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Is your wooden deck looking a little weathered after winter? Not to worry. With a little time and elbow grease, you can refresh your wood deck —big or small — into a place you’ll want to spend all summer soaking up the sun. Here are 4 steps to help you get started.

1. Check for loose panels or nails

Wooden deck slabs with gnarled markings

If your deck hasn’t been used much over winter, there may be a few sneaky loose panels or nails that could cause someone to trip or stub their toe. Inspect each panel for rot by trying to sink a screwdriver into the wood. If your screwdriver sinks into the panel, that’s a sign that the wood is rotting, which means you may have a larger renovation to finish this summer. Other things to check for are loose nails, and wood panels that move around – these are easier to fix. Once you’re sure the deck is safe to use, you can move on to getting it really clean.

2. Scrub, clean and remove old paint or stain

Old yellow paint peeling on a wood deck

This might be an onerous task, but it can be so satisfying to clean something to perfection! It’s recommended to refresh your wood deck by cleaning it at least once a year, and to reseal it when water is no longer pooling on the surface.

Start by scrubbing your deck with a stiff bristle brush—which is gentler on wood surfaces than metal brushes—to remove any dirt or weathering marks. If your deck has existing paint or stain you want to remove, you may need to use paint stripper or remover during this step. If not, scrub away to remove built up dirt.

Be sure to use a wood cleaner with the brush to more effectively clean without causing damage. Alternatively, use a pressure washer – they can be rented if you don’t own one – to speed up the process.

If you’re using any removal products, don’t forget to safely dispose of your leftover solvents through our household hazardous waste recycling program in BC, Manitoba and Ontario. To check whether the products you have are accepted in our program, click on your province for more details.

3. Adding stain, paint and finisher

With dozens of finishing options available, you can choose one that best complements existing deck furniture or the rest of your home’s exterior. Wood stain will give your wood deck a more natural finish—paint, on the other hand, is available in hundreds of colours if you’re aiming for a brighter look. Check out for inspiration and learn about the differences between stains and paint before making your choice.

Depending on the size of your deck, you’ll want to stain or paint it using a roller or brush, or a paint sprayer on a larger surface area. You can always touch up any uneven patches with a brush – this is also a great way to remove drips. Check out this information on the process  for restoring your deck.

The final part of this third step to refresh your deck is applying a finisher. There are water-based and oil-based types – here’s how to choose one to suit your needs.

4. Accessorize!

Now that you’ve put in the hard work and given your deck a chance to dry, it’s time for the fun part! With some fabrics and furnishings, you can make your outdoor space your own without breaking the bank. You can even check out second-hand options for deck furniture like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist – then paint or seal them to add extra personality to your space.

Remember, you can recycle common household hazardous products—including paint and wood finishing products— with us in BC, Manitoba and Ontario. See the program page for more information on what to do with your leftovers.

Happy restoring! If you need us, we’ll be on the deck sipping spritzers!

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