Now that the sun finally has his hat on, it’s the perfect time to enjoy your decking in comfort, sunshine and warmth. But if you’re just getting your decking ready, you may find that there are one or two problems that have developed with it over the winter – especially given the unusually heavy periods of rainfall we had this year, and the mild weather recently. If that’s the case, happily you don’t have to worry. We have a few tips and tricks on how you can fix them!
This is one of the single most common issues that lots of people discover on their decking in the spring, but it’s not unheard of for people to discover it in summer, either. Mould is most likely to develop on decks on the northern side of the house – this is because the quality of the southern sun makes it a less hospitable environment for fungi to grow. We should say – it’s important to deal with mould quickly, as it can become a dangerous slip hazard for family members or anyone else walking on your deck.
The good news is that it’s fairly easy to deal with – it can be simply washed off with a fungicide, but first it’s a good idea to try to do the job with hot soapy water instead. (It’s often cheaper and kinder on the environment, and it can save you a trip to the shops.)
There are those who are firm believers in jet washing your decking, but obviously you’ve got to be extremely careful with that, because the sheer strength of the water means that it’s easier to chip your decking if you’re not careful. If you spot any flaking, the standard advice is to first try scrubbing it or scraping it, as this does a better job of preserving the wood grain.
As soon as your decking’s clear, give it a bit of time to dry, and to finish off the job just apply a clear wood preserver (ideally designed for decking), or seal it with a sealant.
This is in many ways the opposite problem to mould, as it’s more common to have this issue after an extended period of sunny weather. It’s not a particularly immediate change, but over enough time you may spot that your decking is starting to lose its sheen, and is instead looking faded and worn out. This isn’t necessarily a huge problem, and doesn’t pose the same immediate safety issues as mould does. However, it’s a universal truth that your decking generally does generally last longer if you’re prompt to treat the UV damage.
Solving the problem of a fading deck is again quite straightforward – all you really need to do is re-stain it (or paint it, if that’s applicable). It’s a good plan to be doing this once every two years anyway, to keep it looking at its very best. Make sure to use a product that’s ideally suited for the job, and bear in mind that it’s best to do this with a deck that’s almost (but not quite entirely) dry, so give it a quick wash before you get started. You can find a few more tips in our previous blog post.
This is definitely one that you can’t ignore for too long, as rot can severely affect the structural integrity of your deck, and possibly pose another major safety hazard for you or anyone else walking on it. As you’ve probably guessed, there’s no product on the market that’s going to magically reverse this damage. It’s mostly just a matter of identifying the damaged decking boards or joists and replacing them.
Before you make any replacements, make sure to check the posts and joists too, so you can get a better picture of how far the rot has progressed. There’s a quick and easy way to test for rot in a piece of wood that you think might be affected – just press a screwdriver into the surface of the wood. The further it can go with the bare minimum of effort, the greater the extent of the rot damage.
As a final note, it’s worth saying that you shouldn’t consider the problem solved until you know where the water’s actually coming from. A lot of the time, the problem can be down to rainwater that collects around the posts where they’re emplaced in the ground. It’s also wise to check the screws and nails attaching the decking posts to the joists.
On the other hand, the water may not be coming from within your decking at all – some homeowners have replaced entire sections of decking only to discover that the problem is actually being caused by leaky guttering above the deck. For this reason alone, it’s a good plan to check these too – it could save you a whole lot of hassle in the long run!
And if you’re looking for replacement decking boards for an existing deck, or even an easy fit decking kit to get you started on your decking project, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at Savoy Timber, we’ve got a huge range of products, from easy fit decking kits to handrails, spindles and panels, or even our brand new sophisticated composite decking boards. Why not take a look around our site, and see what you can find?