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Ins & Outs of Refinishing a Deck

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By : M Shane    99 or more times read
A fading deck is a condition that happens gradually over time. Often times we just live with it, not realizing just how bad it really is. Then one day, your friend invites you over to see their new lawn furniture, which looks great on their new or newly remodeled deck, and it hits you.

Whether your selling or just reclaiming your deck as a comfortable place to relax, refinishing a deck can go a long way to add to the outside decor of a home. Applying regular touch ups also reduce cracks and splinters and maintain a nice walking surface.

Now you've decided, it's time to give that deck a face lift. Off to the local renovation box store you go, and return with hundreds of dollars worth of paint or stain and accessories to apply it with. After slapping it on, you stand back to admire your work, only to discover that within a short time the paint is peeling or the stain has faded. As with most jobs, there is a process for doing it correctly. Save yourself some time and money, and follow these steps for an effective refinishing of your wooden deck.

Prepare the Surface

For any paint or stain to adhere properly, the deck surface must be clean. In most cases you can get away with a good power wash, and you will be shocked at the condition of the wood when you're done. For small jobs, some people prefer the gentler method of scrubbing the wood with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution of trisodium phosphate (TSP). A combination of cleaner with the power washer is also very effective. Make certain you never let the spray sit in one area too long or you can damage or discolor the wood.

Usually a power washer will remove most of the old stain, but in some areas that aren't as exposed to sun or wear, a stripper may be used to remove old stain. Take care to protect nearby plants by spraying them with water before applying harsh chemicals, and then rinsing them once the job is done.

Depending on the weather, you may need to wait 2 or 3 days for the wood to dry completely after washing. Use this time to pound down any nail heads or make necessary repairs. You may want to give it a quick sanding to make your finishing time go quicker and possibly waste less product.

Finish Time

Use a good quality paint or stain, you'll be glad you spent the extra dollars. When choosing a stain, keep in mind that the more pigment they contain, the longer they last. This means a clear or slightly tinted product will last about one or two years, and a semitransparent or solid stain should last two to four years. Find out if your old stain was an oil or water base and use the same to ensure a longlasting finish.

When applying stain, some brands suggest using a brush over a roller. Otherwise, a roller is quick, and the use of extension handles can save your back. Sprayers tend to use more stain, but apply a nice even finish and cover large areas very quickly. Once again, check your instructions, all brands of paint or stain are not effective with sprayers.

Clean Up

Most products today are water based, however oil based products will require paint thinner to clean up brushes or trays. If you don't finish the job in one day, cover your brushes or rollers with a plastic bag and secure tightly. This will keep them supple, so you can take up where you left off, the next day.

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