There are a number of ways in which a decking can become worn down over the years. One of the most common causes, however, is from water and rot damage from plants and the weather. Water leaking from potted plants and hanging baskets located on decked areas can cause damage, as can damp leaves and other foliage left on your deck, as this can create a rot problem in the wood. Extended exposure to damp will leave your decking stained and looking in poor quality, and rot problems may impact on the structural integrity of your decking over time. It is, therefore, essential to give your decking a little TLC or ensure it is protected from the beginning if you are planning on adding decking to your garden. Just a few simple tips will help transform the appearance of your decking, and extend its life by many years!
Of course, the first step for maintaining your decking is to keep it clean. If it isn’t in the best condition yet, then it is essential to thoroughly clean your decking before applying any varnishes, treatments or other coatings to the wood, as you do not want dirt trapped underneath. All traces of moss and mould should be brushed or scrubbed away, or a pressure washer can be used for very unclean decking if used on a lower pressure setting. After your decking has been treated, the best way to maintain it is to simply keep it clean!
Sweep away leaves and other garden debris when it starts to build up, as this will both make the decking look better and ensure that no further problems will occur. To reduce the damage caused by plant pots and other items that may sit on your decking, place pots in waterproof trays to stop water leaking directly onto the decking. Likewise, place items such as barbecues onto a sheet of metal or another piece of timber, so that fat stains or burn marks that may be caused from cooking do not permanently damage the decking itself.
Replacing Damaged Panels
If your decking is in a bad way, there is no point in covering it with a treatment and hoping for the best - there’s simply no fixing wood that has gone rotten! Replace any damaged wood with new boards to ensure that the rot doesn’t spread. It can sometimes be a little difficult to match the colour of new wood perfectly with the decking you have in place; so you may need to rearrange some panels so that the new panels are in less noticeable areas.
For any garden timber, it is essential that the wood is sufficiently treated. Your best option is to use a water repellant for wood, as this will protect your timber from moisture, stopping your decking from decaying. Despite containing no fungicides, some water repellents, such as Hydrobar Wood Bead will also work to inhibit organic growths on your decking, such as moss and mould, which will keep your decking looking new. This is because stopping the water from penetrating the wood means that no organic growth will be able to take root there. With rain so common in the UK, it is essential for decking, and other garden timbers to be protected from water to help improve the length of their life!
If your decking already suffers from algae growth, or you would like to further protect your new decking from organic growth, then using a treatment of Boracol 5Rh a week before you apply the Wood Bead will be perfect. The Boracol in this treatment helps to preserve the wood and prevent it from rotting, adding an extra layer of protection to your decking.
If your timber is painted or stained with a colouring or coating that is not waterproofed, it is likely that you will need to sand this away before being able to apply a waterproof coating. The decking should also be completely clean before a treatment is added, and the wood must be dry when this is applied.
Colour and Finish
There are many other ways in which a decking can be finished or re-treated to ensure your decking looks consistent and fresh. Many people will add a wood stain to their decking, as this can add protection to the wood while making it a consistent shade. You may wish to add this stain or tint to wood to ensure that the decking matches with other garden timbers, or compliments the colour of the house or building’s exterior well. Colour can also come in handy for hiding patches of decking which may be stained from water damage but are not damaged enough to require refitting. Using a tint over the whole decking can ensure that the whole area has an even shade. In addition to this, you may also wish to use decking oils, which can help to replenish the natural oils found in wood. By oiling the wood, it will give it a fresh and glossy appearance, that will make it look new, as well as working to protect the wood from cracks caused by weather damage, such as excess heat or moisture.