In the summer months – when the sun is shining, at least – we are given a chance to get out in the garden and refresh our home’s exterior. The time for DIY is here, so it is a great idea to ensure your outdoor furniture and exterior timber are prepared for the warm weather and for the year ahead. Summer is also the time for barbeques, dining on the patio and spending sunny days in the garden, so you’ll want your exterior to look as good as possible for this time.
There are many elements of your garden or home exterior that may be made from timber, including decking, fencing, sheds, trellis and tables & chairs. Each of these items needs special care to ensure it is maintained, and that it will continue looking good for many years to come. We take a look at some of the ways you can care for exterior wood during the summer.
Cleaning Outdoor Furniture and Timber
It’s unlikely your garden has gotten a great deal of use during the winter months, so your outdoor furniture might need a little TLC to get it back to its former glory. Garden debris, moss, cobwebs and bird droppings are likely to have accumulated on tables, chairs and decking when not in use. Brush away as much of this dirt as possible, before scrubbing with hot water. It is crucial that your garden timbers are spotless before a treatment, oil, varnish or paint is applied to them, as you want to avoid trapping any dirt beneath such coatings. Follow our guide to decking maintenance
for more tips on how to clean and treat your garden timber.
After cleaning, the timber should be left to dry fully in the sun, as excessive moisture can lead to the wood rotting or becoming mouldy. It is important to clean off timber in the summer months, as other times of the year may not be warm or consistently sunny enough to dry the wood sufficiently.
Fading From the Sun or Cracking From Heat
If direct sunlight is hitting your wooden furniture or outdoor timber, the UV rays can cause the wood to become discoloured or even crack. Many exterior timbers will be unable to be moved, or will be inconvenient to move, so simply avoiding the sun is not an option. Ensure that all of your wooden structures and furniture have been oiled, as this can help to prevent damage caused by changing temperatures, such as cracking. Such oils help to replenish the natural oils found in wood, which may have been dried out by the sun. Not only do oils help protect against sun damage, but they can give timber a glossy appearance, rejuvenating them.
As well as causing cosmetic damage, like fading and cracking, excessive heat in the summer months can also pose more dangerous threats. Whether the grass is too dry, there’s an accident with a barbeque or bonfire or an issue with flammable fuels in the shed; there are many ways in which a fire can start in your garden during the summer months. Wood is renowned for being a highly combustible material, and it will burn and spread easily once alight. It is, therefore, greatly important to fireproof your exterior timbers using a fire retardant coating to protect them against flames. Find out more about how to fireproof sheds and garden timbers
in our guide.
Preparing for Winter
Many protective coatings for wood preservation will require adequate time to dry, outside but away from adverse weather conditions. Such coatings are needed for wood to survive through the damper and colder winter months without rotting or developing mould. Due to the time needed for drying, especially when multiple coats or products are needed, it is often a good idea to complete this task during the summer, when longer periods of sunny weather are more likely. Ensuring all of your garden timbers are thoroughly protected from the cold and wet winter weather is essential for timber maintenance, so check that all of your exterior woods are coated in water repellent or wood preservatives
Fencing is another type of garden timber that will need to be restored and preserved before the rainy autumn and winter weather. Fences are particularly susceptible to rot, mould and other organic growth due to their positioning partly in the ground, and their exposure to rain. Our guide to protecting fences from rotting
will offer the advice you need to ensure your fence is well protected from damp, rot and mould.
Do you have any other helpful tips on how to care for your exterior timber during the summer months? Leave a comment below to let us know!