Scrub the Decks
Outdoor entertaining is a huge part of Australian culture, with home owners valuing the beauty and functionality of an outdoor room as an important investment for quality of life and the overall worth of their home. Off the back of this comes a booming market for decking and exterior timber finishes, and the coming months are prime timing for consumers to get kitted out for DIY decking maintenance. Whether it’s protecting a newly laid deck, giving it an annual refresh or changing the colour and look of an outdoor room, there are plenty of products to fill the shelves and ensure consumers have everything they need to protect their exterior timber – and the value of the home.
Cabot’s Brand Manager, Natalie van den Akker, says with a growing number of decking and exterior timber finishes on the market, it’s important to educate consumers about how to achieve the best and most effective results. “Simply by spending some time applying a highly durable decking finish, exterior timber can be easily and effectively protected from the Australian elements,” says Natalie. “When applied correctly, decking finishes penetrate the timber, delivering UV protection, high durability and water repellence – the three key qualities to ensure maximum protection of timber from the most severe environmental conditions.”
When choosing an exterior timber finish, consumers are looking for a product that:
- Has an easy application
- Is nourishing for the timber
- Enhances the timber’s appearance
- Is more durable, therefore avoiding frequent maintenance
- Is environmentally conscious
This is where brands such as Cabot’s and have earned their popularity. Come decking season, consumers are drawn to the bold, yellow packaging of Cabot’s decking products, like Aquadeck and Deck & Exterior Stain Water Based, knowing they are easy to use and provide long-lasting, high quality results.
However, beyond product selection, it’s important for deck owners to know just how to get the best results from their chosen finish. Van den Akker outlines the fundamental basics of decking maintenance in the lead up to summer…
Before the job begins
A simple way of increasing job efficiency is to select the correct application equipment. A decking applicator and sock, such as Cabot’s Decking Applicator, will help complete the job faster and achieve a more even coating.
Preparing the timber
The end result of any decking finish depends on how well the timber is prepared prior to coating, as this lays a sound base to ensure a fantastic looking and longer lasting result. It pays, therefore, to adhere to the following checklist:
- Protect garden beds with drop sheets.
- Timber surfaces must be dry and free from any traces of dust, dirt, wax, grease and oil. A scraper should work well to remove grease and dirt deposits.
- With weathered, grey or previously coated timber, it best to scrub with a deck cleaner to remove grey, loose fibres, mould and algae, tannins, and to revitalise the colour of the surface of the timber.
Van den Akker says it’s also crucial to use a product such as Cabot’s Deck Clean on new timber before coating, to thoroughly clean and de-oil the surface. “It is a common misconception that new wood doesn’t need to be washed prior to staining, and that clear water alone is sufficient to remove surface contamination. In fact, it is essential that all wood – whether new or aged – needs to be thoroughly cleaned before the application of any product,” she says.
This is because a low level of microscopic mildew spores that are invisible to the naked eye can exist on wood surfaces alongside all the dirt, grease and oils that settle out of the air. When these spores are stained or painted over, the right conditions can be created for them to spread and cause problems.
To successfully kill these spores, a product such as Cabot’s Deck Clean must be used to remove surface dirt and mould. Leave for no more than 15 to 20 minutes and wash off thoroughly, ensuring timber is completely dry before coating so the decking product can penetrate properly.
The decking finish should be stirred thoroughly with a broad, flat paddle (using a scooping action), before and during use. This keeps pigment evenly dispersed in the product during its application, maintaining colour uniformity. If a brush is used, excess oil should be removed on the rim of the can or paint tray ridges before each application. Start application away from an edge or wall to avoid accumulation in corners, or from dripping off edges. Sweep applicator pads or brushes evenly along the grain for the full length of two to three boards at a time, ensuring that the finish is brushed well into the boards. Do not apply too much finish, leaving it to pool, as this will dry with ‘high spots’, inhibiting absorption of the next coat. Keep a wet edge to avoid lap marks and double coating and avoid stopping midway along the board. Always work heading towards a natural break, such as a join in the timber or a corner.
Product can be lain off by brushing gently back over the grain, and note that drying and recoating times of decking oils will vary.