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5 steps to restain a wood deck


Wooden decks look amazing until the stain starts flaking off and makes them appear quite old, patchy and unmaintained. In addition to looks, the stain deterioration influences the wear and tear of the deck, as it creates a protective layer that extends its life by decreasing the negative impact of sun, rain, snow and other weather conditions on wood. At the same time, that weather impact makes the stain/paint peel off over time and the actual wood deck – look old and worn out.

Thus, if you want to prolong the life of your wood deck and upgrade its appearance, you need to restain it. The difficulty of the project will depend on the current coating of the deck (whether it’s painted or stained), the condition the boards are in (whether the board replacement or adjustment are needed or not), the finish you’re aiming at (again, paint or stain) and, of course, the area you need to refinish.

Estimate the level of difficulty of your project and get in touch with carpenters or painting contractors from HireRush.com if you end up not willing to conduct it on your own. If you’re confident in your skills and strengths, look through our deck refinishing tutorial to get it done qualitatively.

Tools and materials for the project

  • power washer
  • garden spray
  • paint scraper
  • paint roller
  • paint brush
  • paint tray
  • scrubbing brush
  • bucket
  • wood sanding machine/sanding paper
  • broom
  • deck cleaner
  • deck stripper
  • plastic sheets
  • long rubber gloves
  • rain boots
  • protective glasses

How to restain a wood deck

  1. Prepare your deck for refinishing

    For that matter, remove all the deck furniture and sweep it with a broom to get rid of the leaves, dust, and other outside debris.
    After that, inspect your deck for damaged, deteriorated or lifted boards, splinters and popped nails, fix them and make sure to clear out the gaps between the boards. You’ll be able to smooth out the surfaces and get rid of splinters with the help of a wood sanding machine or even a piece of the sanding paper.

  2. Protect your plants growing around the deck and put on some protective gear

    As you’re going to work with harsh chemicals designed to dissolve stain and major dirt, you need to protect your plants from their impact by soaking them with water and covering them with plastic sheets so that no deck stripper or cleaner drops fall on them.
    Put your plastic apron, protective glasses and long rubber gloves and rain boots on to prevent those chemicals from damaging your skin.

  3. Strip the old finish

    Read this HomeRepair guide to determine whether you need to do that or can skip this step. Most likely, if the current finish is quite worn out, you’ll have to scrub off the most obvious loose stain flakes with the help of a paint scraper and use the deck stripper to lift off the current layer of stain/paint.
    Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to deck stripper preparation and pour it into the garden sprayer. Apply it on the deck (small areas at a time not to let the stripper dry), wait for 15-20 minutes and scrub the old stain off. Don’t forget about the railings as well. For extra convenience, use a paint brush to apply stripping solution on them. When that’s done, rinse the deck with a garden hose.

  4. Deep clean your wood deck

    Unfortunately, you won’t be able to do that without a deck cleaner, which removes the dirt that’s penetrated deeper into the wood, rust stains from nails, mold, mildew, and deck stripper remains. Thus, apply it onto the stripped deck with a garden spray and leave it to sit for as long as its manufacturer recommends.
    After that, wash it away with a pressure washer. Try to rent the one with the deck scrubbing attachment to achieve a better result and make sure that the wood is clean enough for the new stain to stick to it well.

  5. Wait for your deck to dry for a few days and apply the stain

    You may choose paint, tinted stain in the solid or semi-transparent finish, or clear deck sealer depending on the desired look.
    Most carpenters suggest painting deck railing with the tinted stain, but sticking to the clear sealer on the actual deck to show off the beauty of the wood grain and make sure that the finish doesn’t show the wear signs for a long time. Again, follow the product’s instructions to ensure smooth application.

Remember to get your wood deck cleaned through pressure washing on regular basis and make sure to refinish it every 2-5 years to avoid disastrous board deterioration and costly deck replacement.

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