The Basics Of Deck Refinishing

Decks are one of the most enjoyable and versatile outdoor home additions – but they also take a lot of abuse. Between your usage, and the effect of weather on them over the years, even the best-built deck will start looking a little raggedy. Fortunately, deck refinishing is a fairly easy job and one that many homeowners can do for themselves.

Here are the basics you need to know for a successful deck refinishing project!

1 – Start with a thorough cleaning

Your deck is going to pick up a lot of dirt and grime over the years, not to mention potentially also starting to develop mold, mildew, or other unwanted contaminants. So a deck refinishing project must start with a thorough cleaning. Get into those nooks and crannies! The better the job here, the better the rest of the project will go.

One warning: be careful about what cleaning products you use, as many could damage the wood on your deck. In particular, never use chlorine bleach to clean a deck. If you need bleach, use an oxygen-based bleach instead.

Then finish off with a good rinse to get rid of all the remaining cleaning chemicals.

2 – Look for problems

If any other deck repairs need to be done, it should happen before you refinish the deck. Look for cracks, rusting nails, loose boards, or any signs of rot. Otherwise, your refinishing won’t go as well, and those problems will just continue to get worse over time.

3 – Do you sand?

Sanding a deck is not always necessary for refinishing. If the deck is in basically good shape, without major stains or defects, and hasn’t been refinished already, you can typically just add more finish on top of what’s there.

However, if it’s been refinished multiple times, there are stains, or the wood has become rough and uneven, you’ll want to sand it down. This should happen around 48 hours after cleaning it, so it has time to dry.

4 – Another option: wood brightener

Wood brightener does exactly what it sounds like: bringing out and enhancing the natural color of your deck. This is an excellent option if your deck is older and has faded due to sunlight, or if you just want it to look nicer. However, this step is not necessary if you’re in a hurry or on a tight budget.

5 – Sealing the deck

Finally, it’s time for a new coat of sealant. There are seals that can alter the color of your deck, and others that are basically transparent and preserve its natural color. Just pick whichever fits your look.

Otherwise, sealing the deck works much like painting it. Some sealers can be sprayed on, others are rolled on with a standard paint roller. Being thorough is key here. Any spot which doesn’t get seal will become a weak point where rot or contamination can slip in.

Overall, deck refinishing is an easy project, and it’s definitely recommended for any deck more than a year or two old. Good luck!

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