How to Blend New and Old Deck Boards 4.6/5 (32)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

Blending New and Old Deck Boards

Here at DeckStainHelp.com, we strive to remain the Internet’s number one reference for your deck stain questions, opinions, and reviews. In this updated article, we suggest how to blend new and old deck boards for a beautiful even surface. We would like to hear what you think, so feel free to leave a comment below.


New and Old Deck Boards

New and Old Deck Boards

There are many reasons why you would have a mix of new and old deck boards but it can be a common situation. The most frequent reason is that some of the boards needed to be replaced due to decay or wood rot while other boards were still in good condition. It is also very common for a deck owner to protect the deck with a stain once all the repairs have been made. The dilemma is that new boards and old boards look very different when they are stained.

To understand why this happens may help you to minimize the problem. Once old deck boards weather, the top layer of wood fibers begin to gray and become soft. Newer deck boards are denser and are very hard. The older boards will absorb more deck stain and appear much darker than the new denser deck boards which appear lighter.

To better blend new and old deck boards, it is necessary to wash the entire deck. Use a good wood cleaner and a pressure washer to remove any dirt, mold, mildew, and graying from the older deck boards. The newer deck boards will normally have mill glaze on them which can prevent good stain penetration. Use the same method to clean all the new boards as well to remove any mill glaze.

Cleaning the entire deck in this manner will also help the new coat of deck stain perform better. A clean wood surface prepped correctly will ensure better performance, coverage, and lasting protection.

After cleaning the wood, apply a wood brightener to the deck. A wood brightener will lighten all the older darker boards and open the wood pores of the newer deck boards for better stain penetration. This step can help a lot when trying to blend new and old deck boards.

It can also help to sand the boards once the deck is clean and dry. Sanding the old wood boards will remove additional soft wood fibers to create a harder surface. Sanding newer already dense boards will have the opposite effect and soften the wood fibers up a little and remove any mill glaze that cleaning did not.

In addition to these steps for blending new and old deck boards, using a quality semi-transparent deck stain will help. Follow these prepping and staining tips and your newly repaired deck will not only be safer, but it will also definitely look better as well.

Need Help Blending Deck Boards? Ask Below


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Eric Thomas
Eric Thomas

Here is a picture of a repaired deck. Red part is painted but the owner wants it all stained to match. How can I achieve this?

Eric Thomas
Eric Thomas

How can I match this in a stain…red part painted.

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synetra dockery
synetra dockery

Is it best to paint the old and new deck boards

Annie
Annie

I have a mahogany deck that has a few replacement boards and the whole deck is ready to be stained. Will adding a 2nd coat to new boards help blend the color or will it just lead to over application?

Jeremy
Jeremy

Hi, the guy who helped me refurbish my deck has already cleaned and stained and the new boards he replaced look way different Than the old ones. I’m not sure if he cleaned and prepared the new boards the same as the old ones. At this point, is there anything I can do to blend? Add Another coat?

Ron
Ron

Hi, I am in Toronto Canada. I have a slight dilemma that I hope you could advise on regarding staining my new pressure treated deck, which was built having the cut ends of each board sealed, which I expect is normally a good thing except some of the clear sealer was unfortunately lapped onto some surface areas. So I had some concerns when it comes to staining to ensure the stain absorbs and the lap marks are the least noticeable as possible. My questions essentially are:
1) How long would be too long for weathering? is there a suitable amount of time I can wait before staining (not so long that the non sealed wood starts to deteriorate, but long enough that the sealed portions will absorb new stain) ?
2) Or instead, should I sand the problem areas instead of waiting too long?
3) Which stain might be able to cover over the sealed sections most unnoticeably? Preferably water based.
The deck was finished 10 days ago (Aug 2nd)
Wood: MicroPro Sienna pressure treated wood.
The deck is in full sun.
The sealer used on the cut portions was “Wolman Clear Wood Preservative with water repellent” (an older oil based product).
The MicroPro Sienna website says 2 – 8 week wait is sufficient as long as wood is dry to the touch, unless the stain manufacturer says otherwise.
I am considering whether to wait until the end of May 2020 to stain it (about 10 or so months), or sand the problem areas now before staining this September (past mid Sept will be too cold). I was planning to use a semi-transparent water based stain if I can find the most appropriate brand … the sealer was however oil based.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks

Steven W.
Steven W.

I have some deck areas that have pressure treated boards and others with cedar boards. Is there a way to reduce the redness of the PT boards so they stain more closely to the cedar boards?

Marv Boggs
Marv Boggs

Does it make any difference whether you add new wood boards before stripping, cleaning and brightening an old cedar deck, or should you add them after?

Dave
Dave

Our front porch had planters on the ends and the treated deck boards were never treated. We removed the planters and the wood under them looks newer. We would like to stain the wood now, using a Cabot product that is semi transparent. We plan on prepping the entire surface. Should I do anything different to the newer looking areas? Thanks

Nick
Nick

I am in much need of advice. We purchased a house with a 2nd story deck that seems to be pretty old and has a solid red paint. Last October I added a set up stairs with pretreated wood but was waiting to seal it, then this summer I replaced all of the boards with pretreated wood on the deck because of splintering and rot but I kept the support structure and railings because all of that was in good shape but it is still all red. I know I need to wait a couple of months to stain or paint the new boards. What is my best course of actions for the next steps to get everything to match(ish)? My plan was to try and power wash the existing red off but from there I am lost as to what to do because of the big difference in the age of wood between the boards/stairs and the structure. I am assuming the older wood is too old to stain but is it wrong to paint the new wood?

Nick
Nick

This is a picture

Deck.jpg
Scott L Strite
Scott L Strite

I have a deck that I built and stained 3 years ago with a (supposedly) 6 year semi-transparent stain. Since then I’ve had a deckboard or two split and crack so I replaced those boards today with new wood. I stained a sample piece of the new wood (see the orange-ish 2 ft. section lying in the one picture) with the same stain that I used 3 years ago but it doesn’t match my existing deck boards closely at all. The current deck boards aren’t in terrible shape so I’m thinking that stripping them probably isn’t necessary, but what steps would you recommend I do to get these new boards matching the old as best as possible? Thanks in advance.

Scott L Strite
Scott L Strite

Here are the pictures.

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Francisco
Francisco

What is the best brightener? I have a super clean deck but very dark, i need something that really brightens the wood.

Katie
Katie

Pictures for my comment below. The boards at the top and bottom of the picture are the new boards that I stained, the board at top of pic I sanded with 150 grit to see if that would help…it didn’t. The other picture is the “before.” Thanks!

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Katie
Katie

Hi, novice here. I have a pressure treated deck and hired someone to stain. They replaced 2 boards and I am trying to get a stain that somewhat matches because the mismatch is driving me crazy. I have a semi transparent cedar stain down, they also put on new boards which turned yellow. I tried different stains to get to match, and it seemed I needed to go really dark, so I applied Moorish teak opaque oil based. Looked okay until it dried. I sanded one of the boards with 150 grit, only made it worse. Some dried a bit shiny which makes me think it didn’t absorb. Glad I found your site!

Questions:
1) should I try to brush paint thinner on these boards to decrease the darkness?
2) should I try to sand off with belt sander and apply another stain?
3) Should I sand some off and put another stain down?

Thanks in advance for your help. I will post pictures in another post because I don’t think my previous post worked with pictures. Thanks!!

Pat
Pat

When blending new and old deck boards together do you still have to wait months to stain the new boards? It seems kind of crazy to stain all the older boards and railings and not the new boards? Please help! Our handyman who is going to be doing the job is not quite sure himself which way to proceed?

Robin Rose
Robin Rose

I have a deck that was improperly painted with an opaque stain (probably Behr) by the previous homeowner the year I got my house. It started flaking off within a few months. Fast forward several years and it’s time to do it right!! I’ve taken off all the flaking stain that I could so it would dry and will sand off the rest with a drum sander and edger. There will be some wood that will need to be replaced. I’m interested in using Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain. Do I need to use a cleaner and brightener before I stain or is the complete sanding sufficient? Thank you for this website; as a first timer, the information here and the accessibility of its presentation has been very helpful.

Kevin Richer
Kevin Richer

When restaining a fence with old panels and new panels…how do you make the stain be the same color

Micah
Micah

Great read. Thanks for putting this post together.

Question in redwood decking. I am in a new build home (Colorado, so sun and snow through the winter) withmall redwood deck. Been here 6 months, haven’t stained or treated the deck. I’d like to extend the deck but am trying to set my expectations for how that will look.

With no staining or seal on the original deck it’s now greyish after 6 months. If I add new redwood decking to extend it, should I let it get a similar weathered look through the winter and then in the Spring power wash and seal or stain? Should I do something to the current deck to stop the weathering so that the new addition can catch up? What’s my best bet for matching those colors and then protecting a redwood deck (I like the natural color so I wasn’t planning on any colored stain)?

Nicki
Nicki

Hi there!
Your posting and responses are very helpful! We have an old deck (~20 yrs old). We prepped it by power washing and sanding and deck cleaner. We are now staining with a semitransparent oil stain, using a pad. My question is, do we need to stain between the boards? Of course, a little bit has dripped down, but not sure if this is something we need to stain directly, I assume by taking a pad a running it along each edge.

Thank you!
Nicki

Connie Laswell
Connie Laswell

I have replaced rotten boards on Deck. I have stripped and cleaned old stain. I want to put a water sealer on next. Can I do it now or do I need to wait 30 days and let the new boards dry out so they’ll be the same color. I’m afraid to let the old boards set too long without a water sealer.

Pam
Pam

Everything has been power washed and restained. New replacement boards stick out like a sore thumb. Is there anything we can do besides just adding extra stain to new boards? Too late to start from scratch.

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Susan
Susan

Just had my deck restrained and the outline from the outdoor rug is still visible.
Is there a way to correct this?

LINDA Chase
LINDA Chase

We removed outdoor carpet from a pool deck that is 17 years old…Replaced a few boards and put up new railing.. Was surprised how good the deck looked under the carpet…it has always been carpeted. Now we are contemplating a sealer such as Rust-Oleum Restore. I’ve read nothing but bad reviews on this product. Suggestions for a good sealer? Any suggestion would be appreciated…My son is determined to use Restore…

Chris
Chris

We have a 5 year old pt pine deck, partially covered. Stained for first time 1 year after construction with semi solid oil based. 2 years later, sanded bare and restained with solid water based. Built pt pine privacy fence 6 months ago. Still unstained. Beginning to grey. Built addition to deck, onto uncovered portion 2 weeks ago. Still unstained. Would like advice on getting most uniform look to all surfaces. Planning on using oil based semi solid in a darker cedar or maybe walnut (something that will hide paw prints). Thanks

Carolyn
Carolyn

Can I successfully apply semi transparent or semi solid stain on this newly cleaned two year old deck? I prefer textured luck. My goal is to preserve wood from Midwest temperatures (uv rays and cold temps).

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Leslie
Leslie

We have old cedar deck. Stained every two years. We have totally sanded and ready to stain. Our boards are many different colors due to replacement. Plan to use semi-transparent stain. Do we need to use brightner 9brand?) and how long after using it do we stain? Thank you.

Scott Herny
Scott Herny

Can I use Yenkin Majestic Paint Stain on my deck over Cabots after pressure washing? Both are cedar in color.
Thank You, Scott

kenneth c hodges
kenneth c hodges

what are the chances that the Armstrong semi solid deck stain will peel if the deck is properly cleaned.thanks

Robert
Robert

Spent the time and effort to properly prep deck for oil stain. Finished applying stain and wouldn’t you know it, rain, about 12 hours after I finished. That was a week ago. Can I simply reapply stain to the entire deck now that the weather is clear for several days? Please tell me I don’t have to prep all over again.

Jeff
Jeff

I have a front and back deck made with PT pine, just replaced several old, damaged boards on both. Would it be wise to let the deck age and weather for around 10-12 months to get a more uniform blend between the boards before staining, or is that unnecessary? (Was thinking of a semi transparent for the front, possibly solid for back.)
If waiting is preferable, should I also wait to strip, clean and brighten until closer to staining time or go ahead and do that now?

Pegmorlen43
Pegmorlen43

We have spent weeks and lots of money getting solid stain off the deck. Finally done. We added an addition 5 years ago to a 10 year old deck after solid stain removed the newer side is still very much lighter. We have stained it thinking we could just add mote stain to newer side to make it darker. This has only made it redder than the other side we used dark walnut transparent stain. I don’t want to go through the stripping process again! Are there anyway to blend this with out solid stain or redoing?

jim
jim

what if i mix new boards and old boards , wash it, then solid color stain it? would that work better? Thanks.

Susan
Susan

I wish I had found this great site LAST weekend! I have a redwood deck of unknown age previously stained with a very dark purplish opaque stain. I pressure washed. The stain stayed in the few shady areas and in knots of the wood. I took out my belt sander to fix those areas (35 grit). The deck looks gorgeous. But after reading this site – oops! – What should I do now before staining? Or just PW, Brighten, stain?
Second, when do you know to replace the boards? I have 6 with minor surface cracks that go down about 1/4″. All are still as solid as their neighbors. And if I should replace, should I age the whole deck? THANKS for the help!

Michael
Michael

Just installed this new step and it’s raining for about a week before I installed. Should I wait until everything dries up to try to match the older boards or does it not matter? Also should I pressure wash everything then try to stain the older boards too? Thanks!

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S stohl
S stohl

Have a treated deck, already stripped and used brightener… But looks like I should have replaced the rotted boards first oops…I was thinking of sanding the old boards to see if they would lighten up more(I prefer transparent stain and the color dif between new and old is still significant) so would I have to re brighten the deck?

Rich
Rich

I have an older deck that will need about 20% replacement of the deck boards. Is there a way to tell if they were PT or Cedar 2 X 6 boards? If PT, how to prep and stain to match old wood?

Brad
Brad

I have a deck that is all messed up, the whole thing needs to be sanded, stain stripped, and some boards definitely need to be replaced. Is this the correct order of operations:

1. Replace Boards
2. Stain strip
3. Sand (What grit? I have a power sander and brush, and was thinking for the more damaged poles and railings, to use the power sander, and for the furred deck boards, to use the brush.)
4. Brighten
5. Refinish/stain/everything else (I'll worry about this at a later date)

ctmeda
ctmeda

Three new boards added to replace rotten ones. Deck has already had every thing done to it before new boards were added. Now a problem. What to do to the three boards to blend them in to old deck that will be acceptable. No thought was put into this issue when the decision to replace the boards due to safety issues.

Juanita
Juanita

Since I just found this article today, I was wondering if I need to go back and do the deck cleaner when I used a pressure washer and sanding the old boards.I did nothing to the new boards yet. Can I just sand them like the rest of the deck and then do the brightener or go back and follow your suggestions? It's been a lot of work sanding if I can get the same effect as the cleaner and then move on to the brightener–would be great news! Thanks!

Juanita
Juanita

Could you reckoned a deck brightener brand for me? Thanks for all the help too.

Jean Williams
Jean Williams

I have a cypress ceiing in my den that we put up 31 years ago. The ceiling also had box built cypress beams, which we recently removed. We whitewashed the ceiling and it is beautiful except for where the beams were. That area won't blend with the rest of the ceiling no matter what we do. Also, there is a dark line that seems to outline where the beams were. It is a slight line but we can't get rid of it. We have tried sanding, that made the differences show up more. We tried stripper, denatured alcohol, etc and nothing we do blends the two. Any help would be greatly appreciated. We are trying to find a solution other than having to spend a fortune to put new beams back up to cover the discolored wood.

loretta
loretta

I am staining my deck with 1501 cedartone. Some boards are a nice golden color and some are dull greyish after the application. The deck was powerwashed three weeks ago. Why do you think there is such a noticeable difference.

Norrie
Norrie

I am doing the final sanding on a cedar deck. Some of the boards have been replaced. The total deck has been sanded with a 60 grit. I have three questions:
1. what grit should I use for the final sanding?
2. do I still need to use the restore a deck products since I have removed the previous stain on the old boards?
3. my preference is to use a brush, do you have any other suggestions?
I will be using the Armstrong Clark Amber Stain
Thanks

MarcB
MarcB

I am trying to restore a 20 year old cedar deck (2×4). I have used a stripper and a power washer (turned down to about 1500 PSI) to remove the layers of old staing, mildew and crud. I'm having to also replace some of the boards due to rot. I have found some weathered old cedar boards at a used building supply store. The boards look very porous and grainy so I'm thinking of renting a drum floor sander to smooth out the deck. Should I still use a cleaner before I stain after I sand? BTW, I'm going to apply TWP 100 natural cedar semi transparent.

MarcB
MarcB

Thanks, I thought so. Someone told me the cleaner would prepare the wood to receive the stain better. I going to use Behr Premium Wood Cleaner. Is that okay?

John
John

what is the best way to get semi-transparent stain off the vertical spindles (my are 1 inch square by 3 feet)?

Thanks!

John

Monique
Monique

i have an old redwood fence that I'm attaching a new redwood trellis/posts. I was advised to use a semi transparent stain and I am planning on using the Arborwood brand but don't know what stain is going to match them both. I want something along the cedar or natural color. Do I need to buy two different colors of stain or will one work? I am getting it pressure washed and could put a brightener to it if necessary. any suggestions?

Erika R
Erika R

What grade of sandpaper would you use to sand old and new wood?

trench
trench

Question – Blending old and new deckboards. Undecided on final product. Completed cleaning of deck floor and stripping of old, oil-based stain that was mostly on the spindles. Next up: first sanding, then a brightening product. Haven't used a power sander before, but can rent one pretty cheap. Can an amateur power sander handle a heavy-duty sander without making a grievous, irreversible mistake? My deck nails/screws are countersunk fairly well, so I think I can go across them with no issues — at least, lightly. But how skilled to do you have to be to sand the entire floor evenly with no bad cuts?

Dave
Dave

Mixing new red cedar with old redwood. Should I sand before/after brightening and what grit sandpaper do you recommend for the new cedar and old redwood?

JL Mitchell
JL Mitchell

I have a 6 year old deck, this will be my 3rd time staining, there are sections of the deck that the stain has peeled off. In the past I used a transparent stain, this time I believe the better road is to use solid stain. My question is after I power wash the deck what prep work do I need to complete to get one solid smooth colour on the whole deck. Also can you recommend a solid stain brand that will last more then one year.

LindaB
LindaB

Our deck has new and old wood so we used an solid stain. It started peeling so we have scraped, cleaned, and it has dried but we can't decide what product to use next. Any suggestions. We've ready many reviews of products but don't feel there are many good options. Has anyone used Duckback Superdeck Elastomeric Paint? Did it work? Can't find any reviews on it.

Ari
Ari

I'm in the same exact predicament. What did you decide? I was thinking about duckback also.

laren
laren

no offense, but this article doesn't address the issue suggested by the title, namely how to blend new and old deck boards. Doing what was put forth in the article will not blend them, generally speaking. If you really want a blend, then after doing what was suggested in the article, you are going to have to experiment with stains on the new boards primarily and then a protective coating over all of it.