The below detail will direct you as to how your new wooden sun deck should be maintained. If it is maintained correctly, the maintenance costs will be kept to a minimum and the life of your deck will be extended greatly.
Wooden Balau Sun decks built by The Wood Joint are either sealed using Timberlife Satin Wood 28 Base or left to go a silvery grey colour naturally. There is a separate product available for pine called Timberlife Satin Wood 28. Balau and pine are at the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to density and if the Base is used on pine it will disappear in a few weeks as it gets drawn through the softer wood. If the Satin Wood 28 is used on Balau, it will contain too much wax and will leave blotchy marks eventually as the sun degrades the wax. The process of applying both products is the same. In summary: –
• Pine Decks (or woods of high porosity) – Timberlife Satin Wood 28
• Balau Decks (or woods of low porosity) – Timberlife Satin Wood 28 Base
It is very tempting to pop off to the local hardware store and pick up, what the shop assistant thinks is the right stuff, and seal your deck. There are many products on the market, some of which are good and some of which should be avoided at all costs.
When sealing a deck one wants to avoid using any product that dries on the surface. If it dries on the surface, it can peel and flake and no matter what the tin says, it WILL peel and flake. Maintenance then becomes expensive as you will need to sand it off or live with it being patchy. The above products are linseed oil based and therefore soak into the wood, nourishing it. They CANNOT dry on the surface and therefore they CANNOT peel or flake.
Using oil will require more maintenance in the beginning as the wood becomes saturated with oil, but these maintenance intervals will get longer as time goes by. Furthermore, it is very easy to apply oil as it is not paint where one needs to be careful of runs. The oil is very viscous and can be applied using a brush, roller, cloth, spray gun and if possible you can dip it. It can’t run, because it is oil and the wood will soak the run up. I have successfully sprayed, using a garden sprayer, a 100m² deck, in under an hour. Just be careful of the windows and walls as with a bit of wind it can go everywhere.
Pickets on balustrades are best done with a sponge by soaking the sponge in the oil, squeezing out the excess so as not to waste the product, and wrapping the sponge around the picket. One or two wipes up and down will seal the picket. You may need to get into the corners with a brush.
It is best to do two coats of oil on each scheduled maintenance interval and it can be done as often as you like. Initially you will need to reseal the deck after about 6 months compared to other products which require a 12 month interval. But as I have said, it is easy, quick and therefore inexpensive. It will take you more than twice as long to use other sealers. So in effect the time to seal is less than other sealers even though you are doing it twice a year. The above sealer also goes further than other sealers. Allow a little time between coats to give the first coat enough time to soak in properly.
On every second maintenance schedule you will probably want to use a tint. As standard we seal the deck using a light oak tint which is the lightest in colour. It is always easy to go darker, but not so easy to go lighter. The tint is necessary as it contains UV stabilisers which help to retain the sealer in the wood for longer. However it is not necessary to use a tint on every maintenance schedule. Every other time will be fine or if you want the wood to go darker.
The wood will need to be cleaned first before sealing. You can wash it with soap and water and let it dry properly and then seal. You can pressure wash it to remove any grime or greasy marks and for really stubborn ones you can use turps to clean it. A standard 80 bar domestic pressure cleaner is fine or you can use the 150 bar industrial machine. Be careful of using a 200 bar machine, it can damage the wood. Make sure it is dry and free from water before sealing. It is not that serious if it rains softly after sealing as this is oil which is soaking into the wood, not paint which is drying on the surface. But a nice cool dry day is of course better and try to avoid the heat of the day.
If you leave the deck for too long between maintenance intervals, the balau will start to go a grey / silver in colour. This is in fact black algae growing on the surface of the wood. It does not affect the longevity of the wood as it is only growing on the surface. It may become slippery when wet so you preferably want to get rid of it, or most of it, before sealing. If you don’t the deck will also go very dark once you have sealed it. First prize is to reseal it before it gets to that point, but if you can’t or haven’t, then pressure wash it to get rid of most of the grey colour. You can also use Timbrite which is a bleach based product which removes fungal stains and discolouration.
Some people in fact prefer to leave their balau unsealed or natural and allow it to turn a grey / silver colour to give it a more rustic, natural feel. It won’t speed up the degradation process of the wood if left unsealed, simply because it is balau and it is extremely hard and full of natural oils and resins. Leaving it un-oiled also means far less maintenance going forward as you simply pressure clean it when it starts looking dirty or blotchy.
Deck Wash can be used to clean your deck once a month. It contains ingredients which lift dirt and grease as well as nourishing the deck between maintenance intervals. This product can be used and then kept for the next clean until it becomes so dirty that you dispose of it. You can mop it on the surface of the deck and use a small spray bottle to get it on to the vertical balustrade pieces.