Why 'Wood' You?

Posted by Kerry Wilson on

Why 'Wood' You?

If you already have a timber deck, the following maintenance guide will probably be quite helpful. It's been taken from an Australian website; they're probably not as used to the extremes of weather us Brits enjoy, but the advice is still sound.

If you're planning to build a deck, the following guide underlines the upkeep differences between a traditional timber deck and a composite version.

 Timber Deck WPC Deck

Staining your deck is a vital part of timber deck maintenance. The timber absorbs the stain, which repels water and enlivens the natural colours of the timber. Basically, it looks great and protects your deck. So how often should you be staining your deck? It really depends on a range of things including the climate, the wear of your deck, it’s age and the type of timber. The best way to tell is by looking – if your deck is a little dull and seems to be absorbing water when it rains, it probably needs to be stained.

Nope.  Composite Decking Boards never need staining
They don't fade
They don't go dull
They don't start to absorb water

Slimy, damp wooden deck

Cleaning your deck is another very important step in deck maintenance. Getting all the dust and grit off is vital, as the particles are quite abrasive and can actually wear away at the timber surface.

So which cleaning approach is best? Well, the best place to start is with a sweep. Then it’s a matter of cleaning it with a damp mop. During this stage, it is a good idea to use a cleaning agent. But not just any cleaning agent – some are a little too harsh for the timber. We recommend a mild detergent diluted with water and applied with a damp mop. And remember, you don’t want too much moisture so avoid saturating the mop!

A damp mop? Seriously?

You'll probably need to sweep your WPC deck to get rid of dead leaves or biscuit crumbs but, if you do want to wash it, you can get it as wet as you like. Mop, hose, jet wash, bucket of water; whatever is easiest for you.

Most timber decks are fixed with nails or screws – you should be able to see them running along the struts. In terms of timber deck maintenance, having a handle on the condition of your nails and screws is a bit of a priority. Over time, these can rust away. And if your deck is fixed with nails, the timber can even start pushing them out again! If you start to see your nails protruding more than they used to, it might be time to bust out the hammer. All you’ll need is a hammer and a nail punch – simply use them to hit the nails back below the surface of the timber.

But what if you see rust? Rusty screws or nails are bad for two reasons. Firstly, they can discolour the timber and look a bit average. There’s not always a lot you can do about this, but replacing the screws is a good place to start. Secondly, they can swell. Swelling nails or screws is a little more serious; as they swell they can split the timber in some cases. If this happens to your timber deck, you might have to call in the professionals. Getting a flooring specialist around to take a look is the best way to work out what you need in terms of timber deck maintenance.

All the fixings are hidden on a Composite Deck which means:
No rust marks
No sticky-out nails
No split boards
No need for a specialist 

Maintenance is always preventative. And timber deck maintenance is no different! Timber deck maintenance is all about catching damage or deterioration as it arises, and then fixing it. Whether it’s an issue with the nails and screws, or a bit of wear and tear on the surface, having a good timber deck maintenance routine will help. It’s all about going over every part of your deck and assessing it. Start with the timber itself, and then look at screws, nails. Our favourite part about timber deck maintenance is that it needn’t be done in a hurry! Chances are, your deck won’t collapse overnight. So as long as you’re giving it a good once-over every month, you have nothing to worry about.

Once a month! Are they kidding?

Our decking boards have a warranty that lasts 30 years in a residential setting.
No going over required!

We mentioned earlier that you don’t want to saturate your mop when you clean your deck. There’s a really good reason for this: water and timber don’t go very well together. Timber is quite absorbent and it will hold a fair bit of water if you let it. When your timber absorbs water, it will soften and that’s when rot can set in. But don’t worry too much – we have the solution! Keeping up the stain is the first step. Deck stain helps repel water and reduces that volume of water that is absorbed by the timber. Once your deck is stained, it’s just a matter of keeping the amount of water on the surface to a minimum. There’s no real trick to it – put your deck maintenance routine into action today!

Erm - why use wood on an outside deck then? Especially in the UK!

The real trick is choose composite.

So there you have it. Timber decking is certainly cheaper than the WPC versions but the amount of time needed to keep it in top condition is endless.  And, while that might not seem too big a deal now, will you be able to manage it in ten years time? Twenty? Thirty? 

To find out more on the benefits of Composite Decking or to request colour samples and brochures, call 0800 6123 998.  We're here Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm.