Care , maintenance and treatments for hard and soft wood decks – oil, preservative, stain or clear protector?
Gleam Team Cleaning Services – 07581 681994
Traditional wooden decking is expected to last about 10 to 15 years, but with proper decking maintenance can last 20 years or more. Decking needs to be regularly cleaned and protected against water penetration with oil or a stain / paint.
The effects of weathering will take its toll on unprotected decks and fading caused by exposure to the sun will turn them grey. If wood absorbs too much water and they are constantly wet they will start to rot, split and warp which will alter the shape of deck boards and make them uneven and diffcult to walk on.
However, professional decking cleaners and maintenance specialists such as Maidstone Gleam Team can still rescue deck in a poor condition and restore it. We also provide a composite decking cleaning and maintenance service in Kent and London.
The key to maintaining a deck is regular brushing to stop the build up of dead leaves and other debris which provide ideal conditions for moss, algae and lichen to thrive, and retain moisture permanently on the surface of decking. This can lead to rot and decks need to be able to dry properly. Oil or preservative help to nourish and oil also weatherproofs the wood whereas deck stain changes appearance and acts as a sealer by preventing water penetration.
Decking cleaner and reviver
A good quality deck cleaner wll clean and remove moss, mould and algae and other dirt and staining. They can brighten dull decks and improve their appearance, and are an excellent pre-treatment to prepare wood prior to it being treated with fresh oil or stain.
Decking soft washing for algae, lichen, moss and mould
Effective decking maintenance and cleaning involves removing the algae first, before cleaning the rest of the deck. Colonised areas should be treated before jet washing otherwise there is a risk that algae still on the deck will be blasted across the surface with the potential to actually spread the algae spores over a wider area and make the problem worse in the long-run.
Therefore black, green,red, yellow algae and lichen should be treated and killed at the start of the deck cleaning process and a low pressure softwash may be the best method to keep your deck clean and free of algae staining. Soft washing is the low pressure application of specialist biocides and cleaning products to kill and remove all algae spores and prevent re-colonisaton of a deck.
It should also be noted that algae spores have a tendency to be absorbed into the surface of porous materials such as wood. This means that despite thorough cleaning it might not be possible to kill all the algae present if some spores remain invisble below the deck surface. If algae rapidly begins to re-colonise the decking after cleaning it then this is the most likely explanation.
In such cases the only way to ensure that all biological spores are killed on and below the surface is to use a specialist biocide product that is designed to also absorb into the wood so that it can kill all the algae colonising the deck. Gleam Team offer comprehensive deck maintenance services and decking soft washing throughout Kent and London and we are able to deal with wood decking and other outdoor hard surfaces that have been infested by algae. The product we use is sold for professional use only and is fully biodegradeable and approved by the UK Health and Safety Executive. It is an excellent, highly effective specialist biocide that not only kills all algae when it is applied but continues doing so for 12 months or more. Surfaces actually get cleaner over time because of the ongong residual power of the product.
Softwashing is the safe and effective way of cleaning fragile external hard surfaces such as roofs, render cleaning, fascias, soffits and gutters, timber and UPVC cladding, walls, brickwork and house and bulding exteriors.
Which are the best general purpose deck cleaning & maintenance products in the UK?
Ronseal and Cuprinol are the 2 most well known brands and manufacturers of decking oils, stains and other decking maintenance products in the UK. Both are recognised for the quality of their oils, stains, paint and other items and their decking cleaners are also of the highest quality and effective at cleaning timber deck.
Pro-Kleen Simply Spray and Walk Away is another very good deck cleaner and as the name implies it is very easy to use. It is designed to remove mould and algae and it does this. My critscism of it would be the delay after application waiting for it to take effect which can be a number of days and it may need a second application.
Based on my own experience of deck maintenance I believe Ronseal Cleaner and Reviver to be the best general purpose cleaning product based on cost, effectiveness, ease of use and value for money.
Top 3 deck cleaners and revivers :
- 1) Ronseal
- 2) Cuprinol
- 3) Pro-Kleen
How to prepare a deck for a fresh coat of oil or stain
Strip off the old coat of deck oil or stain
Most manufacturers recommend strpping away any previous coats of decking paint, stain and oil before applying a new treatment. Ronseal state in their ‘How-To Guides’ – “You need to strip off the previous coat first.” (Ronseal.com/how-to-guides/how-to-look-after-decking).
The reason for this is because the old coat acts as a kind of sealer and will resist the new treatment and stop it from being absorbed properly.
Multiple layers of old stain or paint may need more than one treatment and well known products such as Ronseal Decking Stripper are not quite as effective as the marketing claims. In our considerable experience of decking maintenance projects stripping a deck of old coats is straightforward enough but is also time consuming and involves extra expense buying the stripper itself. There are alot of other brands of decking stripper to choose from and they include Cuprinol, Owatrol, Nitromors and many others.
Is it OK to pressure wash decking?
Yes it is.
It is perfectly safe to pressure wash timber decking if done with care. Pressure washers are powerful machines and are best operated by someone experienced in their use. Things to bear in mind are do not allow the nozzle to get too close to the wood, do not blast the deckng at full power and work along the grain.
Holding the nozzle too close to the surface or using too high a pressure can split and damage a wooden deck.
Our pressure washing services in Kent are able to clean and restore outdoor areas and hard surfaces including :
- block paving, driveways, patios, paths, decks
- concrete slabs
- imprinted concrete
- Indian Sandstone
- Resin bound / resin bonded
Decking oil or decking stain?
After stripping and cleaning the deck it is now ready to be treated to help protect and maintain it to keep it looking good and prevent damage from weathering. Unprotected bare wood will start to fade and turn grey and if it absorbs too much rainwater ths will lead to rot and warping. The options now are deciding whether to use oil, stain / paint or there is a third option of a clear protector. Which of these is best? Well, that all depends on how you want the deck to look and do you want to change its appearance?
Decking oils are available in subtle colours or a clear variety to maintain the natural appearance of the wood. The oil soaks deep into the deck nourishing the wood and protecting it against algae, lchen and mould. For added protection against rot, decay and woodworm it can be pre-treated with a preservative before oiling.
Oil also helps prevent water penetration and stops fading and greying caused by UV sunlight.
Deck oil is an excellent choice of decking maintenance if you want to preserve a natural looking finish. For the best results apply 2 coats.
Stains are the ideal choice if you want to change the appearance of the wood. They come in many shades and are perfect for rejuvenating old, grey decking. They also provide a protectve barrier that seals the deck and prevents water penetration and protects against fading from the sun.
Stain provides a layer of protection that is great for decks that are often used and have heavy footfall. It also protects against chips and knocks
As with oil apply 2 coats of stain.
Clear protector & sealer
This is a colourless treatment to waterproof decking that repels water and helps prevent greying.
It has no effect on the colour of a timber deck. It can be re-applied in future without having to strip the deck first and is the most simple and basic type of decking maintenance.
Clear protector is a cost-effective way of giving the wood the protection it needs and can easily be topped-up in future years without the hassle of stripping old coats.
Composite decking cleaning and maintenance in Kent
Our composite decking cleaning service in London and Kent can soon revive a deck, remove dirt and staining and remove algae and mould.
Composite decking is a combination of wood and plastic and there are 2 main types :
- Wood Polymer Composite, also known as ‘non-capped’
- Capped composite which is the most popular type used now and consists of wood polymer composite wrapped in a slastic sleeve
It is a more durable, water resistant material than wood decking but composite decking does needs cleaning and maintenance. It still gets dirty and stains can become ingrained if not cleaned. Composite decking can also suffer with algae staining and mould and mildew which needs to be removed.
We clean composite decking with specialist water based cleaners and degreasers designed to kill and remove biological spores such as algae and lichen. These products are equally effective on smooth and grooved surfaces. Contact Gleam Team for professional composite decking maintenance and cleaning.
Composite decking maintenance
Composite decks are designed to be low maintenance without the need for regular coats of oil or stain. Some of the questions our customers frequently ask are :
Does composite decking need to be sealed?
A composite deck already has built-in protection against water penetration so sealing is not essential. However, they can be treated with a water soluble sealer which will protect against algae and other staining.
Can composite decking be painted?
No. Manufacturers do not recommend painting it because the plastic will resist paint and stop it being absorbed into the deck.
Can you get rid of algae and stop it from coming back again?
Yes we can remove algae as part of our composite deck cleaning service and we also offer long term protection against algae by applying a product that is designed to keep surfaces algae free and carries on killing algae and lichen spores for many months.
Decking maintenance & restoration services Kent & London
Gleam Team’s decking maintenance services are available throughout Kent and London and include all the aspects discussed in this post. In addition to deck cleaning we are also able to restore old greying decks, strip off previous coats of oil and stain, prepare decking for a new treatment and apply the oil, stain, paint or clear protector.
If you would like to talk about the options available to you we are only too happy to help and advise whenever possible. We will work with you to fnd the most cost-effectve solution we can that also delivers the end result you’re looking for. Whether you favour the nourishing and natural look of oil or want a complete overhaul and would like a new colour and new looking deck requring stain or paint, we can help you.
All our quotes are fully costed and we are completely up front about the materials needed and their costs. You only pay the actual cost of materials and we do NOT profit from materials or add ‘handling charges’ or any other extras.
Our decking maintenance and restoration services are available near you and include the following locations and surrounding areas :
- Medway Towns
- East Kent
- Kings Hill & Malling
- Tunbridge Wells
- Paddock Wood
- south London
We are exterior cleaning specialists who provide high power pressure washing and low pressure soft wash meaning we have a cleaning solution for all outdoor areas and hard surfaces. Other cleaning services include :
- block paving, driveway and patio cleaning and sealing
- fascias, soffits and cladding
- render cleaning
- walls and brickwork
- roof cleaning
Please call 07581 681994 or email using Contact Us for further information or a no oblgation free quote
Ronseal How To Guides – How To Look After Decking
Image – Decking stain colour chart courtesy of osmouk.com/faq/decking-stain-colours-for-exterior-hardwood-and-softwood/