How to Renew Your Deck

If your backyard deck is beginning to show its age, then maybe it’s time for a facelift. By refinishing your deck, you'll bring back its original glow and ensure the wood is protected for years to come.

Overview

As outdoor projects go, deck resurfacing ranks low in difficulty and high in potential savings. This article on how to renew your deck will get you started. It explains all the key steps to transforming those weather-beaten planks into a barefoot paradise. 

Task Overview

Estimated time: 8 to 10 hours
Estimated cost: $300
Skill level: Beginner
Number of people required: 1
 

Tools & Materials:

Steps

  1. Pressure washer
    The spray from your regular garden nozzle won’t cut it when it comes to serious deck cleaning. You'll need a gas or electric pressure washer. Make sure it has a reservoir to hold the cleaning solution. It should also feature controls to regulate the force (psi or pounds per square inch) of the water and the nozzle spray width.
     
  2. Deck stripper
    The deck wash or cleaner, mixed with water, will remove the dirt layer along with any old finishes such as deck stain or flaking deck paint. Some strippers come pre-mixed while others are do-it-yourself. Different deck-cleaning products use different chemicals to attack algae, moss and mildew. Chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach and oxalic acid are the most common active ingredients. Chlorine bleach products require an extra deck rinse after cleaning.
     
  3. Landscape protection
    Some deck-cleaning chemicals can harm greenery, though most are safe. To protect shrubs and garden plants, soak them with water and cover them with plastic sheets. Also rinse down the siding of your house closest to the deck floor. Remove the plastic as soon as you’re finished power washing but keep it handy for when you apply the sealer.
     
  4. Preparation
    Practice using the controls on your pressure washer before taking aim at the deck. There's a fine line between safely dissolving grime and damaging the wood beneath. It’s generally recommended that you set the psi to at least 1,000 and no higher than 1,500 for a heavily soiled or previously stained deck. Adjust the nozzle spray to a fan pattern. Point it away from the deck and your house until you find the right setting. Dress for the task and cover all exposed skin. Rubber boots, rubber gloves and eye protection are recommended.
     
  5. Good technique
    Wash the deck one section at a time, working the spray from side-to-side in the same direction as the wood grain. Take care to overlap the edge of each section to avoid leaving a visible mark or “cut line.” The high-pressure mixture of water and deck wash will both dissolve the dirt and rinse off the debris. Stubborn buildup may require multiple passes, but keep the nozzle moving at all times and never use a solid stream or you risk splintering the wood.
     
  6. Drying and inspection
    After you've cleaned the entire deck, give it 24 to 48 hours to dry. Now is the time for deck repair. If the pressure wash exposed any cracked or rotting boards, replace them before the final step. Inspect the deck closely for any raised nails or loose screws. Make sure all fasteners are secure and the spaces between the boards are clear of debris. If you notice any lingering stains, spot scrub them with some cleaner and a stiff nylon brush and then rinse clean.
     
  7. Final coat
    The final step of your deck restoration is to apply a deck brightener and/or stain. A spray-on deck brightener can lighten the shade of the newly-exposed wood and help the stain to penetrate. Stains come in a variety of styles and shades, from solid to transparent. Match the stain to your wood colour for best results. Oil-based stains are easier to apply, but tend to be less durable than water-based stains. If you prefer a more natural look, forego staining and roll on a clear, waterproof sealer to let the real wood grain shine through.
 

Deck Renewal Tips:

• This project requires three consecutive days of dry, mild weather
• Protect yourself and nearby landscape from cleaning chemicals
• Recoat your deck with stain or sealer for a weather-resistant finish
Legal
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.

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