How to Maintain a Timber Deck
Your pool area offers many opportunities for socializing, like enjoying the sun on a hot summer’s day or simply relaxing after swimming. Either way, it’s a focal piece needed for your pool. As homeowners, it’s important to keep up the maintenance of your timber deck. Unlike composite decking, hardwood decking requires more preventative maintenance to keep it in shape. Knowing this, let’s dive into our maintenance tips and tricks to keep your pool deck in the best condition possible.
Look Out for Structural Issues
The structure is everything when it comes to your timber deck, as it’s the foundation around your pool. Typically, the spring season starts the maintenance season, as it’s the perfect opportunity for fixings before heavily using the deck. Just like with your patio timber decks, conducting regular maintenance to identify any loose screws, railings, or decking boards will help prevent major damages that could occur in the long run. These can range from preventative splintering to replacing boards. Identifying faulty areas on your timber deck is easy and could require a simple DIY on your part. However, the more you put off timber deck maintenance, the more severe the foundation may be at risk and the more likely you’d need professional help.
Clear Deck Space
Clearing your deck space allows you to thoroughly clean the timber and prepare the deck for deck maintenance. Clearing the deck lets you start fresh and address any underlying topical issues you would have missed while enjoying your outdoor living space. Remove any furniture and deck accessories to get into the cracks and crevices of your deck.
Remove Dirt, Mildew, and Moulds
After clearing your deck, as suggested in the step prior, it’s time to remove all the grime and grit. To properly clean the outdoor decking, remove all the furniture and give it a proper cleanse. Opt for an oxalic acid cleaning solution, as it’s tough on mildew and iron. Good cleaning helps eliminate the grime and grit while brightening the timber’s appearance. Make sure to dilute the cleaning solution with water (one part oxalic acid, four parts water) as the acid is so strong it will seep into and damage the timber’s membrane.
Afterwards, you’ll want to wash down the deck thoroughly. You can opt to use a standard hose or power washer. With all the options, the choice is yours. However, the most important thing is thoroughly washing down the deck. After cleaning the deck, a general rule of thumb is to let it fully dry, which typically takes 48 hours. To find a comprehensive guide, check out our steps on how to clean your deck the right way.
Stain the Deck
After you’ve cleared and cleaned, get ready to stain or oil the pool deck to prepare it for next season’s activities. Staining or oiling a pool deck gives it a visual upgrade while protecting against potential water damage year-round. You’ll want to ensure you get the right decking materials before beginning your project, like deck stains, oils and tools (paint brushes, etc.) You can choose between a water-based stain or an oil-based stain.
We recommend water-based stains for first-time staining as they can adhere to any timber surface. However, they are less durable, so many professionals opt for oil-based stains for longevity. Important to note is that oil-based stains can only adhere to timber treated with oil-based products previously. This job can be done manually or professionally, with both taking about a weekend’s worth of work, as you are essentially recoating the original stain job. If you are interested in DIY-ing this, you can check out this step-by-step staining your deck article.
If you want to update the deck’s colour, opt for decking oil. Using an oil will enhance the timber’s natural colour rather than potentially alter it as a stain would. This is suited for decks with the type of decking boards that have rich, deep colours, such as merbau, jarrah and spotted gum hardwood. You can check out our article on how to oil a deck to learn more.
After you’ve stained the deck, it’s time to seal it. A sealant essentially “seals” the stain or oil you applied and can be used as a glossy finisher or waterproof extra. This sealer is the last step after you’ve completed staining or oiling hardwood timber. The steps are similar to staining/oiling a deck where you either apply the seal yourself with paint brushes or applicators or hire professionals to finish the job. Overall, this is required because the sealer needs to penetrate deep into the timber to fully protect it until next year’s cleaning.
Be Careful While Cleaning it
With a timber deck, you will need to be careful when cleaning it, as timber, in general, is easily susceptible to damage. Avoid harsh cleaners like bleach and pressure washing when cleaning, as both are too harsh for timber’s soft core. Because timber is more “porous” than other decking materials, it’s more likely to absorb UV rays, water and other harsh chemicals. Be sure you are cleaning it efficiently and gently.
In conclusion, maintaining a timber deck is relatively simple. However, it’s important to do routine maintenance consistently and not delay this work for long periods of time. Treated timber is the best timber for cleaning, oiling, staining and sealing. In addition, it prevents mildew and mould from growing and keeps the outdoor area well-kept. Check out this article here to learn more about protecting your hardwood decking.