Get tips for refinishing a wood deck. Find out how to choose a deck stain with ultraviolet protection and learn how composite decking can cut your deck maintenance time.
LESLIE: Jim in Arizona’s lucky. You get to enjoy your deck  all year round in that beautiful weather. What’s wrong with it?
JIM: Well, it’s getting a lot of ultraviolet light. And I’m having to refinish  it twice a year.
LESLIE: Whoo, whoo. What’s it made out of?
TOM: Hmm. Good wood but it does need a lot of work.
LESLIE: What is your maintenance program ? When you’re refinishing it, do you strip it down to new wood? Are you getting to a fresh surface? Or are you going right on top?
JIM: Well, I’ve been going right on top and I think I’ve reached the end of that.
LESLIE: Well, if you’re putting good stain on top of bad stuff that’s not sticking, you’re not doing anything at all. You really want to make sure you strip it down  to some fresh new wood. That’s the only way you’re going to get good adhesion. Because you really have to make sure you have good adhesion. Flood company makes a bunch of great products. They make a great outdoor wood stripper. It is a bit aggressive. You brush it on or roll it on; let it sit; then rinse it away with a power washer. But don’t go too aggressively with your power washer; otherwise, you’re going to damage the wood as well. Get rid of all of that old stuff.
And Flood had a new product that came out this past spring that’s an ultraviolet finish for your deck. So it’s a stain that …
TOM: Is that the CWF product?
TOM: (overlapping voices) Yeah. That’s good stuff.
LESLIE: It’s the CWF ultraviolet. It comes in seven or eight different colors. All are sort of very neutral, very natural; really pretty grays and greens and silvers and oranges. Really whatever type that you like. It’s going to allow the grain to show through but it has an ultraviolet protection. It’s UV5 and it’s going to protect that wood as best as it can from that blazing Arizona sun.
JIM: What do think about the synthetic decking material?
TOM: I think it’s great. You know, once you put that decking material  down, then your maintenance goes down to almost nothing, James. What you can do is you can do a deck makeover. Is your substructure on the redwood deck made out of pressure-treated lumber?
JIM: No, it’s made out of, basically, fir.
TOM: It is? So it’s not even treated. Are you having any rot on the understructure at all?
JIM: No, because the deck sits up quite a – quite a ways off the ground.
TOM: Well, what I was going to tell you is that what you can do is remove this – the decking materials and put down a product like Veranda …
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm. Like a composite on top.
TOM: … which is a composite decking  material and you don’t have to change the structure. But, generally, I give that advice when the structure is made out of pressure-treated lumber. If you have an untreated structure, it’s got to be in pretty darn good shape and I have to be pretty confident it’s going to stay that way for a long time before I put a composite decking product on top of it.
LESLIE: But if the redwood’s in good condition, I say get it down to a nice good surface and it would last you about five years. If done correctly, you’re going to get five years of good use and good looks out of it on your horizontal surfaces. It really is all about prep.
TOM: This staining that you’re doing every year is not adhering and that’s why you’re doing it every six months. If it’s done properly, I think you’re going to get a lot more life expectancy out of it and it’s going to be the easiest way to get this deck where you want it to be.
James, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.