Deck preventative maintenance - cleaning & oiling

12 Apr 2013
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United Kingdom
Dear Forum Members,

About 6 months ago my father-in-law and I put in some new decking in the back yard.

A couple of weeks after the decking was put in I cleaned the decking using water, let it dry and then applied "Liberon DOCL5L 5L Decking Oil - Clear" as per the tin instructions to protect the decking.

In the 6 months or so since then I did a lot of work in the garden part of the back yard due to this the decking has become soiled/muddy and also has dark patches in areas that were covered with other material (for e.g. tarpaulin sheets) for weeks when the work was going on. I am not 100% sure but these dark patches may be algae or may just be dirt stuck in the grain of the wood.

Earlier today I spent a couple of hours washing away the mud using cheap detergent powder, stiff brush scrubbing and water sprayed with a regular hose spray gun (not a pressure sprayer). While a lot of the mud did go away some deckboards still looked darker and patchier than the rest.

Please see the included photos. In the first photo the deckboards on the left are cleaner and browner than the ones on the right that look dirtier and darker. The second photo is just of the dirtier deckboards.

I have searched the web (and also DIYnot forums) for advice on the best way to clean decking but I have got conflicting advice regarding the best way to clean and maintain decking - household bleach, oxygen bleach, oxalic acid, soda crystals, ammonia based cleaner to using commercial deck cleaners from Ronseal or Cuprinol.

I have also read conflicting advice regarding the frequency - from every 6 months to every 18 months.

My question to the experts out there is:
1. What is the best product to clean decking especially the dirtier deckboards that resist normal detergent and scrubbing?
2. What product should I use to oil it once it is cleaned and dry? (is Liberon Decking Oil good?)
3. How frequently should I clean and oil it?

The deck area is about 30 sq meter. I am interested in keeping the decking in good condition for a long time - 10 to 15 years so do not mind using more expensive techniques and/or elbow grease. The decking sees moderate usage - regular but not heavy.

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