Decking areas are a great place to relax or entertain. But the British weather can take its toll, leaving decking in need of a little TLC. This can determine the best products to use and when to tackle the job. If your decking is newly laid, we recommend leaving it to weather naturally for about six months before being stained or oiled. This helps ensure that any existing treatment has eroded, allowing the new paint or stain to properly penetrate and adhere to the deck. For a truly low maintenance option, consider our innovative composite deck boards pictured below.
Read our Buyer's guide to decking. Selecting a finish for your decking can be as much about style as it is about protecting your timber.
A User’s Guide to Fencing and Decking Materials
Paints offer a fantastic range of colours — from natural looking, subtle shades to bright and bold hues, allowing you to make a big style statement and stay on-trend with the latest seasonal looks. Specialist decking paints fill in small cracks and lock down splinters as well as colouring and protecting weathered wood, helping to give your decking an instantly dramatic makeover. Deck stains are available in a variety of rich colours and deliver a semi-opaque finish while protecting and weatherproofing the deck. Decking oils penetrate the timber, waterproofing and replacing natural oils and resins that are lost over time.
Stains and oils will require regular re-application to keep your decking looking its best. Read our Buyer's guide to exterior paint.
Step 1. Choosing the right type of fence
Every product is slightly different, and it only takes a few minutes to check that you have all of the right information before you start. Get the best out of your decking by caring for it twice a year - in spring to prepare for the summer months and in autumn to prepare for the winter ahead. When looking for the best time, keep a close watch on the weather forecast.
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And avoid treating your deck during very hot weather as the intense sunshine may cause the product to dry too quickly and not be fully absorbed into the wood. One of the quickest ways to refresh your deck is to give it a good clean. A decking cleaner and reviver is specially formulated to restore the wood back to its natural colour, reinvigorating the appearance of your deck. It also removes moss, mould and algae, and helps make it easier to apply deck paint, stains and oils. Remove all garden furniture, storage or other items from the decking so that the entire surface to be treated is clear.
Use a stiff broom to give your decking a good sweep. This will get rid of any dirt or loose bits of wood and general debris from the decking.
How to Build a Deck: Composite Decking and Deck Railings
Check the surface of the deck for any loose boards or raised screws. And use a screwdriver to secure them more tightly. If your decking has layers of previous paint and you want to go back to a more natural wood look, sand them down using a belt or palm sander. This only works for smooth boards and not grooved ones. If you decide against sanding your decking, pour decking cleaner directly onto the deck or follow the recommended product instructions.
Applying it to small, manageable areas such as three to four deck boards at a time. This ensures that you can quickly complete this part of the process. As soon as the cleaner has been applied, start scrubbing it with a scrubbing brush. If it comes into contact with surrounding grass or plants rinse thoroughly with water. Leave for 15 to 20 minutes.
Rinse off thoroughly with clean water working from one end of the decking to the other. For the best results, wash off with a pressure washer or use a hose with a jet spray setting. A high-powered pressure washer can rough up the timber of your decking and make it even harder to clean or treat. Alternatively, use an attachment especially designed for cleaning decks. If traces of any previous finishes, such as oil and stain, still show, consider using a decking stripper. Apply as per product instructions. There are a few options when it comes to applying your decking paint or stain.
Choose from a timber brush, a roller set some include brushes , a paint pad or a paint sprayer. Brushes are great for fiddly areas, such as between expansion gaps, and so can be a helpful addition to other tools. However by themselves, they can take a long time to get the job done. To work more quickly, consider a roller. These allow for greater coverage in one application than a brush and can be fitted with extension poles for greater comfort when working.
We recommend a thicker pile for a coloured stain or paint, rather than for clearer finishes. Like a roller, a paint pad can also be used with a pole and works well applying stain to both grooved or smooth decking. The premium choice is the paint sprayer.
These use less product than brushes or rollers and provide the quickest results. Don't shake it otherwise bubbles will form in the finish. Alternatively, if using an oil or a protector, this should be shaken or stirred thoroughly.
Find a hidden area of deck you can test the colour on to make sure that you're completely happy with it - remembering to let it dry fully. Start in the furthest corner to ensure you have an exit path and work your way back from the painted deck. Work along the length of the boards with a generous coating on your brush this is known as a flood coat. Paint three to four boards at a time from one end of a deck board all the way down to the other end.
When finished, remove as much of the product as possible from the brushes before cleaning them with water and a paint brush cleaner. Looking for ideas of what to do with your leftover paint or preservative? Don't pour it down drains or watercourses as they can pollute waterways. Instead, find out how to responsibly dispose of unwanted paint and paint cans with our helpful guide. Read How to recycle paint and paint cans.
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Rollers are more prone to splashing than brushes, so cover any nearby surfaces with dust sheets in case of overspray or drips. Give your chosen deck paint or stain a really good stir, before applying to make sure you get a consistent colour. Dip the roller in the tray or bucket and twist it while still in the roller or tray to remove any excess drips.
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Be careful not to overload the roller. Roll the paint or stain on, turning the roller as you apply it. Go over it again for a consistent finish and to prevent paint pooling in puddles. Work along the length of the boards painting three to four boards at a time from one end of a deck board all the way down to the other end.
Get into tight spots, such as between expansion gaps, by swapping the roller for a paint brush and applying the paint.
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When finished, pour any remaining paint in the tray or bucket back into the paint vessel. Remove as much of the product as possible from the roller before cleaning it and the tray or bucket. Dip the pad base into the paint and push or pull in long strokes along the length of the boards. Remove as much of the product as possible from the paint pad before cleaning it and the tray or bucket. Want ideas of what to do with your leftover paint or preservative? If one lines up over a joist, you can reposition it slightly.
Cut the posts to length according to your plan and local codes. The bottom ends of the posts will be flush with the bottom edges of the rim and end joists. Along the end joists, use deck screws to attach extra bracing between the floor joists and end joists to mount the anchors. Cut the bracing from the same 2 x lumber you used for the joists for this deck 2 x 8 lumber.