Outdoor Life: Deck Restoration Guide Outdoor Life: Deck Restoration Guide

An outdoor deck can be a relaxing retreat for a homeowner and his or her family. However, a brand new deck can be expensive to build, and a deck that has been neglected for several years will not look pleasant. If you want to return to an outdoor life, your life deck can be restored in just a few steps.

Making Repairs
Begin by inspecting every inch of your deck for decay or rot. Pay particular attention to any part of the deck that is in direct contact with the ground. Use a screwdriver to test the portion of the deck that is underground. If you can sink your screwdriver into the wood, then you have significant decay and you will probably need major repairs. Also inspect any places where the deck connects to the house. Remove any rusted screws or bolts and ensure that all the screws are tight and secure. Finally, look for cosmetic damage. Tap down any nails that have popped and secure any railings that are loose.

Cleaning the Surface
Every deck should have an annual cleaning, but many homeowners disregard this necessity. Sometimes the deck can be revived with just this cleaning. Some deck cleaners are mixed in a bucket then applied to the deck; others are purchased in containers with integral hose applicators. Once on the deck, most of these applicators still require a stiff-bristle brush and a lot of elbow grease. Always wear eye protection and gloves when working with concentrated chemicals. You will also need to protect nearby plants from any strong chemicals.

Applying the Stain
For new decks, a clear finish or transparent stain is sufficient, but for older decks you will probably prefer a semitransparent stain. The wood's grain will still show through, but the pigment will create a uniform color between the old wood and any planks that were replaced with new wood. The pigment will also provide protection from the damaging effects of the sun and will last longer than clear finishes. Old wood usually takes longer to stain than new wood, and may also require three or more coats to achieve a uniform color.

Replacing the Railing
On many decks, an old railing can be the weakest part of the deck. A sturdy railing is important for safety reasons. If you need to replace the entire railing on your deck, this is a good time to do so. Maintenance-free prefabricated railings can be found at home repair warehouse stores. To conceal any minor gaps that may exist in a new railing, you can use a mildew-resistant caulk.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!