Josh Barrett, WIR Contributor

Is your deck looking worse for wear? It’s time to refinish it! Out with the sun-bleached gray and in with the new. When it comes to revitalizing your deck, there are many options. Even with Southern Yellow Pine’s durability and solid track record, Mother Nature is a formidable opponent.


SYP for decks is pressure-treated, and that’s a good thing; the bugs steer clear, and it’s made to stand up to the elements. As the Hulk Hogan of the lumber world, SYP is low maintenance and easier to maintain than you think.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

A well-kept deck with new stain and sealer will endure the elements and look super fabulous compared to an unfinished deck.

Would you like a contrasting or blending deck stain? SYP can go either way with a gamut of colors that will beautify and protect. Here’s the catch. When you stain, you have to seal. Much like Starsky & Hutch—they are only effective as a duo. The same sealer that protects tends to fade in the sunlight. And if you don’t keep that up, it’ll look faded and neglected.

The good news is that refinishing—outside of labor—will only run about $200 in materials. Power Washing is great for dirt, mildew and some layers of the older finishes. You could get an electric pressure washer on QVC. However, it’s an overpriced water pistol. Get a gas powered version that has some boom to it. They run around $300 +/- but will pay for themselves over time. Having a power washing service can run the same for a single visit.

Cleaning, stripping and sealing

Refinishing your deck is a three-step process. It involves stripping and scrubbing the deck with an effective cleaner followed by resealing all the exposed wood surfaces with a clear, semi transparent or solid-color sealer. Be sure to repair or replace any rotting pieces.

Once the deck has dried and cured, do a walk around and check for any nail or screw heads. Those can be murder on toes. Most of the time you can countersink the nails. However, deck screws are another story.

For deck screws, simply back them out with a cordless drill with a Phillips’ head bit. If the teeth won’t bite, try using a slam hammer. Replace any screws with 3″ galvanized (weatherproof) deck screws, using the existing screw holes.

We’ll cover stripping, washing, sealing and staining soon. Click here to find out which one you might want to try.