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The ultimate deck care guide for beauty and durability.

Overview

The key to a long-lasting deck that looks and feels great is maintenance! With regular care and attention, you can keep your outdoor deck looking beautiful and inviting for years to come. In this friendly and informative guide from Bunnings Warehouse, we'll take you through the step-by-step process of deck maintenance, helping you identify damaged boards, clean the surface, protect the areas, and choose the right finishes. Let's get started on keeping your deck in top shape!

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, ear muffs, gloves and mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

Steps

1Identify any damaged boards

If you’ve had your deck for a while, you’ll want to begin by inspecting your deck for any damaged or rotten boards, as well as loose nails or screws. These don’t look great and they can be dangerous for you and your family too. Go ahead and replace any boards that need it and tighten or replace any loose nails or screws. This not only maintains the deck's structural integrity but also prevents potential injuries.
Damaged board identification.

2 Sand the surface for preparation

To prepare the surface of your deck, you’ll want it to be smooth so that any paint, oils or finishes can adhere well. Use a belt sander to sand the deck, following the timber grain. Focus on areas with splintered timber or previous finishes. This step ensures a smooth surface for the next maintenance steps.
Achieving a smooth deck for optimal finish adhesion.

3Remove dust and algae build up

Regular cleaning is key to deck maintenance. Sweep the deck surface regularly to remove loose debris. For a thorough clean, mix deck cleaner with water according to the manufacturer's instructions. Other options are oxygen bleach-based cleaners or homemade solutions like vinegar and water for eco-friendly options. Choose your cleaner and scrub the deck using a brush to remove dirt, mould, and stains caused by algae or other factors. Repeat this step once a year or as often as necessary.
Enhance the beauty of your deck by cleaning tips.

4 Rinse the deck

Once you've completed the cleaning process, thoroughly rinse the deck surface using a Bunnings garden hose or a pressure washer. It is crucial to remove all traces of cleaning residue. However, exercise caution while using a pressure washer to prevent any potential damage to the timber. After rinsing, allow the deck to dry completely before walking on it, ensuring optimal safety and preserving the deck's integrity.

Deck surface rinse: Safeguarding timber after cleaning for lasting beauty.

5Protect areas which shouldn't be oiled

Before applying any deck stain, oil, or water-based coating, use painter's tape to protect areas you want to keep free from the product. This step ensures clean and precise application.
Masterful deck finishing: Precise application and flawless results with painter's tape.

6 Determine the type of application

When it comes to finishes for decks, there are various options available, including deck stains, varnishes, and oils. Each type of finish offers unique characteristics that can influence the overall look and performance of your deck.

Water-based products have the advantage of drying faster and being easier to clean up. They’re great for waterproofing and stand up well against harsh UV rays. If applied correctly, water-based products can be lower maintenance due to their ability to last longer and keep their colour.

Oil-based stains are always popular for the rich colour and life they breathe into decking. They’re easy to apply and provide an even finish - so they’re great for beginners. However, the dry time is significantly longer than water-based products.

If you’ve got a deck that’s been previously stained, it’s best to re-stain it with the same product. However, if you want to switch things up, you'll need to invest some time in sanding the timber deck to remove all existing products and expose the bare timber before applying the new finish or colour.

Don’t forget, consider the specific needs of your deck, such as exposure to sunlight and water, and choose the finish that aligns with your desired aesthetic and provides the necessary protection for long-lasting beauty.

Deck transformation: Explore stains, varnishes, and oils for lasting appeal.
Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.