A Step-By-Step Guide to the Deck Refinishing Process

step by step guide to deck refinishing process

Deck refinishing refers to a set of processes that serve to enhance a deck’s appearance and extend its life. No two refinishing projects are exactly the same since different decks will require more or less specific care. Professional deck refinishing services will take into account a deck’s composition, age, levels of damage, and more when planning the project. That said, every refinishing job ends with the application of sealant or paint to protect the wood from further damage and refresh the deck’s look. Here is how we, the deck aficionados at SEAL-A-DECK, go about the deck refinishing process, step by step.

1. Choose the Right Stain or Paint

Before anything else, we’ll help you figure out whether you wish to stain/seal or paint your deck. Generally speaking, sealing your deck will provide deeper protection and prolong your wood’s lifespan. Paint protects your deck from damage, too, but it doesn’t seep into the wood’s pores the way deck seal does. Of course, paint offers more in terms of aesthetic/color options, which may matter to you as well. Whether you decide on stain or paint, we’ll also help you pick the right product for your deck based on your preferences, deck composition, and budget.

2. Thoroughly Inspect Your Deck

All deck restorations begin with a thorough assessment. Our experts will closely examine every inch of the deck in question, looking for signs of damage, areas that need fixing, structural problems, and more. It’s important to address and fix these problems before commencing the refinishing process so they don’t go overlooked or turn into larger issues down the road.

3. Clean Your Deck

After repairs and replacements (if applicable) have been made, the deck must be completely cleaned. A dirty deck is not a good candidate for refinishing, because new coatings won’t properly adhere to a dirty surface. So, all dirt, dust, and debris must be removed, as well as any mold, mildew, or algae. In most cases, we will use a power washer to clean the deck, as this method is both efficient and reliable. We’ll take great care to not damage any plant life or home surfaces during the power washing process. The deck must also be completely dry before finishing begins (this may take 1-2 days).

4. Sand Surfaces

Cleaning goes a long way towards making a wooden deck more receptive to new paint, stain, or seal. However, some sanding may also be necessary for preparing a deck for refinishing, especially if old coatings are present and/or the boards are severely sun-damaged. Sanding the deck with the proper tools and grits is key. We often use an orbital sander with 60- to 80-grit sandpaper for the primary boards and 80- to 100-grit paper for handrails and other thinner surfaces. After surfaces have been smoothed down and freed from loose stain or paint, we’ll vacuum up all of the resulting dust.

5. Apply Your Coating Properly

All of the previous steps have led to this: finally sealing your deck. Proper deck sealing requires a strategic approach, the right tools, careful technique, and good timing. We use pad applicators to cover larger deck surfaces and brushes of varying sizes to handle the finer details. It’s important to begin far from the deck’s entry/exit and work towards it, and also tackle higher surfaces (i.e. rails) before lower ones. As far as timing goes, we’ll also check the forecast ahead of time and aim for a dry, temperate day with minimal direct sunlight to ensure the stain dries properly. It may take another 1-2 days for the stain to fully dry and for the newly refinished deck to be ready for use.

Your outdoor deck undergoes environmental wear and tear each and every day, and neglecting to properly maintain your deck means you won’t be able to enjoy it for as long as you would like. So, if you want to get the most out of your deck this summer and beyond, it’s time to think about refinishing. Let the deck repair and restoration experts at SEAL-A-DECK help you transform and strengthen your deck this season.

To learn more about us or to schedule a deck check-up today, give us a call at 978-538-7325.


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