When your repairs are complete, the next step is to clean your deck. The cleaning process depends on what is on your deck already and what your refinishing goals are.
If there’s old paint or finish that’s chipping off the deck, remove it with a paint scraper. To clean a varnished or painted deck before staining it, first strip the paint or varnish off with a chemical stripper. Clean with a gentle setting on a power cleaner or a strong hose setting. Finally, sand the wood and apply the new stain finish.
If you’re painting the deck, there’s no need to use the chemical stripper. Simply clean, sand, and paint. If you are refurbishing a sealed or stained deck, clean it well.
Clean your deck with a power cleaner on a gentle setting; a strong setting can damage softwood. Otherwise, use a deck cleaner and a strong bristle brush to wash the wood well before applying paint or stain. We recommend using an oxygen-based wood cleaner that will remove mildew stains and sun-induced graying while still cleaning off the dirt and grime.
Sanding a deck before refinishing is recommended for boards that are rough, splintering, or badly sun-damaged. Use a 60- or 80-grit sandpaper for boards and an 80- or 100-grit sandpaper for railings for the best results. While there is no need to clean the deck again after sanding, be sure to vacuum up or sweep away the dust that could prevent the seal or stain from going into the wood. After all that, your deck is ready to be finished!