May 26, 2021

Rebuilding your wooden deck in five steps

It’s inevitable that your wooden deck will need a makeover. Here's how to clean, repair and protect your deck in five steps.

Step 1: Diagnosis

What condition is your deck in? After two or three years, it’s normal for paint to begin peeling off in places. If the wood is stained, it may have changed colour due to moisture or wear.

If it has been longer, you can expect to find cracked or rotten planks. Inspect your wooden deck to determine if you need to replace some planks or reattach sections that have been “broken in” over time.

Step 2: Cleaning

Over time, dirt and plant residue can accumulate between the planks and imperfections in the wood. If you have trees nearby or a yard covered with small stones, you should start by sweeping away all the particles accumulated between the planks. If a broom can’t do the job, use a pressure washer to remove the dirt. Go easy when cleaning to avoid damaging the wood.

Then wash your deck with soapy water. Use a degreaser for best results. This cleaner will help restore the wood’s original colour.

Step 3: Repairs

If any planks are cracked or moisture-damaged, now’s a good time to replace them. It’s your safest bet to extend the life of your deck.

If large sections need to be replaced or are abnormally damaged, consult an expert. The problem can probably be solved by changing the structure or coating. For example, paint may not be suitable if the deck is very close to the ground and to moisture.

Step 4: Sanding

Sanding is often demoralizing, especially if you have a large deck, but it is essential. Sanding removes the old layer of paint. It also opens up the pores in the wood, allowing the new stain to penetrate the wood or the paint to adhere to the surface.

Be careful to select the right grain of sand paper: if it’s too fine or rough, the results may not be to your liking.

To make the right choice, it’s important to consider the type of surface and the stain or paint that you are using. Before sanding, be sure to choose your paint or stain.

Step 5: Staining or painting

Is it best to stain or paint your wooden deck?

Staining reveals the texture of the wood, while painting covers it up completely.

Of course, if the deck has already been painted, it is easier to apply a new coat of paint after sanding.

It is important to consult an expert at this stage. They can guide you based on your deck’s design and condition, along with the look that you are seeking. If, for instance, the wood on your patio has been damaged through the seasons, painting may be a better option than staining.

In most cases, two coats of paint or stain will be required. The expert can advise you on how to apply the product and on its finish and quality.

What’s next?

When you’ve finished rebuilding your wooden deck, it’s time to enjoy it. Have you thought about extending your season on chilly evenings by installing a patio heater?

See also:

The ABCs of buying a patio heater

12 Springtime Tasks for Homeowners

Getting Your Yard Ready for Summer

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