I have a wonderful wooden front porch that needs a little bit of love on the edges (which are exposed to the elements). The unexposed parts are still in great shape. Would restaining fix the exposed edges? Or would it require resanding as well.

Edges a little rough here

Edges rough here as well

Beautiful Otherwise

  • 1
    Welcome. Please see the help center. Your question is largely one of opinion, which makes it off topic. Also take the tour.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 29 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


That is a beautiful porch!

Nothing beats a tongue and groove wood porch for appearance, but sun and rain are hard on a wood floor. Your porch appears to be fairly new, well-made, and finished with polyurethane. Polyurethane is "waterproof", but susceptible to damage from UV radiation (sunlight) and normal wear and tear.

The usual failure mode with polyurethane is just what you are seeing; the bond fails between the (durable) polyurethane finish and the wood itself, resulting the polyurethane flaking off and exposing the unprotected wood underneath. Paint (which is both more UV-resistant and softer/more flexible than polyurethane) is the traditional finish for a tongue & groove porch, but whoever installed that deck apparently didn't have the heart to paint over that beautiful wood. At minimum, you'll need to sand the polyurethane off the affected areas and recoat. You don't need to do the whole porch. I'm not a polyurethane fan for this reason---you can't just slop on more finish on---, but your porch is in pretty good shape overall, so I think you should stick with whatever was used originally and plan to refinish the outer edges from time to time.

You are also starting to see a gap open up between the 2nd and 3rd board on the edge. This is due to repeated wet / dry cycles, and there is no real fix for it---the wood has already changed shape. Your goal is (to the extent possible) keep water out of the wood. Sand off the loose polyurethane and UV-damaged wood, re-coat with polyurethane, and hope that will keep the elements at bay for a few more years. Eventually (years? decades?) you'll need to replace the boards, as nothing is forever when it comes to wood in the rain.

How long they will last depends on how frequently the wood gets wet, how quickly it can dry out when it gets wet, and the character of the wood itself. (The moss on the bottom step is a sure sign that part of the porch isn't drying out quickly.)

It's hard to ID wood from a photo, but you might have one of those a rot-resistant tropical hardwoods. That doesn't mean it won't rot, just that it will take longer. The goal is keep the wood as dry as possible so as to keep the various wood-eating fungi at bay. Wood like you have is expensive to replace, and we all want to keep tropical wood in the form of trees :-).

Good luck, and enjoy sitting on your porch this summer!

p.s. Totally irrelevant, but I am entranced by the optical illusion I get from your second photo when scrolling this page.


Sealant prevents stain from soaking into wood, so sanding is always required in my experience.

As far as how much sanding, most of those look really good and I'd try sanding only the exposed boards that are really worn and then apply stain and sealant.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.