How To Restore & Maintain A Wood Deck ?

How To Restore & Maintain A Wood Deck

How you can clean, restore, finish and maintain a wood deck.


A wood deck can add warmth and charm to your home, as well as allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors. Wood decks are subject to a lot of abuse from both weather and use. They become uninviting and weathered after a few years of neglect.

Most problems with wood deck surfaces are cosmetic and not structural. Decking is made of durable woods such as cedar, redwood, and pressure-treated pine. Redwood and cedar heartwoods are naturally resistant to termites and decay. Pine is treated with a pesticide in order to block insects and prevent decay.

However, the UV radiation (UV), which comes from the sun, can cause surface erosion and graying by destroying surface fibers and/or lignin. In humid or damp climates, where surfaces are not completely dry, moisture encourages surface mildew. Natural extractives such as cedar and redwood can also cause surface discoloration.

It is easy to restore a deck’s beautiful appearance, regardless of its type. You first clean the deck. Next, you will need to treat and diagnose any discoloration. You protect it with a durable finish.

Protect the deck area below a usable area with drop cloths or plastic sheeting if you are working on a deck.

It is time to give your deck a makeover. Unprotected wood can absorb moisture and cause serious damage. Decks are subject to frequent abuse, including foot traffic, sun, rain, snow and ice. You may need to treat your deck at least once per year.

Check Out A Wood Deck For Rot

Your deck will resist rot if it was constructed with pressure-treated lumber that is rated for ground contact. If your deck was made of untreated cedar, redwood, or another wood, there is a greater risk of rot.

However, wood can rot if it is left wet for too long. To find out more about your wood, look at the tags on boards or print stamps on boards. You can make a deck from different types of lumber.

To determine if there are any boards that are rotten, take the time to inspect all of the wood. Wood rot can often be hidden under decking boards, on the ledger (the board attached to your house), under stair treads and other places. To inspect the deck, crawl under it if you can.

The board can be left in place if the rot is less that 1/2 inch deep. A replacement board is required for more extensive rot. To carefully remove rotten boards, use a flat pry bar. You can replace them with rot-resistant timber. Do not pound nails into boards or pop up again. Instead, remove the nails and replace them with decking screws, decking nails, longer nails, or special decking nails.

You should take steps to dry any deck that is left wet after a rainstorm. To remove leaves and dirt between the boards and where the deck meets your house, you’ll need a leaf blower/broom. You might need to trim a tree limb or move a gutter downspout to direct water away.

How To Wash A Deck

Use a leaf blower/broom to remove all debris from the deck’s surface. Then, wash the deck.

A commercial deck cleaner is a good choice to clean your deck. It removes dirt, oxidation, and grain. They contain sodium percarbonate, which is the best. Follow the label instructions to mix it. wear rubber gloves and safety glasses.

Use a stiff bristle brush made of fibers and a broom-type hand to scrub the entire surface in line the wood grain. Use small areas to scrub and then rinse with clean water. Let dry. This could be enough to restore a lot of the wood’s natural color.

Rent a power washer to rinse large decks. You can adjust the pressure to 600-800 psi to rinse and clean. The nozzle should be able to fan an arc of approximately 25-40 degrees.

Safety goggles are required. Hold the nozzle 6 inches above deck’s surface. Spray slowly and steadily, aligning with wood grain and overlapping your path. The powerful spray can cause damage to soft wood grain if you are too close to the nozzle or too inflexible. Before applying any type or finish, let the deck dry for several days.

Remove An Old Finish

A deck finish stripper can be used to remove old, flaking, or oxidized deck finishes. Choose the most gentle product to do the job. Some strippers can be mild and biodegradable while others can be toxic and caustic. You should only test a small amount in a darkened area.

Protect your eyes and your body with eye protection,  rubber gloves, and protective clothing.

Protect surrounding surfaces, siding, plants, and other objects with plastic sheeting before applying the stripper. Follow the instructions on the label. You can apply strippers with a hand-pump, garden sprayer, synthetic brush or roller. The label recommends that you do not leave the stripper on the wooden surface for more than the recommended time. Once the stripper is gone, wash both the deck and the surrounding plants with water.

You can also use a pressure washer for rinsing.

Stains & Colors Can Be Removed

The beauty of natural wood decks can fade over time as the UV rays of the sun cause the wood to deteriorate. The problem might be easier than you think.

Non-chlorine oxygenated bleach (with trade names like OxyClean or Stain Solver) can remove mildew and algae stains and some oxidized deck sealing products. These products are safe to use, non-toxic, biodegradable and sustainable. These products can also be used to brighten and clean the wood. However, they are not recommended for cedar or redwood as they could darken the wood.

Chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite-based cleaners) is recommended for decks made of cedar or redwood. These cleaners remove mildew and lighten (actually, bleach) wood. If used incorrectly, chlorine can cause damage to the wood’s fibers, as well as destroy the wood’s natural color. It is also toxic to people and plants, so be careful. Follow the instructions on the label.

Bleach-based products kill mildew. Acid-based products can remove graying and staining.

Apply a drop of undiluted household bleach to small, dark spots to test for mildew. After the spot has dried for a few minutes, wipe the deck with mild cleaner (no ammonia). Rinse the deck with a mixture of household liquid bleach and 4 parts water. Mix 1 cup trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1 cup household bleach in 1 gallon of water, and scrub the deck with a stiff brush. Rinse after about 15 minutes. 

Natural wood extractives and corroding hardware are common causes of non-mildew staining. The common graying of decking is often caused by surface wood cells being damaged by UV radiation and wear.

When working with these chemicals, always wear rubber gloves, goggles and old clothes. Follow the instructions.

Warning: Do not mix household bleach with detergent containing ammonia. The resulting fumes could prove to be extremely toxic.

Restore The Wood

You can use a commercial deck restoration product for the removal of grayed wood and to restore the wood’s natural beauty and color. These products are often called “deck brighteners” and remove grayed wood surface fibers and dark tannin stains from cedar and redwood decks.

An acid-based deck restoration product will solve these problems. Pre-mixed oxalic acids deck cleaners are available. You can also purchase oxalic crystals at a hardware store, home improvement center, or buy them from a hardware shop. Mix 4 ounces of crystals to 1 cup water in a container that is not metallic. Apply the cleaner using a rag, one board at a stretch, while wearing eye protection and comfortable clothes. Let dry. Rinse with water, then dry completely.

How To Finish A Wood Deck

Allow the deck to dry completely after cleaning it. Seal it immediately or it could get stained again. You can determine if the deck needs to be sealed by spraying a few drops water on it. The deck should be sealed if the water doesn’t pool and soaks in.

Talk to a paint supplier to determine the best finish for the lumber you used to build your deck. To prevent moisture from seeping in, it should be oil- or paraffin-based. It should also contain UV blockers (or pigment) to prevent the sun’s rays from turning the deck gray.

You should also ensure that your finish is insecticide if you have wood-eating insects in your home.

There are several options available: a semi-transparent stain, opaque stain, clear sealer, or paint. The best finishes penetrate the wood in most cases. The wood will show wear more quickly than films that cover the surface (including paint). They require frequent re-coating.

A finish that is oil/alkyd-based protects the best. However, water-based finishes can be applied and cleaned up more easily. The label will tell you how to apply the finish in line the wood grain. This is usually done using a brush or pad. You will enjoy a deck that lasts for years.

# How To Restore & Maintain A Wood Deck ?
# How to Maintain a Deck ? # How To Maintain A Wood Deck ?
# Cleaning A Deck