How to Look After Your Decking: A Comprehensive Care Guide

A garden deck in a London garden that requires looking after.

Decking adds significant value to your home, providing a comfortable space for outdoor relaxation and social events. But if you’ve recently had decking installed, you may be wondering how you look after decking. Proper care for decking is crucial to maintain its longevity and aesthetic appeal.

This comprehensive decking care guide will provide you with practical tips on how to look after decking in the UK.

Understanding the Importance of Deck Maintenance

Decking, while a beautiful addition to any home, is exposed to the harsh realities of the British weather, and without regular maintenance, your beautiful timber decking can deteriorate quickly.

Regular deck care is essential to:

  • Enhance the natural beauty of the wood.
  • Protect it from the elements.
  • Prevent accidents caused by slips and falls on mossy or wet wood.

Different types of wood require different types of care, but the basics of regular cleaning, treating and repair apply across the board. Understanding how to look after your decking not only safeguards your investment but also ensures your outdoor space remains a safe and appealing part of your home.

4 Steps for Deck Maintenance

Follow these four steps to keeping your decking in tip top condition year-round.

1. Regular Cleaning and Sweeping

The first step to proper decking care involves regular cleaning.

  • Start by clearing your deck of garden furniture and other items.
  • Using a stiff broom, sweep off leaves, twigs, and other debris, as accumulated organic matter can lead to mould growth.

For a deeper clean, you might need to use a decking cleaner and a stiff bristle brush. Decking cleaners are specially designed to remove dirt and stains without damaging the wood.

If there’s stubborn dirt, consider using a pressure washer set on a gentle setting to avoid damaging the wood. When using a pressure washer, start from an edge and work your way across the deck, maintaining a consistent distance from the nozzle to the deck surface to avoid uneven cleaning.

2. Deck Staining and Sealing

Deck staining or oiling not only enhances the natural beauty of the wood but also offers protection against UV rays, which can cause your deck to fade and turn grey. Choose a decking oil or stain that penetrates the wood, providing lasting protection.

There are different types of stains and seals available on the market, and the choice depends on the look and level of protection you want:

  • Translucent stains enhance the natural wood grain but offer less UV protection.
  • Semi-transparent and solid stains offer more UV protection but obscure the wood grain.

Follow these steps when staining and sealing your decking:

  • Ensure the deck is dry and clean before applying the stain or oil.
  • Use a brush or roller, working along the length of the deck board.
  • Allow the first coat to dry fully before applying a second, if necessary.

3. Repairing Damaged Areas

Over time, your decking might suffer from minor damage, such as splintered wood, loose screws, or protruding nails. Regular inspection and immediate repair of these issues prevent them from turning into significant problems.

  • For splintered wood, lightly sand the area until smooth and then apply a wood filler that matches your deck colour.
  • If you spot a loose screw or nail, tighten or hammer it back into place.
  • For severely damaged or rotten boards, they may need to be replaced entirely.

4. Year-Round Deck Care Tips

Proper deck care involves year-round maintenance.

  • During winter, consider covering your deck to protect it from ice and snow.
  • Once spring arrives, give your deck a thorough clean and check for any damage caused by winter weather.
  • Summer provides the perfect conditions for staining or painting, with warm temperatures and minimal rainfall. This is also a good time to check for and repair any damage from spring growth.
  • Autumn is the time for a final clean and inspection before the onslaught of winter weather. Removing fallen leaves promptly prevents them from decaying on the deck and causing damage.

If you’re thinking of giving your decking a facelift, why not take inspiration from our stylish decking ideas?

DIY vs Professional Decking Maintenance

While you can handle many of these tasks yourself, sometimes professional help may be needed, especially for larger repairs or installations.

Hiring professionals like Green Team Landscaping not only saves you time and effort but also ensures your deck gets the best care possible.

Safety Tips for Deck Maintenance

If you opt to undertake maintenance tasks yourself, safety should always be your top priority. Deck maintenance might require the use of power tools, sharp objects and chemicals, all of which can pose hazards if not handled correctly.

Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

1. Use Appropriate Protective Gear

Whenever you’re working with power tools, stains, sealants or cleaning solutions, make sure to wear appropriate protective gear.

This includes:

  • Safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from debris or chemical splashes.
  • Gloves to safeguard your hands.
  • Sturdy shoes to prevent slips or falls.

2. Be Careful With Power Tools

Power tools can make deck maintenance tasks easier, but they should be used with caution.

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using these tools.
  • Ensure that cords are not frayed and that the tool is in good working order before use.
  • Keep power tools away from children and pets and never leave them unattended while plugged in.

3. Handle Chemicals Safely

Deck stains, sealants and cleaning solutions can be hazardous if not handled correctly.

  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using these products.
  • Use them in a well-ventilated area, and avoid contact with skin and eyes.
  • Store these products out of the reach of children and pets.

4. Take Care With Heavy Objects

When moving garden furniture or heavy equipment, lift correctly to avoid back injuries. If an object is too heavy, ask for help or use equipment such as a trolley.

Ready to give your deck the care it deserves?

Understanding how to look after decking is an important aspect of maintaining your home’s exterior. By following these decking maintenance tips, you’ll be able to ensure your decking’s longevity and aesthetic appeal.

But remember, you don’t have to do it alone. For help with maintaining your decking or any other landscaping needs, reach out to Green Team Landscaping today for a free quote. We’re here to ensure your outdoor spaces are not just beautiful but also well cared for.