Deck Resurfacing and Deck Refinishing: What’s the Difference?

Is your deck in need of some TLC?

It’s not easy to keep your deck in tip-top shape all the time, especially as the seasons pass. Perhaps the color has faded, or the floorboards are discolored. The wood might have cracks or splinters—but how exactly should you go about solving these problems?

Two common ways to bring your deck back to life are deck resurfacing and deck refinishing. Deck resurfacing is much more involved; you’re replacing the surface of your deck. With deck refinishing, the boards are left in place but stripped, cleaned, sanded, and stained. Read on to learn more about the difference between resurfacing and refinishing.


Before you determine whether you need to resurface or refinish your deck, you need to ensure that your deck is structurally sound. If the foundation or framing are damaged to the point that they are unsafe, your deck needs to be torn down and rebuilt. A qualified deck resurfacing specialist should be able to help you determine the condition of your deck’s structure, but most companies will charge a fee to inspect your deck and decide if it’s a good candidate for resurfacing.

So what kind of things will a professional look for?

  • The floorboards and/or railings are decayed, rotting, or moldy, soft or spongy
  • The wood is splintering, cracking, or lifting
  • The boards are swollen and warped
  • Fasteners such as nails and screws are coming loose (this often happens when boards swell and lift).
  • There is minor termite damage to boards
  • The structure/frame of the deck is in good condition

If you or a resurfacing specialist notices these symptoms, resurfacing may be a very good option. When your deck is resurfaced, the floorboards and railings are removed and replaced with new—often higher quality—boards. You can also change the type of deck boards; if you had wood boards, you can replace them with composite or a higher quality wood. In terms of national averages, resurfacing might cost anywhere between $800 and $2,000.


Refinishing brings luster and life back to your tired-looking deck by stripping, cleaning and treating the existing surfaces. First, your deck is cleaned, either by scrubbing, pressure washing, or stripping. Scrubbing is most effective for smaller decks; pressure washing is an efficient way to clean average to large-size decks; and stripping is good for spot-treating areas like railings and out-of-the-way spaces of your deck. After the deck is washed, it may need sanding to help prevent splinters and ensure a smooth surface. About 48 hours after washing, a stain is applied. It’s important to select the right stain, and/or discuss your options with a deck resurfacing specialist. When you hire a contractor, refinishing costs (on average) between $500 and $700 for an average-size deck.

How much help does your deck need?

By knowing what to look for, you can make an accurate assessment of your deck and a good decision between resurfacing and refinishing. Both of these options can significantly improve the appearance of your deck and lengthen its lifespan, especially when the work is done by an experienced professional with a proven track record.

Good luck with your deck restoration projects! Feel free to leave questions or comments below.

Client Testimonials

J.Widener from Newton, NJ

“Outstanding team. Very impressed with the whole process and the most with my new beautiful deck!”

S.Long from Franklin Township, NJ

“The deck looks FANTASTIC. I still can’t believe that Deck Guardian was able to resurface my old, ugly deck. Our neighbors have stopped by to comment on how great the deck looks. The attention to detail, work ethic and professionalism set this company apart. I highly recommend Deck Guardian!”

M.Lewis from Fleminton, NJ

“We have received numerous compliments from Neighbor’s and friend’s who think that the finished project looks terrific. Not only do I appreciate the “quality job”, but I really appreciate the professional manner Skip handled all the details!”

L.Cohen from West Orange, NJ

“When I came home yesterday, I could not believe how amazing my newly resurfaced deck looked. Crew did an amazing job. It was also a pleasure to work with your salesperson, very professional and knowledgeable!”

S.Smith from Chester Township, NJ

“I’m completely impressed. I have dealt with my share of contractors as I have been updating my home for several years. Deck Guardian gets the gold medal. Deck Guardian restored my 10 year old deck & fence to a brand new condition. I am amazed!”

P.Tang from Westfield, NJ

“Deck Guardian Team did a good and pleasant job to give us a professional service and a beautiful new deck, without replacing it. We love the color and the way it feels like. Highly recommended!”

Kathryn Barchi from Piscataway, NJ

“My husband and I had recently moved into a new home and quite quickly we learned of so many things that both us and the home inspector missed prior to the purchase; the deck being one huge item. We quite desperately wanted to use our deck and know that it was safe for us, our kids, our pups, and our guests, which in the original state, was definitely not the case. Deck Guardian to the rescue! The Deck Guardian team, from the free estimate to the point of project close, were quite wonderful to work with entirely. They even pointed out additional things we had missed with regards to the safety of our deck. Of course, best of all, the Deck Guardian team was able to work within our budget, while giving us back our deck with a new lease on life. Deck Guardian far exceeded our expectations and for that, my husband and I can not thank them enough!!!”

Jessica Ravitz from Skillman, NJ

“Deck Guardian completed an amazing deck replacement project for us in less than 2 weeks after we signed our contract. Not only did they provide an extremely competitive price, we got a beautiful deck that so greatly exceeded our expectations! Everyone at Deck Guardian is wonderful – from the estimator, the crew and the administrative staff – very friendly, professional, meticulous and hard working. We are so pleased and give the highest recommendation!!! Thank you Deck Guardian!”

Paul Cichello from Bridgewater, NJ

“I contacted Deck Guardian and was given an estimate the very next day. The representative was very knowledgeable and fair. The workers were polite and professional. We are satisfied with our new deck and would recommend Deck Guardian to anyone who wants quality work.”