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3 Steps to Refinish Your Deck Against the Elements

In case you didn’t realize it, your patio needs love too!  While it’s often forgotten about, until the weather warms up and it’s barbeque season, your home’s patio is somewhat like your garage, it’s an outside room that needs just as much attention as your well-designed kitchen or bedroom.

If you’re going to use your deck to luxuriate, gather with family and friends, or skewer steaks on the grill, you’ll want to ensure that it’s well-maintained year after year.  And being one on of those spaces in your home that is oftentimes completely exposed to the elements, you’ll want to take an assessment every few years depending on your location, whether conditions in your region and a variety of other factors including safety for the kids.

Here are a few tips to help you properly maintain your deck, including the best times to do so.

1. Give it a Thorough Wash

Adding water may seem obvious, but perhaps not.  Many homeowners believe that the rain washes away unwanted elements and debris from your deck or patio, however, rain, particularly combined with chemicals in the elements, can often have weathering effects on wood, particularly if it is stained or painted.  The best approach for maintaining your home’s outside space is with a good old fashioned power-washing!

The added pressure of a power washer will help provide a thorough deep cleaning for large wooden spaces.  Completely inexpensive and more effective than simply using water from an outside hose, a power washer works well for cleaning not only your home’s deck or patio but other outside surfaces such as paved driveways, aluminum siding and exposed brick.

2. Sand Away the Splinters

man sanding the deck in preparation of refinishing

After clearing away dirt and debris with a thorough deep cleaning, you’ll want to sand the deck.  After the wood dries, wood fibers can remained raised, and this can cause unwanted puckering and splinters, which could totally ruin a lovely afternoon of lounging and relaxation.  The key here is to use a power sander to help make the process simple and easy.  Note, this may require several day’s work, especially if your home’s patio is very large.

You’ll want to wear a particle mask and safety glasses while completing this step as wood dust can be extremely harmful to your health if you breathe it.  You’ll want to cover all surfaces, not only the floor, but also railings, edges of boards, etc. to ensure that the entire patio is treated properly.

3. Stain or Paint It When the Season Is Right

staining a deck after sanding and power washing it

The final step in this process is to stain or apply a fresh layer of paint to your deck.  Despite what may seem like the obvious choice, and when you may be most inclined to do so, the early spring/summer seasons are not the ideal times to paint or stain your patio.  Here’s why: wood absorbs humidity and new treatments have a better effect when its dry.  The early spring may not be the most ideal time because it may cause cracking or peeling, and it will be difficult for the wood to avoid the treatment. In the summertime, the higher temperatures may cause the stain to evaporate too quickly and the stain may not penetrate the wood properly.

Instead, you’ll want to apply stain or paint to your outside patio when temperatures are between 50 – 90 degrees.  If at all possible, avoid applying in direct sunlight and do not apply any treatment if rain is forecast within the next 24 – 48 hours.

This entire process could take several days, but will do a world of good, particularly if you are looking to maintain the value of your home.  Exposure to Mother Nature becomes very important as the years go by, so you’ll want to take stock of your patio on a regular basis to assess its needs and plan for updates and every few years.

Of course, you can hire us to do this for you. We offer powerwashing, sanding, staining, and/or painting for decks and other areas. Sign up below and request an estimate.


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