Having spent time and money on building decking for your home you are strongly advised to make sure you’ve got waterproofed decks before the bad weather sets in. During the summer months, or warm weather, if the decking gets wet it’s not too much of a problem as it will dry out fully during the hot sunny days.
However, as soon as the weather changes, moisture soaking into the decking will start to accumulate and you’ll be surprised how quickly rot can start to set in. This advice isn’t just for those living in regions that have regularly cold and wet weather outside of the summer; unless you live in a virtual desert, it is recommended you follow these practices.
Reducing the Risk of Damage
Whether the timbers you used for the decking were new or old, pre-treated or not – wood is not water proof or weather resistant. However, that’s not to say that you can’t protect it and keep it looking smart and fresh for many years to come, providing you’re prepared to give the decking a little regular maintenance.
That regular maintenance includes occasionally washing down the decking in the summer with a general household cleaner. The main reason for this is to remove any dirt, or indeed growths like mildew, that over time can accelerate the likely-hood of rot setting in. Ideally you will have waterproofed your decking as soon as you had finished constructing it, this being the best possible method to get your ‘waterproofing’ regime off to a good start.
Whenever you’re getting around to waterproofing decking, check that the water-proofer you have is suitable to the type of wood used for the decking. Decking comes in all sorts of hard and soft woods that can have their own specially formulated waterproofing sealants.
Preparing for Waterproofing
It probably won’t come as a surprise to experienced DIY/home enthusiasts that before waterproofing the decking you need to make sure that it is clean and free of any loose material. Needless to say move any furniture or other moveable objects off the decking before starting.
Start off by brushing it thoroughly with a stiff yard-brush to remove any surface dirt, don’t forget to use a smaller brush to get between the corners and joints, then using a domestic wood floor cleaner remove any surface dirt or stains.
If there are any stubborn stains or should you find any damaged or rough spots, sand them smooth with glass paper; then brush away all of the dust created by the sanding operation. Finally, before starting to apply the waterproofing it might be an idea to protect the decking surrounds so that no splashes of the waterproofing fall on them.
Deck waterproofing can be applied with a brush, roller or even sprayed on – according to the technique you’re most comfortable with. However, for less experienced DIY/home enthusiasts, do bear in mind that there is a technique to using a spray applicator and that as you’re working outdoors – they don’t fare too well in windy conditions.
Apply the waterproofing as evenly as you can, making sure you work in any drips or puddles that form. The reason for this is that you want an even layer of protection as well as avoiding the risk of the sealant producing any variations in the color on the decking due an uneven application.
Dependant on the local weather conditions, the water-proofer will usually set within half an hour and be completely dry within an hour; so that the decking can once again be used.