How Do I Restore My Backyard Deck?  (Simple Tips)

Breathing new life into your backyard deck has never been easier with our simple tips for deck restoration. In our latest blog post, we provide practical advice on how to clean, repair, and rejuvenate your outdoor living space, ensuring it remains a beautiful and functional part of your home.

Complement your deck restoration project by learning how to beautify your backyard on a budget or build a backyard terrace. Dive deep into our blog and uncover the secrets to creating a stunning and welcoming backyard oasis.

How to Restore a Deck | This Old House
Key Takeaways
Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your deck
Pressure washing can help remove dirt and grime
Sanding and staining can help revive an old deck
Make sure to properly prepare the deck before applying any treatments
Use a deck cleaner and brightener to restore the natural color
Consider adding a protective coat to prevent future damage


There are a variety of ways to clean your deck. You can use a deck cleaner, power washer and deck brush to scrub it down. A pressure washer can remove dirt, grime and other debris from your deck. 

This will leave it looking brand new. If you don’t have access to a power washer, you should at least use an outdoor broom or mop to sweep away any loose dirt or debris that might be on the surface of your decking or patio table top area.

If you want to get really hardcore about cleaning your backyard space then consider using a microfiber cleaning cloth like those used by car detailers; these specialized cloths are designed specifically for removing dirt without scratching surfaces so they’re perfect for delicate surfaces such as wood decks!

Restoring a backyard can be a daunting task, but with the right tips, it can be made easy. Check out our article on remaking a backyard for simple and effective tips on how to restore your backyard deck and more.

Sealing and Finishing

Sealing and finishing is the most important step in restoring your backyard deck. The sealer prevents the wood from absorbing water, which helps prevent it from rotting or splitting. It also prevents dirt and stains from being absorbed into the wood. 

By sealing your deck, you’re protecting it against damage that may happen over time, such as cracks or warping.

Finishing your deck makes it look smooth and shiny so that people can enjoy walking on it without slipping on splinters or uneven boards.

Types of Decking Materials

Pressure-treated woodAffordable, easy to findRequires regular maintenance, prone to warping and splintering
CedarNaturally insect-resistant, attractiveExpensive, requires regular maintenance
CompositeLow-maintenance, durableExpensive, can be prone to fading and staining
PVCLow-maintenance, resistant to moisture and insectsExpensive, can be prone to cracking and fading


Staining is a great way to protect the wood on your deck. It’s also fairly easy to do, and if you don’t have much experience with painting or staining, it can be a good place to start.

There are two ways you can stain your deck: brush-on or sprayer-on. Brush-on stain works well for small areas, but if you’re going over a larger area like your entire deck, then using a sprayer can save time. Make sure not to use too much stain; just enough so that there’s no visible wood left when it dries out.

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Use a chemical stripper. Chances are, if your backyard deck is showing signs of wear, it’s been painted or stained in the past. If this is the case, you can remove all that old paint or stain with a chemical stripper. 

The process of stripping involves applying stripper to the surface of your deck and then letting it sit for a period of time before scrubbing off the residue with a wire brush. 

A heat gun will help speed up this process by causing the solvent in the stripper to evaporate more quickly—a win-win for you!

Remove any remaining finish. Once all traces of paint or stain have been removed from your backyard deck, you should use sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots left behind by coarse abrasives like those found in chemical strippers and wire brushes (you don’t want splinters!). 

Afterward, wash away any remaining residue using water and allow everything to dry thoroughly before moving forward with staining or sealing

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Sanding and Brightening the Wood

If you have stains on your deck, you will want to remove them. You can use a belt sander to remove surface stains, but if the wood is discolored or feels rough, you should use a hand sander instead. 

If your wood has developed deep scratches or has become dull over time, then it is time to get out your wood brightener and restorer. 

Finally, if there is dirt and grime covering your deck’s surface that just won’t come off with normal cleaning methods like soap and water, then consider using a cleaner as well.

Inspecting the Wood for Damage

Inspect your deck for any damage. Look for rot and insect damage, especially in any areas of the deck that are under the shade of trees or shrubs. If you see any signs that your wood has been damaged, you will need to repair it before painting the deck.

Tips for Preventing Deck Damage

Regular cleaningRemoving dirt and debris can prevent staining and mold growth
Proper ventilationEnsuring air can circulate under the deck can prevent moisture buildup
Avoiding heavy furnitureHeavy items can damage the deck’s surface
Addressing water damage promptlyFixing any leaks or water damage can prevent rot and decay
Applying a protective coatingA sealer or stain can help prevent damage from the elements

Fixing Nail Pops

Whenever a nail pops out, you need to remove it. Use pliers or a hammer and chisel to do so. If the wood has been damaged by water or rot, use a nail set to drive the nail back in place before filling the hole with wood putty. Allow the putty to dry for at least 24 hours before sanding and painting over it.

Addresses Splits and Cracks

You can remove loose paint and dirt from the surface of your deck with a putty knife, wire brush and scraper.

  • Use the putty knife to scrape away any loose paint.
  • If you have a wire brush attachment for your power drill, use it to help remove dirt or grime.
  • Then use a scraper to remove any loose paint while you’re at it.

Fully landscaping a backyard can be a significant investment, but it can also add immense value to your property. Learn more about the cost and benefits of landscaping in our article on fully landscaping a backyard and create the ultimate outdoor oasis.

Repairing Water Damage

Once you’ve removed all loose and damaged wood, it’s time to dry out the deck. First, remove as much water from the deck as possible using a mop or broom. 

Then set up fans so that they blow air across the surface of your deck and let it sit for several days until every board is completely dry.

After you’ve dried out your deck, apply a water sealant to help prevent future damage caused by rain or moisture buildup. This will restore your backyard flooring back to its original condition!

Removing Algae and Moss

To truly clean your deck, you’ll need to remove any algae and moss that have accumulated on it. Algae and moss can be removed in several ways:

Use a pressure washer. This is the most effective method of removing algae and moss, but it can also be very damaging to your deck if done incorrectly. 

The risk of damaging your deck is lower if you use a bleach solution instead of water alone. If these methods don’t remove all traces of dirt or grime, try scrubbing with soap and water or using a brush or sponge dipped in soapy water as well as a scrub brush.

After restoring your deck, you may want to add privacy to your backyard. Our article on building a cheap backyard fence provides easy tips to help you build a fence without breaking the bank

Preventing Mold and Mildew Growth

To prevent mold and mildew growth in the future, use a bleach solution to remove mold and mildew. 

Mix 1 cup of chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water and apply it to the deck with a spray bottle. Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off with water. You can also use deck brightener to remove stains on your deck, including dirt, algae and mold or mildew growths.

You can also use deck brightener to clean your wood furniture such as chairs, sofas and beds indoors.


In summary, restoring your deck will require you to clean, seal and finish it. You can also stain or strip the wood to give it a new color and make it look better than ever before!

Further Reading

Here are some additional articles and resources on backyard improvement and maintenance:

14 Alternatives to Grass Backyard and Why You Should Care – This article provides alternative options to traditional grass for a backyard, which can be helpful for those looking to switch up their backyard landscape.

How Much is a Backyard Greenhouse? Find Out! – This article discusses the cost of purchasing and installing a backyard greenhouse, which can be useful for those looking to grow plants in a controlled environment.

What Can I Replace My Backyard Grass With? – This article provides alternative options to traditional grass for a backyard, which can be helpful for those looking to switch up their backyard landscape.

How Do You Make a Backyard Cooler? Pro Tips – This article provides tips and ideas for keeping a backyard cool during hot weather, which can be useful for those who spend a lot of time outside.

How Do I Keep Deer Out of My Backyard? – This article provides methods for keeping deer out of a backyard, which can be helpful for those who live in areas with a lot of wildlife.

This Old House: Go From an Old Deck to New in 4 Steps – This article provides a step-by-step guide to restoring an old deck to make it look like new again.

DIY Deck Restoration – Start to Finish – This video provides a visual guide to restoring a deck, including cleaning, sanding, and staining.


Here are some frequently asked questions about restoring a backyard deck:

How do I know if my deck needs to be restored?

There are several signs that your deck may need to be restored, including:

  • Fading or discoloration of the wood
  • Warping or splitting of the boards
  • Loose or wobbly railings
  • Soft spots or rotting in the wood
  • Stains or discoloration from mildew or algae growth

If you notice any of these issues, it may be time to restore your deck.

How do I prepare my deck for restoration?

Before you can restore your deck, you need to prepare it by cleaning it thoroughly. Use a deck cleaner and a pressure washer to remove dirt, grime, and any existing stains or sealants. Make sure the deck is completely dry before moving on to the next step.

What materials do I need to restore my deck?

To restore your deck, you will need:

  • Deck cleaner
  • Pressure washer
  • Sandpaper or a deck sander
  • Stain or sealer
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Protective gear (gloves, safety glasses, etc.)

How long does it take to restore a deck?

The amount of time it takes to restore a deck depends on the size of the deck and the extent of the damage. In general, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week or more to complete the restoration process.

Can I restore my deck myself, or should I hire a professional?

It is possible to restore your deck yourself if you have the necessary tools and skills. However, if you are not comfortable with DIY projects or if your deck requires extensive repairs, it may be best to hire a professional to do the job. A professional can ensure that the restoration is done correctly and safely, and can save you time and effort in the long run.