How to keep your oiled deck in great condition:
After a few months, you might notice the colour of your oiled deck starting to fade a little and the finish looking less lustrous. This is normal natural weathering and nothing to be concerned about - just your deck responding to being exposed to the elements.
Every six to twelve months is the right time to make a little effort on maintenance.
You've made an investment in quality timber, but depending on what you used to seal the deck and how much exposure it has to the elements each day, it's worth some time to keep your deck happy and primed for years of service.
Here are some easy steps to keep your oiled deck 'shipshape':
1: Clear the deck and grab a stiff bristled broom & thoroughly clean it.
There are plenty of great specialist cleaners on the market, but there's no need to spend lots of money on special deck cleaning detergents: the active ingredient in most of these cleaners is sodium percarbonate, which is also in 'Napisan'.
Make a solution of 2 cups of Napisan (or similar detergent that contains sodium percarbonate) and half a bucket of hot water (double this quantity for a large deck) and give the boards a light scrub while applying the cleaner.
*This is a good time to also give your outdoor furniture a bit of love while you're at it!
2: Leave the solution to sit for about 15 minutes
Then add a little more to wet the boards again, then give it a really good scrub down.
Rinse thoroughly with the hose and allow it to dry for a day or two. This will strip out any of the old oil which may have gotten clogged with dust and debris, and will restore the colour.
3: Get to ready to apply a fresh coat of decking oil
Have on hand the oil of your choice, a decking brush, pole extension, a paint tray and plenty of rags and turps to clean up any spills. Stir the oil thoroughly making sure the pigment has been properly mixed in.
4: Run as far along a single board as you can without touching any of the other boards.
Only when you’ve finished one row should you start to move on across the deck. You should be able to cover 3-4 boards at a time, but make sure you concentrate on coating each board evenly.
Long, continuous strokes with enough oil to evenly soak into the timber will give you the best results.
5: Leave to dry according to the instructions, then apply a second coat.
Make allowances in drying time for damp, cold or humid weather as appropriate.
You will use less oil in the second coat as the wood will not absorb as much and it may pool on the surface and become sticky if you are too heavy-handed.
If this is your first time oiling your deck it might pay to test the decking oil on an offcut to see how much oil to apply to soak into the wood, and to find out how long it takes to dry.
Check the directions on the tin to give you an indication of drying time and when to apply the second coat, but note this is weather dependent - so check the forecast too!
Not essential, but fresh timber decks should ideally be left for two or three months before they're oiled or stained, to allow the sun and rain to leach the tannins out of the timber. Some decking experts suggest that this process can be sped up by washing the deck with a sodium percarbonate solution (as discussed above).