If your deck needs a bit of a spruce up, there are some options available to improve its appearance short of pulling it up, planing it, and starting again – that may be necessary in the end but probably a bit extreme. The truth is, pressure-treated decking only has a few years in it before it will likely need a rejuvenation anyway. Let’s look at the options in increasing levels of difficulty.
A Good Scrub By Hand May Do It
You may be surprised how well this can work. And if it does, it is a lot simpler than all the other more complicated options.
The all-natural way is to use 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup of washing soda in a bucket with a gallon of water. As an alternative, there are various brands of deck washes and brighteners. Scrub the deck with a long-handled brush (to save your back). You can use a pressure washer at low pressure to rinse off then apply a commercial spray-on deck sealer to finish things off. If you’re happy with the result then pat yourself on the back and have a beer. You’re done. Check out this video below for a summary of the basic steps.
Pressure Washing Upgrade
The best way to start an attempt to improve a deck is to pressure wash the old gray and moldy color off with a pressure washer and some quality deck cleaner.
A word of warning about what pressure washer works best. Don’t use one that uses high pressure. Excessively high pressure will dig out soft spots on the wood, leaving a mess that is worse than when you started.
As long as you can get the pressure right, this approach has the benefit of not having to worry about screws or nails protuding or having to remove the existing boards.
It can then be sealed with a deck sealer or another deck finish. The sander with 60 grit paper will usually remove any rough areas found during the pressure washing.
Belt Sanding Option
This option comes with the hassle of managing the screws or nails that may be protruding from the surface. If it only needs light sanding, you may be able to get away with just letting the protruding metal get a light rub without totally removing the heads. If it needs deeper sanding then you may be in the territory of completely removing the heads of the screws/nails. This won’t be a problem if you have adequately recessed nails. Of course, you always have the option to use a drift punch to countersink nails that are protuding before you proceed.
Check out this YouTube Video about some of the more advanced options.
The Nuclear Option
You’re going to need to pull up the whole deck, make sure you get all the nails or screws out then use a planer to resurface the boards.
The best planer to use is a floor model such as a Powermatic. You could use a bench/portable to do it, but make sure you change the knife once it is done, especially if the wood is dirty.