Does your wooden deck need refinishing? There is an easy way to tell: sprinkle a few drops of water on your deck. If the drops bead on the surface, your deck is fine. If they sink into the wood, it's time for new finish.
These eight tips can show you how to refinish your wooden deck quickly and easily.
- Start with a clean deck. A pressure-washer can remove all the debris from your deck, even the stubborn dirt in those tight corners. For smaller jobs, use a stiff bristle brush and a good commercial cleaner.
- Protect the plants. To protect the grass and plants around your deck, douse them generously with water before you work with any chemicals. When you're done with the job, don't forget to rinse the plants and grass thoroughly to remove any chemical residue that might have landed on the foliage.
- Remove the old stain. To make this job easier, consider using a chemical stripper. It tends to work better than power washing on the areas where the old deck stain is harder to remove, such as on railings and in corners.
- Replace warped or discolored boards. Remove any problem boards and replace them with new ones. Check for protruding nails and hammer them down. If rough spots exist on the boards, sand them. Make certain your deck is clean and dry before proceeding to the next step.
- Consider your method. You can apply some stains with a paint roller, but smaller areas may need the help of a paintbrush. Another option is a sprayer, which should transfer the stain quickly and evenly, even in hard-to-reach areas.
- Choose and apply the finish. Remember that clear or tinted products should last about a year before they have to be replaced, while solid and semitransparent stains can last for two to four years.
- Apply more than one coat. One coat of finish is usually not enough. Keep in mind that you may have to allow drying time between coats, so it could take a week before the deck is completely refinished.
- Be patient. Your finish should dry thoroughly before you touch it or walk on it. Once the stain is set, you won't have to worry about refinishing your desk for at least another year.
Refinishing your wooden deck is a necessity to keep it looking nice, and especially important to avoid splinters and cracked wood. The nicer your deck looks and feels on your feet, the more likely you are to spend time on it and enjoy the fresh outside air.
About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.