When to Clean Your Decking – And Keep It Looking Amazing!

Jet washing decking

Decking has always been a popular feature in many UK gardens, and no wonder, since it’s a relatively simple project for a DIY enthusiast (as many of our customers are here at Savoy Timber!)

Good quality decking is made from Swedish pine and treated with anti-rot solutions. It should easily last a good 15 years, but this will depend on how well you maintain your decking. Sadly, the weather in the UK is not kind to decking. If your decking is not cleaned and maintained, not only will it start to affect its appearance, but could even present a safety hazard. So, to ensure garden decking stays looking its best (just in case the weather breaks and you decide to organise an impromptu BBQ!) – here’s a quick guide to cleaning it.

What you should do with new decking

Newly installed decking won’t need cleaning if it has been pre-treated. Leave it to weather naturally for around six months. After this period has passed or you want to protect or revive your decking, give it a clean. Cleaning decking is the quickest way to bring it back to life. This is a job you can easily do in a couple of hours, and if you’ve never done it before we’ve gone into more details on how to clean your decking on a previous post. So, wait for a fine day and get cracking!

Protect non-treatment areas

Firstly, protect any areas that might be damaged by debris or cleaning products, such as glass balconies or natural stone paving. This is especially important if your decking is suspended above another area. Here’s a useful tip – you can use plastic sheeting or heavy decorators’ drop cloths as protection.

Health and safety

You also need to protect yourself. While cleaning your decking isn’t a task as intensive as, say, sawing a plank in half, it’s still a good idea to wear gloves and protective goggles. Cover up with long trousers/sleeves and rubber boots. What’s more, it’s wise to make sure pets and kids are well out of the way to avoid any accidents with nasty cleaning chemicals – or even something more simple, like going flying on a wet decking area!

Tidy up the area, removing all garden furniture. Sweep the deck to get rid of any loose dirt and debris, such as fallen leaves. Look out for loose and raised screws, and take a few moments to fix these back in place. Check for signs of rot and replace affected boards if necessary.

Pre-clean sanding

Now it’s time to clean the deck. If you want to remove old stain or paint, sand it down first. A small palm sander is fine for a small deck, but a belt sander will make the job quicker if your deck is extensive.

Wash, scrub, rinse, and repeat

The next step is to apply a proprietary cleaning solution. Pour it on to a small area and scrub with a hard-bristle brush. (Again, we’ve gone into full details on the previous post.) Try and avoid splashing cleaning solution on nearby plants and flowers. Use a pressure hose to rinse away the solution, but don’t use it on a high-pressure setting, as it may roughen up the surface. Work on one small area at a time. Be methodical in your approach, so you don’t end up redoing the same area repeatedly.

Once you’ve finished cleaning your deck, leave it to thoroughly dry before you apply any stain, varnish, or paint. On the whole, we’d recommend cleaning your decking around twice a year, which should be plenty enough to keep it looking pristine and ensure it’s safe to use whatever the weather.

If you need any replacement boards, or you’re thinking about getting an entirely new decking area for your garden, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for here at Savoy Timber! You can visit any of our stores in Blackpool, Wigan or Preston, where our staff will be only too happy to help. Alternatively, you can call 0345 0268 799 for a quick bit of help and advice over the phone!