Garden Decking FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions)

Maintaining garden decking is essential – Get it right, and your decking can last a life time, get it wrong, and you could be looking for a replacement in less time than you might have hoped. With garden decking potentially costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds to install, it’s an investment that you’ll want to protect.

At ‘Home Gardener’, we get asked a lot about decking care and maintenance. Here we try to answer many of the more commonly asked questions.

Garden Decking FAQ’s

Click on a question to be taken to the answer below.

(Q) How do you maintain decking?

(A) How you maintain decking can depend on the type of decking, how old it is, if it has been previously treated, and its overall condition. Decking that has been oiled is by far the easiest to maintain. Oiled decking will usually need nothing more than cleaning twice a year, usually in early spring and again in late summer or early autumn, with a dedicated decking cleaner, prior to re-oiling, with a decking oil. This twice yearly routine will help to keep decking protected and looking great

Decking stains and decking paints can also be cleaned with a decking cleaner as and when required. If the coating is starting to look tired or worn, as long as the finish is intact and hasn’t started to crack, peel or flake off, a painted or stained decking can usually be revived by cleaning, then applying a fresh coat of compatible decking paint or decking stain. Find out more about decking care and maintenance, and decking finishes and treatments here.

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(Q) What is the best treatment for wooden decking?

(A) This depends on the type. condition and age of the deck, if it has been previously treated or not, and also what type of look is desired.

To retain the natural appearance of the decking boards, the best option is to use a clear decking oil. To change the colour of decking, or to colour decking that has turned grey or silver over time as a result of UV and rain damage, a coloured decking oil, decking stain or decking paint can be used. Coloured decking oils and decking stains tend to be semi translucent so that whilst colouring the wood, the grain of the wood remains visible. Some decking stains and most decking paints are opaque so they will cover the wood totally. This said the texture or pattern of the wood grain may still be visible.

Before treating any decking with a decking oil, paint or stain, it’s important to ensure that the decking boards are absolutely dry and where applicable, the decking is treated with a mould and algae killer to remove and kill any mould, algae or lichen growth that is present. Once this has been done, always use a wax free wood preservative to help protect decking from mould and algae in the future.

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(Q) How often does decking need treating?

(A) The maintenance schedule for a deck can vary depending on how much weathering it receives, how much foot traffic it gets, and also what type of finish it has been treated with. An example of this is that a decked area in a pub beer garden will require more maintenance than one in a domestic garden. The normal recommendation for decking that has been treated with a decking oil, is to maintain it twice yearly, once in the Spring and again late Summer or early Autumn. To find out more about decking oils, decking paints, decking stains, cleaners, restorers and preservers, See our decking care and maintenance page.

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(Q) Is decking hard to maintain?

(A) Some decking finishes are easier to maintain and repair than others. Good maintenance is key to preventing many of the problems that can lead to a major restoration project. If decking is left to fall into a state of disrepair, it may need to be stripped and treated with a decking cleaner and decking preserver before being finished with a decking oil, decking stain or decking paint.

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(Q) What is the best paint to use on a deck?

(A) Decking paints are a fairly new way to treat decked areas. They are especially good on decking that has perhaps been neglected for a number of years. Available in a wide range of trendy modern colours including black, white, grey, blue, and more, they dry to a tough, durable, opaque finish. They can transform worn and tired looking decked areas into a real feature of the garden. It’s important to use a proper decking paint, as they are designed to withstand the wear and weathering that decking is exposed to. Normal house hold paints are not suitable for decking.

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(Q) How much decking oil will I need?

(A) Decking oils provide excellent coverage as they are applied very thinly. How much is required will depend on how big the decked area is and the type of decking oil used. All decking treatments will quote an approximate coverage area on the tin, For example, ‘Up to 10 square Mtrs per Ltr. These coverage estimates give an approximation as the type of wood, condition and age of your decking can all have an influence on the coverage of the decking product.

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Types of Decking Treatments

With so many decking treatments available, that seal, protect, and waterproof garden decks, deciding on which is best for your project can seem difficult. Factors such as the age, condition, and if the deck has been previously treated can all play a part in knowing which wood treatment to use. For a general ‘overview’ of decking treatments, see our ‘Garden Decking Care & Maintenance‘ page.

For a more detailed explanation of each decking treatment type, follow the links below:-

Do you have a decking care and maintainance related question that we haven’t covered above? Let us know and if it is something that we get asked more than a couple of times, we’ll add it to this page along with the answer to help other site visitors.

We cover a wide range garden wood care topics including sheds, fences, decking and more. If you’re looking for answers to many of the common problems and issues that can affect these garden fixtures and fittings, visit our FAQ index page for more answers and solutions to these problems.


We always recommend that test areas are done to assess product suitability and final finish, before starting any project. For technical advice, troubleshooting or any other product or situational queries, always refer to the product manufacturer’s published information and guidance. For technical information on products and their suitability for a given project, contact the manufacturer’s technical support departments directly. Contact details including phone numbers can usually be found on the manufacturer’s products and/or website. cannot be held responsible in any way, shape or form for the guidance given in our gardening faq’s or any other part or page of our website. This is due to the unpredictable nature of wood, its age, species, condition, previous history including previous treatments and/or contamination, environmental, and application considerations, which can all differ from one piece of wood to the next and which will ultimately have an effect on any wood finish applied, including but not limited to suitability, colour, performance and overall results. If in any doubt about the suitability of a product for a given project, always contact the product manufacturer before starting any project or seek the advice of a professional contractor.