Decks suffer continual exposure to sun, wind, temperature changes and severe weather. Due to these environmental stresses, as well as normal use, they need to be maintained and refinished to keep them looking good. Here are some tips to get your worn-out deck looking like new again.
After years of use and harsh weather, your deck can take a beating. The once-beautiful boards can soon be covered in algae and stains. Repeated wear and exposure to UV rays eventually change the stain into a weather-beaten gray. It is important to routinely clean, maintain and refinish your deck when you notice signs of fading to prevent more severe weathering of the wood. If your deck has seen better days, here’s how to revamp it and bring life back to those shabby boards:

Assess the Damage
First, you’ll need to do a thorough inspection of your deck to assess what maintenance needs to be done. Inspect the entire deck looking for loose boards, split or rotting wood and cracks. It is best to consult a professional for advice if you notice that you need to replace damaged or rotten deck boards to ensure that structural damage is not putting you and your family at risk.

Clean the Deck
After you’ve assessed what finish your deck will require, it needs a thorough cleaning. The point of washing the deck is to remove dirt, debris, cobwebs and chipping paint. A pressure washer will significantly quicken this process, but using a regular garden hose with an attachment on the heaviest stream setting will work as well. Wash all sections of the deck evenly to avoid sealing in dirt and debris.

Remove the Old Paint or Stain
If your deck is varnished or painted and you want to stain the wood, you will first need to strip the paint or varnish. This is done using a paint stripper and deck cleaner. However, if your deck is painted and you would like to repaint it, this will only require sanding and not stripping. To revamp a clear or semi-transparent wood stain, it will only take an oxygen-based wood deck cleaner.

This step usually requires use of a paint chipper. Paint chippers can be purchased at any hardware store and are relatively inexpensive. Use the paint chipper to remove loose or solid pieces of old paint and finish, saving you more hassle during the sanding process, as the more finish you sand through, the more dust it will create.

Sand Your Deck
A sander can be rented from a hardware store if you do not own one. You can also take the hands-and-knees sanding approach, but for most decks, this is a laborious task that will take a long time. Use goggles and a mask to avoid breathing in dust or getting paint and finish particles in your eyes and nose. Sand the entire deck evenly to remove all the old finish. After you’re done sanding, be sure to thoroughly rinse the deck again to remove dust and debris.

Repaint
You have many options available for painting and staining your deck. There are two basic types of stain available – lightly tinted or solid color. Once you have gone to the hardware store and selected your desired finish, test the stain in an inconspicuous area. You may choose to apply your finish with a brush or a sprayer for larger surfaces. Apply two coats of stain without allowing the first layer to dry in between application. Applying it at once allows the wood to better soak up the color, adequately covering cracks and wood variations. Before you begin painting, be sure to check the weather forecast for the next day or two after application. This will prevent rain or humidity causing water damage to your freshly stained deck before it has time to fully dry.

Consult a Restoration Professional
Periodically revamping and repairing your deck is an important part of maintenance. Taking the proper time to repair damaged boards, pressure wash and sand the surface to remove grime, and repaint or stain your deck will keep it looking beautiful as it ages.

Consulting a deck restoration expert can help you decide what needs to be done to correct a number of aging issues, as well as how best to complete these updates. Their experience will ensure that your deck remains beautiful, protected and sealed with the right products. A restoration professional can also complete the work in a much shorter period of time.