totally neglected can eventually become an unusable and unsightly space, especially after the winter months.

Wood is a natural material, and if left untreated it will be affected by all elements, such as sunlight, rain, frost and snow. Over time, this will result in a loss of colour to the wood, as well as a build-up of slime, mildew and dirt.

If you are considering getting some professional decking for your garden, why not try decking forest of dean.

Cleaning

There are numerous cleaning solutions available in DIY stores, garden centres and even supermarkets. It is advisable to keep with well known branded products, and if someone is on hand to advise ensure you explain the type of decking you have, if it has ever been cleaned, its current state etc. Before treating your decking it is important that you clean it thoroughly, removing any mildew and dirt. You don’t necessarily need to invest in any special tools to clean a decked area. A sweeping brush and elbow grease should be sufficient! To remove stubborn stains invest in a hard bristled sweeping brush to ensure that all grime is lifted and removed, it may be a case of repeating the cleaning process should the area be particularly dirty. If you have a jet washer it can be used to remove dirt in any grooves or harder to reach places, but be careful not to damage the wood should the jet washer be a heavy duty one. Once cleaned thoroughly it should then start to resemble its original colour.

Treating

Like the numerous cleaning products that are available, there are several options when it comes to treating decking. It is advisable to seal decking, which will preserve the wood, and eliminate weathering. Decking oils can be purchased from DIY stores and garden centres. Sealants (or decking oils) will come with instructions as to how to apply the solution, it will usually require 2 applications applied with a paint brush. You can buy oils that are tinted to enhance the woods natural colouration.
If your decking is brand new, and you are planning the first treatment it is worth investing in an oil or stain specifically for ‘new wood’. This will penetrate the wood, thus protecting from the elements, minimising swelling and cracks as well as leaving it waterproof.

How often should you clean/treat your decking?

This can depend on the type of wood and finish, how often the decking is used in terms of foot traffic, and how kind the weather has been to us!

The tell tale signs to look out for are:

Blackened wood, as this is an indication of fungus. This is common if the weather has been particularly wet for prolonged periods of time.
Faded wood occurs if the wood becomes sun damaged, and often leaves the decking looking very grey.
In both cases you can purchase specific products which will nourish the wood, thus reviving its original form and colour.

The best advice is to keep your decking clean and tidy all year round. This is easily achieved by regularly sweeping the area of leaves and garden debris which may encourage dirt and damp, and every so often using a good decking cleaner.
Remember to check underneath the decking to ensure that the spindles have not become dry or are suffering from damp/mould.

If using products for the first time, be sure to test them on a small discrete area of your decking to ensure there are no adverse reactions. Always read manufacturer’s instructions, and be mindful if using products around plants and ponds.

Remembering to clean and apply treatments when necessary will leave your decking looking as good as new all year round.