How to Best Treat Your Decking for a Long Life

How to Maximise the Lifespan of Your Decking Area

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is “how long will decking last?”. In this blog post we will look into the various options and share our best tips for how to keep you’re decking looking good for years to come.

Treating your decking can be a daunting task, however below we will go through some benefits and tips to maximise the lifespan of any decking area!

Softwood Decking and Decking Oil

Softwood decking has an expected lifespan of 15–30 years when cared for and treated correctly! All of our softwood decking boards come fully pressure treated to a high standard (Tanalith E). Once the new decking has been laid, we recommend leaving it to weather naturally for 6 months before being stained or oiled. This process helps to make sure that any previous treatment has eroded; this allows new paint or treatment to soak into the deck.

Before you can apply decking treatment, you need to ensure your decking is clean. Remove all furniture and use a pressure washer or specialist-decking cleaner to get rid of dirt, oil, mould, leaves. Please allow the decking to fully dry before applying any treatments.

When keeping the beautiful natural colour we recommend treating the decking with Ronseal Ultimate decking oil (natural), this 5L tin will cover 10ms with two coats. The best and our personal favourite applicator to use is the multipurpose paintbrush to treat your decking. The important thing to remember is to treat the ends of the timer, please allow the oil to dry in-between coats. 

Please see the below application guide by Ronseal on how to treat softwood decking:

 Decking oil needs to be applied in dry conditions when the forecast is clear of rain and frost; this oil works its magic on dry days when the temperature is above 10°C.

  1. Thoroughly shake the tin to ensure the contents are mixed.
  2. Pour the whole tin into a tray. If you need to use more than one tin, mix them.
  3. Apply the oil on a small hidden patch of decking to make sure you are happy with the colour. The colour can be influenced by the texture, grain, type of wood and any other previous treatments so always be sure to test it first.
  4. Apply the first coat to your deck using a good quality brush or roller. Focus on a few boards at a time and work the oil into the surface. You will need to stir the oil regularly while you are applying it.
  5. Wipe away excess oil with a lint-free cloth.
  6. The first coat will be rainproof in two hours, and after six hours, it will be ready for a second coat.
  7. Apply a second coat after six hours.
  8. Wait 24 hours before moving furniture back onto your deck.

Another question we are asked regularly is “Can old decking be stained?” the answer is yes. To treat old existing decking, you need to remove previous finishes like paint and varnish. You need to strip the deck back to its bare wood before oiling. We will recommend using a pressure washer to remove flaking or peeling coatings. This process will also help create better and even coverage. Please remember to treat the ends of the timber with end grain preserver to make sure water does not penetrate the timber, as this can be detrimental to the life of the timber. Once this is done use the process above stated on the Ronseal guide.

If you are looking to add a splash of cloud to your garden wonderland, just use the above processes and you are ready to go! 

We stock a variety of different colours to make your garden a feast for the eyes, anything from light and demure neutrals to bright and beautiful colours.

It is important to inspect your coating every six months to look out for any chips or patches. Re-coat the patch when necessary, for best results we recommend treating the decking area at least once a year!

Caring for Composite Decking

Composite decking has a lifespan of 25–30 years, composite boards are believed to be maintenance free; however, the boards still need some TLC! Here at eDecks we class composite as a low maintenance board, we recommend keeping the decking as clean as possible, as with any type of decking build-up or dirt or bacteria can be detrimental to the lifespan on the boards.

As with any type of decking, we recommend making sure the surface area of the is as clean as possible. To clean composite decking, we advise using Owatrol composite cleaner. 1 Litre will cover between 5 to 10M2 depending on the condition of the deck. This cleaner is a water-based gel and environmentally friendly; so it is safe to use around plastic pool liner, stone and glass.

Please see the below application guide which details how to look after composite decking using Owatrol

Owatrol Compo-Clean Cleaner should be shaken or stirred before application, do not dilute. Apply between + 5°C to + 35°C. Please do not apply in direct sunlight or on hot timber. Always work the entire length of a board to a logical break. On vertical surfaces, clean from bottom to top and rinse from top to bottom to avoid streaking.

Apply a thick layer of Owatrol Compo-Clean to the area to be cleaned. Large areas should be cleaned in smaller sections. Leave the product to work for 5 minutes (longer if necessary, depending on the nature of the dirt and contamination). Scrub with a stiff nylon or synthetic brush. Rinse with plenty of fresh clean water using the highest pressure source available or use a power washer. If required, repeat above procedure – difficult/stubborn staining. Allow the surface to dry 2/3 good drying days before applying a chosen finish.

Once the decking is fully clean and dry, the next process will be to start treating the decking. Owatrol Compo-Care Composite Wood Reviver is a water-based reviver, designed for bringing composite woods back to life. Compo-Care is extremely easy to apply and offer quick drying time for protecting, enhancing and reviving the colour of composite wood. Owatrol Compo-Care Composite Wood Reviver can be used to revive all composite woods found internally or externally and works to waterproof and protect the surface against stains and grease too. 

The benefits of the product; as it has a transparent tinted coating, it will beautifully enhance the colour of your composite decking. In the long-term, it will help prevent staining (oil/grease) and waterproof the surface. The product is easy to apply and has a quick drying time.

Application

Do not apply in direct sunlight or to hot surfaces. Do not apply if cold and/or wet weather is expected within 24 hours. Apply between 10°C and 30°C. Cover and protect everything you do not wish to coat. For colour uniformity, mix all products that are to be applied to any one area or section. Always work the entire length of a deck board or cladding board to a logical break. Vertical cladding should be coated from top to bottom. Never stop application in the middle of the board.

Surfaces must be clean, dry and free of dirt, grease, oil, mildew and stains. Treat mildew with a 50/50 bleach/water solution. Scrub solution on to the surface and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes rinse thoroughly. 

We recommend treating the decking at least once a year, however, you can clean the board as much as required.

Hardwood Decking (Balau)

How to treat Hardwood Decking

Our stunning hardwood decking (Balau) arrives kilned tried with waxed ends, however, because of the properties in the board we recommend treating before laying or once laid. The cut ends will need oil to seal the cut surface to keep all the board fully protected.

When it comes to hardwood decking, we often asked “Should I oil or stain hardwood decking? And how long will hardwood decking last?”. That will come down to what you want from your deck. A stain will improve the appearance of the deck, but oil will better help preserve its condition and natural beauty which is why we would recommend and oil treatment.

Please see the below application guide from Ronseal

Give the oil a good shake and pour the contents into a suitable metal or plastic container. If you’re using more than one tin, mix them, but don’t dilute!

Apply a generous amount of oil to the decking using a brush or roller. Paint with the grain and focus on three to four boards at a time to ensure you don’t get any overlap lines. Wait four hours for the coat to dry.

Once the first coat has dried, apply a second coat and wait four hours for it to dry and that’s it, your decking is now oiled and healthy. If you have existing Balau decking, please follow the cleaning advice from the softwood section and use the above three points to treat the decking.

Another question we get asked by customers is “do I have to treat hardwood decking?” and the answer is no, this is all down to personal preference. Whilst we would recommend treating the boards for a longer life and to retain the natural colour, Balau decking does not have to be treated. If hardwood boards are not treated it will overtime turn a pale silver colour and the natural pigment of the board will fade.

How Often To Treat Hardwood Decking?

Treating the timber once a year and keeping the area as clean as possible will keep it healthy and in tip-top shape!

If the time has come where you need to repair some of them, it is easy and doesn’t take much effort. Just sand down the damaged area and apply a coat of the oil and your decking will be good as new!

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