Steve Grimwood of Osmo UK offers his advice to self-builders on how best to prepare your garden for summer with the right decking
Many of us spend a considerable amount of time creating homes and gardens to be proud of. Whether that involves a large-scale project such as building your dream home, or a smaller DIY task like putting up a new fence, it’s important to make sure that the materials we use can withstand the external elements – both during the cold winter months and the warm summer period.
UV PROTECTION IS KEY
Wooden cladding is a popular choice externally as it is aesthetically pleasing. To save costly repairs and to make sure that the surface will withstand the test of time, it’s important to use a good quality finish that will enhance the natural beauty of the cladding without discolouring the wood species.
Exterior wooden cladding is constantly exposed to UV rays. UV damage can cause cladding to look tired and grey, but by applying a finish based on natural oils that offers added UV protection, you can help to protect and maintain the cladding throughout the summer months.
FIRST CLASS FURNITURE
Garden furniture is something we often neglect. A staple for entertaining guests, it’s important to keep exterior furniture looking and functioning at its best. It can often begin to discolour after time, and many homeowners will see this as an opportunity to throw it away and replace it with something new. Yet, by simply applying a wood finish, you can rejuvenate and refresh the existing furniture, saving money. The finish will help to combat discolouration and by opting for a breathable finish, the wood won’t crack, flake or peel.
If the discolouration is beyond repair and you want to add a pop of colour to the space, I suggest painting the garden furniture. Many retailers offer coloured finishes that can really help to personalise a space, while masking the natural colour and grain of the wood.
Decking can really make or break a space. It provides a place for entertaining and often hosts garden furniture, plants and other decorative accessories. As a flat surface, decking is continuously exposed to the elements, making regular treatment key in order to enhance longevity and minimise cosmetic damage.
To cope with cold winters and to help prime the surface for summer, I would recommend using a dedicated decking oil. Many finishes are specially formulated to be dirt and water-resistant, which can help to protect the decking against heavy wind and rainfall. There are clear or colour options, which allow the homeowner to choose whether to enhance the wood’s natural beauty or if the wood is starting to discolour, to refresh the surface with a coloured finish.
BE CONSISTENT WITH CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
In addition to treating your external wooden surfaces with high-quality finishes, it’s key to implement a regular cleaning and maintenance routine – and to make sure you stick to it. Although this may take time, the result will be cost effective, as by looking after your existing surfaces, you will avoid having to spend out on new ones.
For day-to-day cleaning, I would suggest a mild cleaning solution. This will help to remove dirt and grime from the wood and allow you to keep on top of any mould or cosmetic damage that may occur. If you need something a little stronger to tackle discolouration, you can apply a gel-like substance, which once brushed on, will penetrate the surface and help to restore the wood back to its original colouring.
PRODUCTS IN PRACTICE
An extension to a residential property in Buckinghamshire highlights how high-quality wood finishes can provide outstanding protection and aesthetically pleasing results externally.
Built in the 1980s, this four-bed detached home had an unfortunate north facing patio, which, due to lack of sunlight, was rarely used. With the prospect of a promising summer, the homeowner decided to make the most of the patio area by erecting an extension and extending the kitchen, utilising the unused space.
Jeffrey Powell Associates was the architect for this project, and designed an oak framed extension. To ensure the timber would be protected against UV rays and eliminate algae and fungal decay, two coats of Osmo Oak UV-Protection-Oil was applied to the frame, door and windows. By absorbing into the oak, the finish allows the surface to remain healthy and elastic, preventing it from drying and becoming brittle. As well as protecting the wood, it provided a satin-matt, clear finish, which creates a rustic appearance that highlights the benefits of having wood installed, and fits in nicely with the rest of the property.
“We understand that wood can start to look grey and tired if not treated correctly,” commented the homeowner. “Despite this, we were still really keen to use the material for the extension but understood it meant that we had to have a high-quality finish applied to protect the material. At the same time, we didn’t want the protective layer to detract from the rustic appearance that wood provides. Osmo UV-Protection Oil ensured all of our requirements were met.”
Steve Grimwood is managing director of Osmo UK