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How Much Does It Cost To Refinish A Deck?

Typical Range: $300 - $1,600

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A well-maintained deck can make for beautiful outdoor get-togethers with family and friends. It can also significantly increase your outdoor living space and increase the resale value of your home. While decks can last for decades, most require regular maintenance and refinishing. From costs to pros and cons, here’s what you need to know about refinishing your deck.

On This Page:

  1. Deck Refinishing Cost Factors
  2. Additional Costs for Deck Refinishing
  3. DIY Deck Refinishing
  4. Refinishing Steps and Railings
  5. Why Refinish a Deck?
  6. Cleaning, Sanding and Power Washing
  7. Pros and Cons of Deck Refinishing
  8. How to Save on Deck Refinishing

Deck Refinishing Cost Factors

Numerous factors influence the cost of a deck refinishing project, but the prime factor is size. The larger the coverage area, the more the deck will cost. On average, the cost to refinish a deck is between $2.20 and $3.82 per square foot. Since a standard deck measures about 200 square feet, the average refinishing project will cost about $775 to $1,600. The cost of labor is typically an additional $350 to $650.

Other factors like non-standard sizing, the condition of your deck and the materials from which it’s made may increase or decrease the overall cost. A homeowner with a two-tiered or oversized deck should expect to pay significantly more. Materials for a 300-square-foot deck, for example, would cost $900 when priced at an average cost of $3 per square foot.

You’ll also need to consider:

  • Regional pricing trends: Deck refinishing prices can vary significantly, depending on the time of year and the cost of living in a given area.
  • Condition of the existing deck: If your deck needs extensive work, it will require more labor and additional materials to refinish it properly.
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Additional Costs for Deck Refinishing

Most deck professionals will automatically include staining and protective sealing of your deck in their project cost estimates, but you’ll need to keep in mind a number of additional maintenance tasks as well. Most deck companies will start by checking the deck for mold and rot, which can be dangerous and will likely require replacement of the affected areas. This inspection adds around $100 to the total cost of the refinishing project. Professionals may also inspect and treat your deck for termites, which costs around $200.

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DIY Deck Refinishing

If you want to save money on contractor costs, you can refinish your deck yourself over the course of a long weekend with mild weather between 60 and 80 degrees. If you take this on as a DIY project, you’ll need to rent, borrow or buy a few pieces of equipment to get the job done.

For DIY deck refinishing, take the following steps.

  • Inspection: Before the refinishing process, examine your deck to be sure it’s still securely fastened to your house. Tighten loose screws and bolts, and replace any rusty fasteners. Next, check your deck for damage or rot. If you notice structural damage or soft boards, it’s usually best to call in a deck specialist to repair your deck safely.
  • Cleaning: Be sure to cover any nearby plants or landscaping with plastic sheeting before starting, since deck cleaning products can be toxic. Use a wood cleaner to wash the dirt and debris off your deck, and be sure to use eye and hand protection. Cleaning supplies cost about $50 to $75.
  • Power washing: When you rent a pressure washer, be sure to obtain instructions for using it safely on your deck. Various pressure levels can damage different types of wood, so it’s important to know what your deck is made of and what pressure levels it requires. Cedar, pine and other soft woods can typically handle pressure levels around 500 PSI, while hardwoods can handle levels closer to 1200 PSI. Pressure washers cost about $75 to rent for a day.
  • Sanding: Before sanding your deck, allow it to dry completely, or for at least 48 hours. Sanding ensures that your deck stays smooth and takes on the new stain evenly, so for best results, use an orbital sander with the right grit of sandpaper for your deck. Use a lower grit for the floor of your deck and a higher grit for railings. Orbital sanders cost an average of $75.
  • Staining: When choosing a stain for your deck, you’ll need to select both a material and color. Oil-based water-repellent stains tend to be the longest lasting and soak thoroughly into wood, for a deep, even stain. Choose a semitransparent stain to let the original wood grain shine through. Stains affect various wood species in different ways, so be sure you understand how the stain will color your type of deck before making a selection. Use a sprayer for quick, even application, and blend in the stain with a roller, brush or pad. Wood stain and supplies cost about $75 to cover an entire deck.
  • Cleanup: Since finish tends to be flammable, be sure to dispose of deck refinishing supplies safely. Put rags, pads and brushes in a metal can and submerge them in water. Seal the can and dispose it along with leftover stain, solvents and other hazardous waste materials. Don’t throw these items away with regular trash or wash them down the drain.
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Refinishing Steps and Railings

During inspection, steps and railings demand a closer look. If your deck railings and stairs are in disrepair, a contractor can secure them using additional brackets and nails. If your railings and stairs are in especially poor shape, though, a deck professional may need to rebuild them altogether. This could add another $150 to the overall project cost.

Since they see wear that’s very different from floorboards, railings require a little extra attention during the refinishing process. When sanding, railings typically take sandpaper with a grit of 80 to 100 in order to keep them smooth and allow them to absorb the new stain. When applying stain, it’s best to use a brush to avoid the drips or excess stain application that a sprayer might cause.

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Why Refinish a Deck?

Unless your deck is made of composite materials, it will need regular upkeep to maintain its appearance and functionality. This is especially true in areas with harsh climates, where extreme temperature and heavy rainfall are the norm. Without proper care, a wooden deck can become splintered, and it may even rot over time. Furthermore, the natural color of a deck may dull without proper maintenance. To keep your deck looking its best, refinish it every two or three years.

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Cleaning, Sanding and Power Washing

Before your deck can be restained or resealed, it requires some basic maintenance. Cleaning and power washing the deck will eliminate any accumulated dirt and debris, while sanding the deck will completely remove the original stain.

  • Cleaning: When preparing your deck for refinishing, a contractor will start by removing any portable items from the area, including tables, chairs, umbrellas and rugs. Next, the contractor will use a wood cleaner to wash away things like mildew, dirt and discoloration.
  • Power washing: Using a wood cleaning solution gives your deck a basic clean, but to give your deck a deep clean and remove the existing stain, a power washer is necessary. Experienced contractors have an understanding of which pressure levels are safe to use with a particular deck type.
  • Sanding: To keep your deck smooth and splinter-free, sanding is an important step. Deck contractors typically use an orbital sander to complete the job professionally and efficiently.
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Pros and Cons of Deck Refinishing

Before you decide to have your deck refinished, take the time to consider the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. The main advantage of refinishing is that you’ll increase the resale value of your home without having to rebuild the deck. Plus, you’ll get to continue to enjoy your outdoor living space.

A potential drawback of deck finishing is that it can be expensive. If a deck has fallen into severe disrepair, refinishing a deck may be costly and time consuming. Furthermore, refinishing can only be done during warmer periods of the year, as deck stains and sealants will only dry properly at temperatures between about 60 and 80 degrees.

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How to Save on Deck Refinishing

You can save money on your deck refinishing project by following these guidelines:

  • Estimates: Contact at least three local professionals for estimates. By doing this, you can find the best contractor for your budget.
  • Pricing: Make sure that any estimate you receive includes materials, delivery, preparation, labor and cleanup. Without one or more of these key pieces of information, you won’t know the total project cost.
  • Specialists: Hire a deck specialist instead of a general contractor, since a specialist will have experience specific to decks.

Refinish your existing deck every two to three years, and you’ll have an outdoor space that looks like new and also boosts the resale value of your home. Follow these tips, and you’ll also save a little money in the process.

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