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Deck Refinishing Tips and Techniques

Retaining that newly constructed look for your deck requires three simple steps. Keeping your deck looking great doesn't require a large budget or a lot of effort.

Testing your deck's finish is extremely simple; just grab a turkey baster from your kitchen and drip water onto your deck planking. If the water beads up well the finish is fine. If the water soaks into the wood you should refinish the deck's planking.

For a proper refinishing choose a day with moderate weather and low humidity levels. You will have to apply several coats of stain or sealer which will require several drying periods.

Wash your deck well with a power washing unit or with a brush and garden hose. Use a mild detergent when washing your deck to properly remove any buildup. If you use a power washing unit be sure to use one rated for at least 1,000 psi of pressure and has a nozzle that can spray a 30 degree or wider jet of pressurized water. Hold the nozzle about six inches from the deck's surface and spray throughly in a line. Allow the deck several days to dry before applying the finish. Also ensure that debris between the decking materials is removed, including spider webs, rocks, etc. To remove dirt and debris that's stubborn try a putty knife or a stiff-bristled brush.

For decks more than a couple years old it helps to apply a deck cleaning agent prior to finishing. Test the cleaner on a small section to ensure that it doesn't discolor the decking. Once you confirm that the agent is safe to use on your deck, treat the entire surface and allow a few days for the wood to dry.

Once the deck is properly washed you will need to strip any remaining paint, old sealant, or stain. You also should take this time to replace broken fasteners and cracked boards.

After the entire deck surface has been prepared allow it to dry completely before applying the finish. Choose a finishing stain that is either labeled as 'water proof' or 'water repellant'. Also, ask at your home improvement store for a stain that has good penetrating properties. You want to choose a stain that will soak in deep and protect your deck for as long as possible. You also will want a product with decent protection against ultraviolet rays.

To make the staining process go smoothly first mask off any metal or materials that you do not wish to stain. Next apply stain to nooks and crannies, followed by the larger surfaces using a nylon or wool roller. Allot at least two days for proper drying before walking on the newly finished deck.

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