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Outdoor Fix-Ups: Revitalising a Timber Deck

The timber deck of a house is usually the most used outdoor entertaining area. Typically situated at the rear of the home, it offers a venue for friendly get-togethers, parties, barbecues and family time. It’s also battered by rain, heat and cold all year long, and can start looking a bit grimy and unloved if not maintained. Fortunately, in just one weekend there are a number of simple things you can do to turn your deck into the entertainment hub it should be.

Repairing the deck
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: A claw hammer, timber and nails.

HOW TO: If your deck has a rotten or damaged piece of timber, it’s a fairly easy job to replace it. First use a claw hammer to remove the nails and then lift out the damaged piece. It’s usually best to remove the entire piece rather than just cutting out the damaged section.

Most decks use standard-sized timber, so a replacement piece should be easy to find at a timber yard or large hardware store. Nail the new piece into position using two nails at each joist. If any nails are sticking up on the deck, now is the time to hammer them down. Finish by giving the deck a good clean, followed by an oil or stain.

Cleaning the deck
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: A broom, mop, bucket, pH-neutral floor cleaner and rags.

HOW TO: First remove all furniture, outdoor rugs, pot plants and anything else that’s sitting on the deck. Sweep away all the dirt, leaves and loose residue. Any stains or caked-on muck should be removed with a damp cloth and pH-neutral floor cleaner. Don’t use scourers or steel wool as they will scratch the timber. If using a mop, ensure that it’s thoroughly wrung out before use as excess water can be absorbed by the timber and lead to warping.

Oiling the deck
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Deck oil, an applicator or large paint brush, paint tray, sandpaper, bristle brush, cleaning solution and rags.

HOW TO: If you have a quality timber deck, made from timber such as jarrah or teak, you would want to use a decking oil to protect it from weathering and UV exposure, and to highlight the natural grain. First, give your timber deck a thorough clean. Then scrub the boards with a bristle brush and a deck cleaning solution or a small amount of Napisan in warm water. Rinse throughly and allow the deck to dry completely.

Any rough areas should be smoothed using sandpaper and a lot of elbow grease. Sweep, wiping away any debris from the sanding. Place deck oil in a paint tray and apply with an applicator or a large brush. Use long, even strokes and apply the oil along the length of the boards. Allow to dry and asses if another coat of oil is required.

Staining the deck
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Rubber gloves, a bristle brush, cleaning solution, rags, masking tape, sandpaper, a paint stirrer, deck stain and a brush or applicator.

HOW TO: Staining a deck is useful if the timber is of a poor quality or if you are after a certain colour. First, clean, scrub, and sand the deck, as mentioned previously. Use masking tape to protect poles, walls or any areas that you don’t want stained. Thoroughly stir the stain to evenly disperse the pigment. It’s a good idea to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the stain.

Start at the edges near the masked-off areas and apply the stain with the brush. Once the edges are complete, use an applicator, roller or brush to apply stain to the rest of the deck. Use long, even brushstrokes and paint along – not across – the timber.

Trimming the deck with plants
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Plants, a shovel, soil, compost, a trowel, pots and planters.

HOW TO: If your deck is looking a little cold and barren, an easy way to soften the edges is to add plants. Ferns, grown in the garden right next to the deck, look fantastic. Or buy a couple of pots or planters and position them on and near the edge of the deck. Ensure the pots and planters have feet to elevate them off the surface so that moisture is not trapped underneath.

Be a bit inventive with what plants you choose – herbs smell great and can be used in the kitchen, flowers add a pop of colour, while succulents are low maintenance and have a calming effect.

lluminating the deck
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Lighting, a screwdriver, screws, hammer and nails.

HOW TO: To enjoy your deck after the sun goes down, adequate lighting is essential. There are plenty of different lighting options to suit the way you use your deck – whether you’re dining, entertaining or just sitting around socialising. There are permanent solutions where lighting is fitted flush with the timber or more temporary options.

For example, fairy lights can be hung along a railing, solar-powered strings of light can be positioned overhead, battery candles can make beautiful and effective lighting on a table, and strips of LED lighting can be attached under steps or along the edge of the deck. A visit to a large hardware store or lighting specialist will fire up your imagination.

Introducing comfy seating
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Seats.

HOW TO: Adequate seating is a must for any deck. However, you don’t want the space overcrowded and difficult to navigate around. Ensure there’s plenty of space behind chairs placed around a table so guests can easily get in and out. Collapsible seats are easy to store out of the way and very handy when more people than expected drop by. A built-in bench is a permanent and neat solution that looks great.

Bringing warmth to the space
WHAT YOU’LL NEED: Heating insulators, a fire pit and a patio heater.

HOW TO: There’s nothing more dramatic than a fire pit on a deck! However, it’s essential that there’s adequate insulation between the fire pit and the timber. Paving stones or fire pads can be used for smaller fire pits. If you wish to go down this path, it’s essential that the fire is never left unattended, isn’t lit on a windy day, and there’s no roof or overhang above it. A better, safer option is to use a gas-powered patio heater. It radiates plenty of heat but the element is far away from the timber of the deck.

Article thanks to Houzz

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