Summer is literally around the corner (and for some of us, we’ve skipped spring and are already enjoying the 30° summer days South Africa is known for). Is your deck ready for all the entertaining it’s going to be doing? Whether you have a timber or a composite deck, there are always a few things that you can do at the beginning of braai season to ensure that it looks as good as the day it was built. Below, we share a few simple steps to make sure your deck is ready for summer!

Timber Deck Maintenance Steps

  1. Spend some time thoroughly inspecting your deck, from top to bottom. Check that all screws are still flush with the wood, and if not giving them a couple of turns with a screwdriver. While doing this, giving all of the planks a little shake and check that they are all still holding firm and in place. If they move at all, they may need a little extra securing.
  2. As you are probably well aware, timber decks do need a little more hands on maintenance than composite and other decking materials. Now is probably a good time to give your deck a light sand with an orbital floor sander. If your timber is a little older or has been exposed to heavy traffic/harsher elements, a deeper sand may be required. It is not recommended to hand-sand your deck as there will be inconsistencies and you may go a little deeper in some areas than others. Plus, its hard work! You can rent orbital sanders short-term from your local equipment hiring store.
  3. Give your deck a good sweep to properly clear off all sanding dust and debris. This step is important and should not be overlooked. If there are any pieces of sanding dust left on your deck before you coat the timber, you will not have a smooth finish and you will need to start the process all over again.
  4. Once your deck is cleared of all sanding residue, coat the planks with your desired timber oil and allow it to absorb into the wood until it’s dry to the touch. If required, give your deck another coat to ensure it is completely sealed and ready for summer braais and swimming parties!

*For good hardwood timbers sanding isn’t always necessary unless you want the rich natural colour back or you are having to remove a solvent based sealant product which was applied previously, otherwise oiling your nicely cleaned deck is all it takes to maintain a good hardwood deck which has greyed over time.

Composite Deck Maintenance Steps

  1. Timber and composite decks have very similar installation techniques, so as with timber, give your composite deck a thorough check to ensure all screws and clips are secure and none of the boards are moving at all. If they do move at all, a little more securing may be required.
  2. Because the beauty of owning a composite deck is that it needs very little maintenance with virtually no effort, all you really need to do to clean your deck is give it a good scrub using a coarse bristle broom and a non-ammonia based general liquid soap. You can get soaps like this at your general hardware store.
  3. Using a hosepipe, simply rinse off all soap residue and allow your deck to dry – voila! Your deck is sparkling clean and ready for your friends and family to spend their summer afternoons enjoying the summer sun, a beer and a boerie roll.

*If you find that there are stubborn marks and/or your high traffic areas have visible marks, you can use a high-pressure washer to make sure your entire deck looks like new.

You can do all of the above yourself if you have the know-how, or you can contact your original decking installer so they can come out and have a look for you. Alternatively, contact us and we can put you in touch with a decking installer in your area that could help.

Some extra general deck maintenance tips to keep in mind throughout the year

  1. Clean food and drink spills immediately: It may seem obvious, but even just leaving an oily piece of meat or drop of red wine can seep into your deck leaving a stain that turns into a hassle to remove. Rather clean up the spill immediately and give it a wipe down with some clean water.
  2. Don’t use spades or sharp tools on your deck: whether there is mud or other debris on your deck for whatever reason, rather use a broom and/or water from the hose to remove it. Don’t take the chance of chipping or permanently damaging your deck.
  3. Don’t let tannins into your deck: tannins or leaching can form when organic materials gets stuck in between the gaps of a deck, and as a result, water starts to pool under it. This can cause unsightly stains on your deck, especially if it is light in colour. To easily reduce the chances of tannins, make sure all of the gaps between the planks/boards are cleared of any foreign materials by using a soft broom, spatula or water.
  4. Inspect your deck: make sure you give your deck a thorough once-over at least twice a year, maybe even once a quarter to keep an eye out for any issues that should be fixed immediately, before they land up becoming more serious and costly to fix.

On The Deck supplies only the highest quality composite and timber decking to the South African market. We have a network of experienced, highly skilled installers and contractors who we can refer to you, should you be looking at a new deck, repairs to an old deck or a complete deck revamp. If you’re not sure whether timber or composite decking is right for you, we can chat to you about your options and help you make an informed decision. Look out for more helpful tips and tricks for your outdoor spaces on our blog!