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On days like this there’s nothing better to than sitting back and enjoying life.
Don’t forget, though, that this is Scotland and that your barbecue is as likely to sizzle out naturally as it is to be extinguished by a shower from the heavens.
Timber decks are lovely things – they provide a fantastic social space, they bridge the gap between inside and out and they add something really beautiful to a garden – however, they don’t get on too well with the (in)famous Scottish climate. Especially when you consider that they lie flat and collect all the water the clouds dump on them you start to appreciate how much of a beating they really take.
But it’s wood, right? And wood can take a little rain and wind and sleet and snow. Well, yes and no. Timber is a sturdy building material and a deck will last for a few years if completely neglected. However, by simply giving your deck a little TLC you can extend that lifespan from a few years to a few decades. So, what does it take?
The best way to keep your deck looking ship-shape is regular maintenance. Don’t worry, though, we’re not talking about hours of graft on your hands and knees. Oh, no. Simply brushing your deck every few days will break up any build ups of dust or algae and it’ll keep those slippery leaves off, too. If all the gunk gets brushed off pronto, there’s no water stuck to the timber and this hugely reduces the risks of rot, fungus and nasty wee insects.
Oh, and cleaning up food and drink spills as soon as they happen will help prevent nasty stains as well.
Every so often you’re going to need to give you deck a right good clean. If you’re planning on applying a preservative, a deep clean is especially important as any grime or dirt on the timber will soak up the preservative before it gets into the boards.
For a good clean, get your hands on a pressure washer. This cuts out 90% of the elbow grease and blasts all the horrible grease, gunk and dirt into next week.
There are those who claim that pressure washers are far too powerful and that they blast away the top layer of the timber. If you are worried about this, use a lower setting (start at around 500 psi) or substitute the pressure washer for a bucket, brush and elbow grease.
After it’s clean leave plenty of time for it to completely dry off.
Even though our timber is pressure treated the only way to keep your deck free from cracks, splits, rot and insects in the long term is by treating it with a sealer, stain or paint. If you do this, your decks lifespan jumps from a few years to a few decades.
Simply pick up your preferred protector and whack on a new coat every couple of years or when the last layer is looking a bit worn. Some people suggest you apply in the Autumn because the temperatures are a bit more stable but really whenever you can find a few dry hours is fine.
Keep an eye out for anything odd happenings on your deck. A beady eye can save you a fortune in time and money.
For example, catching insects or moulds before they spread means you’ll be replacing one or two boards instead of the whole deck! Also watch out for screws and nails making a bid for freedom through the boards as they don’t make for a pleasant walking surface!