Spring is the perfect time to prepare the deck for summer, however navigating a seemingly endless range of timber coatings can be daunting for first-time DIYers. Tim Orbell from Tenaru Timber & Finishes gives the following tips to help homeowners choose the perfect finish.

Quality coatings save time and money. The price of coatings can vary considerably and this is usually a good indicator of quality. Inexpensive decking oils need to be applied every few months to maintain an attractive finish, while top-quality timber coatings are much more durable and offer superior protection against water, UV light, dirt and grime. Using a premium coating such as Sikkens Cetol Deck should only mean recoating every 12 – 18 months saving time and money in the long run.

Water-based for convenience, oil-based for a natural look. Water-based coatings are an attractive choice with fast drying times and simple clean up. While oil-based coatings have longer drying times, they offer greater durability and longevity as well as a more natural looking end result.

Homeowners with existing decks should stick with the most recently used coating type – whether oil or water-based. Those looking to change between coating systems will need to completely strip the existing coating back to bare timber prior to re-coating which will ensure optimum adhesion.

Look beyond in-store swatches when choosing colour. When selecting colour it is important to consider the deck’s location, exposure to weather and the natural variations of timber species. Coatings with darker pigments are better able to resist UV damage and therefore will require less maintenance. This makes them ideal for hotter climates and areas exposed to full sun.

Due to the natural colour and grain differences of various timber species, the final look of a coating can vary dramatically from deck to deck. Homeowners should look for brands that offer sample pots, as this is the best way to gain an accurate idea of the final colour.

Consider the function of the space. Sikkens Cetol Slip Resistant has a textured finish for added slip resistance for around pools, stairs and walkways. Timber exposed to extreme heat and weathering will benefit from coatings with added UV
filters such as Sikkens Cetol Filter 7 Plus (not to be used on walk on surfaces).

Top tips for selecting a timber coating:
  • Whether oil or water-based, always purchase the best coating system you can afford
  • Do not mix water-based and oil-based coatings – stick to what was last used to coat the deck
  • Darker pigments are better able to resist UV damage, so are more suitable for areas in full sun
  • Look for brands that offer sample pots to test colour finishes prior to final application
  • Consider the needs of the space. Specialty coatings with inbuilt slip resistance, UV filters and
  • extra moisture resistance are available.
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