Timber decks make a wonderful addition to any home, and it’s no wonder that they remain a staple in many Australian households. However, years of heavy foot traffic, exposure to our harsh climate and poor maintenance can take their toll on even the strongest of decks.
The good news is that in almost every case, decks can be brought back to life with a bit of love and care. The following tips will not only help you not only restore your deck but extend its life span. Here are the best ways to bring your deck back to life and have it looking brand new all over again.
The water bead test
The first step in deck restoration is the water bead test. This involves simply splashing water onto the deck and observing whether it beads or is absorbed into the timber.
If it beads, this means that you’ll have to go through a few extra steps such as sanding or stripping your deck in further preparation to restore it. If it is absorbed, this indicates that when you apply oil and stain to the deck, it will do the same and you’re ready to get started.
Repairs and plank replacements
Do a thorough inspection of all areas of your deck, especially where it makes contact with the ground. If the wood feels weak and can be easily moved or penetrated by a screwdriver, you will have to replace the wood in these areas.
Also, be on the lookout for any loose screws or popped nails and replace them so that you can keep your deck safe and prevent injuries.
If you need to remove existing coatings from the timber or remove any surface damage, you may need to sand your deck before staining. Deck sanders can be hired from most hardware stores and make sanding quick and easy. Remember to ensure that all screws or nails are below the surface of the timber to prevent damage to the sander. Brush sanders are also a great option for deck sanding as they are more gentle on the timber and won’t remove as much of the timber profile as belt sanders.
Before staining your deck, you’ll need to give it a good clean. Start by removing any dirt and debris or sawdust left over from sanding and then use a cleaning solution over all areas of the deck.
The type of timber deck cleaner you’ll need to use depends on its condition and how you’d like your deck to look. Depending on how well your deck has been maintained, you may also need to use a high-pressure cleaner to combat tough stains that are deeply ingrained in your timber.
Furthermore, tough deck cleaners can damage and burn the surrounding plants and trees in your garden. While more gentle solutions will only require you to mist your plants before and after cleaning, if you’re using something stronger you may want to consider covering them with a plastic sheet.
Applying stain, seal or oil
After leaving the deck to dry for about 20 minutes, it should be ready for you to apply stain, seal or oil. Deck oil works like a varnish and shows the natural grain and wood colour of the planks. It prevents water from being absorbed into the deck and causing rotting to occur.
Deck stain also protects your deck from absorbing water but also can be used to enrichen and change its colour. This may come in handy if your deck is older, and the wood has faded or greyed from years of sun exposure.
Deal sealing products have an added pigment that will also protect the wood from UV damage, as well as still protecting it from water and rot. The right choice for you will depend on the current state of your deck and how well it’s been maintained in the past.
Applying these products correctly can be a complicated process, and you may want to consider contacting your local decking experts to help you get the job done right. The better your deck restoration, the longer your deck will last and remain a valuable asset to your home.