Get wooden decking ready for summer

Get wooden decking ready for summer

Posted 5th Jun 2015

It’s that time of the year again and summer is finally upon us! But, with the sun warming our gardens later into the balmy evenings, it’s around about now that you might notice that your decking isn’t looking as good as it should. If you haven’t already done so, clear your weekend plans and get ready to put some elbow grease into making it the perfect platform for parties, barbecues or just showing off your potted plants.

How to rejuvenate tired decking
Ideally, to keep your decking looking great, and protect it from the elements, you should be giving it a thorough clean and repaint every six months in time for summer and again before the long winter. Plus, if you’ve got wooden decking that’s been neglected, then it’s likely to be covered with mould, moss and algae, not to mention grease or dirt if it’s seen heavy barbecue or social use - definitely not suitable for guests.

Halfords has put together a guide on how to get it spick-and-span this summer, check out the steps below:

Scrubbing decking with a brush

You’ll first need to clear the decking, so take up any furniture, pots or bric-a-brac that is in the way – you won’t want to have to start moving things around once you’re scrubbing away.

Start the cleaning process by brushing away any loose leaves or debris from the decking so that you’re able to get a good connection with the surface and no large objects or plants are in the way. Then, once it’s had a quick once-over, mix water in a bucket with some decking cleaner solution or decking restorer and spread it across the whole surface, letting it soak in a little. Once applied, use a thick bristled yard brush or scraper to really get into the grooves and scrub out all of the dirt.

Work in small patches at a time to get the decking back to the colour you want, then move on and match it with the next portion – consistency is the key here.

Blasting decking using a pressure washer
Using a high-powered jet or pressure washing is a far easier way to clean wooden decking, with less exertion for the lower back and the ability to do several cleaning stages at once. You might not even need to scrub down the surface beforehand; just a quick blast of water should clear the way and get you on the way to smarter decking in no time.

Some pressure washers even have integrated cleaning solution pumps where where the deck cleaner is fed directly into the machine. Work up and down going with the grain to help blast away the grime and try not to focus on one area too much. Unlike using a brush, work in long strokes along the decking as it can be easy to over-blast an area and make it stand out more than the rest. Again, consistency is important for a nice uniform look.

With a brush, once you’ve had a thorough scrub, you may need to give it another once-over after rinsing the decking down with clean water. If you’re satisfied, make sure there’s no more foam solution on the surface before letting it dry.

If you’ve applied the decking solution to the deck with a pressure washer, just keep spraying until all the soapy suds from the cleaning solution or decking restorer have gone. Or, if the solution is fed directly into the pressure washer, just remove the nozzle and keep blasting away evenly until the decking is glistening clean.

Remember, don’t put your furniture, plant pots or barbecue back on the decking yet - you’ll need it free of debris and dry for the next stage.

Re-vamping and protecting clean decking
Now that you’ve scrubbed away all the grime and dirt then the decking should be looking a little better. The wood is now exposed to the elements and particularly vulnerable to frost, further dampening and mould growth so getting it coated in protective sealant is a priority at this stage.

When the decking is thoroughly dry, it’ll be ready for a coat of decking stain, oil or protector, depending on age. Generally, you should be using these twice a year to keep your decking ship-shape, however, if you’ve neglected it for a while and it’s lost its original golden hue, you’ll need to apply a coat of decking restorer. Check out this handy calculator to see how much you’ll need for your decking.

Decking restorer
This absorbs right into the wood, protecting it by rending it waterproof but won’t change the colouring as this product is generally translucent.

Decking oils
These are best for relatively new decking as an undercoat. Decking oils penetrate deep into the wood, again waterproofing the decking, but replacing the natural oils of the timber, giving it a subtle shade enhancement that won’t fade as fast as bare wood.

Decking stains
These are best applied on top of decking oils, and can come in many colours from standard browns and beiges to bright blues, greens, red and yellows. They’ll generally dry semi-clear with a shiny finish initially – just remember to reapply every six to 12 months to keep your decking protected.

Cleaning garden furniture

What’s a perfectly cleaned and oiled decking without some smart furniture to pair it with? If you’ve got wooden furniture, simple use the same steps as the decking in order to give it a new lease of life. Just remember to let it dry thoroughly between cleaning, staining and sitting.

Alternatively, if you have metal or plastic furniture, give it a gentle scrub with a brush and cleaning solution, or adjust your pressure washer to a less intensive blast and you’ll have a garden decking area to be proud of.

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