When left to nature’s wrath, wood decks quickly deteriorate from the gleaming, clean wood surface you admired when your deck was new to a dingy, grey, mildew, and a dry-rot-infested eyesore.
If the damage is mostly to the deck surface, the cleaning and resealing methods will provide immediate relief. However, before you start, you should check the bottom of your decking Melbourne to make sure that dry rot hasn’t gotten into it.
Checking for Dry Rot and Making Repairs
Dry rot is a fungus that thrives in moist wood, most frequently in areas that are shaded from direct sunlight. If left untreated, it will spread and erode the integrity of the timbers, eventually resulting in structural failure. Pursue it with zeal. It will conceal itself in difficult-to-reach areas, frequently beneath the deck where the boards and timbers meet. Jab at wood with a screwdriver or similar tool, looking for the telltale cardboard-like texture that resists your probing. Do not be fooled by painted boards that appear to be in good condition. Dry-rot can conceal itself behind a layer of paint, making it difficult to detect until a probe is used.
Supporting timbers and deck boards that have been severely damaged must be replaced. If the damage is minor, chip away the loose wood fibers and apply a fungicide. Numerous individuals report great success when treating the affected area with anti-freeze. If a significant portion of timber is damaged, consider cutting it out and epoxying in a tight-fitting plug. (When working with epoxy, adhere to the recommended safety precautions.)
Cleaning the Surface of the Deck
Even after a single season, newly constructed decks can lose their original luster and turn a dingy grey if not properly treated. Ultraviolet rays are frequently to blame. Grime, mildew, and mould can all detract from your deck’s appearance.
Before beginning work on the actual surface cleaning, ensure that your deck has adequate drainage. Use a pressure nozzle on your garden hose to clean the cracks between the surface boards. Where stubborn grime remains in the cracks between the boards, clear the way for water to drain using a putty knife or saw blade. This is especially critical near a house, where winter snow can trap water and form an inch-deep pool.
Then, using an oxalic acid-based wood cleaner, proceed to the next step. Because oxygen bleach contains no chlorine, it is safe to use around plants and animals. The primary component is hydrogen peroxide, which is sometimes used in a liquid solution or a dry form in combination with soda ash. Oxygen ions break down mildew, algae, and dirt as the solution soaks into the wood. Another option if you’re primarily concerned with mildew is to make your own cleaning solution using 3 quarts of water, 1 quart of oxygen bleach, and 1/4 cup of liquid dishwasher detergent. Use the ammonia-free variety. Mildew will be killed by the oxygen bleach, and the detergent will aid in its removal.
Allow the cleaning solution to stand for 10 to 15 minutes before scrubbing the surface area with a medium-stiff brush, either on a pole similar to a push broom or on your hands and knees if, like me, you prefer to work with your muscles. Finally, rinse it thoroughly with a garden hose.
Apply a Good Quality Deck Sealer
Allow sufficient time for your deck to dry before applying any sealer or stain. Then select a day when you are certain there will be no rain in the next 24 to 48 hours. Stains and sealers should not be applied over existing paint or stain, as the sealer will not penetrate the wood. This can be verified by sprinkling a small amount of water on your deck. After 15 minutes, if the water beads and remains on the surface, you will need to return and remove the existing stain.
There are several factors to consider when selecting a sealant. Natural oil sealants are not recommended due to the oils staining the deck and turning it green or black. Additionally, the natural oils act as a food source for algae and mildew. The majority of clear sealants offer little protection against UV radiation damage.
Among the best options are pigmented sealants, as pigments absorb UV rays and reduce the discoloration that is frequently seen on wood decks. A sealant based on epoxy contains chemicals that both deflect and absorb harmful ultraviolet rays. It is a water-based formula available in a variety of shades, including natural pine, cedar, and redwood. Tinted finishes impart colour without concealing the natural wood grain, whereas semi-transparent stains impart additional colour while revealing some of the wood grain. Semi-transparent stains offer superior protection compared to tinted finishes.
Conclusion If you’re tired of cleaning and treating your wood deck every few years, it’s time to consider another option—paint. This is a fantastic choice, but one that requires some skill to apply. The benefit of paint is that the coating will last a long time. Though decks can be time-consuming to maintain, they provide years of enjoyment. That’s why you should take care of your wooden deck.