How to Maintain Your Timber Deck during the Colder Months

Jayde Ferguson

As winter is well on its way, homeowners across the country will be starting to think of preparing their beloved garden and outside areas for the cold winter months. It isn’t uncommon though for people to forget about one particularly important item that should in fact be top of the pre winter months gardening agenda, decking.

Often it is believed that spring is the right time to carry out your essential decking maintenance. However, it is the end of summer and the beginning of the autumn months that is the right time to carry out essential remedial work to decking and give it that all important coat of wood stain. This is a really important task to ensure you maintain your decking properly, and protect it from the harsh winter weather.

This guide will hopefully help you complete all the decking maintenance you need to and ensure that your decking stays looking good year after year.

Choose a Dry, Clear Day

Decking maintenance
is essential if you wish for decking longevity, but picking the right time of year and day is vital. Choosing a colder day will mean longer wait time between coats of varnish or wood stain and rain will give a blotchy appearance. A warm clear day is optimal as the timber will be significantly drier. Ideally you would want the day to coincide with a succession of clear days before and after you maintain your deck.

Of course, we all know that to achieve the perfect painted finish on any type of material, the secret is in the preparation. Before you head outside to stain your decking, there is some work to do first.

Prepare and Clean Your Deck

Before you start thinking about staining your decking, the surface will need to be given a good clean.

Use a good quality sweeping brush to get rid of any loose dirt on the surface:

You can then use a specialist decking surface cleaner, available from most good DIY stores. These are specially designed to kill any moss, mould or algae that has formed on the decking through the summer months.

The decking surface cleaner will also open the timber surface, allowing the wood stain you are about to apply to penetrate deeper into the decking. This will further enhance and protect the decking for years to come. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse the decking cleaner off the surface, as per the instructions, and leave for a few days for the decking to dry thoroughly.

Sand the deck surface:

 Use a medium strength sand paper and rub over the decking surface. This will further help remove any residual imperfections and impurities on the surface of the timber.

Wood stain remover:

 You may have previously stained your decking. If this is the case then you will need to strip away the previous coat using a specialist remover for wood stain. If you choose to use this product then you need to be extremely careful - they contain powerful chemicals that can harm your skin. Make sure you wear gloves when applying.

The use of wood stain remover can also, in some cases, make the surface colour of the timber darker. If you want a lighter colour decking then you may need to neutralise the colour of the timber after its application, using a wood brightening product.

How to Apply the Stain or Decking Oil

You may either use a roller or a wood stain brush to apply the stain to the deck. This is very much a personal choice. The important thing to remember, however, is that you need to only add enough stain to the brush or roller to apply a few strokes, before applying more stain to your brush. Too much wood stain will lead to a very dark looking decking area which is best avoided. In the event that too much is applied, you are able to try and remove it using an old cloth.

Once a single coat of stain has been applied to your deck you need to allow it to dry fully for one day. This allows you to see if you have the desired colour, before deciding if you require a second coat to be applied. You may not need to do another coat in all areas.

Of course, if you would like a more maintenance free deck, then consider replacing your deck with a composite one. Composite decking is harder wearing, and requires much less maintenance than a timber deck does.

That is all the steps needed to protect your decking through the winter months. You will be able to rest assured that your deck will be ready to be used once the warmer spring weather comes, and enjoy your first BBQ of the year. Of course, if you would like a more maintenance free deck, then consider replacing your deck with a composite one.

Author Bio: WA Timber Decking is a Perth based Timber Decking specialist who supply decking timber and decking supplies for the handyman, DIYer and builder. WA Timber Decking can assist with timber deck designs, installations and maintenance – getting your deck ready for the harsh winter months.