Deck Maintenance For Dummies (And Regular Folk)

Is your garden deck looking rather grey and boring? Unfortunately, ‘tis the season for gloomy grimey garden decks.

Fortunately for you, we’ve done some digging and asked around in the timberyard for tips on how to best maintain a garden deck.

We know it’s only January, but the sun will be out before your know it – and you’ll want to pop out for a cuppa and some vitamin d. Why not greet the first sunny day with a garden deck that is spotless and ready for summer?

Let’s get started.


The big sweep

Whilst standing untouched for months, your garden deck is likely to have accumulated a whole garden on its own. Leaves, smaller branches, a football, perhaps your dog has even left a present for you.

Take some time to clear the space completely.

Good ol’ elbow grease

When you can once again see the wooden planks, albeit grimey and green, it’s time to do some scrubbing.

There are still some things that are better done the old fashioned way, and we think scrubbing is one of them. People will tell you that a pressure washer is god’s gift to man, but most pressure washers are simply too powerful to use on your timber deck. If you’re determined to use a pressure washer any way, be sure to use a lower setting (start around 500 psi)

Fortunately, some clever folk have developed decking cleaner. And oh my does it make life easier when trying to clean a garden deck.

Wash your deck down with your chosen cleaner, and leave it to work it’s magic for half an hour (or however long it says on the product). By leaving it be for a while, you are giving the cleaner time to really break up and break down all that algae, grime and moss that your beautiful timber planks have accumulated over winter.

Once all the dirt has has loosened up, it’s time for some elbow grease. Grab your stiff- bristled brush and scrub. Remember to always brush with the grain so that you do not damage the natural fibres in the wood.

When you’ve had enough, and there’s nothing more to scrub – rinse your deck with fresh water and leave it to dry.


Choosing a deck cleaner

Sometimes water is enough to wash off superficial dirt, but on the first clean of the season – water simply won’t do.

For us here at Stewart Timber, shopping for things like deck cleaner is like shopping for sweeties. We love it.

There are literally hundreds of cleaners, so shop around and remember to have a look at what kind of wood your decking is made from vs. what wood the cleaner is for etc.

If you want a cleaner that REALLY works, it’s our experience that you have to go with an official brand.

Our cleaner of choice is the Cuprinol Decking Cleaner. This decking cleaner is super powerful and specifically designed to completely remove dirt, grease algae and mould before you apply any new treatment. We’ve used Cuprinol’s miracle maker for years, and it’s yet to let us down.


Deck oil and stain

When did you last stain your garden deck? If you don’t remember, then it might be time to reseal it.

Now’s the perfect time to do it. You’ve scrubbed the wooden boards clean for grime, dirt, moss and algae, and they’re ready for some rejuvenation.

When you apply stain and finish, you want to apply it to the bare wood. This unfortunately means that there’s a little more to do before you can get started with the fun stuff.

Get your sander out, and strip off any old paint, stain or varnish.

Now that the wooden boards are exposed, it’s time to apply a consistent coat of protector. Again, we swear by Cuprinol’s decking oil. Make sure the oil properly penetrates the exposed timber, so that it can provide a strong defence against water. If you have a choice when shopping for a protective oil, get the one that contains chemicals. This’ll help stop mould, fungi and algae spread in your beautiful wooden planks.

Should you fancy a new colour for your deck, then now’s your time to shine! Get a deck stain in the colour you prefer, load it into a tray and start brushing (Take Cuprinol’s deck stain. This clever fella comes with mini beads in the formula, and therefore offers anti- slip properties. Pretty smart eh?).

Stain is a bit like paint, so you need to be careful that the finish is consistent or your deck will turn into a pallet of 50 shades of brown.

Regular deck maintenance

Although your deck looks like a million dollars right now, the Scottish climate is a tough and wet challenge.

The best way to protect your deck is with regular maintenance. Sweep the surface once or twice a week and you’re off to a good start. If you make sure to sweep any dirt that lands on it, you break up any builds of algae and dust.

Apart from the regular sweep, keep an eye on it. If there are any spillages, make sure they’re wiped off asap. If you see any worn wooden boards, or some that could be mouldy or have caught insects – replace the boards one by one and avoid having to replace the full deck in one.


Now that your deck is looking fine as ever, why not head over to our article on How To Reinvent Your Deck for some design inspiration?

Related blog posts

5 Things You Need To Know About Solitary Bees

Have you ever heard of a solitary bee? Say bees to most people and generally first thoughts are for honey, hives, white suits and stings. But did you know that around 90% of our bee species in the UK are solitary: meaning they live alone? Solitary bees are vital for the ecosystem. Read on to […]

How to Convert a Shed to an Office

Imagine the scene. Settling down in the early morning at a desk in your own timber office, hot cup of tea in hand and the sound of the garden birds twittering. It might sound like a dream but it is simpler than you might think to convert a shed to an office. A well-made shed […]