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Deck finish - to weather or not to weather?

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  1. #1
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    Default Deck finish - to weather or not to weather?

    Hi all,

    back again with another few dumb questions...
    1. I'm just at the stage where I am about to screw down my deck boards on a new deck/walkway to my front door. I've read copious amounts of posts regarding finishing products and have decided to go with the Flood Spa n Deck but I'm still unsure as to whether (no pun intended) I should let deck weather for a few months before applying the finish? What do y'all think? (Just to add a little bit of extra info the deck was sitting in the Timber supply shed for about 2months I'm told and it was sitting in my garage for about the same length of time - don't know if this had any relevance to dryness etc).

    2. Does anybody have any neat suggestions about how to screw(tek/bugle head screws) deck boards down where the joist is hard up against the house?

    3. And lastly, do you think I should paint all my cuts with a sealing agent before I do anything else? (Even on the treated pine?)

    Thanks, all your input is greatly appreciated.
    Mick.

  2. #2
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
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    Hi Mick, in short:
    1.No a few months is a bit long AFAIK. A few weeks Max, more like.
    2. Use a screwdriver?
    3. Yes, especially if the TP is LOSP, I wouldn't with HW.
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  3. #3
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    I did a TP deck years ago with Feast & Watson deck oil. It said on the tin to let the TP weather for a few weeks before hand and then clean it with Feast & Watson timber cleaner. Personally, I think that's just a way of selling you another product, although there could be something in it. Perhaps it's to make sure the TP is dried out enough because it often comes to you quite wet. If it's drier it will soak up more oil, which is probably the desired effect.

    For hardwood, totally different story. I've let mine go for 6 months. Just oiled the back one a couple of weeks ago. The front one is nearly grey, so it's ready too.

  4. #4
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    Hi Bt and SilentC,

    Again thanks for your feedback and expertise. Sorry a little slow with the acronyms - What's LOSP?

    The substructure is all TP and was surprisingly really dry when I got it so there's no problems there. I failed to mention earlier that my decking is actually Spotted Gum and not TP but it also seems very dry (is that the issues with not oiling/finishing it straight away?)

    Not that I don't like the grey look but I don't fancy having to bring it back to the colour of the timber after it's weathered if the step is unnecessary.

    Thanks to you both.

  5. #5
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    In that case, you should definitely let it weather for a while before oiling it. Probably not as long as I did mine, which is Merbau and it leaches tanin for months.

    With mine, I hit it with the Karcher, then let it dry for a day, then gave it two coats of oil. Some of it was quite grey but it gets it's colour back when you oil it. I'll give it another one in 6 months or so. But then I've gone for the rustic look with mine.

    A mate also advised me to use oil with a stain in it. Lasts longer (so he says) and evens up the colour if there's a bit of variation.

    The spotted gum deck I laid three years ago was weathered for about a month and then I washed it down and oiled it with a natural finish oil. Came up OK but then I didn't let it go grey.

  6. #6
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    Default weathering

    There are many pros and cons being bantered around about what we should do with new timber decking. I guess I have followed the general concept that it is wise to just let the timber weather for 3-6 months before coating. i have just completed a spotted gum deck that was laid last Sept-Oct 06. Half the deck was under roof line and half was exposed to the elements. The part that was under the roof looked absolutey brand new while the deck exposed was certainly grey to black. I initially cleaned the entire deck with sodium percarbonate followed by a Rotowash scrub and thorough rinsing and then followed with an oxalic acid wash,scrub and rinsing. On some of the blacker boards I reapplied the oxalic acid treatment individually. I then coated with three coats of Flood spa&Deck cedar. The two areas blended extemely well and the people were delighted with the result. I have the photos on my camera but as I am not that techno savvy I am hasving trouble figuring out how to download them to this sight. If you email me privately I can probably send them to you as an attachment. If you want to have a look at my web site you can see what spa&deck looks like as all of the photos in my portfolio are done with this product. www.restore-a-deck.com.au

    Regards,

    JimJ

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    Hi guys,

    thanks for the replies.

    SilentC - when you say your spotted gum came up just "OK" would you say that it came up only ok because you let it weather(at all) or because you didn't let it weather long enough? About the stain - I've heard and seen similar things - it appears the darker the stain the longer it 'seems' to last or perhaps the longer it hides the weathering? In any case, like most timber addicts I probably prefer the natural look of clear finishes as opposed to stains (not that they can't look amazing mind you).

    Jimj - what are the benefits of allowing timber to weather? For drying purposes (as silentc says 'leaching tannins') I understand why you would let it stand but if the timber is essentially dry would it still need to weather for a period of time? Not that I'm questioning the process (lord knows I'm just a thumb hitting amatuer) but I guess I'm just trying to understand the key factors affecting the way I use timber. BTW I'd be glad to email you personally for those pics if you don't mind.

    Cheers
    Mick.

  8. #8
    A Member of the Holy Trinity silentC's Avatar
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    When I say "OK", I mean OK - as in good; not bad. I much prefer the look of darker timbers and it wasn't my choice to use Spotted Gum, so I suppose I'm a bit unenthusiastic about it in general. I would say that it came up OK despite the fact that I didn't follow any particular plan, I just oiled it when I got the chance

    On the tin of Wattyl decking oil I used last, it says that you should allow resinous timbers to weather for 4 to 6 weeks. My guess is that the resin (or tannin perhaps) can react with the oil to produce undesirable side affects in the finish. I'd further guess that it can do no harm to leave it for a few weeks before you oil it.

  9. #9
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    Dear Mick,

    In this topic, discussion and debate about what the correct approach should be there are so many variables that it is hard to have one definitive answer. Ultimately it will be up to you to sift through the many discussions that have been shared by the many contributors to this great forum and then just go for it. In one of my previous posts I said that if I come across a deck that has just been built I won't attempt to coat it for at least 4 months after laying it. Many of the timbers used like Merbau and Spotted gum along with others contain a certain amount of oil-tannin which will continue to bleed out onto the surface for a number of months if not years. I have sanded back decks of Merbau that had full on sun in SEQld for 4-5 years and when I applied a sodium percarbonate detergent to the wet deck the oil that rose to the surface was a deep blood red in color. I guess the thinking is to coat it soon after construction with a decking product MAY allow some of the oil to rise to the surface under the coating and ruin the look. Whether it is 2-3-5-8 months is really just a bit of good luck but it seems most manufactures recommend 3-4 months. Weekly hosing will help but with the water crisis this may not be pracical or do-able. It comes back to 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

    If you look at my web site the first two examples in my portfolio are brand new decks about 5 months laid. It is relatively easy to apply sodium percabonate to the wet deck and then give it a scrub and rinse off.

    The goal is to have the timber when it is wet with water only look stunning. When you have it at that pont it will look great with a coating.Depending on what coating you choose will have a significant bearing on how it looks and how it lasts.

    My apologies for the ramble but there are many factore and variables and it is extremely difficult to give one specific cover every secenario answer.

    Please email through my site with your email address and I will attempt to send some spotted gum decking photos

    www.restore-a-deck.com.au

    thanks,

    Jim J

  10. #10
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    Thansk guys, you've given me enough advice to lead me to think that I will split the difference and let it weather for 4-8weeks and then see how I'm feeling - We have a new family member arriving in about 5months (the first one) so preferably I don't want to leave it too long as I may not have much available time to lazily oil a deck on the weekend.

    Thanks a bunch you guys! You're a real wealth of knowledge and it's such a fantastic resource to have the opportunity to converse (sort of) with you about these sort of projects. Kudos to you and kudos to the admin of the site!

  11. #11
    Apprentice (new member) grease monkey's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Same problem,,, same question

    I am laying a hardwood deck as well, aus. mixed. How long should i leve it to weather?

    I've selected a natural decking oil (cabbots) w/ no stain. I've been told that I should apply it once and then wait a few weeks to re apply ( he didn't tell me to weather it). Is this correct. How often should i re apply oil after the initial oiling? 3 mo., 6 mo. or 1 yr?

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Novice Jimbeam's Avatar
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    These chemicals for cleaning and restoring, are they harmful to grass particularly the cleaning ones?? Come contain acids and such and regardless of the answer I am looking for, I will be working away from the lawn so as to let as little as possible get on it.

  13. #13
    Lumberlubber Bleedin Thumb's Avatar
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    Those chemicals will kill your lawn faster than you can say ........(add colourful phrase here) and I suspect that they will stuff the pH of the soil to make re-establisment difficult.
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  14. #14
    Rigid Member UteMad's Avatar
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    A great read ....I'll stick to structural comments its easier

    UteMAd

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    Hi all,

    I know it's been a while but I thought it was time to show you guys the finished product of my mini deck/walkway. It turned out quite well and now that the garden is all in, it has blended in just as I had hoped. I let it weather for about 4months, cleaned it and sealed it with Floods Spa and Deck - which is a great product and was very easy to use - however, I didn't read the can closely enough and although it calls the colour 'Natural' it wasn't Clear(transparent) as I expected but rather a tan colour the folk at Floods call natural. Nevertheless, I decided to throw caution to the wind and use it anyway....it has made the spotted gum a fair bit more tan than I would have ordinarily gone for but I don't mind it and now that we have a little one time is of the essence so I didn't really have much choice.

    Unfortunately, I've just discovered that I don't have any of the finished product pics on this laptop but I'll get some tonight and post them tomorrow. In the meantime here are a couple of pics I took along the way.

    Thanks for everyones support and advice.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails web-front-deck.jpg   web-front-deck-1.jpg  

  16. #16
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    And here is a couple of pics I took this morning of the finished product. The dirty marks are just dust from the paws of my dog and cat (I was too lazy to sweep it before I took the pics). Thanks again all.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails deck-completed.jpg   deck-compeletd-2-.jpg  

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