Using the Right Finish to Protect Your Timber Deck

If you have just installed a timber deck in your home, the next thing you need to do is to ensure it's maintained well. It would be a waste of resources to construct an outstanding deck and fail to provide the protection it requires.

Since your timber deck is installed outdoors, it will be exposed to harsh climatic conditions. Standing moisture, heat and UV rays are main elements that wreak havoc on decks that aren't protected properly. The timber decking will also be attacked by foot traffic, furniture, beverage and food spills and your BBQ grill. Fortunately, there are multiple products that can help protect the timber, making it possible for the deck to last many years.

How to protect your timber deck

Preparing the surface

Once professionals have installed your timber deck, apply a protective finish before three months is up. Even if you don't have enough funds to purchase the right finish, you'll manage to raise some by ninety days. However, it's advisable to apply the first coat before the deck is assembled. The faces, edges and ends must be properly covered. If using new timber, be sure to let it dry for about three weeks to minimise the moisture level.

Before applying a finish, ensure the timber is clean — it needs to be free of mildew, dust, dirt or any other kind of foreign matter. Be sure to use a special deck cleaner.

Choosing the right finish

An excellent choice of the coating is determined by the product's performance characteristics, timber species and the desired aesthetic qualities. No matter the product, be sure to apply three coats for unmatched protection.

To retain the timber's natural beauty, consider getting a semi-transparent stain. Its pigmentation is less, which allows the grain and colour of the timber to show vividly. Oil-based stains are great at penetrating the timber and have alkyd resin that offers maximum resistance to any form of abrasive impact from furniture legs and foot traffic.

Light stains penetrate deep into the timber fibres and maintain the timber grain. This type of stain also weathers well, so the older it is, the better it looks. Solid decking stains offer more protection but will hide the wood grain. This finish is also more repellent and tough, especially when it comes to the harmful UV rays.

What about timber species? Pressure-treated timber cracks, letting moisture in. This causes the timber to contract and expand. When you use a stain that creates a film, it could crack and peel as a result of expansion and contraction. Therefore it's better to use a stain that penetrates deeply to seal the timber.

Talk with a decking expert about the right way to prepare the surface and the right stain for your deck.