• Jim

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Skip Refinishing Your Deck

Large natural wooden deck with white railings attached to a grey two-storey home

As soon as the warm weather hits, most homeowners can’t wait to get outside and enjoy their deck!

However, having a beautiful deck and exterior space to enjoy your summer days requires maintenance to ensure the structure is safe and ready to withstand the weather.

And if your deck is a bit of an eyesore this year, don’t be tempted to cover up its less-than-stellar aesthetics and worn-out looks. No amount of outdoor rugs and furniture can hide structural issues and safety hazards.

Apart from making it look pretty, here are three important reasons why you shouldn’t skip refinishing your deck.

1. Safety

From a safety perspective, refinishing your deck ensures that there are no slivers, loose railings, or rotted timbers that someone can fall through.

Unfinished decks, especially ones that don’t have a waterproof coating, can end up with lifted panels or timbers that can lead to tripping and injury.

Likewise, stairs and decks without a waterproof coating are slippery, especially after a rainstorm or a lap around the pool.

Refinishing your deck will help to prevent slips, falls, cuts, and splinters and keep your family and visitors safe.

2. Longevity

Placing a new coat of finish on your deck protects it from water and sunlight - both of which cause premature deterioration of the deck.

Even if you live in a relatively dry climate, it’s still important to waterproof your deck. If the wood goes untreated, mold can grow very quickly from just a small amount of moisture within 24-48 hours. There is also a natural amount of water content within the wood that needs to be maintained. If the moisture level gets too low, the wood will crack.

If you leave your deck unfinished, you may have to deal with rotted wood down the road. This poses safety concerns but will also require repairs.

Refinishing your deck is the best way to extend its life and avoid costly repairs and replacements.

3. Cost-Effectiveness

Being proactive in preventing repairs and replacements will save you money in the long run. It may seem like a huge expense to have your deck refinished but that cost is significantly low compared to having your entire deck torn down and rebuilt.

Overall, preventative measures such as refinishing and waterproofing your deck are a lot more affordable than repairs and replacements.

Sealing your deck before damage occurs will save you money and allow you to enjoy your home’s exterior space with peace of mind.

How to Refinish a Wood Deck

It may be tempting to put off refinishing your deck but the truth is, as long as you have the energy and tools, you could get it done in one weekend.

Here are the steps to transform your drab, tired-looking deck into a beautiful exterior space for your family to enjoy:

1. Inspect Your Deck

Before you get to refinishing your deck, it’s important to look for any loose surface boards or issues with its structure.

Inspect your deck for rotting or split wood that may need to be replaced. Check for and reset any nails or screw heads as well. These can pop out as the wood dries. Make sure these repairs are carried out before refinishing your deck.

2. Clean Your Deck

How you clean your deck depends on its current finish and what you plan on refinishing it with.

For instance, if you have a painted deck but would like to stain it, you’ll have to strip off the paint using a chemical stripper as well as sanding the surface before applying the stain.

If you are simply painting the deck, you only need to clean and sand it before repainting.

Some homeowners opt to use a power washer to get the job done but you have to be careful: If done incorrectly, you could damage the wood. Be wary of the water-jet pressure, the sprayer tip you are using, and how far away you are holding the nozzle.

Alternatively, a garden hose works just as well to clean off your deck before refinishing it.

It is recommended that you sand the deck before refinishing it, especially if the boards are rough or sun-damaged. This will help address damaged or discolored areas. Make sure to also sand handrails to prevent splinters.

3. Applying the Paint or Stain

Once your deck is repaired and cleaned, let it dry completely for two days before painting or staining - especially if you are using an oil-based stain.

Start with the handrails and work your way down to the deck boards, using smaller brushes to reach small areas.

Once the stain is applied liberally, let it soak for at least 4 hours (or whatever is recommended by the manufacturer) before applying a second coat. Wipe up any excess with a rag to clean up any pools of stain.

Should I Use Paint or Stain?

Perhaps one of the biggest debates when it comes to refinishing a deck is whether to use paint or stain.

Stain is a more budget-friendly choice and has a more natural look. It’s also easier to apply.

Paint, on the other hand, provides more variety when it comes to color choices, lasts longer, and is easier to maintain than stain.

However, both are easy to refinish if you are sticking to the existing medium. Otherwise, while it’s more difficult to switch from paint to stain (which involves paint removal), it’s quick and easy to switch from stain to paint.

What you choose depends entirely on the look you are going for versus how long you want the finish to last.

To DIY or Not DIY?

If you’re comfortable with the physical work involved with refinishing a deck, doing so can make for a quick weekend project.

However, if you’re not prepared to put in the elbow grease needed to refinish a deck, there are always professionals available who are willing to do the work for you!

Residential Maintenance Services Inc. is dedicated to maximizing the safety and enjoyability of your outdoor spaces! From desks to landscaping, we’ve got you covered when it comes to home maintenance. Our home maintenance contracts offer preventative maintenance to subscribers on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis to address any and all concerns related to your deck.

Are you ready to breathe new life into your home’s deck? Don’t put it off for another year - let our knowledgeable crew help you out.

Get in touch today!