Reviving your tired old decking – A summer project

Remember the day you finished building your new decking or having it built for you? The smell of fresh-cut timber, the even colour of the new decking boards, that summer afternoon you spent admiring your hard work that made yours the best looking decking in the neighbourhood (well maybe).

Now years later, you hardly notice it as you walk across it to take out the trash. The colour has faded, the wood is grey and there may even be some moss growing on it. Don’t despair, its easily restored back to its former glory and the team here at NE Build & Design are going to tell you how to do just that.

Within a few days and the luck of some dry cool weather, cleaning and stripping solution and a few tools you can get your decking right back to where it was.

Before you start work on your decking you need to give a good once over to check that all the wood surfaces are sound. If the wood is past its sell by date and rotten you will find that a screwdriver will push easily into the timber and surface fibres will pull off easily. Its simple you have damaged wood, it will need replaced with new.

Decking cleaners are formulated to clean the deck surface of stain or sealer. However, if you leave remains of an old finish that is worn out, the cleaner will do a patchy job. What will happen is it will clean the worn spots differently from the spots that still have old finish left on them. If you detect any sort of film, use a stripper on that area to get rid of it before you apply the cleaner. A careful examination is needed to identify these areas.

Decking stripper is designed to lift off the old finish of stain or sealer and prepare the surface ready for the deck cleaner to do its work. You can save time by first scraping away most of the old finish using a paint scraper. This may sound a daunting task on such a large area, but you don’t need to get down to the bare wood! Just scrape the surface enough to remove any loose, flaky finish that still exists. This shouldn’t take more than two hours on an average size (10 x 16-ft.) decking.

We’ve broken the process down into 9 easy steps as follows:

Step 1: Scrape off the stain

Scrape the old finish off your railings and decking. The finish should flake off easily. Don’t get yourself bogged down with being to meticulous, the decking stripper will get the remaining finish.

Step 2: Remember to protect your plants

Cover your plants with protective sheeting but remember to soak them with water first. Most decking strippers and deck cleaners won’t kill your plants but may damage them and cause them unnecessary stress.

Step 3: Strip your railings before the decking

Apply the decking stripper with a paint applicator or a brush working in 6-ft. sections at a time so the stripper doesn’t evaporate before you can scrub and scrape it off.

Step 4: Scrub the railing

Scrub the loosened finish off the surface of your railings and decking with a stiff-bristle brush.

Step 5: Jet Wash off the residue

Rinse off the old finish with a strong stream of water from your garden hose or jet wash if you have one. Its worth giving it a once over to check for any left overs. If there is you may have to reapply some stripper if there is some finish left on the wood. Be careful when using a pressure washer as you can damage the wood.

Step 6: Clean the decking

Spray the decking surface with the decking cleaner the day after you’ve finished the railing. It is best to apply the deck cleaner to the railing with a sprayer of some description, because the stripper may have darkened the wood slightly. Decking cleaner will bring the already stripped surfaces back to a fresh, bright wood look.

Step 7: Scrub the deck

Scrub away any loose wood fibres and residue 15 minutes after you’ve applied the decking cleaner. Work in the direction of the grain at all times. As soon as you’re finished, rinse the deck thoroughly with a firm spray from your garden hose or jet wash and let the surface area dry for a minimum of two days.

Step 8: Staining

Apply the stain to your railings with a brush. For a professional finish cover your decking boards with tape and plastic to catch any drips. We recommend a semi transparent oil stain.

Step 9: Sealing the decking

Apply your decking sealer with a roller. If your decking boards are tightly spaced, use a brush to get between them as you roll, doing a couple of boards at a time.

Remember throughout the whole process to allow ample drying time of the deck and rails etc between steps.

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