I love a wood deck. I love them more even than the composite decking; however, they do require some maintenance (well, so do composite decking for that matter). Whether you inherited an old deck or have been falling behind on the maintenance of your current one, this tutorial will show you how to easily revive your deck so that it looks new again by power washing and applying deck stain. Below is a picture of my deck before I started. You can see that it has faded to a greenish-grey and looks rather dirty. Also, you can see that we replaced a couple of boards last fall that are a different color.
Step 1: Power wash
WARNING: Don’t power wash new pressure-treated wood. Allow the wood to first acclimate for at least 6 months.
The first thing you need to do is clear off your deck and clean it. I recommend you use a power (or pressure) washer. You can rent one from Home Depot for around $70 or buy one from Harbor Freight for $99. We use our power washer every year, so we went ahead and bought one. You’ll find all kinds of deck cleaners at the hardware store, but I have found that the power washer does a perfectly adequate job on its own. The only thing you really do need to know about power washing is to not allow the wood to pulp. If the wood starts to pulp you need to either lower the pressure on the machine or move the nozzle further from the wood. Otherwise, you can’t really mess this step up. As you can see from the picture below, your deck will look pretty much like new pressure-treated wood at the end of this step.
Step 2: Stain and/or seal deck
Once you have your deck nice and clean you’ll want to preserve it and enhance the wood. I use Olympic Maximum Stain and Sealant which will do both for you. You’ll also have to pick a color. Stains are sold as clear, toner, semi-transparent, or solid colors. Which you pick is entirely dependent on the look you are going for. I like the look on natural wood so I choose the toner in Honey Gold which gives the wood a hint of color but still allows the grain to show through. You will also need a roller on a pole and a paint tray.
Before applying the stain make sure the wood is dry and clean. Pour stain into the paint tray and apply with the roller. I like to use a foam roller. The stain will be very runny so be careful not to spill or spray. Begin working in a small area, overlapping your strokes. Be careful not to drip stain in an area you are not working. If the drip-dries before you apply stain to that area it may leave a permanent mark. The deck itself will stain pretty quickly, and the rail and posts will take longer. Allow that stain to dry for 24 hours before walking on it.
Below you can see my deck before and after cleaning and staining. The deck looks new again with a nice rich color and a sealant that will protect it. I usually repeat this process every 2-4 years depending on weather conditions.