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Q&A with Handy Mac: Deck maintenance

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Tracey needs advice on treating her new deck

Q: We are having a small deck installed at my house. We have opted for pine as we simply cannot afford the imported hard woods.

We know that to ensure the longevity of the deck it must be maintained properly. As this is a brand-new deck we want to get it right from the start. Could you give some guidance on the products and process we should follow to preserve the wood? We will be doing it ourselves and are not experts. The deck will be fully exposed to the elements all year round.

A: I understand what you mean about cost. While we were still living in Clanwilliam we added a 56m² deck to the house and went with pine due to cost. It is not the best option, but if properly constructed and maintained all should be fine.

Insist every intersection is doubled-screwed and go for the most expensive screws you can afford. Ensure your contractor gets his material from an accredited supplier and that it is properly treated and dried before work starts. Also ensure the contractor does not use warped timber. Once warped always warped.

About proper preservative treatment for the future, I recommend you follow the advice I wrote in December 2015 when researching another problem: “I have found an expert called Lida Herbst and she works for Woodoc whose products I like to use. I was stumped so I googled ‘removing the wrong stain’ and their website came up together with a toll-free number 0800411200. I rang it, at 4.45pm and wow, what service Alternatively email her on lidah@woodoc.com.”

I have not had a chance to find out if Lida is still working, but the Woodoc website is excellent and easy to follow.

As with any painting, the trick is all in the preparation, and if you skimp or are afraid of using lots of elbow grease you will never be happy with the result. So sand properly, apply the product in strict accordance with the directions provided and remember, a piece of timber has six sides so make sure they are all treated. If you are not going to be able to get to the underside of the deck once it is built then treat the hidden surfaces before they are put down.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to don@macalister.co.za or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: facebook.com/thehandymac

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