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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Construction > Building and plumbing > Decks and balconies > Maintaining decks and balconies

Maintaining decks and balconies

About 6% of Australian houses have a timber deck or balcony. Of these, around 2% could cause fatal injuries if they collapsed, or had a balustrade or railing fail.

In Queensland, the percentage of homes with decks or balconies is even higher.

Below are some tips below for maintaining your deck or balcony.

General deck and balcony maintenance

  • Avoid frequently wetting decks and balconies—where possible sweep instead of hosing.
  • If your deck or balcony does get wet, ensure it is adequately ventilated to allow quicker drying.
  • Place pot plants on trays and prevent them from overflowing.
  • Remove shrubs or plants that permanently shade the deck or balcony, and remove creepers from rails or other components (these prevent moisture from escaping).
  • Reapply finishes at regular intervals (depending on the finish type and degree of exposure). Ensure that timber decking is thoroughly cleaned before coating. Avoid using Oregon pine for structural purposes as it won’t last.


Termites can be a major problem in timber structures. Look for:

  • any softwood that has been used to construct the deck or balcony
  • discoloured or blistered paint
  • termite mud nests or any build-up of soil around the base of the timber
  • fine 'sawdust' around or below the timber.

Wet rot and moisture

Wet rot and moisture can cause timber to decay and fixings to rust. To help minimise damage:

  • protect timber exposed to the weather by regularly painting or oiling
  • reduce dampness on the timber by not allowing water to sit or pool on the deck, for example keep trays or feet under pot plants
  • clear away soil and other debris from bearers or joists and deck posts or supports
  • fix any structural problems immediately.

Coastal elements

Salt, sand and wind make deck maintenance even more important. To help protect your structure:

  • apply oil-based paint to all exposed timber, such as bearers, joists and posts—decking oil alone may not be enough to protect against harsh coastal conditions
  • protect metal structures with paint or another coating. (This should be done when the house is built.)
  • if metal is left unprotected and starts to rust, fix it quickly before it gets any worse.

Last updated 08 October 2015    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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