Category Archives: Deck Refinishing 101

Deck Refinishing 101

Salem Paint Company:   Deck Refinishing 101

  1. The key to successfully refinishing your deck is in the surface preparation. Proper surface preparation extends the longevity of the finish.

The first step is determining if the deck will accept finish. This is done by a simple water test. Sprinkle water on the deck, the water should absorb into the wood within 30 seconds to 2 minutes. If it doesn’t you have a choice between cleaning the deck, letting it dry,  and doing the water test again or stripping the deck. This is also the test that should be done on new lumber.

Clean the deck. We recommend the two-step cleaning method from Messmer’s. Part A is a cleaner and Part B is a wood brightener. Both steps should be applied to the deck and let sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Don’t let it dry on the deck. During the cleaning step going over it with a deck brush will help to loosen dirt and mildew.  Rinse thoroughly while brushing. During the cleaning step the surface can also be rinsed with a pressure washer set to between 500-800 psi staying about a foot from the surface. Caution should be used when using a power washer. Decks, especially cedar or fir decks are pretty soft and easily damaged. New decks should be cleaned in the same way because new lumber has a mill glaze that inhibits the penetration of the stain.

The deck can be sanded when it dries. 60-80 grit sandpaper is recommended. While sanding is not a requirement it will help even out the color of the deck and give it a newer look. If you’ve pressure washed sanding will remove the “furring” that can occur. These little fibers can wick moisture through your new finish shortening its life-span.

  1. The next step is to apply the stain, by far the easiest part of the project. At Salem Paint Company we recommend Messmer’s UV Plus and Proluxe SRD finishes. You should wait to apply your finish after cleaning and brightening a minimum of 48 hours in warm weather. 5-6 days in the spring or fall but no longer than 7-10 days. We sell several applicators appropriate for the stain application. Brush with the grain one board at a time from end to end keeping a wet edge to avoid lap marks. Most products can be sprayed but it is recommended to back brush the product immediately following the application to achieve an even finish. Only one coat of product should be applied. It’s tempting to apply a second coat but that second coat won’t soak in and will end up being a tacky mess.
  2. Maintenance. The average life of a clear deck finish is 2-3 years. We recommend cleaning the deck every fall and spring. Typically after 2-3 years the surface can be cleaned and stain reapplied without stripping. This program will assure that your deck is protected and will give you years of service. There may come a time when you want that new deck look again and the existing stain will need to be stripped.

So, to break it down;   1. Prepare, clean and dry   2. Apply stain   3. Keep it clean   4. Enjoy

Salem Paint Company:   Deck Refinishing  101