Here at Full Circle Refinishing, we endeavour to make all deck restorations as simple as possible. Often you have spent many hours and thousands of dollars preparing and oiling decks and balustrades in the years prior to our arrival – sometimes we can and sometimes we can’t capitalise on that. There are three main ways we’ll attack a timber deck restoration job:
1. STRIP JOB: it’s a full stripping away of the old coating
Where to throw good money after bad (overcoating a badly weathered surface) isn’t what anyone wants to do. This is sometimes best achieved using a chemical stripper applied like a paint over the old coating and then pressure cleaned off (using hot water if it’s particularly hard to get off). At other times, we’ll sand old coatings back to bare wood. There’s several things we have to look at before deciding which route to take – such as, if using stripper and a pressure cleaner, is the timber strong enough to hold together or will it become grainy and prematurely wear, plus other substrates nearby that we have to be careful not to ruin. If sanding, we’ll have to decide whether raised nails or screws are too problematic or if the boards are badly cupped, or too thin – in this case we will lose too much timber in the process. Following whichever method is most suitable to the timber deck restoration process, we’ll work with you to decide which timber oil best suits you needs and preferences and then apply usually at least two coats.
2. PRO-CLEAN: A professional clean can sometimes do the trick
We’ll apply a strong chemical cleaner to old and weathered timber decks to restore the colour and remove dark mould patches that deteriorate wood and aren’t pleasing to the eye. When restoring timber in this way, we have to be mindful of the fact that this professional cleaning (done with one of several timber brightening chemicals to choose from) that when pressure cleaned off, may not leave an absolutely perfect surface to re-oil. If a client is after ‘bang-for-buck’ so-to-speak, then this process is often a fantastic option, for it provides the foundation to lay coats of oil over previously coated timber and avoids the cost of having to start again as with a strip job detailed above. A light sand is required after such a clean and then one or two coats of oil can be applied to finish.
3. QUICK-CLEAN & SCUFF: Quick cleaning and or light sanding
For the home owner who has done quite well with their timber deck maintenance, a less powerful timber soap and pressure clean plus usually a light sand using a pole sander with 120 grit sandpaper, can often be enough to clean and rough the surface ready for a re-coat. This process is faster than the above and very much the desired annual timber deck restoration, or more accurately, timber maintenance routine, that we encourage all home owners to have in place. What’s great about just quickly scuffing or cleaning a timber deck is that it doesn’t cause really any wear and tear to the timber beneath the coating – the asset we are endeavouring to extend the life of in all cases after all. Usually only one coat of decking oil is required to suitably protect the deck until next year. So, like in most cases, prevention is better than a cure when it comes to timber deck restoration and maintenance schedules.