• Clean, Repair and Restain Your Deck


    When you carry out home maintenance there is no better visual return on effort and cost than cleaning and re-staining a deck. It is one of those truly “feel good” projects to do around the home

    Putting a fresh coat of stain on your deck will improve its appearance for sure. It’s also part of deck maintenance that will greatly extend your deck’s life.
    When deck stain and sealant breaks down, water can cause rot, especially in wet climates.
    A deck that has the stain worn off is also susceptible to drying out in dry climates, and the wood might crack when this happens.
    Also, if you have clogged gutters we suggest you clean them so the runoff does not cause further deterioration. With the right tools and approach, cleaning, repairing and re-staining your deck can be a DIY project. If it’s not something you want to tackle, calling a deck specialist or an experienced handyman is another solid option.
    Depending on how much repair is required, this is a job that will take one to two days. If the deck is severely damaged, you should make the decision on whether to repair or replace the entire deck.

    Deck Repair, Cleaning and Re-staining Tips

    This house repair guide gives you an overview of the project that will help you decide whether to do it yourself or call a pro.
    We include tips that show what’s required for effective deck maintenance. The equipment needed is listed too, along with supplies and tools. Deck cleaning and re-staining costs are included, so you’ll know what to expect if you hire a deck contractor for the work.

    The last thing you’ll find here is a list of resources that provide additional helpful information about this home repair project.

    A deck made from pressure-treated wood will last 20 years or more when properly maintained. These tips will help. We’ll start with repair.

    • A new deck or new wood should not be stained for 3 to 6 months in a warm, dry climate and 9 to 12 months in a cool or wet climate
    • Examine all the wood for damaged pieces paying special attention to step treads and railings
    • Get beneath an older deck, if possible, to check the condition of the support structures including where it might be fastened to the house
    • Look for cracks, warping and for any piece that is not secure and steady, especially stair treads and railings
      Raised nail heads need to be driven back down with a nail punch with the right sized head for safety and comfort reasons
    • Use pressure-treated wood for all repairs, since it will last much longer than standard lumber
    • To replace wood pieces, you’ll need to be comfortable using a table saw or circular saw, drill, wood screws, hammer and nails
    • Use a wood cleaner specially designed for decks and follow the directions on the packaging carefully.
      We do not recommend the use of “high” pressure water blasters to clean an aged timber deck
      The very name “high pressure” gives a clue to the damage they can do by lifting the grain of the wood and actually damaging the timber by blasting the softer wood out of the grain which is not normally affected by gentler treatments
      On the other hand a “low pressure wash” with a propriety additive can be a suitable option
    • Most deck cleaners are applied by spray or brush, then the deck is scrubbed using a broom with stiff bristles before it is rinsed clean with a garden hose
    • If the wood fibers of the deck are raised once the wood is dry, they might turn into splinters, so consider using an orbital sander and medium-grit sandpaper
    • If you sand the deck, it should be thoroughly rinsed so that sanding dust doesn’t prevent good adhesion of the stain or make the deck timbers rough to touch
    • If algae is an issue on your deck, apply an algaecide made specifically for this type of application
    • Once the deck is thoroughly dry for at least 24 hours, brush on a product that contains stain and a sealer, starting from the railings and working your way down to the deck
    • Be willing to spend more to get a top-quality oil-based stain and sealer because it will last longer and protect your deck much better than a cheap product
    • Allow the stain and sealer to dry for a couple of days before using the deck heavily

    Deck Repair, Cleaning and Staining Costs

    Whether you do the job yourself or hire a contractor, here are some of the costs you can expect.

    DIY Deck Repair and Staining Cost: The x-factor is the amount of repair that needs to be done. Pressure-treated lumber is fairly expensive. Expect to pay about $10 for a piece of 6”x16’ treated decking and about $7 for a piece 12 feet long.

    A 5-gallon pail of good wood stain and sealer will cost $75 to $100 depending on brand. Coverage will be about 250 square feet per gallon, less if the deck is aged and in poor condition.

    Pressure sprayers for use around the home start at about $125, but expect to spend $200 to $400 for one with better pressure and durability.

    Circular saws and drills start at about $35 and can cost more than $100 based on the quality you choose. A broom, sponge applicator for the stain and a box of wood screws will cost less than $15 each.

    Professional Deck Repair and Staining Cost: Deck repairs are hard to estimate, though $5 to $10 per linear foot of board to be replaced should be in the ballpark. In terms of washing and staining the deck, your cost will be $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot of deck. The more complex the deck is and the more stairs involved, the higher the cost will be per square foot.

    How to Save Money on Deck Repair

    If you’re doing the project yourself, save money by borrowing the tools you need. Renting them from a hardware or home improvement store might be a way to save money too.

    When hiring a professional for the work, the best way to save money on deck repair and staining is to get multiple estimates from local contractors. Let them know that they’re competing for the work, and they’ll provide you with their lowest estimates.

    Resources for DIY Deck Repair and Staining

    These pages provide helpful information that will make the job easier.

    Drake Homes – This Iowa builder offers professional tips for deck staining including how to brighten aged wood before after it is clean and before it is stained.

    YouTube – Here’s a video from a local painting contractor showing how to stain a deck.

    TruNorth Painting – These tips from a painting contractor cover preparing, cleaning and staining your deck. There’s a link to a page that will help you select the right stain for your deck.



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