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My deck just past its 10-year mark and is starting to look quite tired. It's time to restain it. What steps do I need to take to make sure I do everything right, from start to finish?

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The key to any finishing or refinishing job is proper preparation.

1) Clean the deck, railings etc well, removing as much dirt, grime etc with a power washer on medium setting

2) Wet the area with a mixture of 2/3 gal water, 1/3 gal bleach, and 1/2 cup TSP.

3) Let the mixture set for 5 minutes, then scrub it in with a stiff bristle push broom wetted in the same cleaning solution.

4) BEFORE the cleaning solution dries, rinse it off with a hose or your power washer.

5) Repeat this in any areas that still look bad or stained with BBQ leftovers etc. This should brighten the wood considerably.

6) Repair any loose boards, nails, screws etc.

7) Let the wood dry completely, usually a couple of days under good conditions before staining.

8) I like to apply stain with a roller on a pole or 1 gal pump sprayer, then immediately over brush with a good china bristle brush to even it out. Don't be surprised if it takes two coats to look good again.

9) Don't wait 10 years again to freshen up your deck!!!!! Good Luck

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The most important thing is to prepare the surface well.

Make sure you clean off any loose material and sand the deck to give a fairly uniform finish. Don't worry about trying to get all the old finish off - you won't.

Then stain it as though it were new. Using more, thinner coats is better than fewer, thick ones as you'll be able to even out variations in colour (to a certain extent) and won't get streaks in the stain.

The instructions on the stain will give you coverage and drying times and will vary by product.

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