Timber Decking Maintenance | How To Treat Decking

We’ve all experienced those dreaded nights of tossing and turning, as we watch the hours drift slowly past.  We usually blame the last coffee of the day or that cheese snack just before bedtime - unless of course we are worried about something.  A timber decking came between me and my night’s sleep recently! Timber decking maintenance to the rescue!

Image credit Pinterest

Image credit Pinterest

At Placelift, we undertake home improvement projects for home owners and landlords alike.  Recently, we were replacing a timber decking on a balcony of an apartment block.  We were all shocked at what we witnessed.  On this balcony, the extent of the rot was blatantly evident.  As our team began to remove the rotten decking it crumbled in their hands like that of a digestive biscuit. 

So, I hear you ask, “what protection lay between this rotten decking and the sheer drop to the ground below?”  The answer is, absolutely nothing!  The metal grid below had gaps wide enough for a child or pet to easily slip through or seriously injure an adult!

Take these timber decking maintenance steps, before it is too late

The timber balcony decking rot was as a direct result of not receiving adequate maintenance over time.  This landlord was now taking appropriate immediate measures by fully replacing the decking to ensure their balcony was structurally safe for their tenants.  But what was perhaps more alarming was the condition of most of the other balconies in sight on that block and others nearby.  Many of the deck balconies were visibly rotten to the core and some had evidence of a foot going through them - basically a tragedy waiting to happen.

On that night in question, I thought of the people living in these apartments.  Over the coming days, weeks, months, some would go onto their balcony to relax after a hard day’s work, others might socialising with friends and family while others have young children playing on them.

Peace of mind is priceless

As property owners, we must all take responsibility for every aspect of our properties.  Peace of mind is not just about having sufficient insurance in place; it is about protecting the lives of others from possible risks.  Landlords are legally obliged to ensure their property is maintained in a proper state of structural repair.  In other words, maintained in good condition and repair and not defective due to dampness or otherwise.

With the arrival of Summer, if you have not already paid attention to your timber decking, it's not to late!



Although we experienced a pretty tame winter, your decking will still require attention, especially if you want to maintain its robust quality, longevity and smart appearance.

Five reasons for taking care of your timber decking:

  1. Timber can be affected by moisture and poor weather conditions.

  2. The boards can become hazardous for those walking on them when they loosen over time, cracking, and breaking beneath.

  3. As dirt, grime and mould accumulate, if not removed will greatly impact on the quality and lifespan of the decking as well as becoming slippery.

  4. Apart from your timber becoming damaged, your decking's visual appearance will look unloved and drab.

  5. Your deck is a statement garden feature allowing you to relax outdoors, so take pride in its appearance as you would for your interior space.

Timber Decking Maintenance tops tips!

  • Clear between the boards of your timber decking, scraping out all debris.

  • Brush the decking getting into all the grooves.

  • Repair or replace any loose or damaged boards.

  • With a standard cleaning solution, as per the instructions, clean your decking adding as much water as is required.

  • Then clean your decking with a standard wood cleaner and stiff bristled brush.

  • Having paid attention to the entire deck, ensuring the cleaner has soaked in and you can then rinse with water.

  • Once the decking has dried (after about two days), you can begin to seal the decking.

  • Lightly sand the deck.

  • Replace any protruding nails or screws.

  • Ideally on a clear warm dry day to increase its effectiveness. Using a paint roller, you can seal by applying a water-repellent coating that penetrates its surface (doing about three to four boards at a time).

Extra Maintenance Tips

After a few years, it may become necessary to apply more than one form of deck maintenance.

The first is to make sure that all boards are firmly locked. Shrinkage and sometimes even simple wear and tear can cause loosening or "popping" of fasteners. Nails must be brought evenly to the surface with all boards and screws tightened if necessary. Changing excessively worn boards over time is also a wise approach especially those in heavily used areas.

In addition to tightening the deck, it is also advisable to check the screws or bolts connected to the foundation that could loosen due to wood shrinkage, and tighten them accordingly. It is recommended that this inspection is first carried out about six months or so after the initial installation of your decking as it is within this period that most shrinkage takes place.

A second form of maintenance would normally only be required for unfinished decking where the surface can be inlaid or worn over time. If the decking is from unfinished hardwood, occasional cleaning with stiff brushes to remove mold, dirt or stains may be required. It is important to avoid scrubbing or sandblasting to the extent that the surface is excessively worn leaving a slippery finish especially when wet.

After all your hard work, you can relax knowing that on the next warm sunny and inviting evening, you can kick back on your beautifully maintained timber decking with your favourite beverage or dine al fresco - in true style!

For your property and home improvement projects, talk to Placelift on 01 2548070 or contact us here