If your deck is beginning to look more like driftwood than a pleasant spot to relax or entertain guests, it's time to give it a makeover. Not sure where to start? Here are a few helpful tips for refinishing your deck:
- Check the forecast before you get started. Rain is the enemy of deck refinishing and, since there are multiple steps involved and curing time for stains, sealants, etc., make sure you are likely to have a couple of sunny days in a row before you begin.
- Inspect your deck thoroughly.
Prep for cleaning. Remove all your plants and furniture so that your deck is completely empty before giving it a thorough sweeping. If your deck is particularly dirty, you may want to give it a quick power wash before using a deck cleaner.
- Replace any damaged boards or boards showing signs of rot. Don’t forget to check the supports underneath, too, where it may be more difficult to see problems.
- Sure-up or replace railings that aren’t stable so that your deck remains a safe place to entertain.
- Hammer any nail heads that have worked loose; no one wants to step on one in their bare feet.
Clean your deck to prep it for staining. There are countless products available at your local home improvement store designed just for cleaning your deck, some of which are pretty powerful (read: some are harsher than others). Unless your deck is made from redwood, a dilute solution of powdered oxygen bleach and water is the best way to clean your deck (note that chlorine beach has the potential to strip the color from wood). On redwood, oxalic acid is recommended. In both cases, be sure to follow the instructions on the product packaging. Once you have washed the deck with the appropriate solution, be sure to allow it to dry completely before staining.
Apply the Protective Finish. There are many different deck stains and finishes on the market, so choose one best-suited to your individual needs and preferences. This article from This Old House recommends using a semi-transparent stain on older decks to allow the grain to show through and achieve a more uniform appearance when mixing old and new wood. Since application instructions and drying times vary greatly between products, carefully read all the documentation for your finish choice before you begin to apply it.
Does your Seattle area outdoor space need more than refinishing your deck? Get in touch! We'd love to help plan your reimagined outdoor oasis.