Bringing New Life into an old Fence or Deck

Bringing New Life into an old Fence or Deck

Pregame Inspection 

So, you have decided to tackle the ever-daunting project of bringing some new life into an old fence or deck with a fresh coat of stain or even a simple clean up. Where do you begin? And how do we break this task into some manageable size chunks? Start small but start smart. To keep this project moving quickly there is a need for some proper planning. Start with an inspection. Walk your fence line or deck and review for items such as loose or rotten boards, areas in need of nails, warped or rotten boards, splits and rough spots and that require sanding. Unless what you are working with is completely unsalvageable, this step should not take long but save time doing later. It’s never a bad idea to give the entire surface and light sand to smooth things over. 

Cleaning Your Wood

Years of dirt and grime from blowing winds or a child’s foot have imbedded itself into your investment, and to further protect that investment you need to clean them out. There are a vast variety of wood cleaning products available at your local hardware store. We suggest as environmentally friendly as possible and always use protective work wear. Follow the guided instructions which may suggest a power wash (covered in next chapter), along with a stiff bristle brush and some elbow grease should tidy this project up quickly. A good thorough rinse and allow to dry moving to the next step 

Power Washing 

A good power washer makes quick work of many project but will always come with some precautions. If you have chosen to power wash your deck/fence before using a cleaning product be sure of a few things.  

  1. Pressuretoo much pressure will rip and tear the wood apart on your fence or deck leaving gouges and unrepairable damage. Most suggest nothing more than 1500PSI to perform the work. 
  2. Wood fibres-it is inevitable that wood fibres will be left behind after a good power wash, so in order to save some effort save the sanding step until after washing is complete to get everything back to smooth. A good brush while you work and always allow for time to dry.


So, the old fence and deck has been inspected, washed, cleaned, and sanded. It has been drying in the hot sun for a few days and you are ready to stain. This is usually the easiest and most rewarding step. A good brush, roller, or sprayer along with some patience will finish off this job with ease. Always remember to follow outlined instructions and pick the middle of a few dry days to ensure your best chances for success. 


Some food colouring for thought as there is no way to tell you from here what colour to put on your fence/deck, or whether to use a transparent or semi-transparent stain. We can only suggest you ask yourself these questions before choosing a style/colour. How old is the fence or deck? Would a semi-transparent stain cover some unsightliness better? Is there a shed or house portion that would be nice to accent? Does any of the above impact your neighbours and their input? What type of material am I working with and what type of stain would bring the natural beauty out best? Consult the pros and trust your instincts!!!

By: Sean Healey, Masonry and Fencing Manager  

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