One of the greatest quality’s wood has is its ability to be restored. You can restore an outdoor wood deck for a fraction of the cost to replace it. As long as the deck structure itself is in good shape, you can easily return the deck surface to a fresh cut or like new appearance. Restoring an existing deck is project most DIYers can take on with great success.
First you want to inspect the existing deck structure. The posts, stringers, joists, hangers and fasteners must all be in good condition, free of rot and corrosion. This is where you might need to bring in a pro if you are in doubt.
Once you know the structure is in good shape you can look at the decking boards themselves. Any deck boards that are showing signs of severe rot will need to be replaced. Most often the wood itself will be in excellent condition with just the exposed surface showing signs of weathering. The weathering might include dead gray wood fibers, discoloring, mold, mildew or even a buildup of lichens in wet or tropical environments. Don’t be discouraged all of these can be easily removed.
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Wood can be restored mechanically, using a variety of sanders to remove the weathering, exposing the fresh new wood underneath. You can also find complete restoration kits that allow you to use a power washer to rinse away the weathered wood, and restore your deck to a like new condition. This method involves a few easy steps and the results can be amazing.
First you will apply a cleaner that will remove any existing stain or sealer along with the weathered wood at the surface. After using your power washer to rinse the deck, spraying on a pH neutralizer will return the wood to its fresh cut color and appearance. The neutralizer can be rinsed off with a power washer or just a garden hose.
When the wood dries, it will look as good as it did when originally installed. Now you are ready to enjoy your deck, or apply a wood finish to help preserve and protect its natural beauty.
Restoring an older deck can be especially rewarding because it is hard to find newer lumber that has the same intense grain patterns and other characteristics you see in old growth lumber.
If you plan to do the work yourself the material to restore a deck will cost 5 to 7 cents per square foot. A high quality oil based deck stain/sealer will cost an additional 20 to 30 cents per square foot. So for less than $0.50 you can restore a deck that would otherwise cost $10.00 or more per square foot to replace.
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