Deck Refinishing


Deck refinishing is a home project that I believe that can be done by anyone that is mildly “handy.”  Decks need maintaining.  It just takes getting a little familiar with the process.  First you will want to inspect the deck.  You are looking for boards that may need replacing, or are loose and need fixing, and you will make a determination about the condition of the boards.  There is a range of board conditions, from pretty good condition, just need to clean it up; to weathered gray with grooves and mildew, needs to be stripped.  We will address ways to help with whatever stage your deck is in. 

You may have heard people talk about just pressure washing the deck and putting down stain to finish their decks.  This is a pretty common way to attack this type project, however a pressure washer can dig deeper into the wood than you might like and cause visible lines in the wood.  Plus, impregnating that much moisture in the wood will raise the grain of the wood, and create a bit of a furry texture. 

If your deck is in pretty good shape and you just need to clean it up a bit, we do offer a product in our Restore-X® product line called Deck Cleaner.  This does a nice job of killing light mildew, and cleaning the surface.  To start this project, you will use your garden hose to moisten the deck.  Roll on a liberal amount of the Deck cleaner and let it set for about 15 minutes allowing it to break down the dirt and mildew.  Lightly agitate with a stiff bristle push broom.  Rinse deck with garden hose.  The Deck Cleaner is not harmful to grass or foliage, in fact it will act as a plant food for broad leaf plants.  You will want to rinse off any plants or grass, as if the product sits on the plants in the sun, it may burn the plant.

If your deck is in more need of attention, our Restore-X® line offers a Finish Remover product as well.  The process for using it is the same as the Deck Cleaner.  Moisten deck prior to application of Finish Remover.  Apply liberal amount of Finish Remover and let sit for about 20 to 30 minutes.  Spritz the deck with water occasionally so the Finish Remover does not dry on deck.  If it dries, it is not working.  After about 15 minutes use a stiff bristle push broom to agitate surface.  You will see if the product has taken off the surface of the wood, to expose the clean wood.  If the product needs more time to work, sit back and relax and allow the product time to do the work.  Recheck about every 5 minutes until satisfied with appearance, then wash off with garden hose.  Like the Deck Cleaner, the Finish Remover is not harmful to grass or foliage, in fact it will act as a plant food for broad leaf plants.  You will want to rinse off any plants or grass, as if the product sits on the plants in the sun, it may burn the plant.  At this point the deck wood will look nice.  If you like the appearance, you are done with the stripping process.  If you would like to lighten the color of the wood, you can use our Restore-X® Wood Brightener.

Restore-X® Wood Brightener is my favorite stage of this process.  You apply the Brightener with a roller, and sit back and watch the wood lighten for about 10 minutes.  Then simply rinse.  This product also is safe to use around plants and foliage.

Then comes the hardest part of the project.  WAIT.  That is right, wait.  Since you have just introduced water to the wood, the wood has soaked it up like a sponge, and needs to dry out before you seal / stain it.  Wait 3 – 5 days in real dry warm weather, and 5 – 7 for dry moderate weather.  Due to the nature of evaporation, the sun will draw the moisture in the wood up and out of the wood.  If you seal it too quickly, you will trap some moisture in and that will lead to mildew.  Once wood is dry, you will be ready to seal / stain.

Restore-X® Penetrating Wood Deck Finish is a water reducible deck stain and sealer.  It is available in colors to accent your décor.  Apply the PWD Finish with a brush, or roller, starting at one end of a board and following the grain to the other end of the board.  Apply enough that the stain will absorb into the wood without creating puddles.  This is a penetrating product that is not intended to create a film build on top of the wood.  If you get puddles, brush them out so product is absorbed, or excess product is removed.  Excess product may cause  the product to peel.  Also, just a friendly reminder from someone that has done this, plan your staining strategy so you are able to escape the deck when done.  Do not stain yourself into a corner.  Let deck sit for 24 hours before allowing normal traffic on the deck.  Light traffic will be okay in 6 to 8 hours.

Leave a Reply