DECKING CARE AND MAINTENANCE
Mataverde® Premium Hardwood Decking
MATAVERDE HARDWOOD DECKING MATERIAL IS LOW MAINTENANCE
When you invest in a deck you want to know it will last beautifully for years, and ideally with minimal care. Hardwood decking material gives you that wish list and more. Here are some tips on high-density hardwood deck maintenance to make your deck last.
Proper maintenance is essential for extending the longevity of your new high-density hardwood deck. In addition to its extreme durability and natural resistance to decay, Mataverde premium hardwood decking is beautiful, all-natural, and simple to care for.
The rich variety of graining and coloration of each piece of decking is as unique as a fingerprint and adds tremendous character to your new deck. Once you have installed your decking boards, you may wish to leave your deck to weather naturally or enhance the colors and graining with a UV-inhibiting finish.
The following deck maintenance tips will help to keep your premium hardwood deck looking beautiful for years to come. Whichever premium hardwood you choose from Ipe wood, Cumaru, Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry), Garapa, or Machiche, these expert tips will help you to properly care for and extend your new deck’s life.
CARE AND MAINTENANCE FOR A HARDWOOD DECK
LOW-MAINTENANCE DECKING OPTION
If you would like your new hardwood deck to weather naturally to a delicate silvery-gray patina, there is very little that needs to be done after decking installation; an initial coat of PENOFIN® Hardwood Penetrating Oil Finish (or similar product) is highly recommended to protect your deck from harmful UV rays while it acclimates.
Shown above: A naturally weathered Ipe deck with a silver patina, still showing the grain patterns.
After this, you may simply allow the weather and environmental conditions to naturally season your deck boards. Bear in mind that each deck board has unique characteristics and each decking board (and portions of each board) will weather at different rates. The amount of direct and indirect sunlight, temperature, humidity, moisture and all other conditions of the micro-climate of your deck area will factor into the time and shading of your new deck.
ROSEWOOD OIL HIGH-DENSITY HARDWOOD DECKING FINISH
If you prefer the rich, natural coloration and graining of Premium Hardwood Decking to show through you can apply PENOFIN® Hardwood Penetrating Oil Finish or a similar product with a UV blocker. These environmentally friendly Brazilian Rosewood oil-based products will darken, enrich, and enhance the natural colors of the deck wood. The finishes offer UV protection plus mildew and mold protection to each deck board.
After your initial coat is applied to your decking, an annual maintenance coat will help keep the coloration vibrant and graining variations visible for many years to come. An additional advantage of using an oil finish is that it prevents most common household beverages and foods from penetrating (and possibly staining) your deck surface.
Pictured Above: Ipe deck and railings sealed with Penofin hardwood oil
OTHER FINISHING OPTIONS FOR HARDWOOD DECKING
There are a multitude of other exterior decking stain products that are now available on the market that are specially formulated for high-density exotic hardwood decking. Most of these products also contain a waterproofing agent. The length of time these finishes are expected to last varies by manufacturer.
WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT THE FINISH?
Whether you initially decide on an oil finish or allow your deck to weather naturally, it’s never too late to change your mind. For example, if you decide to put an oil finish on a deck that you originally allowed to weather to a gray patina, simply clean and brighten your deck with deck cleaning products or sand off the gray patina and apply a coat of finish.
Alternately, if you originally oiled your deck and now wish it to weather naturally, you may use a deck stripping product to remove the oil finish or simply allow the oils to weather out over a few years.
For more information on how different wood decking materials weather, download our FREE
"Guide to How Woods Weather"
HOW TO KEEP YOUR NEW DECK LOOKING GREAT
No matter what kind of decking material you have on your deck (wood, metal or synthetic), an annual cleaning is an excellent idea. All of the naturally occurring outdoor elements; molds, pollen, leaves, tree tannins, mildew, dirt, acid rain residue, etc. will settle and accumulate on your deck surface.
As molds, mildews and fungus thrive on moisture and a food source to grow, removing this accumulation of debris is a sensible idea on any and all deck surfaces to keep them sanitary and looking their best.
HOW TO CLEAN A HARDWOOD DECK
For premium hardwood decking, an annual cleaning will remove most of the leaves, dirt, and debris. Sweep off any loose debris first with a broom or brush. Then apply the water and dish soap mixture and scrub the remaining debris off. Rinse it off with water when you are finished. This simple solution removes most of the food sources, but it will not kill naturally occurring mold, mildew, or fungus spores.
Depending on the microclimate of your deck area, you may have to pay more or less attention to some intruders than others. For example, in dark, shady, damp, or tree-covered areas, algae, fungi, or mold are more likely to flourish than in bright, un-shaded areas. If you have mold, mildew, and other spores on your deck, there are several products available to specifically deal with these freeloaders.
This Garapa deck undergoes the annual (or as needed) cleaning to keep it looking its best
CLEANING A WOOD DECK
While a mixture of household bleach and water is a well-known cleaner (and will kill most spores), repetitive usage may cause the deck to bleach out or become blotchy in appearance. It may also damage your deck boards. Avoid using bleach and deck cleaning products that contain bleach.
For cleaning your deck, many wood cleaning professionals use deck cleaning products that contain Sodium Percarbonate or Potassium Hydroxide (Pro-Tech Wood Cleaner by Penofin is one of several options that we have tested and we like it a lot). These alkaline chemical agents will effectively kill mold spores. The oxygenating power of these chemicals will also bring dirt to the surface where it can be rinsed off. Next, a true wood professional will pH balance the deck with a slightly acidic deck brightener (Pro-Tech Brightener by Penofin® is one). After this cleaning and pH balancing is complete, your deck is ready to either leave as is to weather naturally or re-seal.
PRESSURE WASHING WOOD DECKS
Another alternative method of cleaning is to pressure wash the deck surface. If you are not a professional, you should probably stay away from pressure washing. if not done properly you can ruin your deck. Pressure washing does not kill molds. So you will still have to use a cleaner that kills mold spores after you are finished pressure washing anyway.
You must use the proper PSI setting for the species of wood you are cleaning. The lowest possible PSI that will remove dirt and debris is recommended. A maximum of 1200 PSI is suggested for ipe decking. But be careful not to get too close and gouge the wood. Other softer wood decking species require lower PSI settings. Test an inconspicuous area first and be careful to use the wand in even strokes to avoid lap marks. If you are uncomfortable with cleaning or power washing your deck yourself, some professionals offer this service.
SANDING OR STRIPPING YOUR WOOD DECK
Sanding your deck
If the wood on your deck is gouged or scratched, sanding may be required to bring it back to a pristine condition. use an 80-grit sandpaper for high-density hardwoods like Ipe, Machiche, Jatoba (Brazilian Cherry), Garapa, or Cumaru. Mataverde® Premium Hardwood Decking is very high density; light surface sanding should suffice. If you go lightly, your new deck surface will look almost identical to the decking when you first installed it.
Wondering how your deck will look if you allow it to weather without a finish? Check out our free download,
"Guide to How Woods Weather" to learn more.