How to Refinish your Deck

How to Refinish your Deck

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Has your deck seen better days?  Is it time for a make-over?  We are sharing this informative tutorial to help you refinish your deck the professional way.  If you follow these steps below, your deck will receive a total restoration that lasts for years.

 

Refinish Your Deck

Step 1- Board Replacement

What you’ll Need:

-Circular Saw

-Crow Bar

-Power Drill

-Hammer

-Exterior Screws, we recommend Deckmate 3.5 inch

The How To:

The first step to refinish your deck is evaluating the wood.  Inspect each board thoroughly to figure out if it’s worth saving or if it should be replaced.  Look for splintering, deep seeded cracks, rotting wood, and bowed boards.  The age of the wood as well as the conditions it has been exposed to determines its lifespan.  Boards that receive direct sunlight or wood that has never been coated ages faster.  It’s also important to inspect underneath the boards.  Deck boards entail more than meets the eye.

Mark each board that needs to be replaced with spray paint.  It is important to be efficient and organized because demolition become a sloppy mess quickly.  Use your power drill to remove the screws on the bad boards.  Pry each bad board out with your crow bar, making sure to mind the surrounding boards that you plant to preserve.

Cut your lumber with the circular saw to the correct length.  We recommend using #1 pressure treated white pine for best results.  When replacing the boards, use a screw driver to wedge the board as close to the other boards as possible.  Wood will shrink with time so you’ll want a snug fit.  Each board gets two screws per side to secure it to the existing joists.

Best Practices:

Measure accurately, wood is expensive!

Make sure to confirm before starting if the deck boards are 2×6 or 5/4 boards.

The crown of the boards should always be downward!

When replacing a substantial amount of boards, or even the entire deck flooring, you should let the wood settle for 2 weeks to 1 month before continuing with the next steps.

Refinish Your Deck

 

Step 2- Resurfacing

What you’ll Need:

-Commercial Floor Edger, we recommend the Clarke Super 7R

-Various grades of Sand Paper (24 grit, 36 grit)

-Palm or Rotary Sander

-Leaf Blower

-Large Broom

The How to:

When you refinish your deck, this step is the hardest.  The commercial sander weighs about 40 pounds and must be held completely level to get a professional finish.  Additionally, if the operator is inexperienced and shifts the angle he/she holds the edger, the sander cuts dents into the surface.  Sand the floor systematically, ensuring a smooth and even finish.  Use the hand sander to sand the band boards, top caps and any other small area that the floor edger cannot reach.  The smoothness of the surface is crucial to the final product so make sure to focus on this step carefully.  Use good old fashioned sand paper to hand-sand the spindles.

This process exposes a fresh layer of wood and opens up the pores of your deck to prepare for the staining.  When you are finished sanding, use the blower to clean the deck of saw dust created by sanding.  You can use a broom to sweep up any additional debris.

Best Practices:

Change the paper in the floor edger regularly.  Check to make sure you always have grit.

Work in a team so that you can alternate the heavy duty work.  Tired hands don’t work as well.

Refinish Your Deck

 

Step 3- Restoring

What you’ll Need:

-Putty Knives

-Epoxy Polyer, we recommend Bondo

The How to:

Mix the epoxy polymer to create the sealant paste.  Use the putty knives like a spatula to plaster the filler into all horizontal cracks and crevices.  Apply it generously to fill cracks well, without getting in the spaces between the boards.  This process of using an epoxy polymer is an important step that most DIY home owners neglect when you refinish your deck.

Best Practices:

The speed at which the sealant dries depends on how you mix it.  Mixing it correctly may take practice.

Do not apply epoxy polymer to vertical cracks like in the posts, (won’t hold).

 

Step 4- Resurfacing Phase 2

What you’ll Need:

-Commercial Floor Edger, we recommend the Clarke Super 7R

-Various grades of Sand Paper (24 grit, 36 grit)

-Palm or Rotary Sander

-Leaf Blower

-Large Broom

The How to:

After the epoxy polymer hardens, you’ll need to sand the excess off.  This second phase of sanding also helps ensure the entire surface is smooth and even.  Repeat Step 2 wherever Bondo was applied.

 

Step 5- Deck Cleanse

What you’ll Need:

-Oxalic Acid (Wood Bleach)

-Large Mop

-Eye protection

-Hot Water

-Hose

-Rubber gloves

-Bucket

The How to:

Add 16 oz of oxalic acid crystals (with rubber gloves) to a gallon bucket of hot water.  Wait until the crystals are fully dissolved before applying to the deck.  Apply generous amounts of the solution to the deck with your mop.  The solution needs to be applied, not scrubbed into the deck.  Let the solution soak in and dry for 20-30 minutes.  Once the wood is dry, hose at full power to cleanse the deck and rinse thoroughly.

Best Practices:

Do not scrub the solution into the wood.

Be sure to rinse thoroughly.

Choose appropriate clothing, shoes, and eye wear to protect your skin.

 

Deck Your Refinish

Step 6- Staining

What you’ll Need:

-High Quality Deck Stain/Paint

-Paint Rollers

-Angled Paint Brushes

-Painters Tape

-Drop Cloths

The How to:

Clean and dry the surface completely before painting.  Decks typically extend from the wall and butt up against siding, brick, or concrete.  Protect the surrounding elements with drop cloths and painters tape where needed.  The most effective staining is done with two evenly applied coats.  Apply the first coat conservatively, making sure the wood can absorb the stain without too much excess.  We recommend a roller for the floor of the deck and brushes for the spindles and band boards.  Once the first application is completely dry, apply the second coat.  Thoroughly inspect the deck for missed spots and thinly applied sections.  After you finish painting, stay off the deck for a minimum of 4 full days to allow the stain to dry before walking on it.

Best Practices:

Be careful to avoid drips on the spindles and posts.

Paint on a day with clear weather forecasts.

Keep your paint brushes well maintained between each use.

 

Refinish Your Deck

Step 7- Enjoy the Deck!

What you’ll Need:

-Patio furniture

-Grill

-Umbrella

-String Lights/ Décor

-Sunny weather

The How to:

Kick back and enjoy your beautifully restored deck.  After following the 6 steps above, you should be proud of your good-as-new deck.  Relax in your refinished outdoor living space throughout the warm seasons.

 

**This blog is for informational purposes only.  Deck Ready is not liable for accidents that occur while attempting this project.  The steps include the use of power tools and chemicals that are best used by experienced operators.  Safety first! Please be careful.

-Deck Ready Team

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