Summer is almost here, and now is a good time to get your outdoor living space ready for the balmy summer evenings you'll be spending outdoors. Oiling timber decks can be a little bit neglected over the winter months, but it won't take long to get them looking their best. In fact, it's a job that can easily be completed over the course of a single weekend.
Why re-oil your deck?
Timber decks can take a battering during winter. Cold weather and rain can cause the timber to swell and shrink rapidly, which can cause the wood to dry out and crack. Oiling it will restore the wood's natural moisture and bring out the lustre in the grain again. It will also protect the timber from the heat of the summer sun and the harmful UV rays.
Prepare your deck first.
Before oiling your deck, give it a thorough clean to remove any built-up dirt or grime. It's best to use a specialised timber cleaner for this, which you can pick up from a landscape supplies store. Spend some time checking for any nails that may have worked their way out of the timber due to the swelling and shrinkage during the winter, then tap them back in with a hammer.
Depending on the condition that your deck is in, you may need to sand the timber before oiling it. If your deck is small, this is a job that can be completed by hand, using fine grade sandpaper. For larger decks, it's worth hiring an electric sander from a landscape supplies company to save yourself time and backache.
Then it's time to apply the oil.
Once the timber is clean, dry, and sanded, you can then start to oil it. Oiling is a simpler process than painting, staining, or varnishing a deck, which all require a reasonable amount of skill to achieve an even coating. Oil just needs to be applied liberally with a firm paintbrush.
It's best to apply two coats of oil to get the most effective result. There's no need to wait until the first coat dries to begin the second coat, unlike paint or varnish, because instead of drying, oil is simply absorbed into the surface of the timber. For this reason, your deck will be safe and ready to use the day after you complete the oiling.
For such a relatively simple job, oiling your deck will make a huge difference to the appearance of your outdoor space. In no time at all you'll have your deck looking amazing and ready for the summer barbeques to come.