Top Five Mistakes People Make When Refinishing a Deck

Deck refinishing is something many homeowners have to consider at one time or another. Whether it’s an aging deck you inherited when the property was purchase, or a deck you installed yourself in recent years, refinishing is a way to revive the deck’s appearance and protect it against the elements.

If your deck is made of composite materials, your maintenance requirements will be much lighter. But if your deck is made of natural wood (including pressure treated wood), refinishing will be a periodic concern — especially if you live in a state with harsh winters and large temperature swings between the seasons.

So what is refinishing?

That depends on who’s doing it, and how knowledgable they are. A seasoned deck refinishing pro will likely include the following steps in the refinishing process:

  • Clean the entire deck with a low pressure spray
  • Replace any boards/components that are warped or rotting
  • Repair any loose connections between components of the deck
  • Smooth out rough spots and sharp edges with careful sanding techniques
  • Apply two coats of high quality coating

Now that we have a basic snapshot of a professional refinishing process, we can see the mistakes people commonly make.

  1. Too much coating

People who do their own deck refinishing often hold the mistaken belief that more coating or stain is always better. Some homeowners even apply three or four coats of stain, ignoring the manufacturer’s instruction. This is problematic because the extra stain doesn’t really soak in to the wood fiber. Instead, it begins to peel and flake as the days and weeks go by. Applying the right amount of coating is not as easy as it sounds. But when it doubt, it’s best to stick with the instructions of the manufacturer who made the coating.

  1. Using wood that isn’t dry

PT lumber is a hugely popular option for deck refinishing, but people sometimes forget that the wood is treated with solutions that can leave moisture in the wood. Fortunately, you can check the moisture levels in the wood by using a moisture meter specifically designed for this.

This isn’t just problem for new decks. The refinishing process also involves moisture, and if the pressure is too high, the wood fibers can become saturated with moisture. Applying the stain too soon after a high-pressure wash can result in moisture that’s been trapped into the deck by the application of coating. This can lead to all sorts of structural and aesthetic problems in the near future. How can you avoid this mistake? Use a low-pressure spray for cleaning, or hire a company who knows this process inside and out. If you use a high pressure wash, make sure the deck has ample time to dry out before you apply stain.

  1. Hiring a deck specialist who isn’t qualified

While there are many reputable deck specialists who know their stuff, the unfortunate truth is that there are others who are less scrupulous. If you’re looking to take the pressure off and delegate your deck refinishing project to a professional who guarantees the finest results, make sure you find someone with plenty of experience and positive feedback online.

Avoiding common deck refinishing mistakes

Refinishing your deck can be a rewarding DIY project, but there are many common pitfalls. Even if you hire a specialist, there’s a chance something could go wrong. By learning from the mistakes homeowners commonly make, you’ll set yourself up for a successful deck refinishing project.

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.”