Step-by-Step Guide: Easy and Affordable Ways to Refinish Your Deck 

1. Importance of Maintaining Your Deck 

Refinishing a deck is an essential task that can provide numerous benefits for homeowners. Over time, exposure to the elements can cause a deck to deteriorate, leading to cracks, splinters, and a general lack of aesthetic appeal. Refinishing a deck can not only restore its original beauty but also extend its lifespan and improve its functionality. A well-maintained deck can provide a safe and comfortable outdoor living space for family and friends, perfect for entertaining, relaxing, or simply enjoying the outdoors.

Refinishing a deck can also increase the value of a home, making it more attractive to potential buyers if the homeowner decides to sell in the future. In addition, refinishing a deck can be a cost-effective alternative to replacing the entire structure, saving homeowners thousands of dollars in the long run. Furthermore, refinishing a deck can also help to protect the environment by extending the life of the existing structure, reducing the need for new materials, and minimizing waste.

In short, refinishing a deck is an important investment for homeowners who want to maintain the beauty and functionality of their outdoor living space. It can provide numerous benefits, from improving the aesthetic appeal of the deck to increasing the value of the home, and can be a cost-effective alternative to replacement.

Step by step process on preparing your deck for refinishing

2. Preparation: Materials and tools needed for the refinishing process

Before starting the refinishing process, it is essential to gather all the necessary materials and tools to ensure a successful outcome. The following is a list of materials and tools you will need:


* Deck refinishing stain or Paint

* Sandpaper (various grits)

* Paintbrushes and rollers

* Paint trays and roller covers

* Drop cloths or tarps

* Cleaning solutions (such as trisodium phosphate)

* Scrapers and putty knives

* Caulk and caulk gun

* Wood putty


* Drill and drill bits

* Hammer

* Tape measure

* Level

* Safety glasses

* Work light

* Ladder or scaffolding

In addition to these materials and tools, it is also important to have a well-ventilated work area, protective clothing, and a plan for disposing of any leftover materials. Proper preparation is key to a successful refinishing project, so be sure to take the time to gather all the necessary materials and tools before starting the process.

Cleaning a deck before refinishing

3. Cleaning: How to clean your deck to ensure a smooth and even finish.

Before applying any finish to your deck, it is essential to clean it thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that may be present. This will ensure a smooth and even finish and help the finish adhere properly to the wood.

Step 1: Remove any loose debris from the deck, such as leaves or twigs, using a broom or a leaf blower.

Step 2: Sweep the deck with a stiff-bristled broom to remove any remaining dirt or debris.

Step 3: Use a pressure washer to clean the deck, paying particular attention to any areas with heavy dirt or mildew buildup. Be sure to use a low-pressure setting to avoid damaging the wood.

Step 4: Use a cleaning solution specifically designed for decks to remove any remaining dirt or mildew. Apply the solution to the deck using a spray bottle, letting it sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off with water.

Step 5: Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub any areas with heavy dirt or mildew buildup.

Step 6: Rinse the deck thoroughly with water to remove any remaining cleaning solution or dirt.

Step 7: Allow the deck to dry completely before applying any finish. This may take several hours, depending on the weather conditions.

To maximize the appearance and longevity of your newly refinished deck, it is crucial to clean it before applying the finish.

Sanding a deck for a smooth even finish

4. Sanding: A Smooth Finish Starts Here

Sanding is a crucial step in the refinishing process, as it helps to remove any imperfections and create a smooth surface for the finish to adhere to. Several types of sanders are available, each designed for specific tasks and surfaces.

Orbital sanders are versatile and can be used on both large and small areas. They work by moving in a circular motion, which helps to remove old finish and smooth out the wood. For more detailed work, use a detail sander, which has a smaller pad and is perfect for corners and tight spaces.

Belt sanders are great for smoothing out large areas quickly. They use a continuous belt of sandpaper to remove material and create a smooth finish. For rough sanding, use a coarse grit sandpaper, and for fine sanding, switch to a finer grit.

Disc sanders are ideal for sanding large, flat surfaces, such as deck boards. They use a rotating disc to remove material and create a smooth finish.

When sanding, always work toward the wood grain to avoid scratches and other damage. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and gradually move to finer grits until the desired smoothness is achieved. Remember to keep the sander moving to avoid creating uneven patches.

By using the right type of sander and following these tips, you can achieve a smooth, even finish on your newly refinished deck.

How to apply stain to a deck for the best results

 Step 5: Staining and Sealing – How to apply for best results

After sanding, the next step is to apply a stain or sealant to protect the wood and enhance its appearance. There are various types of stains and sealants available, so choose one that suits your needs and preferences. Oil-based stains provide long-lasting protection and a rich, warm finish, while water-based stains are easier to clean up and dry faster. Consider the color, grain pattern, and level of protection you desire before selecting a stain.

Apply the stain or sealant evenly, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and allow it to dry according to the recommended time. If you choose to use a clear sealant, apply it in thin coats, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. This will help prevent drips and runs, ensuring a smooth and even finish.

Remember to wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with stains and sealants, as they can be harsh on your skin and eyes. Additionally, follow all safety precautions when using power tools and equipment. With proper preparation and application, your deck will look fantastic and last for many years to come.

Dos and Don'ts of Deck Maintenance

Dos Don'ts
Do clean thoroughly once a year Don't go overboard with a high powered pressure washer
Do cover nearby shrubbery before cleaning Don't clean with chlorine bleach
Do sand before sealing Don't use paint as a sealant
Do clean at routine intervals Don't assume pressure-treated wood is maintenance-free

Step 6: Maintenance: Tips to extend your deck’s lifespan and keep it looking its best

Your deck is not just an outdoor space; it’s an extension of your home. To ensure its longevity and keep it looking stunning, regular maintenance is key.

Firstly, regular cleaning is paramount. Use a mild detergent and a soft brush to scrub away dirt and debris. Don’t forget to clear out the spaces between the deck boards to prevent moisture buildup.

Inspect your deck for any signs of wear and tear. Replace damaged or rotting boards promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Keep an eye on the hardware, such as screws and nails. Tighten or replace any loose or rusted fasteners to maintain structural integrity. Trim nearby foliage to minimize debris and enhance air circulation, preventing mold and mildew growth.

Regularly check for water puddles, as standing water can lead to wood damage. Elevate planters and furniture to allow proper airflow underneath. By investing time in these simple maintenance tasks, you’ll not only extend your deck’s lifespan but also create an inviting outdoor oasis for years to come.  

Average cost to stain a deck

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