We Have A Deck Refinishing Problem

We Would Like To Achieve This Look

We Would Like To Achieve This Look

We have a back deck in pretty rough shape.

It has a thick kind of reddish colored almost paint stain that we dislike. A lot of the boards are in pretty rough shape. I have attached to pictures of the deck.

We would really like it to be smoothed up and re-stained with a much more natural look like in the first picture shown.

But you can see in the other pictures the condition that the boards are in.

Would my best course of action be to rent a floor sander and try to smooth it out and sand off all the remnants of the old stain first?

Editor's Comments:

You weren't kidding when you said your deck boards were in pretty rough shape. I would say they are on life support.

However there may be a few things you can do if you really want to save them - all of which will require a fair amount of work.

First, you will have to sand down the existing surface and fairly agressively. Given the uneven surface levels of the boards you will inevitably be removing more from some boards and less from others.

You will also be sanding down screw heads in almost all cases. This causes another big challenge. If you sand down the screw heads you will not be able to remove the boards easily if you ever have to repair the odd one.

But without a screw head the boards will be much more likely to pop up and out causing you more head aches.

If you really want to save this deck, you may wish to remove all the screws and replace them with new stainless screws. And set the screws deeper into the boards to accommodate the material you will remove as you sand them down.

Now, it is also true that by setting the screws deeper you will create pockets for water to accumulate and this will create vulnerability for rot.

You don't have a lot of options. But this may give you another 5 to 10 years if it is well done. Trying to carefully sand down the wood to the exact height of the new screws is not an exact science.

That is why I suggested stainless screws because even if you scratch them a bit the metal is corrosion resistant. Not so with a color baked finish.

Weigh all of this work with the other alternative of just removing the boards and replacing with new treated lumber.

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Apr 10, 2015
Might be salvageable
by: Anonymous

I might consider:
- sandblast it to remove the loose debris
- Remove the screws and replace with good deck screws, or at least the worse ones. (I highly suggest torx screws.) I would go with longer screws. The old holes might be weakened. Ifany still spin loose, put in even longer ones.
- Paint with one of the new thick deck restoring finishes.

Best solution is replace the decking, but this might be good for another five years or so.

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