How To Refinish A Deck

Are you tired of looking at your worn-out, weathered deck? It’s time to give it a fresh new look with a refinishing project.

In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to transform your deck into an inviting outdoor space that you can enjoy for years to come.

From assessing the current condition of your deck to sealing it for added protection, we’ve got you covered.

So grab your tools and let’s get started on revitalizing your deck!

Assess the Current Condition of Your Deck

You’ll need to take a close look at the current condition of your deck before you start refinishing it. Begin by inspecting the wood for any signs of damage, such as rot or cracks. Pay special attention to areas that are prone to water exposure, like near the stairs or railing. If you notice any loose boards or nails sticking out, make sure to fix them before proceeding.

  • Evaluate the overall cleanliness of your deck. Remove any debris, leaves, or dirt that may have accumulated over time. A broom or leaf blower can help with this task. Additionally, check for mold or mildew growth on the surface. These can be cleaned using a deck cleaner and a scrub brush.
  • Once you’ve assessed the condition of your deck, consider its age and previous maintenance history. If it has been several years since it was last refinished, it might require more extensive work. Older decks may have worn-out coatings that need to be stripped off entirely before applying a new finish.
  • Take note of any previous finishes on your deck. If there is an existing sealer or stain present, determine whether it needs to be removed completely or if it can simply be recoated with a fresh layer.

By thoroughly examining the current state of your deck and addressing any issues upfront, you will be better prepared for the refinishing process ahead. This assessment will help ensure that your final results are long-lasting and visually appealing.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

To get started, gather all the tools and materials needed for the job. This will ensure that you have everything at hand and won’t need to interrupt the process. Here’s a list of essential items you’ll need:

  1. Power washer: A power washer is necessary to thoroughly clean your deck before refinishing it. It will help remove any dirt, grime, or old finish that may be present on the surface.
  2. Deck cleaner: After power washing, you’ll want to use a deck cleaner specifically designed for wood surfaces. This will help remove any remaining stains or discoloration and prepare the deck for refinishing.
  3. Sandpaper: Sanding the deck is an important step in achieving a smooth and even surface. You’ll need coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or splinters, followed by finer-grit sandpaper for a polished finish.
  4. Stain or paint: Depending on your preference, choose either a stain or paint specifically formulated for outdoor use and suitable for your type of deck wood. Make sure to select a color that complements your outdoor space.
  5. Brushes and rollers: Use brushes with synthetic bristles or foam rollers to apply the stain or paint evenly onto your deck’s surface.
  6. Drop cloths or plastic sheets: Protect surrounding surfaces from drips and spills by covering them with drop cloths or plastic sheets.
  7. Safety gear: Don’t forget safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from debris while working with power tools and chemicals.

By gathering these tools and materials beforehand, you’ll be well-prepared to proceed with refinishing your deck efficiently and effectively.

Clear the Deck of Furniture and Debris

Before starting, make sure to clear your deck of any furniture or debris. It is important to have a clean and empty space to work with when refinishing your deck.

  • Begin by removing all the furniture, such as chairs, tables, and planters. Place them in a safe area away from the deck so they don’t get damaged or interfere with the refinishing process.
  • Carefully sweep away any loose dirt, leaves, or other debris that may be on the surface of your deck. Use a broom or a leaf blower to remove these items effectively. Pay attention to corners and crevices where dirt can accumulate.
  • Once you have removed all visible debris, it’s time to give your deck a thorough cleaning. You can use a pressure washer if you have one available, but if not, a regular garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle will do the job just fine. Start at one end of the deck and work your way towards the other end, making sure to cover every inch of the surface.
  • After rinsing off any remaining dirt or grime from your deck’s surface, allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step. This may take anywhere from 24-48 hours depending on weather conditions.

By clearing your deck of furniture and debris before starting the refinishing process, you are ensuring that you have a clean canvas to work with. This will result in better adhesion for any stains or sealants that you apply later on and ultimately help extend the life of your newly refinished deck.

Clean the Surface of Your Deck

Once you’ve cleared the deck of furniture and debris, it’s important to clean the surface thoroughly. Start by sweeping away any loose dirt or leaves using a broom or leaf blower. This will help prevent scratches when you start scrubbing.

Next, fill a bucket with warm water and add a mild detergent specifically made for cleaning decks. Avoid using harsh chemicals as they can damage the wood.

Using a stiff-bristle brush, dip it into the soapy water and begin scrubbing your deck in small sections. Make sure to apply pressure to remove any built-up grime or stains from the surface. If there are stubborn stains that won’t come off with just soap and water, you can try using a deck cleaner specifically designed for removing tough stains.

After scrubbing each section, rinse it off with a hose or pressure washer on low setting to remove all soap residue. Be careful not to use too much pressure as it can damage the wood fibers. Work your way across the entire deck until every inch has been cleaned.

Once you’re done rinsing, allow the deck to dry completely before applying any stain or sealer. This usually takes around 48 hours depending on weather conditions. It’s important to wait for it to dry thoroughly as moisture trapped in the wood can prevent proper adhesion of the new finish.

Cleaning your deck regularly not only improves its appearance but also helps prolong its lifespan by preventing mold, mildew, and rot from damaging the wood. So take some time to give your deck a good cleaning before moving on to refinishing it.

Repair Any Damaged Areas

If there are any damaged areas, make sure to repair them before moving on. Repairing damaged areas is crucial for ensuring that your deck remains sturdy and safe for use. Here are some steps you can take to fix those problem spots.

  1. Inspect the damaged areas: Take a close look at your deck and identify any boards or sections that need repair. Look out for signs of rot, cracks, or loose nails.
  2. Replace rotten boards: Rotten boards not only look unsightly but can also compromise the structural integrity of your deck. Carefully remove the affected boards and replace them with new ones.
  3. Fill in cracks and holes: Over time, decks may develop cracks or small holes due to weathering or wear and tear. Use a wood filler to fill these gaps, ensuring a smooth surface once dried.

Imagine sitting on your newly repaired deck without worrying about splinters poking into your skin.

Picture yourself hosting gatherings on a deck that looks flawless after repairing all those damaged spots.

Feel the satisfaction of knowing that you have taken proactive steps to prolong the lifespan of your beloved outdoor space.

By repairing any damaged areas, you not only enhance the appearance of your deck but also ensure its safety for years to come. Remember, addressing these issues now will prevent further damage down the line and save you from costly repairs in the future.

So roll up your sleeves, grab your tools, and get ready to transform your deck into an inviting oasis where memories are made!

Sand the Deck for a Smooth Finish

To achieve a smooth finish, start by sanding your deck with a coarse-grit sandpaper. This step is crucial in preparing the surface for refinishing. Before you begin, make sure to wear protective goggles and a dust mask to shield yourself from any debris or particles that may be released during the sanding process.

Begin by inspecting the entire deck for any loose boards or protruding nails. Secure any loose boards and hammer down any nails that are sticking out. Once you have ensured that the deck is in good condition, you can proceed with sanding.

Attach the coarse-grit sandpaper to a belt sander or use a handheld orbital sander for smaller areas. Start at one end of the deck and work your way across, moving in the direction of the wood grain. Apply even pressure as you move back and forth, ensuring that you cover all areas of the deck surface.

Be thorough when sanding, paying close attention to high-traffic areas where the wood may be more worn down. If there are stubborn stains or discoloration on your deck, spend extra time on those spots to remove them effectively.

Once you have completed sanding with the coarse-grit paper, switch to a medium-grit sandpaper for a finer finish. Repeat the same process as before until you achieve an even and smooth texture throughout your entire deck.

After finishing this step, it’s important to clean up any remaining dust and debris before moving on to applying stain or paint. Use a broom or leaf blower to sweep away loose particles, then rinse off your deck with water and allow it to dry completely before proceeding further.

By following these steps and taking your time while sanding, you will ensure that your deck has a beautifully smooth finish ready for refinishing.

Choose the Right Stain or Paint for Your Deck

When choosing the right stain or paint for your deck, consider the color and durability you want to achieve. The right choice can enhance the overall look of your deck while providing protection against weather elements. Here are three important factors to keep in mind when making your decision:

  1. Color: The color of your deck stain or paint is a crucial aspect to consider. It should complement the style and aesthetics of your home’s exterior. If you prefer a natural wood look, opt for a transparent or semi-transparent stain that allows the grain to show through. For a more vibrant and eye-catching appearance, choose from a variety of solid colors available in paints.
  2. Durability: Decks are exposed to harsh conditions like rain, sunlight, and foot traffic on a regular basis. Therefore, it is essential to select a stain or paint that offers excellent durability and protection against these elements. Look for products specifically designed for decks, as they often have added features such as UV resistance and waterproofing properties.
  3. Maintenance: Consider how much time and effort you are willing to invest in maintaining your deck’s appearance. Some stains require periodic reapplication every few years, while others may last longer with minimal maintenance. Paints generally provide better long-term durability but may require more frequent touch-ups over time.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision about which stain or paint will best suit your deck’s needs and personal preferences. Remember to read product labels carefully and follow application instructions for optimal results.

With the right choice of stain or paint, you’ll be able to enjoy a beautifully refinished deck that withstands the test of time.

Apply the Stain or Paint to Your Deck

Once you have chosen the right stain or paint for your deck, it’s time to apply it and enhance its overall look. Applying the stain or paint may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, you can achieve professional-looking results.

Before starting the application process, make sure to clean your deck thoroughly. Remove any dirt, debris, or old finish using a pressure washer or a deck cleaner. Allow the deck to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Next, gather all the necessary supplies – a roller or brush for larger areas, a smaller brush for corners and edges, and a paint tray for easy dipping. It’s important to choose high-quality tools that will ensure even coverage and smooth application.

Now comes the fun part – applying the stain or paint! Start by pouring some of it into the paint tray. Dip your roller or brush into the tray and remove any excess by gently rolling it against one side of the tray.

To create an even coat of stain or paint on your deck, work in small sections at a time. Begin at one end of the deck and move towards an exit point so that you don’t accidentally step on freshly painted areas.

Using long, steady strokes, apply the stain or paint in a consistent direction along each board. Make sure to cover all surfaces evenly without leaving any gaps or streaks.

Check out this table for quick tips on how to apply stain/paint effectively:

Tips for Applying Stain/Paint
Work in small sections
Use long, steady strokes
Apply consistently
Check for even coverage

Remember to follow manufacturer instructions regarding drying times between coats if multiple coats are needed. Once you’ve finished applying the stain or paint, allow sufficient drying time before placing furniture back onto your newly refinished deck.

By following these steps and guidelines while applying stain/paint on your deck, you’ll be able to transform its appearance and protect it from the elements for years to come. Happy refinishing!

Allow Sufficient Drying Time

Now that you have applied the stain or paint to your deck, it’s time to take a step back and let it dry properly. This is an important part of the refinishing process as it allows the stain or paint to adhere properly and create a protective barrier for your deck.

To ensure sufficient drying time, make sure you check the weather forecast before starting this project. Ideally, you want a few days of clear skies and mild temperatures. Avoid tackling this task when rain is in the forecast or if there are extreme temperature fluctuations.

During the drying process, it’s crucial to keep foot traffic off your freshly stained or painted deck. This will prevent any accidental smudges or damage that could occur while the coating is still wet and vulnerable. A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 24 hours before allowing anyone on the deck.

In addition to letting your deck dry undisturbed, here are some tips to enhance the drying process:

  • Create proper airflow by opening windows and doors nearby.
  • Use fans strategically placed around the deck area.
  • Consider setting up a temporary shelter if rain becomes a concern.
  • Keep pets away from the area to avoid paw prints on wet surfaces.
  • Take advantage of sunny days by exposing your deck to direct sunlight.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your newly stained or painted deck dries thoroughly and achieves optimal results.

So sit back, relax, and let nature do its work before enjoying your beautiful refinished deck once again!

Seal the Deck for Added Protection

To enhance the protection of your newly stained or painted deck, seal it with a waterproof sealant. This step is crucial to ensure that your deck remains in good condition for a longer period of time. A waterproof sealant creates a barrier that prevents water from seeping into the wood and causing damage. It also helps to protect against UV rays, which can fade the color of your deck over time.

When it comes to choosing a sealant, there are several options available. One popular choice is a clear water-repellent sealant, which allows the natural beauty of the wood to shine through while providing protection. Another option is a semi-transparent stain that adds color to your deck while still allowing the grain of the wood to show.

Before applying the sealant, make sure your deck is clean and dry. Remove any dirt or debris using a broom or leaf blower, and give it ample time to dry after staining or painting. Once you’re ready to seal, follow these steps:

  1. Apply the sealant using a brush or roller, working in small sections.
  2. Make sure to apply an even coat, covering all surfaces including railings and stairs.
  3. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat if necessary.
  4. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and reapplication.

Remember that sealing your deck should be done regularly as part of its maintenance routine. By doing so, you’ll prolong its lifespan and keep it looking great for years to come.

ProsConsBest For
Provides excellent protection against water damageRequires regular reapplicationAny type of wooden deck
Enhances natural beauty of woodMay alter natural color slightlyDecks with visible grain
Easy application processCan be expensive depending on brandDIY enthusiasts
Protects against UV raysMay require additional cleaning before reapplicationDecks exposed to sunlight

By referring to this table, you can easily compare the pros and cons of different sealant options and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Replace Furniture and Decorate Your Refinished Deck

You can now replace your furniture and add decorations to personalize your newly refreshed outdoor space. After all the hard work of refinishing your deck, it’s time to make it a place where you can relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Here are some ideas to help you create a cozy and inviting atmosphere:

  • Comfortable seating: Invest in some quality outdoor furniture that will provide comfort and durability. Whether it’s a set of lounge chairs or a cozy patio sofa, choose pieces that match your style and offer plenty of seating for family and friends.
  • Outdoor rug: Add warmth and texture to your deck with an outdoor rug. Not only will it define the seating area, but it will also add an element of coziness. Choose a rug that is weather-resistant and easy to clean.
  • Lighting: Set the mood with proper lighting. Hang string lights overhead or install solar-powered lanterns around the perimeter of your deck. This will create a warm ambiance for evenings spent outdoors.
  • Potted plants: Bring nature closer by placing potted plants around your deck. Choose plants that thrive in outdoor conditions, such as colorful flowers or lush greenery. They will add life and vibrancy to your space.
  • Outdoor accessories: Don’t forget the finishing touches! Add throw pillows in vibrant colors, decorative lanterns, or even an outdoor fireplace to make your deck feel like an extension of your indoor living space.

By replacing furniture and adding personalized decorations, you can transform your refinished deck into a welcoming oasis where you can unwind after a long day or entertain guests on warm summer nights.

So go ahead and let your creativity shine as you make this space truly yours!

Maintain Your Refinished Deck for Long-lasting Results

To ensure long-lasting results, it’s important to regularly maintain your newly refreshed outdoor space. By following a few simple steps, you can keep your refinished deck looking great for years to come.

  • First and foremost, make sure to clean your deck regularly. Use a broom or leaf blower to remove any debris such as leaves, dirt, or branches. This will prevent them from accumulating and causing damage over time.
  • Next, give your deck a thorough wash using a mild detergent and water. Scrub the surface with a brush or use a pressure washer on a low setting to remove any stains or grime.
  • After cleaning, inspect your deck for any signs of wear or damage. Look for loose boards, nails that have popped up, or splintered wood. Replace any damaged boards and secure loose ones to prevent accidents and further deterioration.
  • Once your deck is clean and repaired, apply a protective finish every 1-2 years. This will help seal the wood and protect it from moisture, UV rays, and other elements that can cause fading and warping. Choose an appropriate finish based on the type of wood used for your deck.
  • Be mindful of how you use your deck. Avoid dragging heavy furniture across the surface as this can scratch or dent the wood. Consider using furniture pads under legs to protect against scratches.

By following these simple maintenance tips, you can keep your refinished deck in excellent condition for many years to come. Enjoy spending time in your outdoor oasis knowing that it’s well taken care of!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it typically take to refinish a deck?

Typically, it takes a few days to refinish a deck. This includes cleaning, sanding, and applying the stain or paint. The actual time may vary depending on the size of the deck and any additional repairs needed.

Can I refinish my deck if it has mold or mildew?

Yes, you can refinish a deck with mold or mildew. Start by cleaning the surface thoroughly with a mixture of bleach and water. Allow it to dry completely before applying a deck cleaner and stain.

What type of paint or stain should I use if I want a natural wood look?

For a natural wood look on your deck, use a semi-transparent or transparent stain. These stains will enhance the natural grain of the wood while providing protection. Avoid using paint if you want to maintain a more natural appearance.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when refinishing my deck?

When refinishing your deck, it’s important to prioritize safety. Wear protective gear like gloves and goggles, use a mask to avoid inhaling fumes, and ensure proper ventilation. Take precautions to prevent accidents and follow manufacturer instructions for any chemicals used.

How often should I refinish my deck to maintain its appearance and durability?

To maintain your deck’s appearance and durability, it is recommended to refinish it every 2-3 years. This will help protect the wood from weather damage, prevent splintering, and keep it looking great for years to come.


In conclusion, you’ve successfully refinished your deck! By assessing its condition, gathering the necessary tools and materials, and clearing furniture and debris.

Next, you cleaned the surface, repaired damages, and allowed sufficient drying time.

After that, you sealed the deck for added protection and replaced furniture and decorated it.

Remember to maintain it regularly to ensure long-lasting results.

Enjoy your newly refinished deck and create lasting memories with family and friends!