Spring has finally sprung! And as we get closer to the prospects of Summer and warm weather, the more time we want to spend outside (you know, as long as there’s no snow on the ground). As you grow impatient, you might be looking for any excuse to bring the outdoor furniture out of the basement and socialize on the back deck. But after a winter of harsh ice, wind, and snow, you might be wondering if your weather-worn deck is ready to make an appearance.
Ideally, you should treat your deck to some cleaning and maintenance at least once a year. However, even if you’ve never taken a power washer to your deck in your entire life or have moved into a new home with an old deck in need of a little TLC, you can still spruce it up and bring it back to life!
This job will require tools and about a week to complete but can be managed with only an intermediate level of skill. Of course, if you don’t want to tackle this project on your own, you can always hire a professional!
Note: before you go about restoring your deck, make sure that the wood itself is sound. If you have rotten boards, cleaning won’t be able to restore them. You will need to replace any damaged wood before you begin the restoration process.
First, you’ll want to scrape off any old stain, loose paint, or residue on your decking and railings. For damaged areas, scrape down to the bare wood. Sand the wood to feather any remaining finish material down to the bare wood.
Once you’ve scraped off the finish material from the wood, use a stiff bristle brush to remove any flaking stain or dirt. If your deck is made or cedar or redwood, don’t use a metal bristle brush. Metal may scar the softer wood.
Use a deck brightener/refinisher product. Mix the cleaner according to manufacturer directions. Use a soft bristle brush to work the product into the wood. The goal with all of these steps is to get your deck as clean as possible.
Wash the deck surface and remove the brightener and any remaining residue. Wait for an overcast day to slow deck evaporation. Use a pressure washer with a fan spray nozzle. To avoid damaging the wood, use the low power setting and hold the nozzle about 18 inches from the surface. After power washing, allow your deck to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next step.
If it rains, wait until you have at least three or four consecutive days without rain before you move on to finish. Sweep the deck thoroughly before staining.
You’re almost done! You’ll want to apply finish material (such as wood stain) with a sprayer. Use a hand-pumped unit for small deck areas. You can also use apply finish to small areas with a roller and a brush. Using a roller after spraying with both force the finish into the wood and spread out any pooled areas.
Use a brush to help work the stain into the end grain, seams, and gaps between the boards.
When you’re all finished, allow the deck to dry for at least two days before you walk on it or furnish it.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.