Things You'll Need
Nylon scrub brush
A deck that has faded and started to warp or splinter is not only an eyesore, but can be dangerous -- especially to little ones with bare feet. Instead of replacing the whole deck, take some time to restore your existing deck. You may need to replace a few boards and invest some time and elbow grease, but in the end you'll save yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Use a pressure washer at about 1,000 psi (pounds per square inch) with a mild 25-degree tip to clean your deck. A 25-degree tip fans the water as it hits your deck, making it less likely to erode or gouge the wood like a 15-degree or zero-degree tip will. As you get more experienced with a pressure washer, you may want to move to a harsher 15-degree tip, but only for very stained or dirty areas.
Spray oxygen bleach dissolved in water with a garden sprayer to clean heavy stains. Oxygen bleach won't damage the wood or plants and trees around the deck and will effectively remove stains.
Scrub areas that need further cleaning while the oxygen bleach is on the deck. Use a heavy-duty nylon scrub or deck brush.
Rinse the oxygen bleach off after allowing it to sit on the deck for about 30 minutes.
Allow the deck to dry thoroughly.
Replace any twisted or warped deck boards and reset nails that have popped out.
Choose a darker deck stain to stain your deck. A darker stain will cover any imperfections still left in the wood and will protect your deck from sunlight.
Use a paint brush to apply the stain. Although rollers and sprayers are frequently used and will cover your deck quickly, according to the Deck Stain Guide, only a paint brush will allow the stain to penetrate the wood deeply.
Fill a garden sprayer with deck sealer.
Hold the sprayer wand about 12 inches away from the deck and "move it back and forth in an even motion," advises Ron Hazelton on his website. The sealer will go on milky but dry clear.
Allow the deck to dry overnight for the best results.
Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.