Guide To Deck Maintenance

A good way to test if your deck is ready for another coat or two is to preform the drop test, Pour a small amount of water on a clean exposed area of decking ( ensuring the areas if free from dirt and grease) . If the water soaks into the timber and causes a darkening of color it is recommended to apply another coat or two of oil as it is likely the previous layer has already broken down.  However if the water beads up and does not soak into the timber or cause a color change there may still be a protective layer of oil present .

For deck stains that form a coating over the timber the fist sign the decking may need a re-oil is often the presence of water being absorbed into the decking which may eventually cause  flaking, peeling or general failure to the protective coating. This will often happen in the areas most exposed to the sun and rain.  It is important to organize a re-coating at the first sign of any flaking, as leaving this damage to compound may increase the time and cost of the preparation process.  Removing peeling decking oil is required therefore it often means the damage to the decking is worse than it seems if left till the decking is peeling.

 

It is recommended to inspect your deck before summer and winter or if your deck shows any visible signs of aging such as loss of color or water retention.  If unsure contact the professionals , we offer free quotes and advice to Perth metro and surrounding areas.

Water beading on a deck is a great sign that the decking doesn't require re-coating yet. 

Water absorbing into the deck suggesting that the decking is ready to be re-coated. 

Oil Based Decking Finishes

Does Your Deck Need Oiling ?

Peeling decking 

Why is your decking peeling?

Peeling or flakiness of decking occurs when a decking oil fails and is common for infrequently or poorly maintained decking exposed to the sun and rain.  Not all products can cause peeling, products that create protective layers on top of your decking have the potential of peeling once the connection between coating and timber fails.  All coatings will fail at some point if exposed to the elements for a long period of time however a number of factor's effect the severity of damage and time between coatings. 

 

UV rays from the sun work to break down all decking oils and will act to damage the timber decking once the coating fails . Once the UV rays have removed sufficient protection that the decking oil provided moisture is now allowed to seep into the decking causing a number of problems over time.  Moisture is timbers worst enemy and causes  rot, mildew as well as expansion and contraction of the boards.  Expansion and contraction of decking over time acts to pull the boards away from their already sun weakened coatings allowing cracks to form and peeling to occur.  

Preparing the decking properly will extend the life of the deck and eliminate any premature coating failures. While using products that cause coatings it is vital to ensure the decking is free of anything that will prevent the new coating to adhere to the timber. Some common causes of this failure to adhere to the timber include:

  • Failed previous coating still present (most intact coatings are fine)

  • Dirt and/or grime 

  • Excessive Moisture

Ensuring the decking is free from the above through means of sanding and cleaning the decking helps the new coatings adhere to the decking providing the maximum lifespan for the new coating.

Only two years without any maintenance this is the result . Fading and damaged decking where the sun has broken down the oil and started to damage the timber itself.

After hours of preparation work involving scrubbing, a combination of cleaning products and sanding followed by two coats of oil based decking oil the change is remarkable.

Water Based Decking Finishes

Water based products are commonly used on new decks and are a great environmentally responsible option for those wishing for a lower maintenance deck.  They often carry a pigment ranging from a pine color to dark brown or hardwood red giving the timber a more uniform color that can be very beautiful when well maintained as well as providing an excellent layer of protection from UV rays. 

Regular application of decking oil is is recommended every 6-18 months depending on the level of exposure and decking oil used following the criteria explained above. We recommend Ultradeck by Intergrain to be applied yearly . Long term failure to re-apply can lead to peeling allowing moisture to cause potentially permanent damage.  If any peeling is noticed it is highly recommended to apply oil before further damage to the deck is sustained as it can be extremely difficult to completely cure a peeling deck without expensive stripping of the previous coating.

 

Pros

  • Longer lasting protection (typically 12-18 months)

  • Stunning solid and shiny finish

  • Better at covering any damage to the decking

Cons

  • Stronger pigment means drip marks and brush strokes are seen

  • Potential for peeling if not re oiled within 12-18 months

Oil based products are associated with a a clearer coating showing more of the timbers natural grain however it tends to create higher maintenance decking due to the more rapid breakdown of oil when compared with water based products.   Non water based products are often absorbed into the timber instead of providing a protecting coating over the surface, as a result the decking will dry faster if left without reapplication when compared to most water based products . Oil based products should be applied more frequently than water based products with applications being applied anywhere from 6-12 months  and sometimes as frequently as every 4 months in areas fully exposed to the sun.

The positives of oil based products include easy application with a minimized concern for brush marks and far reduced chance of peeing or blistering due to the oil soaking into the timber verses forming a protective coat on top.   Applying oil based products often involves wiping the excess oil off between coats so make sure to check with each product requirements individually.

Pros

  • Typically slightly cheaper service per sqr meter verses water based application

  • Highlights the natural grain of the timber

  • Not prone to peeling or flaking

Cons

  • More frequent application required ( every 6-12 months)

  • in some cases less able to cover certain damage such as scratches

  • Requires heaving cleaning before re-coating

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