Author Topic: Need help re refinishing deck  (Read 2345 times)

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Need help re refinishing deck
« on: June 20, 2015, 03:44:06 PM »
My second story deck was ignored for years.  It looked nice, I thought, a pretty gray, though clearly any finish had worn off. But it's somewhat shaded and this year we had nonstop rains so it became slippery with a green bio-slime  coating.  My neighbor offered to loan me his pressure washer today.  A friend who was over said, "Let's do it."  So we just spent a couple hours pressure washing the deck and its 15 steps.  (Deck is now a pretty wood...medium yellow/brown. With grain showing.). When we first began, I noticed we seemed to be roughing up the wood so we eased up on the pressure and made sure to only go with the grain of the wood.  Normally I over research every DIY project....but not today... spurred on by the loan of equipment and offer of immediate help. We just charged ahead.

So now I just started reading about what coating to use and I am seeing totally conflicting advice.  "Do pressure wash" and "Don't pressure wash; it ruins the wood."  "Do sand"and "don't sand: you want the wood a little rough to soak up the stain."  (How does one sand boards with nails anyhow?...and I don't have an electric sander.)

Please advise me, wise MMMers, what to do at this point.  Can I just put on Olympic Semi-transparent Deck Stain now? That was what I would like to do.   The wood is not splintery, though not completely smooth either.  Also, the only thing we do on this deck is walk across it to get in the back door and occasionally stand on it to watch birds.  We have a great covered front porch which is where we hang out.  I just want to protect the wood for maintenance reasons.

Any advice is appreciated.  Thanks in advance.


Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2901
  • Age: 81
  • Location: The laboratory
  • Typical Ghoul Next Door
Re: Need help re refinishing deck
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 04:35:35 PM »
I'll tell you how I've done it for years, and it's worked well so far.

NO pressure washing, but I don't have railings or hard to scrub areas, and I could see the temptation to use one if I had that sort of thing. I still would be using it on the lowest possible pressure setting, as I've read too many bad things about ruining the wood surface - scrubbing with a brush allows you to adjust the amount of pressure you're using on the deck and you have way more control.

I get a nylon scrub brush on a broom handle, mix up the following in a large bucket: 1/2 cup bleach, 1 cup oxyclean (or knockoff), 1/2 cup laundry detergent (measurements are not exact, but more oxy than the other two, and less bleach or none at all if there isn't any mildew). Fill with water up about 3/4 full, and dip brush in and scrub with the wood grain, not hard scrubbing, just light to moderate to get the worst of the dirt off, and letting it rest on the deck gets the mildew off (the bleach and oxy works on mildew and stains). Let soap mix rest on the wood for about 10-15 minutes - I generally just do one 20' x 5 foot section, then start the next and rinse the first after completing the second. Rinse with hose (I have a hose attachment that is pretty basic but can focus the stream to be a nice strong line of water but no where near as strong as pressure washing). I just keep refilling the same bucket as I go along and don't add more cleaners to it, so it might get more diluted the further I am in the process, so I make a point to start in the worst areas at the beginning to ensure the higher concentration goes on the worst stuff.

I only have grass around my deck so I don't put down any protection for plants, but if you have nice shrubbery or flowers, you'll want to tarp them or otherwise avoid getting the cleaning solution on them (including the runoff). I saw no ill effects on my grass tho.

No sanding. I think that's just if you raise the grain so much (by pressure washing?) that you need to sand to "open the pores" of the wood and knock down the grain again. I've never needed to do that and it seems like a huge mess to deal with. You're already opening up the wood by cleaning it, so it will absorb the stain just fine without sanding (at least that's been my experience).

I use Thompson's water stain in semi opaque since my deck is older, I want it to just barely show the wood grain. It is nice as I can apply while deck is still a bit wet (once it is completely clean, letting it rest for a few hours is best, but it's fine it it's not completely dry). Apply with a paint pad, using a paint tray, and I use the same broom handle extension from the scrub brush, and follow the directions. As it says on the label, my deck is protected for around 1 year, and then it is supposed to be done again. At the least, it should be cleaned once a year to knock all the grunge/mildew off, and I've actually let it slide up to 3 years before the waterproofing/stain seems completely gone, but after 2 years is pushing it for me as I get heavy rains and brutal sun.

In your case, I would probably just go ahead and do the deck stain (does it include a UV coat/waterproofing?). Don't know about the one you're using, but double check their instructions and might want to just make it a routine maintenance thing to give it a scrub with at least a little oxy type cleaner each spring and assess the stain's condition then.


Zaga

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2016
  • Age: 39
  • Location: North of Pittsburgh, PA
    • A Wall of Hats
Re: Need help re refinishing deck
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2015, 06:00:43 PM »
We have a new deck (put it in ourselves last summer) and wanted to protect it with a stain or something.  We disagreed, I wanted to paint in and DH wanted to stain it.  After much discussion he went to the paint store and decided on paint because it blocks UV rays better than stain and over the winter the wood had bleached in the sun unevenly which we wanted to cover up.  The guy at the store recommended a concrete floor paint, which I thought was weird, but so far I absolutely love it!  It is completely impervious to water and the color we went with is about the color of a chocolate milkshake.

Elderwood17

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Location: Western North Carolina
Re: Need help re refinishing deck
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2015, 07:51:30 PM »
We had a neglected deck on the house we bought.  Pressure washer destroyed the ad boards making it a bigger job. Won't use a pressure washer on a deck again!  Hopefully by keeping it in reasonable shape that won't be necessary anyway.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Need help re refinishing deck
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2015, 10:08:25 PM »
Yikes!  As I said in the original post, I did pressure wash the deck.  So....having pressure washed, what should I do now?

Elder wood, what are ad boards? Thanks!

Greg

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1449
  • Location: Olympia, WA, USA
Re: Need help re refinishing deck
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 09:45:38 AM »
If you have nails, you use a nail sink and drive them deeper prior to sanding.  Since you've pressure washed, let it dry as long as possible and then lightly sand, since you probably have created a slightly fuzzy texture.  Then stain according to the stain's instructions.

Dee18

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
Re: Need help re refinishing deck
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 11:31:32 AM »
Thanks all.  I hammered some nails in, sanded a bit, and used Olympia Elite Semi Transparent stain in Dark Bark.  It took twice as much stain as the square footage on can indicated; the wood really soaked it up.  Deck looks great!