How to Restore Your Decking This Summer

Decking has become an extremely popular feature of many gardens up and down the country. A great way to spend the summer months, lounging on your timber or composite has become a favourite pastime of many across the UK. However, nothing lasts forever, and decking is no different. Thanks in large part to the particularly unpredictable British weather, wear, and weathering are inevitable.

No need to panic though, it is very possible to rejuvenate your decking without having to remove or replace it. Restoration is a great way to breathe new life into these garden structures. Over the years, numerous effective products have been released to help with this process, while in other cases all that is needed are a couple of simple household tools.

This guide will look into some key signs your decking might require restoration, the differences in rejuvenating timber and composite decking, how to maintain your decking to ensure it looks great for longer, and answer several other commonly asked questions surrounding your deck’s rehabilitation.

Table of Contents

When Should I Restore My Deck?

You should be maintaining your deck fairly regularly throughout the year, especially if it is made from timber. Composite decking is often advertised as requiring less maintenance, and while this is certainly true in most cases, a restoration session may well need to be carried out every few years or so.

With timber decking, you can expect to have to carry out the restoration procedure once every year to keep your decking looking its best. Some may get away with leaving it for longer, but decks that see frequent activity, or are located under trees where leaves fall and birds tend to leave their droppings, will require care more often.

Does the Type of Decking Affect How it is Restored?

Absolutely – timber decking will require a different procedure when it comes to restoration. It requires additional tools, equipment, and chemicals to get it looking its best. This is often seen as one of the few drawbacks as far timber is concerned, as it is otherwise believed by many to be the superior decking option, especially aesthetically.

Meanwhile, composite decking usually only requires simple, infrequent care. However, this is not to say the process doesn’t need to be carried out. Composite decking often lacks the lifespan of timber, so inspection will need to be carried out on a fairly regular basis to make sure your decking pieces are in good working order.

What are the Ways I Can Restore my Deck?

The methods required to restore your deck depend on the severity of its condition, but decking maintenance, in general, can be broken down into four main variations:

  • General Care – this can be as simple as sweeping or hosing down your decking. Whether you own timber or composite, this should be done a few times a year to make sure your deck stays in good condition and continues to compliment your garden visually.
  • Intensive Clean – A more thorough clean will need to be carried out around twice a year on both timber and composite decks. With timber decking, this may involve pressure washing, though this isn’t always necessary. Soapy water and specialised cleaners can also be used in some cases.
  • Restoration – At least once a year on timber decks, with composite decks requiring it on a less frequent basis. For timber decking, this will involve an intensive clean, as well as a thorough inspection of the deck for broken or damaged segments. Specialised cleaners will be necessary, and depending on the state of your structure, decking oil may also prove useful.
  • Repair and Replace – A hopefully rather infrequent situation whether you own timber or composite decking. Repairing cracked, snapped, or broken boards are a must to ensure the safety and stability of your deck. This may also need to be accompanied by a restoration if the deck appears to be in generally poor condition.

Should I Call in an Expert?

You may feel it necessary to call in an expert for several reasons. It may be that you feel the state of your decking has gotten so out of hand that no store-bought treatment or a thorough wash is going to return your decking to its former glory. Alternatively, you may own a particularly large deck, or maybe you’d simply prefer to leave the job in the hands of someone who really knows what they’re doing.

Regardless of the reason, we would always recommend analysing your current situation, and asking yourself if the price is worth the result? Is your timber simply a little dirty and littered with debris? This is something you could easily sort without shelling out for professional assistance. Is your deck filthy to the point of deterioration? Then it might be time to call in an expert.

You may also be able to locate a service that can offer advice without charging for a full servicing. Alternatively, you should be able to get a quote before any work begins. Always be sure to do your research when it comes to traders, ensuring that you’re being offered a good service for a reasonable price by a reputable organisation.

How do I Restore My Decking?

Restoring Timber Decking

To restore timber decking, you will need the following materials:

  • Pressure Washer
  • Sander (optional)
  • Broom/leaf blower
  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Mop and/or sponge
  • Garden hose or bucket of clean water
  • Decking Oil
  • Good weather – a couple of days of sunshine at the very least

You will then need to follow these steps: 

  1. Start by removing any movable furniture on your deck and sweeping the structure completely of any loose debris – this includes leaves (which is why you may want to use a leaf blower instead), twigs, dust, and dirt.
  2. Investigate the decking for any boards that are physically damaged rather than just dirty – these will need to be removed properly and replaced (preferably with boards of the closest make and style you can achieve) before you can proceed.
  3. Use your bucket of soapy water to clean any ‘mid-tier’ marks – often dirty splodges and stains that can’t be swept away. If you struggle with removing a mark, just remember that a pressure washer will more than likely remove it with ease in the next step.
  4. Use a pressure washer across the entire surface area, taking care as this tool is extremely powerful. Remove as much of the grime from the surface of the timber as you can.
  5. You may then find that the wooden boards are very rough. If you have one – and have knowledge on how to use it – you can now utilise your sander to smooth out the surface of your decking. Sanders are also powerful tools, so take care and be safe whilst using them.
  6. Apply your chosen deck cleaner. There are many different decking cleaners on the market – some of which may well require applying at an earlier or later stage in the process. Be sure to consult the instructions of your chosen cleaner for a clear idea of how to apply it efficiently. Also, be aware that specialised cleaners may contain chemicals harmful to plant life, so be careful if using next to your garden or lawn.
  7. Apply your chosen decking oil/stain – this is what will rejuvenate your decking as far as aesthetics are concerned. There are plenty of these on the market, so be sure to pick the right one for your wooden boards and follow the instructions closely. Nearly all will need to be applied by brush or similar tool after which it will also need time to dry.
  8. Once the decking is dry, once again rinse (with a hose or bucket of clean water this time, NOT with a pressure washer). This will help to finish off your newly rejuvenated decking.

Restoring Composite Decking

To restore composite decking, you will need:

  • Bucket of soapy water
  • Mop or sponge
  • Broom, leaf blower and/or vacuum cleaner
  • Composite decking cleaner (consult manufacturer of decking before using)
  • Vinegar solution (two parts vinegar, one-part water)
  • Baking soda
  • Bristled brush

You will then need to follow these steps: 

  1. Consult with the manufacturer that your composite deck has been designed for restoration – it may be that they have not been produced with the properties that enable certain restoration techniques.
  2. Look over your composite decking – does it simply need a sweep and a quick wash, or maybe something more thorough, like mould or stain removal? Investigate for pieces of your decking that are cracked or otherwise broken. while composite decking is a resilient material, you will more than likely need to replace any damaged pieces.
  3. Plan the procedure – once you’re aware of what needs cleaning, you can set about preparing everything. If you’re only planning on a quick sweep and clean, you’ll more than likely get by with just a bucket of soapy water, a broom, and a mop. For more intensive cleaning or larger surfaces, bring a hose. For mould and stain removal, you’ll need your vinegar solution and baking soda.
  4. Begin by clearing the area – move any furniture off your deck, while also taking care to sweep away any loose debris including leaves, twigs, dust, and dirt. You can use a broom for this, but some people opt for leaf blowers or even heavy-duty vacuum cleaners. Be careful with this latter option however, most vacuum cleaners are not designed for outside use.
  5. Sponge or mop the deck with soapy water. DO NOT use a pressure washer to clean composite decking – the vast majority of brands have not been designed to be compatible with this, possibly damaging, method. Simply mop the entire decking space from top to bottom, not forgetting to tend to any handrails, bannisters, and steps too.
  6. Rinse away the soapy water – this can be carried out with either several buckets of water or a hosepipe. Ensure that suds have been washed away from the decking. Again, do not use a pressure washer. Once you have washed away all suds, allow the decking to dry.
  7. Use vinegar solution on any tougher stains or mould – apply your vinegar solution directly to the mould or stain before sprinkling with the baking soda. Wait 20 minutes for the mixture to work. Then, scrub away with a bristled brush, rinse again to get rid of any leftover residue and allow to dry.
  8. Apply Composite Decking Cleaner (optional) – in the case you find your decking brand supplies a companion cleaning mixture, or you can confirm a certain product can be applied to your deck, follow the instructions to apply this cleaner. Keep your hosepipe and brush handy, as most cleaners will require rinsing away afterwards.
  9. Ensure everything is dry before returning your furniture and accessories to your decking space. If you need to replace any decking pieces, be sure you have done so before putting anything back.

How Can I Keep My Decking Maintained?

A general clean will help to ensure that your decking stays in a better condition and looks better for longer. Both composite and timber decks require only simple procedures when it comes to carrying out a general clean, such as a good sweep and a hose down a few times a year.

With timber decking, a more thorough clean will also be required to keep the wood preserved. The frequency of this more intensive clean will depend on several factors that you will need to consider, such as the amount of activity that takes place on the decking, as well as surroundings, weather conditions and the time of year.

Keeping on top of your decking maintenance is a sure-fire way to prevent restorations from needing to be carried out on a more frequent basis, as well as saving money in the long run and even adding additional value to your home. This is because well-looked after decking is less likely to wear away and will therefore decrease the likelihood of having to source costly replacements.

Have More Questions About Decking Restoration?

If you still have any more questions about decking, whether it be maintenance, pricing or even picking out a deck for your own garden, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our award-winning team. Whatever your needs they’ll help you find the best solution for your project, whether you’re revitalising an existing property or are tackling a larger new build. Simply call us on 01295 565565 or talk to us now using the chat box below.