Updating or repairing your deck can add value to your home and help you enjoy the outdoors more. However, if these updates aren’t done correctly, they can actually cause more problems than they solve. Timber is one of the most-used materials when it comes to outdoor additions to homes, and when treated right, timber can be a robust and long-lived outdoor feature that makes the most of natural materials.
We spoke to Brian Hamilton, the Managing Director of Sikkens distributor Tenaru, and an expert in the field of decks, about the top five mistakes everybody makes with timber decking, and how to fix them, so your next project adds value to your home, not problems.
1. Not preparing the timber properly before applying a new coating
Preparing the timber before applying a fresh coat ensures a clean and smooth finish. Some decks will require a simple clean with either a mild detergent solution, or a cleaning product to remove embedded dirt, grease and grime. However, if the deck coating is peeling or flaking, it may also be necessary to sand the surface before recoating. If timber is not prepared properly the coating could fail and the timber will need to be sanded back and recoated.
2. Applying timber coatings in unsuitable weather conditions
Once a timber coating is applied, it takes several hours to dry. By applying a coating during wet weather, the moisture disrupts the drying process and can damage the surface. That’s why it’s essential to pick a weekend where the weather is warm and dry. The ideal temperature to coat timber is between 10°C and 30°C.
3. Not ensuring the cut ends are coated
When recoating timber furniture or decking, it’s easy to forget to coat the cut ends. Timber is a very absorbent material, particularly through the end grain which can soak up moisture. Therefore, by not coating the cut end the finish is ineffective and the timber is exposed to moisture, which will cause it to rot. Timber becomes more durable once a timber finish is applied and lasts longer when the cut ends are coated.
4. Not testing the colour of the coating before application
The colour of a new coating changes once it’s applied to a timber surface. Therefore, it’s essential to test the colours beforehand. Sample pots are an affordable way to test a stain for the best possible indication of how the finished project will look. For a true indication of the colour, apply three coats on a sample piece of timber that’s tucked away.
5. Using the wrong product for a project
It is important to use the right finish for specific products. Some products are perfect for vertical surfaces like windows, doors and cladding, but are unsuitable to be walked on. Ask your local timber expert what product best suits your purposes before buying anything.
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