Restore your tired timber deck for summer

If your deck is looking a little worse for wear – and, after all, they are subject to harsh sunlight, UV damage, rain and constant use – now’s the time to spruce it up in time for the holidays. Restoring a deck might seem challenging, but before you call a tradie to do it for you, check our guide to see what you can achieve yourself. A good job should keep it looking like new for a few years to come!

1.     Inspect and assess

The first thing to do is check that the deck is structurally sound. Look out for loose, damaged, split, warped or rotten boards and make a list of what needs replacing. Then inspect the surface. 

If the timber is in good condition but has gone grey, it might just need a thorough cleaning with a specialised product such as CUTEK Quickclean

Badly weathered timber should be sanded back to a solid surface before you clean it. 

If your deck has been coated with paint or stain, you might need to use a stain or paint remover before you clean and re-stain it; similarly, if you have varnished wood and want a stained deck, you’ll need to strip it with paint thinner.

2.     Replace damaged boards

If you do need to replace a few boards because they’re splitting or rotten, it’s not a huge job with the right tools. And a few hours of DIY will save thousands of dollars on replacing the whole thing. Bunnings has an excellent short video that shows you how to do it, along with a handy list of the tools you’ll need. 

3.     Sort out tools for cleaning and sanding

  • Pressure washer (you can hire these from Bunnings and Kennards)
  • Deck-cleaning product
  • Brooms, soft and hard bristle
  • Bucket
  • Paint or stain remover (if required)
  • Paint thinner (if required)
  • Work gloves
  • Mask 
  • Safety goggles
  • Sander (if required, bearing in mind that a belt sander can damage soft wood; find out more about different types of sanders here).

4.     Cleaning

Brush the deck to get rid of surface dirt and leaves, then wash it with a pressure washer or hose and clean water. Next, mix the deck-cleaning product according to its specific instructions, dip your broom into the solution and scrub the deck thoroughly. Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes, then wash it again with the pressure washer. If you need to sand the deck, remove nails that have lifted and use a wood filler to smooth small holes and dents.

5.     Sanding

Once you’ve bought or hired the right sander, make sure you’re wearing safety goggles, a mask and good quality work gloves before you get to work. Also, check the weather forecast and aim to start when there are going to be a few dry days – if you are in the middle of sanding your deck and the timber becomes exposed to water, the wood grain will rise, and you have to start the process again. The benefits of deck sanding include removing mould, rough edges and splinters, and creating a surface that stains or oils will adhere to, for a long-lasting effect. 

6.     Decking oils

A special decking oil will protect your deck’s wood from both weathering factors and harmful UV rays because it soaks right into the timber. The type of oil required depends on what sort of timber your deck is made from, so check carefully before you buy. Decking oils come in a variety of colours, but are not designed to change the look of the wood. It’s best to apply oil in thin coats, preferably one board at a time to ensure an even finish – and follow instructions on the tin about drying times. 

7.     Wood stains

Like oils, stains protect the timber, but they also seal it, which creates an extra layer of protection. They change the colour of the wood, so again, you’ll need to do some research before you buy. Stain should be applied with a special brush to ensure a uniform finish. Check out Bunnings’ video for expert DIY advice.

Good luck! And If you are considering selling your Hills District home and would like some free tips on which areas of your property to update or renovate in advance of putting your home on the market, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.