Installing a deck on your property is a fantastic way to improve its appearance, increase its value and provide you and your family with a comfortable outdoor space in which to lounge, dine and relax. However, without proper care, your new deck may end up wearing out prematurely. Here are two things you can do to ensure it stays in great condition for many years to come.
Have it waterproofed
During its lifetime, your decking will probably be exposed to a considerable amount of moisture, in the form of humidity, rain and dampness. If, like most structures of this kind, your deck is made from timber, and it has not be waterproofed, this could cause serious problems.
One potential issue is wet rot; this occurs when excessive amounts of water penetrate the timber, causing the germination and growth of a type of fungal spore that eats away at the wood. This can give the decking an unpleasantly musty odour and a discoloured appearance. More importantly, however, it will eventually cause the timber to crack and weaken. If the wet rot isn't spotted and fixed fast enough, the deck could end up being unsafe to use.
Even in cases where wet rot does not develop, water can still damage your deck by getting into the gaps between its floorboards; when this happens, temperature fluctuations that cause the liquid to expand and contract can put pressure on the timber, resulting in splitting and cracks.
As such, if you want your decking to last for as long as possible, it's important to have it waterproofed. It's best to do this at the point of construction, rather than waiting until the wood starts to deteriorate. Preventative waterproofing will be a lot simpler and less costly than trying to seal up a deck that's already showing signs of water damage.
Clean and re-stain on a regular basis
The sun's UV rays can affect the colour and texture of your decking; these rays can break down the wood's lignin (the substance that glues together wood cells), causing fading, discolouration and surface-level erosion.
You can protect your deck from the sunlight and improve its general condition by deep-cleaning and re-staining it once a year. To wash the deck, you should use a specialist deck cleaner that is designed to remove dirt, grime and mildew without damaging the wood.
Make sure to wear thick rubber gloves and safety glasses when applying this chemical, as it may cause skin or eye irritation. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the cleaning solution into the wood. Then rinse the entire area with a hose and allow it to air-dry completely before starting the re-staining process.
When applying the staining product, try to do so in multiple thin layers, rather than one thick one; the latter will most likely result in the stain peeling away after it dries. There are quite a few ways to apply stain; you can use a standard paint brush, a roller brush or a paint sprayer. The latter is one of the quickest ways to cover a large surface area and so is great if you have a generously-sized deck and need to complete this task in a short amount of time.