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How to restore a deck

Workshop Legend

Difficulty: Beginner


A deck is a great place for outdoor entertaining and relaxation. Cleaning and oiling an old deck is an easy and cost-effective way to give it a fresh new look.


Here is our simple guide to restoring a deck. For decks in need of serious repair, consult How to renovate a timber deck. For decks that require sanding, check out How to sand a deck. Decks might require sanding if your boards have excessive splintering, are very patchy or have become grey and dull.   


Let us know if you have any questions. We'd be happy to help.

Video Tutorial


Step 1

Inspect your deck.


Clear your deck and remove any furniture or potted plants. Then sweep the area.


Now evaluate the decking boards to see if any of them are split or rotten, particularly around nail holes. Examine high-traffic and exposed areas carefully. Look for any edges that curl upwards and check for popped nails or screws.


This will help you decide whether you need to replace damaged boards or treat them using materials like wood hardeners. I also recommend replacing boards that can’t be re-screwed back into position.


1. Evaluate the condition of the decking boards.png


Step 2

Clean the boards.


Prepare the deck cleaner by following instructions on the label. Mix it using the bucket. Make sure you wear appropriate safety gear.


Use a garden hose to wet your deck. Now apply the deck cleaner with a deck scrubbing brush. Scrub vigorously. Allow the cleaner to sit as per instructions. Hose off the deck.


Clean larger decks one section at a time. Avoid cleaning hot decks or those in strong sunlight to ensure the cleaner doesn’t dry out too quickly.


2. Thoroughly clean the boards.png



Step 3

Pressure clean the deck.


Pressure washers are great for removing dirt that has been deeply ingrained.


Pressure clean a small area first to get the pressure right. Go easy on decks made out of treated Pine as they can be easily damaged. Avoid pressure cleaning any decaying or heavily weathered sections.


Hose down your deck thoroughly after pressure cleaning to remove any dirt or grime that has been dislodged.


For tips on pressure cleaning, check out this article: How do you use a pressure washer?


3. Pressure cleaning must be done very carefully.png


Step 4

Fix any loose nails.


Use a hammer and nail punch to drive any raised nails back below the surface. Those with screwed decks can use a drill driver and a drive bit.


Replace any loose nails with thicker ones that will grip the joists securely.


4. Punch down any raised nails.png


Step 5

Remove debris between boards.


Use a putty knife or paint scraper to dislodge any material trapped between the decking boards.


Dirt left between boards can cause rot.


5. Remove debris from between the boards.png


Step 6

Clean damaged spots.


Use steel wool to treat specific spots that require more intense cleaning. I had paint splatters on my deck.


Don’t just rub the spot that needs cleaning. Apply the wool in long strokes to avoid spot-marking. Follow the direction of the board grain.


Make sure to brush away any disintegrated steel wool on your deck. It can corrode and leave a rust mark.


6. Use steel wool for spot cleaning.png


Step 7

Oil your deck.


Stir the oil as recommended on the tin. Pour the oil into a paint tray and start applying it on the deck using an applicator.


Work outwards from a corner or edge. Apply the oil in long strokes along the boards, avoiding any streaks and joints. Make sure to oil the entire deck without walking back over oiled areas.


If your deck adjoins walls or other surfaces you may need to use a 50mm paintbrush to apply oil to the edges of the deck. This will prevent oil from staining those surfaces.


Allow to set before applying the next coat. 


7. Apply oil in long even strokes.png  7.1 Newly refreshed deck.png


  • Deck cleaner
  • Decking oil
  • Steel wool.


  • Broom and dustpan
  • Deck scrubbing brush
  • 10L bucket
  • Garden hose
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Decking oil applicator
  • Tray
  • 50mm brush (optional)
  • Putty knife or paint scraper
  • Pressure washer
  • Safety gear.



1. Evaluate the condition of the decking boards.png  2. Thoroughly clean the boards.png  3. Pressure cleaning must be done very carefully.png  4. Punch down any raised nails.png  5. Remove debris from between the boards.png  6. Use steel wool for spot cleaning.png  7. Apply oil in long even strokes.png  7.1 Newly refreshed deck.png

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