Each room was unique to itself and yet all were connected in harmony. Our home became a warm, inviting and comfortable place.
- Charlotte and Michael Paull, Kildeer
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Refinishing an Older Deck is more Tricky than Finishing a New Deck

Deck finishing, when it involves a previously finished deck, is more complicated than finishing a deck for the first time.

For a new deck, we let the wood season over the winter so it can dry out properly. In the springtime, deck cleaning is in order, using a wood brightener and power washer. The result is, well, amazing! To finish the deck, we commonly use a pigmented transparent waterborne deck stain, although we occasionally use semi-transparent or solid color stains. Contrary to oils, the wood does not have to be fully dry before applying the product. Another advantage is that waterborne stains do not promote the growth of mildew like oils do.

Deck Cleaning Process

Deck Cleaning Process

However, when you deal with a previously finished deck, the process of refinishing it is quite a bit more complicated. We first need to assess the situation. What kind of product was used the last time? The answer to that question is very important. Sometime, the right product was used, but it has been too long ago and the finish has completely degraded. If the finish has worn off, the deck can be cleaned and finished like a seasoned unfinished deck.

However, if the wrong product was used on the deck, you are probably looking at lot of peeling on the surfaces. In that case, deck stripping is recommended and we then start the process over again, this time on the right foot though. Stripping is also recommended in the case where a client has had a change of heart about the desired look for their deck. For instance, a solid color stain was used in the past, but the client wants to switch to a transparent look.

Deck Refinishing

Deck Refinishing

This summer, we ran into a problem we had not encountered before. The deck railings and gazebo surfaces had been finished with a pigmented transparent stain. However, the decking had been finished with a film-building pigmented transparent coating. After a few months, the deck coating started to peel in small pieces. The owner was not happy! Unfortunately, no stain cans had been left behind by the last painters and the owner had not been included in, or informed of the product selection. We had to resort to heavy-duty strippers and an orbital sander to get the job done. The end result was well worth it however!

As you can tell, there is more to deck, cleaning, finishing and refinishing than meets the eye. At Painting in Partnership, house painting contractors from the Chicago Northwest suburbs, we have the skill and knowledge to produce exceptional results in our deck finishing work, no matter the finishing history of your deck.