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Cleaning and Maintaining your Timber

Updated: Apr 29, 2021

Spring is here and you're probably looking at your cladding or decking and thinking that it could use a little TLC! After the harsh weather conditions that your boards would have endured over the winter months, it is now time to restore your cladding and decking to its former glory! Just in time for the sunshine!

We do advise that you try to clean your boards at least once a year, before the summer, especially your decking, as this can become slippery when dirt and muck builds up over time. If you plan to clean and maintain your decking and cladding twice a year, we would also suggest doing this in the Autumn so that your boards are well protected and clean for the winter weather.


thermowood cladding; pine; knotty pine; timber cladding; architecture; construction

Our ThermoWood cladding has a long lifespan and durability, as well as this, the ThermoWood material needs little maintenance over time. However, it is good to give it a once over, once a year to ensure that it is protected against damage, dirt build-up and weathering. If you do choose to let your cladding weather down to a silvery hue over time, this will not affect its durability. This is purely a result of UV oxidation of the surface. It is entirely up to your personal preference as to how you choose your timber to weather over time.

It is advised to keep an eye on your cladding and decking, if you notice any changes, do not wait until your planned maintenance session, it is best to target problems as soon as they occur, such as mould growth or premature weathering, to maintain the quality of your timber. Quick resolutions such as washing and oiling your boards will eliminate these issues as quickly as they may appear.

Cleaning your Cladding

There are two main ways that you can clean your cladding, which are both very low cost. These cleaning processes are entirely dependent on what equipment you have available; however, we can almost guarantee that you will have something lying around which will be useful when cleaning your cladding.

Soap and Water

You can use inexpensive household products to clean your cladding. Such as washing up liquid (never bleach), a bucket, warm water (not hot), a sponge or extendable mop and a ladder to clean those hard-to-reach areas!

If your cladding is low to the ground and prone to dirt splashes, using a sponge and washing up liquid, followed by a hose off will be adequate.

Pressure Washer

If you have access to a pressure washer, this is a great tool for quickly and effectively combatting dirt build up on your cladding. However, this is only applicable if your cladding hasn’t been coated or treated already.

We would advise testing a corner of the cladding to ensure that the water pressure is not too harsh and won't damage the boards. This tool will reduce the time you spend cleaning, leaving you more time to enjoy the views of your beautifully clad property.

A Side Note

At QTD Ltd, if you purchase from our ThermoWood, ThermoChar® or AtelierClad® ranges, your boards will already be pre-treated. Once you have cleaned your surface, it is important to ensure that the timber is completely dry. You will later need to apply a layer of sealant to protect the timber from water and the sun in the future.

Maintaining the Colour

If you have chosen to maintain the natural colour of your cladding and have opted out of allowing your timber to weather over time, follow these steps to ensure that your material is adequately protected for a long period of time!

Follow these steps to maintain the colour of your cladding:

  1. Completely clean your cladding of any dirt that has built up over time. We recommend using the Owatrol PrepDeck cleaner/stripper. A professional high-grade product specifically designed to remove old solid and semi-transparent stains, grade stamps mill glaze and other surface contaminants. Which abolishes some of the hard work needed to clean your boards, also discarding dirt that a jet-wash may leave behind.

  2. Secondly, we recommend using the Owatrol Net-trol neutraliser while the cladding is wet, and then thoroughly jet-washing off. You must neutralise the surface afterwards with Net-rol. To prevent any reaction to the new coatings applied.

  3. Finally, apply the Messmers UV Plus Oil for cladding and decking. Messmers UV Plus Oil is a premium natural wood finish that is specially formulated to penetrate the surface of the wood to enhance the natural beauty of the timber. With its unique UV inhibitors, this oil helps retain the colour of the timber. In addition to offering excellent resistance to UV degradation. Any surplus or runs on the surface will need to be removed before the oil dries to avoid it becoming tacky.

You can purchase all of the products mentioned above HERE. We have a special offer running currently, you can get your hands on all of our maintenance essentials for only £150 as well as receiving TWO FREE EXCLUSIVE products.

This video will talk you through all your need to know about maintaining your cladding!


Our decking materials can be easily maintained, and even years after installation, wooden decking can be easily restored to regain its initial natural beauty which may have deteriorated over time without adequate maintenance.

Our ThermoWood decking material is more durable than traditional timber and is highly resistant to bending and swelling. This means that our decking products can be enjoyed for many years to come if the material is adequately maintained. A simple wash of your decking and application of your oil can reverse years of wear and colour fading caused by heavy traffic and UV rays. You can maintain the colour of your decking by following the steps above!

Cleaning your ThermoWood Decking

iroko decking; thermowood iroko decking; weathered iroko decking; timber deck

Hardwoods, which include tropical timbers are highly durable and robust. These can be cleaned using a pressure washer. However, softer woods such as Spruce and Pine are a little less durable and are best cleaned naturally with a stiff broom and a scrubbing brush, or with a softer brush or sponge.

Soap and Water

In general, we would suggest creating a gentle cleaning solution with warm water and liquid dish soap. Alternatively, you can use a speciality timber deck cleaner such as.

Before applying anything to your decking, you should clear the area of any furniture or garden accessories. You should also sweep the area and remove any leaves and debris collected over time. It is best to hose down your deck to loosen and rinse away dirt or grime. Use a mix of washing up liquid in warm water and scrub the surface with a stiff-bristled brush or sponge, allowing the cleaning solution to lather.

If you’re wary about damaging the look of your decking (especially for softer timbers) then we suggest taking a careful approach. A sponge or a very light abrasive such as a nylon kitchen brush will be effective and avoid damage on the boards. We would also advise that you avoid rubbing against the grain as it can leave marks. Instead, you should rub ALONG the grain. If you have stubborn dirt and grime on your deck, we suggest giving your boards a more thorough scrub using a long-handled deck brush before rinsing the deck down.

Pressure Washer

If you have a pressure washer to hand, this is a quick and effective way of cleaning your deck. Similar to the advice provided for cleaning your cladding, we would advise testing the pressure of your jet wash on a small area to make sure that it will not damage your boards. To clean effectively, you should use cold water and avoid directing the jet straight at the decking. This, in turn, could wash away any wood adhesives and make the material brittle.

It is important to be mindful of the fact that many people make the mistake of jet washing their decking and immediately applying oils afterwards. It is advised to use our Owatrol Prepdeck Cleaner/Stripper to get rid of any residue that has been left behind. This will permit your oils to perform much better.

Cleaning your Composite Decking

If you have purchased a composite decking material from us, you can also easily maintain this material. We would most importantly suggest that you avoid using bleach to clean your composite deck, as this could discolour the surface.

You can clean your composite decking by implementing the soap and water method, or if you want to invest in the cleaning of your product, you can purchase a dedicated composite decking cleaner. However, if your composite material is uncapped, don’t be tempted to use a pressure washer as this can damage the surface.

We hope that these tips and tricks give you an insight into how simple it is to maintain your cladding and decking so that it remains clean, durable and protected for years to come! You can also access our cladding and decking maintenance guides here.

All you need to know about maintaining your decking can also be found here:

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