( 5 MINUTE READ )
The answer is…if you haven’t treated it over the summer then possibly not that much! However, there are still some things you can do.
Most decking treatments need to be applied in dry, warm conditions so the “decking season” typically runs from spring to late summer. In cooler conditions (below 10 degrees C) many products cannot be applied, so routine maintenance is best done during the “season”. Typically these products will have an optimum working temperature range, often between 15-25 degrees C.
Attempting to apply decking finishes to a wet deck or in cool / damp weather will usually result in the job not being successful. Stains may lift and oils may be repelled by residual moisture within the wood. Oils can also develop a white film if they lie on the surface and are then exposed to moisture.
That said, to every rule there is an exception - in this case Rustin’s Quick Drying Decking Oil, which can be applied to a damp (not wet!) deck. Make sure the temperature is above 10 degrees and that no rain is expected during the application and drying period.
Brand new decks need a period of weathering before they can accept a treatment. For softwoods this would be a few weeks but for tightly grained oily hardwoods, this period may be as long as a year.
Before the weather closes in too much you can treat the sawn ends of the decking planks with an end grain sealer. This will inhibit the ingress of water and greatly reduce the risk of the wood swelling or splitting.
Otherwise, keeping the deck clean and free of potential contaminates such as decaying leaves will make sure you will be ready for the new season.
If the wood begins to ‘grey’ and lose it’s natural colour there are products available to restore the decking to it’s normal state prior to a finish being applied when the weather improves. These can also deal with any moss, mould or algal growth that may have occurred over winter.
There’s a good chance that there will be price increases before the next decking season starts, so why not take advantage of the current deals on decking products? If we get an early spring you’ll be ready to go!