Refinishing a Wood Deck

Gold Post Medal for All Time! 899 Posts
September 27, 2018

Refinishing a Deck - collage of the projectOur deck was built 11 years ago and was in desperate need of refinishing. It was covered in mold and mildew, which made it unsightly and very slippery in our rainy weather. We enlisted the help of our kids and were able to get it done fairly quickly. Now have a beautiful deck again!



  • pressure washer
  • handleheld electric sander
  • sandpaper sheets
  • protective masks
  • paintbrushes
  • paint roller
  • deck stain
  • misc. tools, as needed


  1. First we applied a mold and mildew remover to the deck, following package directions.
  2. Refinishing a Deck - apply mold and mildew remover
    Refinishing a Deck - including the edges
  3. Next we pressure washed the deck and railings. When pressure washing the wood, it is important to adjust the pressure so that you don't tear up the wood too much.
  4. Refinishing a Deck - now pressure wash carefully to reduce damage to the wood
    Refinishing a Deck - after washing
  5. Next we sanded the deck and the surrounding railing with a power sander and a handheld sander. For hard to reach places we used small pieces from a sheet of sandpaper.
  6. Refinishing a Deck - dad with toddler on his back sanding
    Refinishing a Deck - kids helping with the sanding
    Refinishing a Deck - closeup of handheld sander

  7. We had a few boards that had some dry rot. If the dry rot isn't too extensive you can pry up these boards and flip them over to reuse them. We sanded the undersides of these boards and nailed them back into place. Note: If only one end of the board is rotten, you can cut the board where it is nailed to a joist. If you do this, make sure to leave room to nail both ends back down (see photo 5).
  8. Refinishing a Deck - board with dry rot
    Refinishing a Deck - prying the board up
    Refinishing a Deck - sand the flip side
    Refinishing a Deck - trim if needed
    Refinishing a Deck - nail back down to the joist
  9. We used a paint roller to apply stain to the bigger areas and a brush to get in the cracks and on the railings.
  10. Refinishing a Deck - using a paint roller to restain the deck in large areas
    Refinishing a Deck - smaller roller
    Refinishing a Deck - brush for tight spaces

  11. This is the final result!
  12. Refinishing a Deck - done
    Refinishing a Deck - stairs
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September 13, 2016

We wanted to extend our deck to make it bigger. The old deck just needed cleaning. The new extension was built. We found this great product called Behr Deck Over Textured Stain, from Home Depot. Because of the old and the new deck, this blended all of the deck to look like it was all built at the same time.

Behr deck stain

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4 Questions

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June 1, 2011

My husband pressured washed the finished off our pressure treated wood deck. How can we repair it to like new condition? We tried Thompson's Water Seal, but it hasn't lasted. The deck is about 4 years old and looks 10 at least.


These pictures were taken today, 6/1/2011, but I do not know how to change the date on my camera.

By ruthie Weathered deck boards.

Closeup of weathered deck railing


June 1, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Well, the wood in the pic looks like pressure treated wood and they do not wear well over a short time. They splinter,warp and get a baked out look. Water seal type products do not last more than a year or two. My deck is also pressure treated wood but I stained mine with semi transparent stain from Home Depot.


It lasts about 4 years or so before it has to be stained again. Do not use solid stain or paint as that will peel and really makes a mess. The semi transparent does not do that. The other alternative is to replace the wood with a composit material, available at the big box store, and a vinyl railing.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful
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The first thing to do is use a primer made specifically for the final finish you want to use. I had a huge veranda in southeast AL built from pressure treated wood, and it lasted the twenty years we lived there.


My then husband and our son built the veranda with pressure treated wood right after we moved into the house. They applied primer (marked for use on wood to be painted with oil based paint or stain) to all of the wood.

Next, they painted with an oil based exterior house paint made for porches-the stuff with a gritty texture to prevent slips and falls when wet. It cost a bit more, but really looked good for about five years with minimal maintenance.

After five years it started looking faded so they used a TSP type cleaner, then repainted with the same paint they used the first time. They didn't need to strip down to the bare wood, just TSP'd, then painted.

Looked good for another five years or so. As I recall, they repainted twice more during the years we lived there after they built that veranda. We always got compliments on how nice it looked, and how safe the porch paint made using the veranda steps during the rain.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful
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We use Olympic deck cleaner and sealant products on our cca, pressure treated and cedar decks and fencing. First we use their can of deck cleaning that you put on w/sprayer and then wash off with water, looks really clean, then paint on their stain. You need to make sure everything is dry after cleaning so we usually wait a day before staining. I can tell you we live in MO and get all kinds of weather. We do this approx. every 3 years. If you keep on top of it you can keep them looking almost new most of the time. We have gotten these products at Costco as well as hardware stores. These products are easier to use than in the past. Our neighbors are also using and getting great results. We even use around our pool. You might check out Olympic's website. Follow the directions and take your time the first time and do a good job. Suggest you brush on first time, then can roll and spray later. Hope this helps -- we don't always have to stain all all the same year, either once we keep applying. We've tried other brands and not been as happy. Hope this helps.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful
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Linseed oil has been used for hundreds of years to preserve wood surfaces. It's a natural crop oil -- from flax and will not evaporate. Is a very good primer for paint, but I've found there is no need for paint after linseed oil has been on decks, rails, stairways, etc. It will darken from sun exposure and I like that.

After first application one has only to renew it maybe every other year. Check online experts for first applications.

You can make surfaces 'non-skid' by strewing really fine sand (Lowe's, Home Depot) on freshly oiled surfaces, then adding another coat of linseed oil. Don't expect it to dry overnight, go guard your TV as usual, as a couch potato and check on it maybe next week.

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September 26, 2016

My deck was previously painted. The paint is peeling badly and I want to remove it and stain the deck. I've tried scraping and removed some of it, but was told that if I sand it I will just end up clogging the sand paper and have to keep changing the paper.

Is there a better/easier way to remove the paint?


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February 1, 20170 found this helpful

If it is oil based paint (and it probably is because this is what they generally use for outdoor paints) then simply get some mineral spirits and saturate the paint, wiping off the excess. If it is acrylic/water based paints, then you must look for a solvent that is specific to acrylics - something acetone based, most likely

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February 3, 20170 found this helpful

There are paint removers that are sold at Home Depot. They also sell high quality large paint scrapers, which I used to scrape off paint from badly rusted iron railings.

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