How to Maintain Your Deck
Time Required: Over 1 day
Over time, the wood on your deck can become worn down and even begin to rot if it's not properly maintained. A well-maintained deck can offer many years of enjoyment and make it so you don't have to replace the whole unit later down the line. This guide will give you step-by-step instructions on maintaining your deck, so you'll have a brighter and longer-lasting outdoor space.
- Remove loose paint or opaque deck stain with a paint scraper.
- Scrape down damaged areas to bare wood.
- Sand each area to feather the edges of remaining finish material down to bare wood.
Apply the deck cleaner to the wood, working it into the wood with a stiff deck brush. Use an extension handle on the brush, if necessary.
Tip: Failing to properly clean your deck before staining may result in poor stain performance, and quality results cannot be guaranteed. Refer to the manufacturer’s product information to ensure the best possible outcome.
- Wash the deck surface with a pressure washer to remove the cleaning solution and other residue using a power washer with a fan spray nozzle.
- Try to use the low power setting to avoid damaging the wood, or refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations based on the wood type.
- Let the deck dry thoroughly.
Depending on your deck stain product, a pump sprayer, paint brush, paint roller, staining pad or a combination of these tools can be used to apply the stain. How often should you stain your deck? To ensure the best results, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for applicators, as some deck stains require specific tools.
If you want even further help staining your deck, check out our pro referral marketplace for deck painting.
Tip: It is easiest to work in small sections to ensure the stain’s color uniformity, proper coverage and the ability to start and stop with more flexibility – just in case it should rain.
- Occasionally it may be necessary to replace a broken or damaged board in your deck. You can do so by using a claw hammer to remove the old board and replace it with a new one.
- Unfortunately, this may leave you with mismatching boards as the deck is gradually weathered and replacement boards may appear newer and stand out.
- For a simple way to refresh the look of your deck and ensure an even appearance, replace all of the deck boards at once. This will improve both the appearance and structural integrity of your deck.
- Choose from natural wood, pressure-treated wood and advanced composites for exceptional durability.
- While cleaning, check for any damaged deck boards that need to be replaced or repaired. Pry up any exposed nails and replace them with wood screws. For boards that are warped or raised, smooth them with a sander until the boards are level with surrounding boards.
- Determine if your deck is sealed by conducting a water drop test. Pour a few drops of water onto a deck board. If the water beads, the wood is sealed. If the board absorbs the water, it needs re-treating.
- If using multiple containers of the same color product, mix them together in a bucket to ensure the best color uniformity.
- A new, unsealed deck needs to weather for 60 to 90 days before staining.
- The easiest way to apply the waterproofing solution is with a pump sprayer. Apply the waterproofing solution directly to dry boards and let cure for 24 hours. Fill any cracks with wood filler, spackle or caulk, then sand until smooth.
Tip: If it’s time to replace old or worn decking boards, refer to our materials calculator to help estimate costs.