There’s nothing like the first barbecue of the summer. The sun is shining. The smell of charred meat and smoking coals is wafts over the nostrils. Beer in one hand, burger in the other. Perfect! But then you notice the decking. Pale, weather-beaten wood covered in moss and algae from the long, damp winter months. If only you’d remembered to properly clean and protect it!
Ideally, decking should be cleaned twice a year – once in the spring, in preparation for summer, and once in the autumn, to protect it for the winter months ahead. This easy to follow guide explains how to keep your deck in ship-shape, all year round.
How to Clean Decking – The Deep Clean
Firstly, using a stiff brush or scraper, try to clear the decking of any lingering debris – dead leaves, bits of rubbish, BBQ spillages, and charcoal remnants.
Once the decking is clear, it is time to target the moss and algae that inevitably appeared over the winter. Using a high-powered pressure washer, remove these unwanted additions to your decking. (If you don’t have a pressure washer to hand, the stiff brush or scraper from phase 1 will do the job – though it will require a little more elbow grease!)
Next, spray the decking with a pre-prepared deck cleaner solution (available in most hardware stores). Follow instructions on the packaging, and spray liberally to ensure the decking is completely covered. Scrub the decking with a stiff brush, then rinse off using a hose.
Allow at least two days for the decking to dry completely before applying any protective coat.
If your decking is a looking a little worse for wear, it is wise to restore before you protect. Wood restoration products are widely available, and will inject a little colour and vitality into your wood,
Once again, follow instructions on the packaging. It is worth pointing out that most restorers must be applied, scrubbed, and rinsed within a short period of time. In order to do this effectively, it is a good idea to focus on a small area at a time – four or five deck boards is adequate. Leave to dry for at least two days before adding any protective coat.
Decking, like most garden furniture, must be able to withstand the forces of nature. In order to ensure that the wood remains in good condition, it is advisable to use a decking stain, protective oil or protector. The difference between the three is fairly straightforward. Decking stain, as the name suggests, will alter the colouring of the wood (various shades are available). Decking protector is a clear varnish that will protect without changing the colour. Decking oil penetrates the wood, enhancing rather than altering its natural colour. Choose your product, and apply using a roller or large brush. Leave to dry naturally, and voila, the decking protection process is complete – let the barbecues begin!