Refinishing Pitfalls

Posted in: Decks | DIY | Home Decorating | Odd Jobs

Refinishing Mistakes

Refinishing wood can be a great way to upgrade or refresh your outdoor living space. But you don’t want to refinish the deck only to damage the life of it or ruin the look over time. Avoid these deck refinishing pitfalls and you won’t have to worry about doing more damage than good in the long-run.


Typically a transparent, semi-transparent, or semi-solid alkyd stain will only need a single coat as they will penetrate the wood nicely as such. When you add extra coats, you don’t actually add to the durability of your stain, you actually just lay a coat of stain on the previously coated surface, leaving a slight sheen since the coat hasn’t fully soaked into the fibers of the wood. As the layer dries, it will likely peel away from the deck. Not exactly what most homeowners are looking for.

Best Rule of Thumb:

Follow the stain manufacturer’s directions carefully. Otherwise, you might find yourself removing every coat sooner than you thought you would.

Moisture in the Wood:

Some people like to pressure wash their decks before refinishing. But if they don’t allow the wood fibers to dry well, all end up doing is trapping the moisture in there with the stain. And when the water does dry, the stain will end up peeling away from the wood in the process.

Spread your refinishing project out over the course of two weekends. Make sure your power washed deck is dry and refinish right the first time.

Pressure Treated Wood:

When you replace old planks in your deck and use pressure treated wood, you never know when the wood was treated. It could have been siting there in the lumber store for weeks or for days. So before you finish, test the moisture in your wood with a moisture meter. Ensure that the moisture content is below 12% before applying stain. Do this with any deck you look to finish just to be sure that you won’t have to refinish all over again next month.


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