How To Restore A Wood Deck

Keeping a wood deck in good shape takes a lot of work. Even if you stain or seal it, the boards can still crack and splinter, making the deck look old and worn. Switching over to composite decking is one option, though the cost may be prohibitive. But there's another, far more affordable solution. You can restore your existing deck by applying a deck restoration product.

Deck restoration coatings are thick enough to fill all cracks, knotholes and splinters, and they provide a completely new textured surface that can last as long as 13 years without additional applications. You can do the prep work in one day, then apply the product over a two-day period the following weekend. You'll need a power washer (rent it if you don't own one), a jug of deck cleaner, a special roller, masking materials and a roller extension. The cost varies, but figure roughly $1 per sq. ft.

Protect The House And Rails
To avoid splattering the post rails, wrap them with masking tape and apply poly sheeting to the rails and siding. Spread poly sheeting under the deck to catch the product that oozes between the board gaps.

Roll On The Deck Coating
Dunk the entire roller in the pail, place it on the deck boards and press down to form a puddle. Then roll the puddle forward to force the product into the cracks. Then lift, reload and do the next section. Don't back-roll to prevent uneven amounts of paint.

Coat The Entire Length Of The Boards
Start at one end of a few boards and coat the entire length of the boards, to maintain a uniform texture. Clean the gaps as you go with a stir stick or a 5-in-1 style paint tool.


Fill In Missed Spots
Dunk a brush into the pail and dribble it into missed spots or depressions to build them up.

Smooth With A Brush
Start at one end of the board and walk the brush down the entire length in one continuous motion. If you lift the brush, you'll leave marks.

Pick The Brand And Get It Tinted
Shop for special coatings for restoring decks at home centers and paint stores. Some retail brands are Restore 10X and 4X by Rust-Oleum, Deckover by Behr, Rescue IT! by Olympic, and RockSolid Deck Restoration by Citadel Floor Systems. Discuss the surface preparation requirements for each brand with the store clerks—each brand is different.
Clean Up
Clean up with soap and water and let the first coat dry for three to six hours (or until dry to the touch). You probably won't like the look of the first coat. Don't worry; it's just the primer coat. The second coat is the “magic coat” that fills in all the gaps and provides the smooth texture you saw at the store. Apply the second coat using the same method. Then let the deck dry for two full days before walking on it.
For the longest-lasting results when you restore the deck, clean the coating in the spring and fall using the manufacturer's cleaner.


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