How to Restore an Old Wood Deck? –Bring Your Wooden Deck Back to Life in a Day

A couple of years ago we moved into our new home. The place is warm and sweet, we love to spend most of our leisure time on home decks. Soon it’s getting a crowded deck in our home. The children are spending quality time with the pets, even we often arrange family and friends parties on the deck. But later we noticed that the deck was getting darker, the paints were rubbing up and the old woods were growing mold due to water retention.

We don’t get much time to take care of our deck. The recent pandemic situation let’s think about restoring our old deck. All this time we observe it and find out how to restore an old wood deck in the right way. Finishing the project yourself means saving extra money. Trust us you have to do a huge bunch of work.

We added before and after pictures of our terrible moldy deck, the wood was weathered, splintered and painted off. After restoring it now it’s looking more beautiful and promising than before.

Things You’ll Need – How to Restore an Old Wood Deck

Successfully restoring your old wood deck you need different tools and materials to finish this DIY home project.


  • Power washer
  • Hand sander
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrush and roller
  • Garden sprayer
  • Broom
  • Paint scraper
  • 2 Gallon Lawn Sprayer
  • Paint tray
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Masking tape


  • Powdered TSP substitute
  • Bleach
  • Deck finish
  • Deck Striper

Ultimate Guides To Restore An Old Wood Deck

We put together everything to know before you start the restoring process. Since it doesn’t sound difficult to do, but without consistent work, you don’t expect a perfect finish. We are here to guide you to all processes from beginning to end.

Repairs Or Replace Boards

Before starting your deck restoration, clean all debris and other remains of objects thoroughly with a broom or blower. Don’t be lazy to check the surface manually. If your deck surface is fresh and clean, then you can skip this step.

However, If your deck is very old or if you see several broken, burst and weathered boards like our deck, you have to stop here and specify each of them. Repairing them is enough to reuse, but there is no substitute for replacing excessively weathered wood.

If we talk about ours, there are several warped woods in the railings. We also saw a lot of wood that had holes. Later, we ordered new PT woods to replace them with and dry in the sun for a month before we installed them. If we did not do this, we would probably have this warped problem again in the future. So, it’s necessary for you to dry pressure treated lumber before install.

Proper Way To Clean the Surface

Until we move to the cleaning processes, clearly inspect the surface. If any kind of nails has come up, use a hammer to put them back in place.

Power Wash The Deck

Power Wash The Deck

Pressure washer is not a necessary tool to complete restoring processes. But we bet it will save your lots of time in sanding and cleaning. Power washers cost a little bit more, we use our own to finish the cleaning. 

You can rent one from your nearby DIY shop. If you are lucky, you can get one from your neighbor.

If you have never done it before, then you have to be careful. Try to use it in less crowded areas like the railings or damaged woods. Use a nozzle to control the pressure, too much pressure can damage the woods.

The pressure washer easily gets off the stains or paints from the parallel surfaces, a bit difficult on the rails. But it can soften the hard coating so that you can scrub them out quickly. Before going to start the next step, you have to wait 24 to 72 hours to let it dry.

Sand The Deck

Sand The Deck

Sanding probably the most boring work we did. Using it with your bare hand means you are calling for your own ruin. After kneeling for about 8 hours, we sand our deck with the help of an orbital sander. We used 120-80 grit sandpaper and switched it where needed. You can use a large drum sander instead of an orbital sander. The reason we didn’t use it was because it was too expensive and the nails on my deck could ruin it. It is better to use sandpaper by hand to clean the areas where you didn’t reach with a sander. While you finish the sanding use the broom to clean the debris and dust.

Scrub The Surface

Scrub The Surface

Whatever you do, you need to scrub your deck before applying stain or paint. For scrubbing, a deck cleaner can ease your work. Look at a glance what we use.

  1. 4 ounces of TSP
  2. 1 quart of liquid bleach
  3. 3 quarts of water
  4. 2 Gallon Lawn Sprayer

First, mix those 4 ingredients all together and put it on a garden sprayer. Start spraying the mixture on all areas of your wood surface. Wait for 15 minutes to sit it, then start scrubbing following the wood grain with a hard bristle brush until you see the results. When you finish, power wash again to clean the deck and wait 48 hours to dry.

Applying the Stain or Paint

Applying the Stain or Paint

While you decide to use stain, make sure you want to use a solid or semi-transparent. If you are looking to get a natural wood grain view, a semi-transparent stain is a good option. But this is not a wise decision for an old wood deck. Where solid stains or paints are available to restore old wood cracks and fill up clefts. We recommend applying a solid stain or paint to get more life in the wood. Use a brush or roller to speed up the work. Don’t use any spray, it’s a waste of paint.

We are happy to use DEFY Extreme to restore our aged wood deck. It’s very smooth and easier to apply. We needed two coats with 3 gallons. How many gallons you need depends on the size of your deck. Manufactures clearly mention it over the can.

The verdict of Refinishing Deck

Here we finish all the processes about how to restore an old wood deck. We are pretty sure you will love the result after finishing all the hard work. Keep your eye on the deck for 3/4 days, so that no one gets there before it is completely dry. One last thing, We don’t recommend too much darker stain or paint. Because those are getting hot under the sun. So, to become comfortable on a hot summer day choose your coating wisely.

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