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How To Restore a Weathered DeckMarch 10th, 2023 by
Wood decks can bring a unique charm to outdoor living spaces, but over time they become weathered and worn. While you can choose to replace them, deck restoration is a more cost-effective solution. From assessing the damage to applying protective finishes, we explain how to restore a deck. Although it can take a fair amount of work, restoring a deck only takes a few simple tools and materials.
Steps to Restoring a Deck
Restoring a weathered deck can be a challenging task, but with proper preparation and execution, you can restore your deck by yourself in just a few days.
While you can restore only portions of the deck, it is hard to get match stains and finishes. For the best results, always restore the entire deck.
Here are the steps you can take to restore a deck:
Step 1: Clean the Deck
The first step in restoring a deck is to give it a thorough cleaning. Start by removing any loose debris or dirt from the surface of the deck with a broom or a leaf blower. Then use a pressure washer or a deck cleaner to remove caked-on grime and debris from the surface of the deck. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the cleaner you choose.
Step 2: Assess the Damage
Once you have cleaned the check, it is time to assess the damage. Make sure to inspect all areas of the deck, including the deck boards, railings, stairs, and posts. Look for signs of weathering, including cracking, splitting, warping, or discoloration. Take note of any areas of rot or decay, as these will need to be addressed in the restoration process. Mark areas that need repairs with painters tape.
Step 3: Strip the Deck
Although not always necessary, using a deck stripper will help remove built-up layers of stain and wax. While products vary, most are applied to the wood and then rinsed away with a pressure washer after a specific amount of time. Always choose a deck striper meant for your wood type and follow the instructions on the label for the best results.
Step 4: Repair the Damage
Next, you need to repair any damage. Start by replacing any rotted or damaged boards. Then fill cracks or splits with wood putty or another suitable filler. If needed, you can also use screws and other fasteners to secure loose boards back in place.
Step 5: Sand the Deck
After making the necessary repairs, it is time to sand the deck surface. Use coarse-grit sandpaper, then repeat the process several more times with finer grit sandpaper. This will help to smooth out any rough spots and prepare the surface for staining or painting. While you can hand sand the deck, an orbital sander or commercial floor or deck sander is much faster. Make sure to wear a dust mask while sanding, as it can be very dusty work.
Step 6: Use a Wood Brightener
If the wood still looks dull after stripping and sanding, use a wood brightener to restore the vibrance and luster. While products vary, most work similarly. Roll or paint the brightener on the wood and wait the specified time. You then need to rinse most products off the wood before continuing. Read the application instructions on your product for specifics.
Step 7: Apply a Protective Finish
Once you have sanded the deck, you can restore the deck with a new protective finish. This can be a stain, paint, or sealer. Choose a sealer that is designed for your type of wood and that will provide adequate protection against UV rays, moisture, and mildew. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. If you are painting or staining the deck, you should also apply a clear sealer as well. This ensures your deck will look great for years to come. Also, let the finish dry completely before walking on the deck or using any furniture on it.
Step 8: Plan Future Maintenance
After restoring your deck, it is important to keep up with a maintenance schedule to help keep it looking great. Make sure to clean the deck regularly, and inspect it for damage and wear. If you notice any problems, address them immediately. You should also reapply a protective finish every few years to protect the wood from weathering.
Frequently Asked Questions About Deck Restoration
Here are some of the most common frequently asked questions about deck restoration:
What Is Deck Restoration?
Deck restoration is the process of rejuvenating an old or weathered deck by cleaning, repairing, sanding, and sealing it.
How Do I Know if My Deck Needs Restoration?
You may need to restore your deck if you notice signs of wear and tear, such as cracking, splitting, or splintering wood, or if the color has faded significantly.
Can I Restore My Deck Myself, or Do I Need To Hire a Professional?
While it is possible to restore a deck yourself, it can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process. If you are not confident in your ability to restore your deck, or if it requires extensive repairs, it may be best to hire a professional.
What Kind of Sealer Should I Use for My Deck?
There are many different types of sealers available for decks, including clear sealers, semi-transparent stains, and solid stains. The type of sealer you choose will depend on factors such as the type of wood and the amount of protection you need. Be sure to consult with a professional or read the manufacturer’s instructions before selecting a sealer.
Can Weathered Wood Be Restored?
Yes, you can restore weathered wood on a deck. Start by using stripping off any existing stain or sealer, then sand the wood thoroughly. If the wood is still dull, apply a coat of wood brightener. This will help restore the color and vibrance of the natural wood grain.