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Deck Restoration: Which Technique is Right for Your Deck?

[dropcap]K[/dropcap]eeping a wooden deck in good shape can take a lot of hard work. Even if you stain or seal it when you first install it, the boards can still go grey, crack and splinter over time, which makes the deck look old and worn. Thankfully, if you deck is beginning to look like this, there’s no need to rip it down and install a new one. By using the right products and techniques, you can restore your deck to make it look as good as new.

There are two schools of thought, as to the best way to prepare your deck’s surface for restoration: power washing and sanding. Both have their distinct advantages and disadvantages, depending on the circumstances. In this article, we’ll discuss both options.

Inspect for Deck for Rot

The road to restoring a deck’s great looks are pretty simple – regardless of whether you’ve used kwilla, pine or jarrah. But before you begin to apply any deck restoration products or coating, you will need to ensure that the surface is fully prepared. You should begin this by breaking off any large splinters and removing or resetting any protruding nail heads by countersinking them at least a couple of millimetres below the level of the deck.

If your deck was built with pressure-treated timber, the wood will be very resistant to rot. However that’s not to say that you shouldn’t inspect the timber regularly anyway, as almost every timber, if it stays wet for long enough will eventually start to rot.

Take the time to inspect the boards to see if any are rotten, and either replace OR, if surface level, sand away the damage.

You should also use this time to resecure any loose boards with special decking nails or screws.

Preparing the Surface

Now to choose the best way to prepare the surface….



  • Splintering, uneven boards
  • Removing old stain (or if changing the stain colour)
  • Painted decks or if removing old acrylic based oil
  • You want to get the job done in one day (no need to wait for the floor boards to dry to stain)


If your deck has dome head nails, an Orbital Floor Sander should be used. If you have applied a sealer and have parts of the deck covered with furniture or other items, these sun-shielded areas will need to be sanded. For large decks, consider using either the Hummel Floor Sander Package or the Hiretech Floor Sander Package. If the deck is particularly small, the Belt Sander is a good choice of equipment.

Whichever sander you choose, it’s important that you work the sander backwards and forwards along the grain of the boards. If you’re removing an existing stain or paint, start with a coarse grain of sandpaper such as 40 grit, then go over the surface again with a finer 120 grit paper to smooth the finish.

For a truly professional finish, consider using an edge sander to get right into the corners and edges where the belt sander can’t reach. Remember not to press down too hard – let the sander do the work for you.

Once you’re finished sweep the surface with a broom (taking particular notice of the gaps between the timber) and you’re ready to stain. If your surface is particularly dusty, and you’re not in a hurry, consider using a pressure washer to wash away the dust.


Power Washing


  • New, unstained decks
  • If the boards are cupped or warped (you won’t get a good finish with a belt sander)
  • Get the best results when used with a “deck cleaning product”
  • Dome head nails that make sanding more challenging, unless you have an Orbital Floor Sander.
  • Visible mould, mildew or surface dirt.

For this job, you could use an Electric Water Pressure Cleaner or a Petrol Water Pressure Cleaner. We recommend setting the pressure to between 600 – 800psi with the fan arc nozzle.

You will also need:

  • A commercial deck cleaner (great for removing mildew, oxidisation & dirt). Look for one that contains sodium percarbonate for the best results.
  • Deck Finish Stripper (a must if removing old, oxidized, flaking or peeling finish) & a paint brush or roller for applying.
  • A stiff brush to thoroughly scrub the surface in line with the wood grain.
  • Goggles & gloves to protect your skin & eyes from the chemicals and splash back.

Before this task, you should take diluted deck cleaning solution and apply it to the deck surface, letting it soak in for the recommended amount of time. Then, use a stiff brush and extension handle to scrub the entire deck, paying extra attention to any areas which are particularly greasy. Once fully clean, use your power washing tool to fully remove all in-ground dirt and any loose stains. You can use a Dual Pressure Washer, or add a tool such as a 400m Rotary Surface Cleaner to the  petrol pressure washer or the 300m Rotary Surface Cleaner to your electric pressure washer to get the best results.

When it comes to restoring your deck, there are certain different techniques to choose from, however, this method of preparing your deck to be coated in restoration product is both simple and can be used on virtually all types of wooden deck.


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Centenary Hire is a Tradesmen & Weekend Warrior’s best friend. Our ever increasing range of hire equipment consists of modern tools, machinery, scaffold, access equipment and site services all of which are aimed at helping you get the job done right – the first time. Our friendly staff can help you to choose the right equipment for your project or you can view & book your equipment online now at www.CentenaryHire.com.au. Drop into our store at Sumner Park or request an equipment delivery as our efficient transport service extends well beyond the limits of Brisbane on a daily basis.


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