Garden Decking & Aftercare – 2022
Any good decking should be able to give you many years of service. However, as with so many things, it’ll last longer – and look better for the majority of that time – if you look after it properly.
Decking comes in one of two materials, wood and composite, and each requires its own program of maintenance to make sure it stays in good condition. In this article, we’ll be examining the best way to look after both kinds of decking.
As a completely natural product, wooden decking is far more susceptible to wear and tear than its composite alternative. Of course, the flipside to that is that you do get a far more attractive bit of decking, but if you want to keep it that way, you’ll need to not just keep it clean, but also protect it against future degradation.
Before doing anything else, clear everything off your decking that can be moved. If you have any flower beds at the side that can’t be moved, you might want to protect them with some kind of cover, especially if you’re going to be using anything at all chemical.
Start by removing any dirt, debris, mould or algae off the surface with a jet washer or a stiff brush. If a previous oil or stain treatment is flaking or peeling off, this should come off with the jet wash, but you may need to use a chemical stripper if it’s really stubborn.
You can give it a more thorough clean if it needs it, but you should only use a commercial cleaning product that has been designed specifically for the purpose – using chemicals or bleach can do more harm than good.
Once washed, your decking needs to be left to dry thoroughly – we’re talking a couple of days in warm and dry weather. Then you can apply a fresh coat of oil, paint or stain as you prefer.
Composite decking is made out of a mixture of wood fibre and plastic. Although that makes it more resistant to the rigours of the outdoors and traditional British weather than wooden decking, it will still be susceptible to things like mould if not looked after.
The main thing you need to do to protect your composite decking is to regularly sweep away the dead leaves and other general dirt and detritus that will inevitably fetch up on it as a result of wind, rain and day-to-day use. That will prevent small bits of possibly rotting vegetation from finding their way into any cracks where they’re harder to reach.
Regular sweeping is simple and quick, but every now and then you will need to give your decking a deeper clean. We recommend doing this twice a year, in spring and in autumn.
The first thing to do is get everything off the decking, whether that’s potted plants, furniture or ornaments. Then give the decking a sweep with a soft brush, making sure that you loosen any stubborn bits of dirt that may have got trodden into the cracks.
Finally, get a hose or pressure washer and give the decking a good wash – but do it in the direction of the grain, so that any dirt is washed off the end without getting stuck. Some composite decking may be more delicate than others, so don’t go straight to full power. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, but if they’re no help, start on a less powerful jet before working your way up. The other thing you can do is try it on a hidden piece of decking where any damage caused won’t show.
For more stubborn stains, such as bird mess, or oil and grease stains, you just need to get on your hands and knees with a bowl of soapy water to get it clean.
At Neil Sullivan & Sons, we offer a range of items for your gardening and landscaping projects, including a selection of aggregates, railway sleepers and quality topsoil for your lawns and bedding. All our products can be collected from our yard in Wickford, Essex, or we can deliver them directly to your site.