Is your deck looking a little shabby? Is it in need of a makeover? Battling the elements can take a toll on your decking which is why regular maintenance is a must. Refinishing is an easy DIY project that will help extend the life of your outdoor space. After a good scrubbing and a fresh coat of stain, your deck will look like new.
Go Beyond Clean with a Pressure Washer
Remember, you aren’t just cleaning your deck but prepping it for a new coat of stain and protectant. You need to remove as much dirt, grime and old stains as possible. A pressure washer
with a fan nozzle works great for this. Use caution when trying to remove tough stains, the force of the water can gouge wood if focused in one spot too long. So keep it moving!
5 Tips for Cleaning Your Deck:
- Cover your plants with plastic – This will help prevent chemicals from getting on them. Rinse the foliage off afterwards as an added measure.
- Pressure wash – Use a cleanser that is specially formulated to clean decking materials. This keeps the wood from drying out. The most commonly used cleaners have TSP (Trisodium phosphate) in them but may be too harsh to use around plants.
- Apply some elbow grease – Instead of trying to get tough stains up with the pressure washer, use a scrub brush.
- Clean between boards – Use an old broom or brush to loosen debris from cracks and crevices.
- Scrub railings and overhangs – All decking surfaces should be cleaned and refinished to protect them too.
Look for Needed Repairs
Now that you’ve finished washing the deck, allow it to dry for 24 hours. Use this time to inspect and replace any damaged boards. Look for popped nail heads and hammer them back in place.
Once your deck is completely dry, you can sand down rough spots and get ready for the stain.
There are four basic types of stain finishes:
- Clear – No tint or color but serves as a protectant for the wood.
- Tinted – Wood colored tints allow for a uniform, natural appearance.
- Semi-transparent – Gives some color but still allows for wood grain to show through.
- Solid colors – Opaque paints hide the wood grain and provide ample color.
Protect Your Deck from the Elements
Some new exterior paints/ stains can actually fill in small cracks and splits. Due to the thickness of these products, you will need a larger amount to cover your deck but multiple coats won’t be necessary. You can also find stains that contain skid resistant materials (like fine grit/sand) for added safety and still remain comfortable on bare feet.
Advice on applying stain to a deck:
- Use a roller for larger areas – Paint brushes are great for railings and recesses.
- Keep your color uniform – For a large area, mix all of your stain together to keep it consistent. Color may vary slightly from can to can.
- Paint sprayers can clog – Read the label on the product you are using. Some stains are too thick for sprayers.
- Avoid overlap marks – Work on a few deck boards at a time and paint lengthwise.
- Let dry at least 24 hours – Test the surface before putting furniture back out. If it is tacky to the touch, give it more time to dry.
Give Your Deck a Makeover
If you’ve been thinking you need a new deck but can’t afford it, try refinishing first. A perfectly good entertainment space may be hidden beneath all that dirt and grime. All it needs is a little do-it-yourself TLC. Let’s face it, we can all use a little makeover from time to time.
From pressure washers and paint sprayers to sanders and nail guns, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your next outdoor DIY project. Looking for additional information on maintaining your deck? Check out our previous blog “Seal and Stain Your Deck in 3 Easy Steps” for more helpful tips. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.