A wood deck needs to be well-maintained and refinished often. Make that job easier by using the right tools.
In my post on Reclaiming a Worn Out Deck, I told how we rescued our badly neglected deck and made it safe, secure, and protected enough to last us for several more years. It was a lot of work that I don’t ever want to do again. Instead, we’re going to keep the deck in good condition by doing a some simple maintenance. And we found the right tools to make the job easier.
Cleaning the Deck
A deck is a horizontal surface exposed to all of the elements. It takes a beating. For 365 days a year, a deck stands up to sun, rain, and all kinds of weather. It’s going to get dirtier and more worn than almost any other surface in our house. We try to clean our deck at least every month in the summer and occasionally throughout the rest of the year.
If you are lucky enough to have an unpainted wood deck, you need to use a cleaner made for cleaning wood. In my post on Saving an Old Bench, I discussed why you need to find a wood cleaner with oxcalic acid and not bleach.
The wood on our deck is not in good enough condition to be unpainted. It has a thick coat of opaque latex stain. This actually makes cleaning it much easier. We just use soap and water and a good scrub brush.
I got this deck scrubber from Amazon about a year ago, and I love it. The bristles are stiff enough to scrub away stubborn dirt but soft enough that it never damages the wood. I have used it on every wood surface in my backyard.
I can hold the brush and scrub up close. Or I can attach it to our broom stick and scrub the floor of the deck. (Yup, those are minions on my broom stick.)
In the past, I always just used a rag or a sponge to clean outside surfaces because they’re cheaper. But I found that a good scrub brush makes cleaning so much easier. If you own a deck, you’re going to be cleaning it a lot. Buy a good scrub brush.
Staining the Deck
Last year, after repairing our deck, we gave it a coat of stain to protect it, but we weren’t very happy with how it looked. With a stain pad, a paint roller, and a paint brush, we couldn’t get into all the gaps and crevices of the deck very well.
We were also unhappy with the color of the deck floor. We had used a taupe color stain, but it looked almost white in the sunlight. Even the dark brown of the benches looks really light in direct sun. So just a tip is you’re choosing a color to paint your deck, it’s going to look much lighter than you think.
The Deck Benches
After researching through the winter, we found the right tools to stain our deck more thoroughly and more easily from HomeRight. (full disclosure: HomeRight provided us with samples to try) We started by staining the benches with the shape stainer. The shape stainer basically takes the place of a paint brush, and it has to be refilled about as often. But it can get around corners and into crevices really well. It made getting to all those tight spaces between boards very easy.
Next we used a stain sprayer to get stain in between all of the slats in our benches.
It is lightweight enough to be used with one hand, so I was able to do a little balancing and stain the back side of the benches easily. Much easier than using a roller and trying to refill it one-handed.
I can’t wait to try out the stain sprayer on a few pieces of furniture that I’ve been wanting to refinish.
The Deck Floor
After the stain on the benches dried, we started staining the floor of the deck with the HomeRight stain stick with a gap wheel. The gap wheel was pretty good at getting between the deck boards. The wheel didn’t work quite as well as I had hoped. But that stain stick is brilliant!
I put the black fill tube straight into the paint can. No pouring stain out of the can and making a mess! The stain stick sucks up the stain and stores it in the handle.
As I stained the deck, every time I needed more stain, I just pushed down on the handle and more stain came out. It was so much easier than walking back and forth to a paint tray. I only had to refill the stain stick about 4 times for the entire deck. This second coat went on much, much faster than the first coat.
After more than a year, our deck is finally finished. Now it’s not just useful, it’s a beautiful outdoor living space too.
Deck Lessons Learned
I learned two lesson from our experience refinishing and staining our deck. First, the right tools make a huge difference. It took a fraction of the time to stain with our HomeRight equipment. They are definitely worth the investment because we will need to recoat the deck again in 3-5 years.
Second, we need to keep our deck well-maintained because cleaning it and adding another coat of stain is so much easier than stripping and repairing it.
With the deck finished, we can check off one of my big goals for the year: the backyard. You can see the succulent garden and the sandbox are next to the deck, along with my refinished blue bench. Plus the irrigation system, garden box, and the lawn have been done for a few months. You can read about any of those projects by clicking on the link.
This post was shared at some of my favorite link parties.