How to Renovate an Outdoor Wood Deck

Updated March 13, 2018

Wood decks serve as an entertainment spot, al fresco dining room and general living space outdoors. Between the sun, weather and human wear and tear, most wood decks eventually age and deteriorate. An old, weathered wood deck takes away from the overall outside appearance of the home. Renovating the deck gives it a fresh appearance, restoring the home's exterior. The extent of the renovation depends on the deck's current condition and your plans for the area.

Clean the entire wood deck, including the posts and railings. Special deck cleaners help remove tough dirt, mildew and other common wood deck stains. A mixture of detergent and water is another cleaning option. A mixture of one part bleach to three parts water is effective on any mould or mildew on the decking.

Evaluate the wood deck's current condition. Make a list of the areas that need improvement due to weathering, damage, structural faults or features that don't flow well.

Look for boards with cracks, rotting, gouges and other damage. Determine if repairs are possible or if the board needs replacing completely. Complete any repairs to the boards.

Sand the surface of the deck using a belt sander to prepare it for staining. Use a chemical stripper if you are using a different colour of stain. Work in small areas with the chemical stripper, following all package directions closely.

Choose a stain for the deck that is combined with a sealer. Make sure the wood is dry before applying the stain. Apply thin coats of the stain, working along the entire length of each board before moving to the next. This prevents marks at your starting and stopping points.

Add any decorative trim or posts to the wood deck as accents. Decorative caps on top of the posts are another option to dress up the area.

Install lighting for the deck area. This might include general lighting attached to the house, lights on the deck posts or lamp post style lighting.

Arrange the outdoor furniture on the deck. Add any decorative accents to the area for the finishing touches.


Always use gloves and protective eye wear when using a chemical stripper.

Things You'll Need

  • Deck cleaner
  • Belt sander
  • Chemical stripper
  • Stain
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.