Outdoor renovations and repairs can significantly increase the value of your home and make spending time outside more enjoyable.

If you’re thinking about restoring your deck, there are some essential tips you should know first.

A deck restoration should always involve inspecting, cleaning, power washing, sanding, and re-finishing (optional). Keep reading to find the top ten tips to ensure your restoration turns out great.

Tip 1: Inspecting

The first and most important tip for deck restoration is inspecting. Inspecting will show you if you need to replace boards or railings.

It also helps you see what colour your deck may have been painted or stained previously (which will be important later).

Look at what type of finish the deck currently has. This will tell you what you need to do next.

Tip 2: Cleaning Painted or Varnished Decks

If your deck is painted or varnished, you will need to strip the paint or varnish before moving forward.

First, apply a paint stripper to the deck’s surface. Secondly, apply a high-quality deck cleaner and sand.

Make sure you sand off all the paint or varnish and the deck is completely cleaned (power washer is smart) before you re-paint or stain the deck.

Tip 3: Cleaning Clear or Stained Decks

If your deck is simply stained or natural, you only have to clean it with a good deck cleaner. You don’t have to strip it.

Use an oxygen-based wood cleaner for the best results. Make sure you remove all mildew, dirt, and sunspots.

Tip 4: Power Washing Pressure and Tip

Power washing isn’t as simple as it seems. Too much pressure can damage the deck boards and lead to more work. However, if you use too little pressure, then this step doesn’t do much.

Learn whether your deck is made of hardwood or softwood. Then abide by these pressure settings and tips for your power washing.

  • Softwoods (cedar, pine): 500 psi – 600 psi
  • Hardwoods (ipe, teak, oak, etc.): 1200 psi – 1500 psi
  • Use a fan tip (most common) or rotating tip
  • Start at the house and move outward
  • Never get closer than 12 inches away from the wood deck
  • Sweep the pressure washer with your arm extended from left to right
  • Sweep lengthwise with the wood’s grain

If you need to strip the paint or varnish from the deck, power washing can help.

Tip 5: Sanding

Wait for the deck to dry after power washing. Then sand the deck using an orbital sander.

Choosing the right grit of sandpaper is extremely important. If you use a sandpaper that is too fine, it will not allow the stain or sealer to absorb properly.

However, if you use a sandpaper that is too coarse, it can damage the wood.

Follow these guidelines for choosing the correct level of sandpaper.

  • Deck floorboards: 60 – 80 grit sandpaper; medium pressure
  • Deck board edges: 60 – 80 grit; detail sander with medium pressure
  • Deck railings: 80 – 100 grit sandpaper; detail sander or by hand

Always wear gloves and a mask when sanding to prevent injury and dust inhalation. Also, be sure to clean all debris off wood before staining, painting, or sealing.

Tip 6: Choosing a Stain

For the best results, choose a wood deck stain that is high quality and oil based. Oils penetrate the wood so that they last and protect. Acrylics, on the other hand, just play on top of the wood so they don’t last as long and only protect the surface.

You also want one that is made for exterior surfaces and is labeled as water-repellant. Semi-transparent is typically recommended for the best look.

The colour of the stain may look different on your wood. Bring or purchase a sample of the type of wood your deck is made of to test the stain colour before you purchase the stain.

Tip 7: Choosing a Paint

If you decide to paint your deck, there are some options to consider. Essentially, tips for choosing paint are similar to those for stains.

If your deck was not painted before, then definitely go with an oil-based paint. Acrylic paint will chip easily and not last as long.

Never use exterior house paint for your deck. Instead, choose a solid opaque stain (which is basically paint). Like stains, make sure the product is water repellent.

When it comes to colour, it is recommended to choose a colour that is similar to the colour your deck was before (even if it wasn’t painted).

This is important because some colour will likely remain on the wood even after cleaning and stripping. When the new paint colour starts to lose its vibrancies and fade, the colour underneath will show through and you’ll be left with two colours.

Colour matching will save you time and money in the long run.

Tip 8: Choosing a Brush

Choosing a brush is quite simple. Always go with quality.

Choose a brush that has natural bristles versus polyester bristles. Natural bristles will provide a smoother look and will last longer.

It is also important to buy different size brushes. You will want smaller brushes for the railings and ends of deck boards. For the deck floorboards, use a larger and flat paint-pad applicator.

Tip 9: The Best Ways to Apply Stain or Paint
The hardest part of deck restoration is likely to staining/painting. Follow these tips for an even and clean end-result.

  • Do not paint or stain until the deck has been dry for two days
  • Do not apply stain or paint in harsh sunlight
  • Start with the handrails so any drips can be covered
  • Make a wet spot and then brush back and forth to spread the wetness evenly
  • Then stain/paint the posts and horizontal rails
  • Make sure to colour under the handrail and in corners
  • Use a paint pad applicator for the floors
  • Start at the house and work outwards so you don’t corner yourself

Once complete, your deck will look new again.

Tip 10: Waste Disposal

There are certain techniques you should follow when it comes to cleaning up your deck restoration materials.

First, you want to clean your tools with paint thinner or mineral spirits. Always wear disposable gloves and be careful not to get these products on your skin or in your eyes. Also, wear a mask so you don’t breath in the harmful chemicals.

Dispose of oily rags in a designated waste disposal facility. Never leave materials with oil-based residue near open flames.

Ready for Your Deck Restoration?

With these tips, your deck will be restored back to life. But, you don’t have to take it all on your own. Let HR2 Construction do the work for you!

HR2 Construction doesn’t just build decks, we build relations. We take the time to understand the needs and desires of our clients and provide personalized services.

Our custom services are designed to fit any home type, style, and lifestyle. Our customers find their unique vision and turn their dream home into a reality.

No matter your preference, we will make sure your deck with stand out while accenting your home.

Contact us today to get a free consultation and estimate.

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