Deck Maintenance Tips

Best Things To Do for Deck Maintenance

Lightly Sand Before Sealing

Sanding your deck before sealing smooths out the surface of the wood to ensure an even application of sealant. It also means the sealant will be better absorbed into the wood. Your choice of sealant, stain or paint will depend on the wood type of your deck and the level of protection needed, but all kinds of sealing should only be done after sanding. 

After washing, let your deck dry for at least 48 hours before applying sealant. Use a pole sander and 80 grit sandpaper, and avoid using a power sander. Always wear safety glasses and a dust mask when sanding.

Annual Deep Clean

Annual deck maintenance is a vital step in removing mould, mildew and dirt, and keeping your deck in good shape for years to come. Start by sweeping your deck to remove any debris, paying particular attention to the gaps where deck boards. Use a putty knife or stiff brush to ensure no debris is left behind. Next, apply a deck cleaning solution using a sprayer or roller brush. Deck cleaner is usually more effective on a wet deck, so try to work on smaller areas to avoid the wood from drying and the deck cleaner being applied in patches. Avoid cleaning your deck on a very hot day, to avoid fast drying.

Routine Care

If you look after your deck all year round, you can easily avoid problems like water or sun damage. Try moving your deck furniture, decor, or pot plants around to avoid water patches forming underneath them. You can also avoid placing mats made of natural materials on your deck, as they can also trap moisture. 

By keeping your deck clean and giving it a good sweep regularly, you can also help prevent moisture and dirt build up. If your deck needs a good clean, you can use soapy water to quickly scrub down your deck. Routine cleaning and checking regularly for mould or damage will also make your annual deck maintenance a lot easier.

Fix Damage

Check your deck regularly for any damage. Look out for small issues like protruding nails, rotten decking boards or splintering, and fix them straight away with wood screws or exterior wood filler. Make sure you also keep an eye out for bigger issues, like rust or warped wood on any deck boards. You may be able to fix these issues with cleaning or sanding, or you may need to replace some of the wood on your deck.

For a thorough inspection, pay special attention to railings, the places where your deck connects to the building, and where any stairs connect to the ground. Try to push on the decking timber to test the strength of those areas.

Worst Things To Do for Deck Maintenance

Don't Overuse Your Pressure Washer

While power washers may look like a good choice to get your annual deck maintenance done faster, they can actually do damage to your timber deck. They can gouge the wood, causing holes, or strip away protective layers of sealant. 

If you do want to use your power washer, follow these deck care and maintenance tips. Use your washer on the lowest power setting, and use a fan spray nozzle. Always keep the nozzle moving while the washer is spraying.

Don't Use The Wrong Sealant

Don’t use regular paint or any sealants not designed specifically for decks. The type of sealant you use during deck maintenance will depend on the kind of finish you want and the type of wood deck you are sealing. Sealants can be clear, tinted, semi-transparent, or opaque. Deck stains or paints may work for you, as they provide different levels of protection and create different looks. 

Consider the climate and weather that your deck is exposed to. A deck that will endure ocean winds or splashes from your swimming pool require a more protective sealant. Likewise, very cold, snowy, or very humid weather will require protection from constant moisture.

Don't Use The Wrong Chemicals

Avoid getting harsh chemicals like pure bleach or chlorine on your deck. These chemicals can strip your deck of its natural colours and can penetrate into the wood to weaken and warp it. They can also damage any plant life on or around your deck. Any cleaning products that contain acid or lye should also be avoided, as they too can eat away at the protective sealants on your deck. 

Always check the labels of any cleaning products you use to ensure they contain chemicals that are appropriate for your deck’s wood type. Safer options like oxygen bleach can be used on some decks, but are safe for all decks.

Don't Let Leaves and Debris Accumulate

Keeping leaves, branches, and other debris off your deck is not only visually appealing – it will also help keep your deck looking good for years to come. A buildup of natural debris can cause mould and moss growth, and encourage water damage. These issues not only look bad, but can leave your deck structurally unstable. Leaving plant matter to sit on your deck can also cause staining. As leaves and branches decay, they release tannins which can leave permanent marks on wooden surfaces. Regularly sweep your deck with a stiff broom, to avoid any damage or long term issues caused by accumulating leaves and other debris.

The ProGroup Can Help With Deck Repairs

Has your deck seen better days? Looking for more deck care and maintenance tips? Even if your deck hasn’t received that essential routine maintenance, there’s no need to panic. Deck&FencePro can revive even the most neglected deck and fence, and have them looking good as new in no time. Let our expert specialists revive or maintain your decks and fences using specially formulated sealants and cleaners. 

Sun or moisture damage, structural damage, or just regular wear and tear – nothing is too tough for Deck&FencePro. For more information about repairs and maintenance, learn about ProGroup’s deck restoration service. Whether you are selling your home or just looking to get your outdoor entertainment areas looking as good as new, ProGroup is here to help.

See our other Deck&FencePro services?

Get inspired

Fence Painting or Staining New Zealand – Deck&Fence Pro

Your fence plays a crucial role in enhancing your property's curb appeal and providing privacy and security.

Read more

Get Your Outdoor Rooms & Living Areas Ready For Summer

An outdoor room is an extra living space — especially in the warmer months. In this article, Deck&FencePro tells you how to maintain an outdoor room year round.

Read more

Easy tips for deck cleaning and maintenance

There’s no such thing as a maintenance free deck, and even more so if your deck is timber. 

Read more

View our work

A magical backyard makeover – Auckland

Thursday 16.Sep.2021

When Alex moved to her new home in Massey, she knew she’d need to do something about the sad and neglected backyard.

Read more

Timber deck rejuvenated in time for summer in Canterbury

Monday 10.Aug.2020

We prefer a stained look because it handles the strong UV sun better and seems to weather more evenly.

Read more

Weathered pine deck makeover- North Shore

Friday 15.May.2020

Radiata pine decking is one of New Zealand’s most commonly used and well-loved decking materials.

Read more


  • Can you apply oil stain to a deck that has been previously painted (or stained with waterbased stain)?

    In order to answer this it is important to understand the differences between paint, waterbased stain, and oil stain. Paint and waterbased stains are effectively the same thing - topical coatings that seal the surface of the timber. Waterbased stains are just thinned down acrylic paint that allow the grain of the timber to show through but they block up the pores of the timber the same as paint. Oil stain is a penetrating product that needs to soak into the surface of the timber to provide nourishment.

    It is not possible to apply oil stain over paint (or water based stain) unless all of the exiting coating is fully removed. This is because the oil will not be able to penetrate through the coating. The only way to remove the paint or waterbased stain is to use paint stripper (or mechanical sanding if the deck allows that). Both of these processes are time consuming and expensive, and may not remove all of the existing coating.

    The result of this is that the new oil stain may be patchy, and may not last as long as on bare timber. Our recommendation is usually to recoat the deck with the same product that was previously applied. In the case of water based stain, this can also result in a patchy finish as the fully stripped timber will soak up more product than those areas that still have some residual product on it.

    We can only do our best in this situation. The only other option is to replace the deck boards with new.

  • Should I stain or paint my new deck?

    We strongly recommend avoiding painting your deck. Decks are subjected to very harsh conditions, from intense sun in the summer, to long period of standing water in the winter. And they are constantly being abraded by foot traffic, furniture being dragged across the surface, etc. There are no paints that will withstand this treatment, and painted decks deteriorate very quickly.

    Another consideration is that once painted, you cannot change to stain down the track. There is no practical way to remove the paint well enough to allow an oil stain to penetrate the timber. When we come across painted decks for restoration, our only option is to clean and repaint, and advise the homeowner that this process will need to be repeated quite regularly.

    You must however protect your deck from the elements, and the best product for that is a good quality linseed oil based stain that has UV protection in it. If you do not do this the timber will turn grey within 6 months, and mould will start to take hold.


  • Can I stain or paint my new deck straight away?

    New outdoor timber generally has a high moisture content, so it is recommend not to coat it with stain or paint for a few months to allow it to dry out. If it is coated too early the product may not penetrate or bond very well. Typically we say leave it 3-6 months.

  • Why has my cedar garage door gone black?

    Cedar is a very soft and porous timber and is susceptible to mould and mildew. We usually see the lower half of the door turn darker in colour due to exposure to the elements. Our restoration process strips away the damaged layer so that the timber is even over the entire door, and our linseed oil stain protects the timber from future damage. An annual recoat of stain will keep the door as new for ever.

  • Are your specialists qualified?

    Great question.

    Most of the services The ProGroup offer require no formal qualifications, but every franchisee goes through full training in the services they provide. Ongoing experience and a fantastic support network within the group mean that each of our team are true specialists at what they do.

    Some of our team also offer services outside of the core ProGroup range, and some of them do require certification or specialist qualifications. In that situation they will have the relevant recognised quals. For example we have LBP builders, plumbers, stonemasons, and gasfitters within the team.

  • What are your payment terms?

    These vary depending on the service.

    Typically lower value work requires full payment on completion. Product heavy work may require a deposit at time of quote acceptance, while longer term projects may require an initial deposit and progress payments along the way.

    The terms of your particular situation will be discussed at time of the quote so there will be no hidden surprises.

  • Who will come and do the work?

    Our specialists are all independently owned franchisees who live in your local community. Most are sole operators, who will quote the job and do the work themselves, while others may have an employee or two to help with the workload. Either way, everyone is well trained in the services they offer.

    You can expect prompt, courteous, knowledgeable trades people to help with your enquiries. And all live and work within your local area.

  • What timber should I build my new deck with?

    This really come down to your budget.

    Pine is by far the cheapest and most common option and is treated against rotting. It can be stained to look like kwila or another shade of your choice.

    Hardwoods such as Kwila, Garapa, and Vitex are not treated and will deteriorate quickly if they are not protected by some sort of preservative.

    All timbers will turn grey within about 6 month if they are not regularly treated with a UV resistance product.

    Composite decking has become more prevalent which uses compressed timber fibres and synthetic resins. These are usually made in specific colours and should not fade or deteriorate for many years - making them as close to maintenance free as possible.

  • Do you offer finance terms for your services?

    Yes - we offer a “Buy Now, Pay Later” option through our partners at Latitude Financial (Gem Visa). We offer interest free payment terms of 6 or 12 months (some fees, terms and conditions apply).

  • Should I use oil or water-based deck stains?

    Water based deck stain is effectively very thin acrylic paint, so thin you can see though it. The problem with it is that it clogs up the pores of the timber making it extremely difficult to maintain because the old residue is virtually impossible to remove. We use superior quality oil based wood stain that nourishes the timber and can be recoated time and time again.

  • Why does my Kwila deck have splinters?

    Hardwoods such as Kwila come from tropical climates that have a lot of moisture in the air that makes the timber less likely to dry out and splinter. New Zealand’s harsh climate and intense sun quickly dries out the timber causing it to splinter, and Kwila is the most susceptible to this.

    We recommend maintaining new Kwila decks by an annual application of linseed oil stain that will nourish the timber and stop it drying out.

    There is very little that can be done to fix Kwila that has already dried out and splintered, short of replacing the boards. Because of this, Kwila is becoming less popular as a decking timber with other hardwoods such as Vitex and Garapa becoming more popular.

  • Do you use a waterblaster to pre-clean the timber?

    We use a specialist eco-friendly solution to loosen dirt, contaminants, and dead timber cells followed by a controlled pressure wash to sluice this residue away. Our team are very skilled at this process.

    Over the years we have seen many DIY deck cleans, where the homeowner has used a waterblaster on its own without any specialist cleaning solution, and with poor technique. The result can vary from stop/start marks in the timber that cannot be removed, to chunks of timber being blasted away.

    There are products available that claim you simply apply them and then brush the deck clean. We know that there is a lot of elbow grease required, and many of our customers come to use having given up on these products. Like most things in life, there is no easy way to get a professional result.

  • How do I maintain my restored deck, fence, door, or furniture?

    A wood stain generally requires a top up coat every 12-18 months to replenish the nourishing oils and UV blockers. We can arrange an on-going maintenance schedule with you following the restoration process that will include a light clean followed by a recoat of the wood stain. In between scheduled maintenance, a mild detergent is all that is needed to remove any bird droppings or spills, and a spray with a moss and lichen inhibitor during winter can also help. It is important to not use harsh deck cleaning agents that may remove the oils contained in the stain. Painted surfaces generally last longer than stained ones but are more susceptible to abrasion.

Book a quote now

For any enquiries regarding your outdoor living spaces, or to request a quote, please enter your details and your local Deck&FencePro franchisee will be in touch to arrange an appointment as soon as possible.

If you prefer not to give a full address at this stage feel free to book a quote by phone at the free phone number below.

0508 422 532

Note that The ProGroup has strict operational processes in place with regards to Covid 19 and the relevant alert levels.

    See our ProGroup brands

    Back to top