How to Care for Your Wood Decking

We talk to Owatrol UK about their top tips on how to care for your wood decking and what to look for when selecting a particular type of wood.

What are the most important things to keep in mind when selecting a particular type of wooden decking for your home?

The key factors to choosing your decking are affordability against longevity.  The hardwood species will provide longevity against softwood species, but will be more expensive to purchase. Importantly whichever route you take, wood is a natural resource that will degrade so it is vital that you know how to care for your wood decking with products that enable it to sustain its beauty for years to come.  Using Owatrol wood care solutions not only decorate, but also protect your deck for years to come.

Are there any products or methods you can use to prevent staining or discolouration of the wood?

There are certainly products that will delay the discolouration process, but not a single coating in the market that can prevent it.  The initial degradation of timber is on the surface where the wood fibres become grey and dirty.  This is a natural reaction to UV exposure and it is where the surface wood fibres are dying due to this exposure.  Most coatings are film forming, which means that they protect the surface by putting a preventative coating on there. The best way to care for your wood decking is to use a penetrative coating that not only protects the surface but is also absorbed and provides protection to the pores of the timber.

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If stains or discolouration do occur, how would you suggest removing them?

Many people will take the drastic action to sand their decking, as this is the common perception to restoring the colour.  This is a method that can be used however it is important to understand that this alone will not completely clean the deck.  As wood is naturally porous, it absorbs dirt and grime into the pores and sanding alone will not remove this.  The best way to care for your wood decking with a deep clean is to use a chemical stripping agent, such as Prepdeck, as this removes the dead wood fibres (the grey) and any dirt and grime from the pores of the wood.

What is the best way to clean untreated wood?

One tip on how to care for your wood decking and clean untreated wood is using a specialist wood cleaner; there are a variety of these types of products available on the market. The process may vary slightly depending on the product you’re using so you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. The general method though is likely to involve scrubbing the cleaner into the surface of the wood and leaving it for a designated amount of time before rinsing it off whilst scrubbing again to remove dirt and built-up residue. You’re going to find this process much easier with the use of a pressure washer but it’s perfectly acceptable to use a garden hose if you don’t have access to one.

In the rain the surface of a wooden deck can become very slippery and hazardous underfoot, what can you do to prevent this from happening?

Having grooved decking as opposed to flat will alleviate some of the slip, but will not prevent it. The only true way to entirely prevent your decking from being slippery is to use an anti-slip coating on your decking. Anti-Slip coatings contain microbeads that adhere to the surface of the decking and are hard wearing, so provide a lasting solution that prevents nasty accidents from happening and helps you to care for your wood decking.

How would you remove mill glaze from brand new wood?

There are a variety of different ways to remove mill glaze from new wood. The first and most hands -off approach is simply to leave the wood to weather naturally for 6-12 months, to allow the wood’s pores to open naturally. We would strongly recommend if doing this that you use a new wood protector to control the moisture release and prevent splitting of warping. Alternatively, you can remove mill glaze from new wood by using a suitable wood stripper. This will remove the glaze from the surface of the wood and allow it to absorb any finish you may want to apply.

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What steps should you take to prepare a weathered deck for a new finish?

If your weathered deck has not been coated before then it will simply need cleaning using a specialist wood cleaner. This will remove any built up dirt and return the wood to its original colour. You will then need to leave the wood to dry for several good dry days before applying a finish.

Alternatively, if your deck has been treated before then a good way to care for your decking and prepare it for a new finish is to use a stripper or wood oil remover (depending on what you coated it with) first before using a standard cleaner.

Are there any differences to keep in mind when treating and maintaining soft or hardwood decking?

Many people will advise that hardwood decking will not need treatment, whereas softwood decking does. At Owatrol we believe that all decking will need to be treated and maintained, however the period for treating between softwood and hardwood decking will be different. For example, all softwood species will need to be treated as soon as it is installed, where some hardwood species may not.  The reality is that they are both natural substrates made up of fibres and these fibres must be maintained if you want your decking to be beautiful for years to come.

Owatrol UK provide a range of high quality wood care and metal protection products, to find out more visit their website:

If you have enjoyed reading this article on how to care for your wood decking then click here to read more on Celebrity Angels about which wood is best for your home.

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