Updating Your Wood Deck

As a highly visible feature on the exterior of your home, a well-maintained deck will add to your enjoyment of your property as well as to its curb appeal. A good-looking deck can add to your home’s value in the eyes of buyers if you ever decide to sell. Another plus when it comes to restoring your wood deck is the fact that the typical restoration is simple and easy enough for most homeowners to handle without professional help. It is important to note that most restoration jobs will be made easier if you regularly maintain your deck. Since decks take the brunt of the weather in all seasons, the need for regular maintenance is great.

Inspecting the Deck

The first step in your restoration effort should be to assess your deck. Look for any signs of damage from exposure to the elements. Check the structure and look for signs of mold and mildew. Closely examine the wood. If the wood is soft enough that a screwdriver can easily penetrate it, then it is rotten. Stripping and cleaning will not fix the rot. The only solution in this case is to replace all of the rotten parts.

Tips for Stripping and Cleaning Your Deck

  • You can use deck cleaners to clean your deck's surface, regardless of whether it has stain or sealer on it; however, paint stripper will be necessary if the deck is painted or varnished. The purpose of stripper is to help you to remove the old finish so that you can apply a new one. You will strip the deck prior to using the deck cleaner.
  • By using a paint scraper to remove as much of the paint or varnish as possible, you can use less stripper. Remember, it is not necessary to scrape all the way down to bare wood; you only need to remove the flaking finish.
  • There are two options when it comes to deck cleaners, one for the removal of dead wood fibers and the other for getting rid of stains from mildew. Choose whichever best suits your need.

How to Clean and Refinish Your Deck

What you will need:

  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Paintbrush
  • Brush with stiff bristles

You should also make sure to wear old clothes when cleaning your deck since some cleaners are bleach-based. Deck restoration is work that is best done on overcast or cooler days since strippers and deck cleaners can evaporate if the weather is too hot or sunny.

  1. Apply stripper with a paintbrush and leave on the deck's surface for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Scrub the surface with a brush. The goal is the loosen as much of the old finish as possible. The stiffer the bristles, the more effective the brush will be.
  3. Rinse the deck to get rid of the loosened paint or varnish.
  4. Dilute your cleaner according to the instructions. Place in a sprayer and spray a small patch of the deck. Let it sit for about 15 minutes and then scrub until clean. You should work in small patches to keep the cleaner from drying up before you get a chance to scrub it.
  5. Let the deck dry completely; this may take a few days.
  6. Apply sealer or stain.

After the process of restoring your deck is complete, you will want to regularly inspect your deck so that you can spot any problems and take care of them quickly. It is good to clean and reseal your deck about every other year.