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Top 5 Tricks for the Perfect Deck Renovation

Rolling up your sleeves and making your deck look like new isn’t easy. It can take a long time, it’s often difficult to achieve good results and if you aren’t properly prepared, you can end up with worse than what you started with. Even then, it’s an essential part of taking care of your deck regularly and if done right it’ll keep it looking as good as new – or even better – year after year. To help you ace this task, we’ve gathered the top 5 tricks you can put into use to ensure that you get a perfect looking deck, every-time. Read them below!

1. Wait for the Right Season or Weather

First thing’s first – you need good weather. While there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of cold wind, nothing’s worse for deck refinishing than wet wood. It makes sanding the wooden surfaces much harder and as you strip the rough stock, the naked wood will soak up all the rain and prevent you from re-finishing it afterwards with a stain, varnish or paint. The classic and most effective way to prevent the rain from ruining your plans is to wait until Summer but you can get on with your renovations at any time of the year as long as there is at least a week of dry, and preferably warm, weather.

2. Choose a Durable Finishing Product

When selecting your favorite finish – be it a stain, a paint or anything in between – be sure to go for a high quality, durable one even if it’s more expensive than the others. It will be more than worth it due to how much longer it lasts, sparing you from all the work of an early full refinish. A good start is to aim for a 6 year protection product although you can go all the way up to 8 or even 10 and even if they don’t last as long as they promote (it heavily depends on the weather, use, and other random factors) they’ll certainly last longer than the 2-3 years that regular products do. Other great features to look for include fade-resistance, waterproofing and peeling resistance.

3. Get the Right Tools for the Job

Just like getting a quality finishing product is essential, having the right equipment and especially the right sander to use on your deck is an absolutely crucial part of acing the job. Even though you can read other in-depth articles on the best sanding machines for deck refinishing to get a complete understanding, the main takeaways are that these types of machines are the winners:

Belt sanders

With large sanding belts and massively powerful motors to run them, belt sanders are a fantastic choice for decks or any other large flat surface. They can take care of even the roughest stock with ease, with the proper sandpaper, and they’re super straightforward to use as well. Simple, potent and effective.

Sheet sanders

As long as you go for the larger models (1/2 sheet sanding pad and up), sheet sanders deliver awesome results. Not only are they fairly potent and easy to use but most of them also feature orbital motion to ensure scratch-free finishing results and the rectangular pad shape fits the task nicely.

Random orbital sanders

An excellent, versatile mix of all the good features mentioned above, random orbital sanders are a fantastic choice as well. If you pick a 6″ pad model with a potent engine to boot, they can absolutely decimate rough stock in seconds and sand huge surfaces in no time as well. The best part is that when it comes to the later stages and you want to get a smooth, shiny finish, their famous random orbital motion will deliver unbeatable results with ease. They’re also excellent for pretty much any other sanding task you throw at them, adding to their overall value.

Other accessories that make the whole experience much easier, comfortable and overall enjoyable, include a face mask, protective glasses and a pair of anti vibration gloves – don’t gloss over them, they truly make the difference.

4. Thoroughly Clean the Surface

Often overlooked, a good cleaning makes everything much easier and faster. It removes all the dust, dirt and other debris that would get in the way of your sanding and if the deck has an old coat of paint, it’ll easily remove large chunks of it which makes the whole process faster. It also prevents little rocks from damaging your sanding pad or even worse, your wooden deck, and it should also be done thoroughly after it’s completely sanded to ensure the finish gets applied nicely.

5. Be Patient and Thorough

As they say – nice and easy does it. To achieve perfect results you need to take your time and slowly but surely work on the deck. The two most important parts – sanding and applying the finish – need multiple passes in order to be properly done so you need to be patient and work without rush. As you probably know by now, you should start sanding with coarse sandpaper (low grit) to remove the rough stock first and then slowly go up to increasingly finer grits in order to achieve a shiny, silky smooth finish (if that’s your goal, of course). When it comes to applying the new finish, it’s a similar strategy. You start by carefully putting on the first coat, which should be heavier than the others in order for the wood to soak it up – especially if it’s a stain, and then after letting it dry you give it a few more passes until it achieves an even look and the color/tone you’re looking for. If you want a morale boost, just think how unbelievably beautiful it’ll look after you’re done!

Conclusion

Whether you’ve been putting off that pesky deck renovation for weeks or were just about to get started, these simple but effective tricks will make the whole experience much more enjoyable, easier, faster and deliver fantastic results in the end. If you were on the fence and were looking for a few tips to make it better – make this your final push, roll up your sleeves and get to work. It’s time to make that deck look as good as new!

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