Update 2018 for Re-staining an Old Deck
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Bringing an old deck back to life can be very rewarding. But like any rewarding venture, the task can be daunting. With the right knowledge, however, it can be well worth the effort. A restored deck can give your home’s exterior a much-needed facelift not to mention raise your home’s curb appeal and value.
Re-staining an old deck requires a few tools. A pressure washer is very helpful but a scrub brush can also be used. Pressure washers can be rented if you do not own one. Before re-staining an old deck, the surface needs to be clean. A good wood cleaner will go a long way in aiding the cleaning process. A quality deck cleaner will loosen dirt, grime, and graying making them easier to remove with the pressure washer or scrub brush. It will also rid the old deck of mold, mildew, and algae. The idea is to reveal clean bare wood so the new deck stain will perform properly.
If an old deck stain is present then you must use a deck stain stripper instead of a deck cleaner. The washing process is the same but the stripper will also loosen and emulsify most wood stains so they can be washed away as well. It is essential to remove any remnants of old stain so it does not hinder the new stains performance. Follow up the cleaning process with a quality wood brightener by following the instructions. You basically coat the wood with the brightener after cleaning; allow it to dwell for several minutes, then rinse. This helps open the pores of the wood to allow better stain penetration.
Once clean, allow the old deck to dry for a day or two. Re-staining an old deck can be done with a roller, brush, stain pad, or sprayer. Be sure to protect any landscaping or other surfaces from unwanted drips or overspray. Apply the stain and allow it to absorb into the wood. The amount of stain the wood will soak up depends on the age, condition, and porosity of the wood. Do not over apply the stain. Wipe away any excess stain that does not soak up after 10-15 minutes. This applies to the penetrating type of stains, not the film forming type. The film forming type of deck stains are applied more like paint but they are more prone to peeling and cracking.
Re-staining an old deck is not hard with the right tools and knowledge. For the best results, it is recommended to perform a light wash and maintenance coat to your old deck every couple of years.