If a natural appearance is required, liberal application of a water repellent preservative or decking oil will help to maintain the timber in good condition, although the timber will inevitably "grey" due to the effects of sunlight. The colour of the timber can be restored by the application of a stain finish. Successive applications over a period of time should result in a build up of water repellent preservative compounds in the timber surface and an extension of the maintenance interval
Natural and stain finishes are normally re-applied when the timber loses its water repellency. It would be expected that recoating would be required every 12 months for decking oils and up to every 2 years for stains. Generally, the decking closest to the outside will be more affected by the weather and may absorb more of the finish when recoating, with less (or in some cases negligible) absorption in protected areas. Care must be taken to make allowance for this varying absorption when re-coating so as to avoid overloading the surface in the protected areas.
Before the product is applied to your new deck it is necessary to clean the deck boards with a deck cleaner to remove any tannin and dirt that may be still present on the surface, as this will stop the product taking to the boards evenly. The deck will then need to thoroughly dry approx 6-24 hours (subject to temp.)
Stain / Oil should be applied to a "run" of a number of boards, along the full length of the decking, and not across the full width of the decking. The gap between the boards can then be used to separate each run, so as to avoid an overlap of stain finish which would result in a variation of colour density.
A common problem with the application of stain / Oil finishes, is that the stain is applied too heavily and is not completely absorbed into the timber as it should be. "Overloading the surface" covers the grain of the timber, and produces a stronger colour than intended when the stain was selected. The resulting "surface coating" is often glossy and uneven (blotchy) initially, is unstable in the long term, and will weather off unevenly.
Apply two coats of the chosen finish as per manufacturers instructions with either a brush or pad applicator and enjoy your finished deck .
Regular cleaning of the decking should be by dry methods such as sweeping rather than washing.
Timber has long served as an attractive and durable decking material and satisfactory longterm performance can best be assured by giving careful attention to good design and to correct methods of , installation and finishing.