Entertaining or relaxing on your timber deck is a quintessential part of our Australian lifestyle. We love spending hours outdoors watching the kids in the pool or having a BBQ with family and friends.
As we think about preparing our backyards for the warmer months, we tend to concentrate on the garden and lawn, overlooking the deck area. As with everything outdoors in the harsh Australian climate, without regular maintenance hardwood decks can weather and even rot. If you want to keep your timber deck looking great, it is important to implement a regular maintenance schedule and apply a timber finish or oil to your deck yearly to keep your investment looking good.
Merbau, Spotted Gum and Jarrah are some of the most popular hardwood timbers used for decking in Australia. They are all great options as they are extremely durable, highly resilient and can look, feel and even smell great. Our Fresh Perspective Landscape team have compiled this easy, step-by-step timber decking maintenance guide for you.
6 Steps for Timber Deck Maintenance
Using a recommended cleaning product for your timber type (this is typically Oxalic Acid which can be purchased from most hardware stores – You simply use a broom with a soft-bristled brush, scrub the deck. Doing this by hand will give you the best results but it is a labour-intensive task!
The alternative to this is a pressure washer – use carefully on lower pressure so as not to damage the timber.
Apply the cleaning product and leave for 10 – 15 minutes before hosing down.
Thoroughly rinse away any cleaning solution soapy residue with a garden hose. Neglecting to wash away soap and suds can cause problems over time including discolouration and surface damage leaving your decking looking aged and worn.
The timber needs to be thoroughly dry before the final step of sealing with an oil. Depending on the temperature when carrying out your deck maintenance, the time to dry will vary.
Move all items including furniture, cooking equipment, plants and any decorative pieces. You want a clear space as this will allow you to access the whole timber deck area as you clean and prepare for maintenance.
Preparation before commencing the cleaning process is important, start with sweeping to remove any dirt and debris from the deck. Use a broom to sweep the deck, taking care not to scratch the deck surface.
Once dry, you should apply oil to help maintain your decks condition. Ask your local timber merchant which oil is most compatible for use with your decking.
There are many timber deck oil products out there of varying quality – buy the best quality that you can afford. The two main types of decking oil on the market are water-based and non-water based.
Water-based oils generally have a less dramatic impact on the natural colour of the wood. These oils block the pores and cover the surface with an acrylic film. Water-based oils are popular due to their ease to clean up applicators with water, they have no fumes and quick dry times.
Non-water-based oils penetrate into the wood fibre and protect the material from water damage and other elements. These deck oils require longer drying time between coats and generally turn the timber a darker shade of colour.
Some oil-based wood preservatives also contain blockers that reduce the harmful effects of UV rays. These can be beneficial with Australia’s hot summers.
We hope this article has highlighted the importance of timber deck maintenance and the above steps help make this not such an onerous task on your to-do list!
View our gallery of previous Timber Work