Your old deck might be an eyesore now, but it doesn’t have to be! With just a little bit of elbow grease and minimal investment you can have it looking as good as new in a very short time.
Restoring an old deck is not as difficult as it might seem. It only requires a good cleaning, the replacement or fixing or rotten boards and the staining or painting of the structure to keep it going for another few years
The first thing you have to do when undertaking the restoration of your old deck is to check for structural damage. The spots to focus on are places where the deck touches the ground. If you can sink the tip of your screwdriver easily into posts or joints, then your deck’s foundation is no longer solid and you will be looking at a major overhaul. However, if the structural elements of your deck are still in good shape, then you are good to go.
Replace or repair any rotten or loose deck boards. If your deck board has small knots or is splintering you might be able to reinforce it with exterior wood putty – as long as the damage is not significant. However, the better route would be to replace the board entirely. Removing old deck boards can be done with two hammers (if the boards were secured with nails) or with a reversible drill if secured with screws. The two hammer technique is very effective – just plae the hook side of hammer one against the nail head and hammer the hammer down until the nail is firmly wedged between the hooks – then use the hammer like a crowbar to pry the nail free.
Cleaning. Although decks are supposed to be cleaned every year, most homeowners don’t realize this. If a deck is cleaned every year, then you can get away with a simple cleanse before moving to the next step. However, if you haven’t really washed your deck in a while, then you should get a good product such as Thompson’s Deck Wash. You simply mix it in a bucket and apply it to the surface of your deck with a good stiff-bristled brush so that you can really scrub at it. You can also use a pressure washer for really tough stains – but be careful not to put it on the highest settings, which can damage your deck boards.
Allow your deck to dry COMPLETELY before applying any kind of stain. You should wait a good 24 hours so that your deck is absolutely dry before staining. However, if it rains before you stain, you have to wait longer.
Most contractors recommend a semi-transparent stain for old decks as the grain can still show through but the pigment will make the new boards blend in better with the old boards. However, there are also dark stains and paint options that provide startlingly beautiful results. Read the instructions on whatever stain you use for proper application techniques.
Wait until the stain/paint dries – and enjoy your restored deck!