Deteriorating Decks: Repairing and Finishing
LESLIE: Rob in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
ROB: Calling to get you guys’ opinions on the – I’m having my deck partially repaired and it’s got some cedar trim and cedar boards that have gone bad, so they’re going to be replaced. So they’re going to look newer compared to the rest of the deck. I was looking into getting one of the epoxy, composite-type, deck-coating systems. Rust-Oleum Restore is one brand. Behr makes one, too. I’m just curious what you guys think about these products. And are they worth it?
TOM: How many decking boards are deteriorated, Rob?
ROB: Well, oh, it’s the majority of the steps. It’s a cedar deck with a green, treated wood underneath baseboard support. The cedar is just dying out on me and it’s about seven years old. The railings are going bad, too, so we’re looking at replacing a lot of the boards on the steps of the railing. But up to the same platform are the main boards. They are doing fine. So it’s mainly the steps up.
TOM: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily consider completely sealing in all of that cedar with a product like that.
Here’s what I would do. First of all, the deck boards that are cracked or checked or deteriorated, one thing to try is to flip over those worn deck boards. Because the underside of those deck boards is usually as good as the day it went down. Even though it’s cracked on top, the side that was not exposed to the sun is usually in pretty good condition. So you try to do that as much as you can. For ones that are really bad – just have to be replaced. Just replace those with new cedar decking boards. And yes, it’s not going to match.
And then once all the repair has been done, then you want to use a deck-washing product like the one that makes – that Flood Wood Care makes. You run a deck wash across everything and then you want to hit it with at least two coats of solid stain. So not paint but solid stain. Not semi-transparent, not transparent but solid-color stain. And a good-quality solid-color stain, that’s going to look all the same. It’s going to maintain its wood quality, so you’ll see the grain through the stain, and it’ll look perfect.
So, I don’t think you need to go with some sort of really thick – super-thick – coating right now. I think you just need to do some basic repairs.
ROB: OK. What stains would you recommend that …?
ROB: Alright, alright. OK. Well, thank you very much.