Decking Maintenance Advice
Whether you have a small or large area of decking it can really transform the look and feel of your garden. When it is first laid it looks and feels amazing underfoot, however, after a year or two it can start to look tired, faded and can become extremely slippery underfoot if it isn’t maintained and treated annually. The wet, cold weather in the UK can make it extremely slippery to walk on and the wood will start to change colour and become patchy. Read our Decking Maintenance Advice and it will prolong its life and ensure it looks lovely and is safe to walk on.
Decking is relatively easy to maintain, but like anything exposed to the elements, some maintenance is required. Regular maintenance will ensure it lasts anything from 15 – 30 years or more and when it has been treated it will look and feel brand new again. Adding some pots to your decking area, comfortable seating or an outdoor dining table and chairs will ensure you can enjoy your outside space in the warmer months and often bring the comfort of the inside out.
Maintaining your decking is easy if you know how to, and you have the right tools and products.
Like with any surface inside, debris and dirt will build up if it’s not cleaned and maintained. We are all guilty of not noticing our gardens in the winter and then when spring is on its way we all have a big haul and tidy up which takes forever to get it ready for summer.
When any outside wood gets wet which it will do in the UK throughout the summer and winter it often starts to go mouldy, grow mildew and algae and this is when it will become extremely slippery and dangerous to walk on.
Giving it a regular sweep in the summer and winter will reduce the build-up of moss, mould, mildew, algae and debris. It doesn’t take long and will help you when it comes to stripping it back and re-staining it.
However much you look after your decking it will always be subjected to stains from the elements, from it being used, the odd drink or food being dropped as well as the exposure to the sunlight. This can make your decking look uneven in colour and quite tired as the years go on.
The odd stain from food or drink can be wiped up using a damp cloth and you can try using a spray of Eco Solutions Grime Go if there is a stain. Read on for our Maintaining & Renovating Decking Advice.
Newly Laid Decking
A deckings surface will be slightly darker than the cut end if it has been pre-treated and you can see if it has been treated by a green or brown tinge on the decking planks. Most decking is pre-treated but always ask the question if you are buying it new.
New decking should be left for around 6 months so that the pre-treatment erodes before treating it yourself. The weather naturally erodes the pre-treatment in around 6 months and you should always wait for this to happen before you treat it with any oil, varnish or paint yourself.
A great tip to protect and prolong the life of your decking is to use an end grain protector on the exposed ends of the decking planks. Keeping the ends protected will prevent moisture from seeping into the planks and then rotting.
Decking Maintenance Tips
Every year after your decking has been installed the advice is that you strip it back to its original wood and then repaint or restain it to protect it again. This job is best done in the summer as you will need a couple of warm dry days to ensure the wood completely dries before you retreat it.
Check the forecast for the week ahead before you start your annual decking maintenance.
Depending on the size of your decking you may want to strip it back in smaller sections as this will make the job a lot more manageable. Work out your sections in your mind before you start.
Give your decking a good sweep using a hard sweeping brush and then a softer one and this will ensure you get as much of the debris out of the plank gaps as possible.
Next check there are no rotten parts to any of your decking boards as this could be dangerous when they are being walked on. If there are then you will need to carry out a repair or sometimes replace the whole decking board.
Use a large paintbrush, often a wallpaper brush is a good option due to its width and liberally paste your Eco Solutions Paint & Varnish Remover onto each plank. The product is like all the other Eco Solutions products; water-based, non-hazardous, non-toxic and non-caustic which makes it safe to use. We advise that you use gloves when you are using it but if it does go on your skin you are safe in the knowledge that it won’t burn or result in an injury as other paint strippers will. The product is also non-flammable and does not emit any fumes, again making it extremely safe to use both inside and outside when stripping back, oil, varnish or paint.
Leave it to work its magic for at least 30 minutes, if it’s a warm day and it starts to dry out you can spray some water on it which will reactive it again. You don’t have to worry about removing the product within a certain time as it will stop working and won’t damage the original decking surface.
You can test if it’s done its job by wiping the product off the decking with a damp cloth or flat-edged scraper and if you see the original decking surface then it is ready to be removed. When it is ready to be removed you can paint the product onto your next section before you start to remove it on your original one and this way you won’t be waiting around for the product to work on each section.
Wipe or scrape the paint and varnish remover in your sections as it has worked. When you have finished all of your decking sections then we would advise that you wash the decking down using a hosepipe and hard sweeping brush to remove the last of the product and any old paint or varnish debris.
When you have finished this is you need to leave the decking to dry out completely before you add your protective oil, varnish or paint treatment.
Painting your decking a strong colour can be extremely dramatic and make an area of your garden really stand out. You may decide to go for a light varnish or oil to keep it looking natural, it really is up to you. Why not change it every year and it will feel like you have a new garden all over again.
You can now apply a fresh coat of stain after removing the old stain or oil using your Eco Solutions Paint & Varnish Remover which makes your decking maintenance removal quick and easy for you.
Decking Treatment Advice
There are so many decking treatment options available for you to choose from and each one will give you a different look and feel. You should always check the manufacturer’s instructions before starting and ensure your decking has completely dried out before applying any treatment.
Most decking treatments need to be applied with a paintbrush which can be time-consuming but worth it. If this is the case then again we would advise if you have a large area that again you do it in sections so it gives your hands, knees and back a bit of a break in between each one. Using a paintbrush is more time consuming than using a pad but it ensures the treatment gets into all of the gaps and grooves on your decking and enough product is applied. If you use a treatment that says you can use an application pad then this should be fine so always read the manufacturer’s instructions before you buy and start using it.
When you start each section ensure you give the treatment a really good stir. If you’re unsure of the colour then always test it on a hidden area to make sure you are happy with it.
Load the treatment onto your paintbrush or pad and work it into the decking following the direction of the boards and grain, ensuring you are achieving good coverage and 100 per cent of the boards are being covered.
Our tip is to apply the treatment to small sections (3 to 4 boards) at a time and this will prevent overlap of the product and uneven colour.
Start at the furthest point away from the edge of your decking so you don’t have to walk over your painted areas when you’ve finished a section.
Most treatments will need 2 coats so check this on your treatments instructions and ensure you leave enough time for the first coat to dry before you start the second coat following the same tips as above.
As advised before, sweeping your decking regularly through summers and winter will prolong the treatment you have just applied.
That’s it, you’re finished and now it’s time to sit outside and enjoy your hard work.
About Eco Solutions
Products from Eco Solutions include multi-purpose paint strippers, graffiti removers, textured coatings removers (ideal for removing Artex® type coatings) and other specialist products that remove grime, paint, glue and much more.
One product does it all and there are no pre-or post-treatments necessary. In comparison to conventional and sometimes hazardous solvents, they are safe to use and do not harm the environment. They are a must-have in your DIY tool kit.
For many DIY and upcycling projects, including decking maintenance, Home Strip Paint & Varnish Remover is the perfect paint and varnish remover. Eco Solutions patented technology removes the hazardous solvent content of most DCM-free paint strippers and replaces it with water.
What makes Eco Solutions Home Strip Paint & Varnish Remover safer than other traditional paint removers?
- Tough, not toxic
- PH neutral
- No fumes
- No skin burns
- No ventilation required
- Suitable for use around people with respiratory problems such as asthma sufferers
- Working wet system
- Ideal for removal of lead-based paints
- No H (hazard)
- No P (precautionary) statements on the label
- Environmentally safe
Whatever job you are doing at home there will be an Eco Solutions Product that will make it easier and quicker for you to do.
Our Home and Trade Strip products can be ordered through Brewers, Buildbase, Jewsons, Travis Perkins, or for aerospace +Cromwell/Med-Lab. You can find our list of stockists here.