How To: Paint a Deck (From Preparation to Restoration)

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Painted wood decks look beautiful and stylish, but painting your deck can be intimidating. Whether you're considering a new coat of paint or trying to restore an existing one that has seen better days, there are several things you should do before committing to this home improvement project. This guide on how to paint a deck will walk you through every step of the process, from preparation through restoration.


Step 1: Scrape off Old Paint

Before painting a deck, you need to scrape off the old handle. You can rent a power scraper from your local hardware store if your deck is large enough that it might take a couple of days to complete. Otherwise, get out your old-fashioned scraper and grab some good music and water to stay hydrated.


Step 2: Sand Rough Edges for a Smooth Finish

If you're working with a deck that has been previously painted, you can use a paint scraper for this step. Use a circular motion on the sandpaper to smooth out rough edges. Otherwise, use your long-handle scraper and work out any rough spots in the wood. The smoother the wood, the more evenly the paint will cover, and you'll want to do this before applying the primer.


Step 3: Repair Loose or Damaged Boards

If your deck is of an older vintage, you may need to repair any loose or damaged boards. This is another step where you can use an old paint scraper. Gently scrape off any loose planks and make sure the wood underneath is sound, if possible. The old paint and poor woodwork may not be easily visible, but you'll definitely notice any sections that are not up to par. High-performing painting equipment like a paint sprayer, or even a paint roller, can make quick work of this step.



Step 4: Wash the Deck

Before you can apply the primer, you need to wash your deck. This will remove any loose dirt, grime, and debris that may have accumulated under the paint. Washing isn't just good for surface cleanliness-it will also prepare the wood for your next step by removing any harmful chemicals. The only way to do this safely is to use a deck wash, which you can buy at your local hardware store.


Step 5: Prepare to Paint

Now that your deck is clean and smooth, you can start priming. The priming will help the paint adhere and give your deck a uniform surface so that you're not splotching on different types of shades or colors. Most products available for this step come in spray-on cans, which require you to wear a respirator and safety goggles to protect yourself from toxic fumes.


Step 6: Apply Paint

You can use a roller to apply paint to the deck, or you can use a brush and apply a second coat of primer and then paint. If you choose to use a roller, make sure that the surface is completely dry throughout the application. If it's wet in any place, you will end up with spots where the paint will not adhere properly. It's also important to take your time when applying an even coat of primer as well as paint. Here's a great video on applying paint to the deck that gives you lots of tips and tricks.

Painting a deck can be a rewarding and satisfying project. Taking the time to do it right from the first coat all the way through to the final, glossy finish will make your deck look beautiful for years to come and will serve as a conversation-starter for years to come as well.

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