Bring your Deck back to Life

There’s nothing like the look and feel of a new wood deck. But wood decks don’t keep their new looks forever.  You have two choices if you want that fresh look back: replace the deck or refinish it. Refinishing your wood deck restores its natural beauty and increases the value of your home.

Deck refinishing is less expensive than replacing it, and it’s really not hard to do yourself if you follow these steps.

Step 1

As with most projects, preparation is key.
The first step is to inspect your deck and repair any worn, loose, or damaged boards or other structural components.

    # If your deck is varnished or painted you’ll have to strip the finish off before you take the next step. Once the deck is free of paint or varnish you can clean it with a wood deck cleaner.
    # If the deck has a clear finish or a transparent or semi-transparent wood stain, you can go right to the cleaning without stripping.

An oxygen-based wood cleaner is a good choice for cleaning; it rids the wood of mildew and discoloration and removes dirt.

Old deck

Step 2

There’s cleaning, and then there’s deep cleaning. Use a power washer to deep clean the deck, using as low a pressure as possible. If you use too much pressure you can ruin the deck boards.

Step 3

Sand the deck. A random orbital sander is a good choice for the job.

Step 4

The next step is to choose the right stain and brushes.
Oil-based stains last longer than water-based ones; for best results choose a quality oil-based penetrating exterior semi-transparent stain.  The real-life colour may be different than the colour on the can, so you might want to buy a small sample and apply it to a small area to make sure the colour is what you want.
A quality natural bristle brush is a good choice for applying oil-based stain to railings and balustrades. You can use a paint pad applicator for the large flat deck boards.

stain the deck

Step 5

Finally, it’s time to stain the deck, well almost.  Make sure the deck is dry before you apply the stain; give it two days without rain. Apply the stain evenly and generously.
Start with the handrails and work down to the flooring.


Finished? Not Quite

Your deck looks great – restored to the natural warmth of wood. But are you finished with the project? Not quite; now you have to clean up.

Before after deck
  • Clean your brushes with mineral spirits or paint thinner (wear protective gloves).
  • Oil-based stains are flammable, so you have to dispose of them properly.
  • Put the rags in an empty paint can.
  • Fill the can with water and cover it tightly.
  • Take the can to a hazardous waste disposal centre; never dump it down the drain.


Now you’re really done. Pull out the lounge chair, fire up the grill, and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Don’t hesitate to share with us pictures of your decks and tips to refurbish it!

Image Credit:
Background featured image: TannerLD
Image 1: Vicki’s Pics
Image 2: Dolescum
Image 3: RichardBowen

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