How to Maintain Freshly Painted Decking
As a country with plenty of sunlight and long summer months, spending time relaxing outdoors is practically an Australian custom. Timber decks are one of the most popular outdoor living options, but Gold Coast painters often find that homeowners neglect maintaining their decking, causing the wood to fail prematurely.
Painting, staining or varnishing a timber deck will go a long way to protecting your investment. But, like all painted surfaces, your deck will need a bit of maintenance to keep it in top condition. Maintaining painted timber decks is a simple process, and with just a few simple steps you can ensure your deck will look fantastic for decades.
- Choose the Right Paint or Sealer
There are thousands of options available for coating your decks. From coloured paints to stains, varnishes and sealing products, homeowners are spoiled for choice. But that also means the first step in maintaining your decking is to choose the right coating system.
Stains are a popular choice for timber decking because they allow you to show off the natural beauty of the wood. Stains are typically water or oil based, and they soak into the wood to keep it hydrated and provide protection from UV radiation. Stains add lots of richness to the timber, but they offer less protection and will need recoating at regular intervals.
On the other hand, paint forms a protective layer over the timber, and it’s especially good at protecting timber and reviving old or cracked boards. So, think about the location of your deck, how much sunlight hits it and the age of the timbers. Choose your paint or stain based on the condition of the wood and how much protection it needs from the elements.
- Inspect the Deck Yearly
Timber decking is a living material that changes over time. A major part of your decking maintenance is to take a few minutes every year to go over the deck. You’re looking for any signs that the decking materials are wearing out, such as cracks in the timber, boards that are shifting, protruding nails or chips in the paint.
Little imperfections can quickly grow, and if you want the longest life out of your paint and decking materials, you need to stay on top of maintenance items. Depending on the condition of your deck, you’ll need to:
- Knock down any nails that are working their way out of the timber
- Replace boards that are showing signs of rotting or major cracks
- Touch up areas of chipped paint
- Trim any plants or foliage that come into contact with the deck
- Clear away things like ant nests or piles of dirt that are building up against the deck
- Apply Protective Products
Your deck lives out in the weather 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you should do what you can to give it a fighting chance. Anti-mould and mildew products are one of the best things you can do to protect outdoor timbers. Especially on the underside of decking where it’s frequently cool and damp, mould can quickly take over, which will eventually lead to rotten boards. Anti-mould products are typically oil-based, which means they only work when applied to unsealed wood, and that they need to be reapplied once a year or so.
If your deck is already showing signs of mould growth, you’ll need to invest in a mould cleaning product. Read the product directions carefully and check that it’s compatible with timber decking. Most mould removal products are harsh chemicals, and some can damage the wood and strip away your paints and stains.
- Keep it Clean
Dirt and dust are the enemy of your decking materials. Not only do they cause unsightly stains, dirt traps water and can cause moisture damage that ruins your deck prematurely.
Regular washing is an important part of deck maintenance. Hosing your deck off is enough to deal with most issues, but you can also use mild soap and a stiff broom to scrub the surface clean. Pressure washers are also a good way to clean timber decking, but the high pressure can cause paints to flake and stains to wash away, so be mindful of how harshly you’re cleaning the surface.
- Recoat the Deck as Necessary
Life out in the sun will take its toll on your decking. Whether your deck is stained or painted, the timbers will eventually need to be recoated to ensure they stay protected. Gold Coast painters recommend keeping an eye on the condition of your coating system as part of your yearly inspections. Deck stains last about 2-3 years before they need recoating. Exterior paints can last much longer, but if the colour is beginning to fade or you notice the paint developing a chalky texture, that’s a sign that it’s time to repaint.
The exact lifespan of the products you used will depend on how well they are made. If you don’t want to find yourself cleaning, preparing and repainting your decks every year, it’s well worth investing in high quality products. Not only do they last longer, but they look better and they provide protection that means you’ll be able to enjoy your deck for years to come.