Maintenance of wooden decking

Change in aspect

Wooden decking does not require specific maintenance if the user accepts the weathering of the boards.
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The aspect of the wood changes under the effect of a number of environmental factors such as light, temperature, humidity, frost, wind, etc. The transformation in physical aspect of the wood surface is the result of complex changes linked to the wood’s chemical and physical modifications. These changes, of which the most striking is the wood’s weathering, are essentially caused by the photochemical degradation of the components of the cell wall and more particularly of lignin. This change in colour only affects the surface of the wood. The physical and mechanical properties are not altered and the wood’s internal structure remains intact. Clear sealants are only moderately efficient or inefficient against these changes in aspect.


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Cleaning

It is necessary to clean the decking thoroughly twice a year. This cleaning must be carried out with water and a scrubbing brush. Care must be taken to clear any grooves of dirt, where necessary. Cleaning is imperative as it allows to eradicate any development of mould, various pollutions, the main source of slipperiness. Decking that is not maintained may become dangerous should water stagnate.

Finishes

The task of finishing treatments is to protect the wood surface against progressive weathering and to limit dimensional variations by reducing moisture exchanges with ambient air. The application of an adapted finish for a specific usage enhances the wood’s cosmetic qualities providing adequate maintenance is implemented. It is, however, unrealistic to think that the application of a finishing product will prevent any development over time, without regular maintenance. Also, in order to lock in the colour, the finish must be applied regularly, every season, knowing that it is rapidly washed away in the winter.