We installed a new deck five weeks ago, and the contractor promised to come back and treat it, but failed to do so, and I don’t want him back now in any event. Am I too late to do something with it now? If I don’t treat it now, will it get damaged over the winter? What would you recommend I do with it? 

No you’re not too late, better late than never as they say. If you do nothing at all, it is very likely that your deck will get damaged over the coming winter months, because it has no protection. Even if the wood is pressure treated, it is still not protected against the damaging effects of moisture, water and even frost damage.  All you need do is pop down to your builders merchants or main paint outlets and, assuming yours is an average sized deck, pick up a five litre can of Seasonite. It costs around €60 and it’s well worth it. Anybody can apply the stuff in a jiffy. It can even be applied to wood that is slightly damp. You can use a roller, light spray or an old fashioned clean paint brush. Apply one good coat all over the deck, spindles and handrails if you have them. Pay special attention to end-cuts and joints and make sure they are well saturated. Seasonite apparently acts like a one way valve, it will allow trapped moisture or water to escape slowly, in a controlled way, while at the same time preventing ‘new’ water or moisture getting in to the wood. It also contains a fungicide, which helps prevent the growth of algae, mildew etc. This is very important, because these life forms, when they get on to your deck can make the deck quite slippery in the wet. It’s these organisms that usually cause the slippery effect, not the wood itself contrary to common perceptions. By the way, don’t be tempted to apply two coats, because it is intended that you clean the deck next year with something like Net-Trol, and then do the next stage of the treatment with a deep penetrating oil like Textrol when it has fully dried out. Don’t treat your new deck with Textrol or any other oil now because, the wood has not been seasoned properly and won’t be ready yet for proper treatment because its pores are still closed and there’s probably still mill glaze on the wood surface which prevents proper oiling at this point.

Most importantly, I forgot to mention above, I’ve found Seasonite to be most effective in helping to prevent splitting, warping, cracking and cupping, all problems that occur from moisture / sun / moisture cycles. For anybody that’s interested, or has a similar dilemma to this lady, it is a great product to use on all sorts of new exterior wood. The likes of either hardwood or softwood garden tables and chairs, gazebo’s, etc. It’s also excellent on wooden cladding, shakes, shingles (not the medical type I might add) If you need to find out any more about the above mentioned products, or where you can buy them, you should contact the main Seasonite distributors directly.