A timber deck should be a long-lasting structure to enjoy for many years, so long as the right materials have been used to construct it and it is maintained effectively during its lifetime. For peace of mind, we would always advise you to choose timber that conforms to the TDCA DeckMark Quality Scheme or decking which comes with a performance warranty of between 15 to 25 years, depending on the supplier. Take note of the terms of the warranty and keep your records safe.
Most importantly, your timber deck boards and indeed all of the timber used in the construction of the decking, should be sufficiently durable to provide long term performance in outdoor use. It should be made from pressure treated softwood, chemically modified or heat treated timber or a species with sufficient inherent natural durability.
With pressure treated timber, the application of preservative varies according to end use. Deck boards should be treated to a Use Class 3 specification if they will not come into contact with the ground. Use Class 4 is necessary to protect all timber that will experience in-ground contact. This will help to ensure the maximum life of your timber deck.
If any pressure treated timber is cut during the construction, the cut ends must be hand treated with an end grain preservative, to protect any untreated material inside the timber . This can be purchased from many merchants and is easy to paint on with a brush.
Using the correct deck fixings will also maximise the life of your timber deck. You can read our advice on deck fixings here.
Finally, you can make a big difference to the life of your timber deck by following some sensible deck maintenance guidelines. Regular brushing with a stiff brush will help to keep the deck free from the build-up of debris or perhaps moss and grime. This is particularly important in shady areas, where leaves and debris might collect and retain moisture. Place plant pots on small “feet” to raise them from the surface and to allow adequate drainage. It can also be advisable to move their location a little from time to time. Take the time to review and check your timber deck for any deterioration or damage, at least annually. This will ensure that any small problems are resolved before they take hold.