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Maintaining timber decking in winter

In CategoryTim Whitcombe
ByGardenAdvice Tim Whitcombe

Timber decking is a classic garden installation, with lots of British homeowners expanding their outdoor surface area by adding decking. From sun patios to hot tub installations, a good deck can transform a garden and create new living spaces to enjoy the better weather.

Unfortunately, the most common decking material is also prone to wear during the winter. Thanks to a combination of hail, rain, sleet and snow, timber decking can become discoloured, tired-looking or downright damaged. Luckily, preventing it is simple: you just need to take the right steps.

Join Arbordeck, specialists in non-slip timber decking boards, as they offer the best tips for maintaining your timber deck.  

Clean it down

Timber is prone to dirt and discolouration. Cleaning it isn’t as simple as you’d think, and many basic actions can actually harm your decking. First and foremost, pressure washers are allowed – but only if they’re not heavy-duty. A strong pressure wash can damage the fibres of the wood, so only use a basic model.

Otherwise, you’ll want to start by sweeping the decking of any debris. Be careful to avoid allowing smaller objects such as stray sticks or branches falling into the expansion gaps. Use a small knife to remove these objects.

From there, use a mild all-purpose cleaning solution to mop down the deck and remove any bird poo, mould or stains. Never use bleach or chlorine-based solutions as these can damage or discolour your deck. Fungal growth can be stopped with a typical garden fungicide – which will do nothing to clean the wood but will help kill off any nasty organisms growing there.

Stain it

Staining a deck should be done once a year and, as the winter months roll in, it can be a great way to protect the timber from discolouration or damage. Staining in the winter gives the material lots of time to recover. When you purchase a stain, pick up a paint roller and some brushes. Alternatively, save time by buying a paint sprayer.

If going with a roller, use it to cover the area as much as possible. Use a brush to access fiddly areas such as between gaps. Using a paint sprayer makes it faster. Decking stain coats the surface of the wood, usually bringing colour back. However, further steps can be taken to protect the wood…

Use Decking Oil

Even if you use a weatherproof stain, the surface-level protection of stain can be pointless if you’re in a particularly wet area. Decking oil is a specialist treatment that dries into the pores and cells of the organic wood, helping seal it against the weather. Oils don’t crack as timber expands, making them perfect for weatherproofing.

Ultimately, protecting decking is a matter of maintenance and yearly recoating. Spend the winter taking care of your decking and you’ll have a much nicer outdoor area when the summer rolls around.

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