How to Refinish a Deck

May 17, 2024

Is your wood deck showing its age? Give it a new lease on life with a fresh coat of stain. In Southeast Wisconsin, decks must contend with unrelenting sunshine in the summer and drifting snow in the winter. Knowing how to refinish your deck is essential to keep your outdoor living space looking and functioning at its best. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Refinish a Deck?

Like any seasoned Midwesterner, your deck faces the elements head-on. This exposure can leave the wood planks looking more like the weathered deck of a ship than a backyard oasis. Refinishing the surface creates the perfect backdrop for family BBQs and lazy Sunday afternoons. It also keeps problems like warping, cracking, and discoloration at bay. In this way, your efforts aren’t just about keeping up appearances—they’re about preserving your deck’s integrity and safety for years to come.

When to Refinish a Deck

For the best results, wait for a dry day above 50 degrees F. In Southeast Wisconsin, late spring through early fall is your window of opportunity. It’s also best to avoid direct sunlight during the application, so wait until the deck is shaded by clouds or surrounding structures.

Tools of the Trade

Before you start, make sure you’re armed and ready. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pressure washer
  • Deck cleaning solution
  • Orbital sander and sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes, rollers, or sprayers
  • Drop cloths
  • Exterior wood sealer and stain
  • Safety gear, including dust mask, goggles, and work gloves

Step-by-Step Deck Refinishing Tips

  1. Clear and prepare the deck: Remove furniture and sweep away debris. Then, wash the wood with a pressure washer and cleaning solution. Inspect the deck for damage or rot and replace any affected boards.
  2. Scarping: Smooth out the rough edges and old finish by scraping and lightly sanding with the grain. Start with coarse grit and move to finer grit to achieve a smooth surface.
  3. Apply stain or sealer: Choose your finish—clear sealer or semi-transparent stain. Apply the finish with brushes, rollers, or sprayers. Protect surrounding objects with drop cloths. You’ll need 2 coats for solid or clear stains, and 1 coat for semi-transparent stain – so it still shows the wood grain.
  4. Let it dry between coats: You’ll need at least two coats for enhanced protection and longevity. Let the final coat dry thoroughly before rearranging your outdoor living room.
  5. Keep up with deck maintenance: Your deck looks fabulous now, but you must clean and reseal the wood every few years to keep it that way. Watch out for wear and tear and promptly address any issues like rot or mold growth.

Hire a Professional to Refinish Your Deck

If you want to skip the hassle of buying or renting deck refinishing equipment, hand the job over to a professional. Two Day Painting has you covered, with a commitment to exceptional customer service, quality products, and trained staff. As a local business with a great reputation and an A+ BBB rating, we handle your deck refinishing project with the utmost care. For a deck that looks great and stands the test of time, please call us at 262-312-2182 or fill out our online contact form for a free estimate in the Waukesha area.

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