Essential decking care tips
Top four essential decking care tips for the summer
Your decking is your most prized possession. A place to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset through Australia’s famous summer warmth.
So it’s only natural then that you would want to have it looking good at all times. But how do you exactly take care of the decking? Even more importantly, how do you make sure that you can carefully maintain it during a summer season of great extremes and threats?
Worry no longer, because in this article we will be going through four key tips to take care of your timber deck, revolving around some of the main things that can potentially damage your decking.
1. Check joins and edges for stray or loose nails
The summer heat can play havoc with the nails that hold your prized deck in place, especially if the decking is older and has suffered under the strain of wear and tear.
As the heat rises, your decking will contract and expand, loosening the nails or forcing them upwards. Not only is thi a visual blot on your deck, but it can also be quite nasty to step on or trip over one of these protruding nails.
You should always do a check just before the summer heat comes, especially where the timber joins together, and timber that is exposed to sunlight at all times, and make sure that they are all nailed down properly.
It might also help to use new nails if your decking is of some age, as the old nails can be prone to bending over time too.
2. Apply outdoor protective paint or varnish for your decking
Like curtains and other such accessories that feel the brunt of the sun’s rays, deckings can fade over time. They will basically lose their “new timber” look and feel, and can even crack or show signs of significant wear if not cared for.
Whether you’re about to build a deck or you have inherited one, using a protective outdoor coat to make it resistant to the outside weather is a must. This is especially true for new deckings, where using a varnish or similar coat can preserve its new look for years to come.
Older decks can also benefit from using a protective coat, as it will stop the effects of sun damage straight away.
Using a varnish or a coat is easy to do, too, not too dissimilar to painting a wall or anything else. For the best care for your deck, varnish should be reapplied once every 2-3 years.
3. Clear standing water from the timber surface
For those living in Northern Australia, summer doesn’t just bring heat, it also brings with it a great deal of tropical rain and gross humidity.
This rain and humidity can play havoc with a timber decking. For one, the decking will soak in any of the residue that is left behind either from a really humid day, or after a bout of tropical rain.
Secondly, this rain can cause the timber decking to crack and splinter, and when combined with the summer heat, this can have a very fast and damaging effect to your timber deck.
Whilst varnish will help in some way to combat this, it is also important to make sure that any standing water is not left to pool around your timber deck. A simple brush to remove excess residue will work very simply and effectively.
One chief offender of this is also the humble flower pot. Believe it or not, but excess water that collects in a flower pot can often seep out and pool around the pot itself. Moving your pots around will help a great deal minimising this problem.
4. Always remove debris
Debris comes in all forms; branches from trees, excrement from birds and other common wildlife, and even other objects blown over from the wind. Debris can be quite harmful to deckings, especially if they are hard or abrasive.
Left alone for too long, debris can either scratch, dent, or scuff your timber, ruining the overall visual of your prized deck. Whilst this is purely cosmetic, other debris, such as animal droppings or any other buildup of organic matter, can be much more harmful.
Droppings and organic matter can eat through your timber, not just requiring for the timber planks to be replaced, but in some cases also jeopardising the integrity of the timber structure itself.
Always remove debris as soon as possible, no matter whether you believe that it will be harmless or not, and make sure to clean the area with a high pressure hose if necessary.