How to Repair a Weathered Deck
Spring is finally here, and there is no more perfect time than now to get ready for summer fun and, of course, for great barbecue times with friends and family. This year, we took this preparation seriously and got our deck ready to rock for the summer. For the last several years it has been making our eyes sore: gray weathered wood, shaky structure, sticking out rusted nails - not a very pleasant place for fun family and friend time.
As always, our renovation is super budget-friendly and pretty easy. We did not replace a single board or beam, however, we added a few railing supports. And the total for this project was under $200.
This post outlines step-by-step instructions for how we did it, and how you can do it, too.
You can also watch our short recap video here.
1. Inspect your deck
We checked whether railing supports were needed and took all necessary measurements of the framing boards for supports. Then we counted lag screws in the railing posts that needed to be replaced and estimated the amount of coarse threaded screws and paint.
2. Reinforce railing by installing additional railing supports
The outer joists were deteriorated and needed to be reinforced. So, we cut 2x10 pieces and using #8 2 ½ inch exterior coarse threaded screws, we installed extra supports for each railing post.
For better screw grab and to distribute the pressure evenly over the surface, so that the boards would not be damaged, we used #8 washers.
Also, we ran screws into all the loose railing, top rail, rail cap and all balusters.
3. Secure decking boards with coarse threaded screws
The deck was built with nails that were rusted, which was the main reason the deck was so loose and shaky. To fix this, we ran two screws to each board where the board meets the joist. We hammered all sticking out nails along the way. The deck became more stable when we were only halfway done with this part.
4. Replace old lag screws with carriage bolts with bigger washers
Lag screws were used where railing posts connected with the outer joists. We replaced them with carriage bolts for a stronger connection. When completing this task, we did one screw at a time to avoid the post falling. We started by taking one screw out and drilling a hole 1/16 inch larger than the diameter of the bolt so it would slide through easily. Again, we used washers on both sides to distribute the pressure evenly.
We secured the bolts with the nuts, avoiding over-tightening them. We were not able to use bolts on the corner posts, so we reused old lag screws for reinforcement. When the deck was completely stable, we proceeded with the next step.
5. Powerwash the entire deck and let dry completely
We borrowed a pressure washer from a friend. It was a small size Sipson 3100 PSI pump; great for small residential jobs, like cleaning a driveway or deck. The pressure washer had 5 color-coded nozzle heads. We chose the yellow tip with a 15 degree angle spray pattern, although the green tip is recommended for decks. But in our case, we needed heavy duty cleaning.
Tip: When you are sweeping the washer nozzle, stay a safe distance from the surface of the wood. The powerful stream may damage the wood and result in stripped areas.
So this is how it looked so far:
6. Sand for smooth surface
We used a Ridgid palm sander. However, to facilitate the process, we would recommend a belt sander for bigger surfaces, which we did not own at the time.
7. Apply a few coats of paint
Sometimes you hear people say powerwashing and deck painting is a weekend project. However, when power washing wood surfaces, small water particles are trapped inside the wood. 24 hours is not enough time for drying. So, we recommend giving your deck a full week of drying time before painting. We chose to paint rather than stain, due to too many cracks, which the stain would not fill. Special deck paint creates a durable coating and refreshes the deck. We went with the old school brush and roller instead of a sprayer, just because we don’t have one and it was too pricey to rent. We ended up doing 3 coats of paint.
The plan worked perfectly. The deck is solid as a rock and looks rejuvenated. It will last quite a few years with a proper maintenance plan before the next renovation.