Decks often hold a special place in homes, offering a connection between the indoors and the outdoors. They provide a space that can define your garden and provide the setting for you to enjoy time with family and friends.
Unfortunately, decks can look tired from the wear and tear of daily use and exposure to the elements. Like any asset, decks need to be taken care of to ensure they still look and feel (don’t you love sun-warmed timber beneath your feet?) amazing.
You want your deck to be inviting, so it’s important you give it some much-needed care from time-to-time and follow a deck restoration process.
Although it might seem daunting, restoring your deck is something you can do yourself. It’s also a worthwhile exercise, as it will greatly increase the physical appearance of your home, as well as its financial value.
Fortunately, by following our four-steps below, you’ll have your deck looking amazing again in no time.
Take the time to walk over your deck, looking for any major imperfections that might hint at structural problems. This includes looking for rotting boards and boards that are broken or structurally unsound.
It’s wise to inspect areas where your deck meets another surface – like the side of your house – as moisture can find its way into these gaps and sit, causing rot. In these instances, it can be helpful to get underneath your deck, as problems can often occur beneath your boards.
If any of your boards are broken or rotting, simply replace them with decking that matches the existing and fix them in place.
Before you even think about picking up the oil can, it’s time to clean the deck. Although it might feel like a bit of work, keep your energy levels up by reminding yourself that a high-quality deck is a great way to improve your home’s exterior.
Remove any leaf litter or debris stuck between the boards. This will stop moisture being trapped between the boards and will ensure you can apply oil properly in a later step.
Purchase a special deck cleaning product from your local timber supplier or hardware store. These work better than simply using water, as they remove dirt as well as mildew and oxidation/greying. Use a broom or brush with stiff-bristles, to ensure you can scrub the surface clean with the cleaning product.
Once your deck is clean, leave it to sit for a few days so it can fully dry out, before restoring and refinishing.
Strip and sand
If your deck is experiencing discolouration or greying (from oxidation), then you’ll need to strip your deck (if not, skip straight to sanding). This is an important part of the restoration process.
Choose a biodegradable, low caustic deck stripping product. Apply as directed, removing the existing flaking or peeling surface finish.
Make sure you protect any surrounding surfaces before applying the deck stripper. It’s also a good idea to test out the stripping product on an inconspicuous part of the deck, before applying it to the whole deck.
Once you’ve stripped your deck back, sand the surface to clean up any bumps or snags. This will make your deck smooth and a dream to walk and sit on. It will also help to clear off any remaining mildew or fungus.
Now for the fun part.
You’ve got a range of options to finish off your deck – mostly, you’ll be having to decide between a wood stain or a decking oil. Which product you choose to refinish your deck with will depend on the look you’re going for.
As a rule, decking oils moisturise the wood, protecting it from decay and harsh environmental factors. They’ll bring colour and life back into your deck but won’t dramatically change the colour or tone of your timber surface. Apply as many coats of the oil as you see fit, continuing until it looks healthy and moist.
Wood stains , on the other hand, offer you the chance to change the look and feel of your deck. Depending on what you opt for, wood stains can change the colour of your timber or simply be used to accentuate the grain of the wood. As a bonus, wood stains also seal your deck, giving it even more protection from the elements. Always apply the wood stain as directed.
Once you’ve applied your finishing product, wait for it to dry before heading to the next step.
Enjoy and maintain
That’s it, you’re done! Now it’s time for you to enjoy the fruits of your labour. Your deck should look and feel amazing. Continue to maintain your deck by checking in on these steps every few years.
A handy hint for the future: consider replacing your decking with composite timber. Composites are more durable and don’t require refinishing. They’re also not susceptible to rot and will not splinter – meaning your maintenance routine is simple.