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How to Refinish a Cedar Deck to Get it Looking Like New Again

Updated: Jan 24


Cedar decks are a popular choice among homeowners due to their natural beauty and durability. However, like any outdoor wood surface, cedar decks require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. Refinishing a cedar deck is an effective way to restore its original luster and protect it from the elements.


In this guide, we'll cover what it means to refinish a cedar deck, when it's necessary, and how to do it step-by-step. We'll also answer some frequently asked questions about refinishing cedar decks among other interesting information on the subject.


Additionally, we will introduce you to G&B Quality Cedar Products, a company that specializes in providing high-quality cedar products.


Let’s dive in.


What Does it Mean to Refinish a Cedar Deck?

Cedar deck refinishing refers to the process of restoring the surface of the deck to its original condition. This can include cleaning, sanding, and reapplying a protective finish.


The goal of cedar deck refinishing is to bring back its original color, remove any stains or discoloration, and protect the wood from the elements. The process can extend the lifespan of a cedar deck and improve its overall appearance.


Cedar decks are naturally resistant to rot and decay, but they are not immune to the effects of weathering and UV exposure. Over time, the sun and rain can cause the wood to fade, crack, and warp. Additionally, mold and mildew can form on the surface of the deck, causing discoloration and a slippery surface.


So does cedar need to be treated? Yes, treating a cedar deck is a necessary step in maintaining the integrity of the wood and protecting the deck from further damage. It is a cost-effective alternative to replacing the entire deck, as it can restore the deck's condition and extend its lifespan.


The cedar decking lifespan can be extended by cleaning cedar decking and treating it with a protective finish. The process of refinishing a cedar deck will remove any dirt, grime, and stains that have accumulated over time, and can reveal the natural beauty of the wood.


It is important to note that refinishing cedar decking is not the same as staining it, as staining is mainly used to change the color of the deck. The process of cedar deck refinishing is to restore its original color and protect the wood.


When is Refinishing a Cedar Deck Necessary?

Refinishing a cedar deck is not something that needs to be done every year. However, it is important to inspect your deck regularly and look for signs of wear and tear. Some indications that it may be time to refinish your cedar deck include:

  • Fading or discoloration: The sun and rain can cause the wood to fade and change color over time. If your deck has lost its original color and has a gray or weathered appearance, it may be time to refinish it.

  • Splintering or cracking: As the wood ages, it can develop cracks or splinters, which can make the surface of the deck uneven and unsafe to walk on.

  • Warping or cupping: If the deck boards are warping or cupping, it can indicate that the wood is absorbing too much moisture and is in need of protection.

  • Mold or mildew: Mold and mildew can form on the surface of the deck, causing discoloration and a slippery surface. This can be a health hazard and should be removed and treated with a mold inhibitor.

  • Stains or marks: If your deck has stains or marks that cannot be removed with cleaning, it may be time to refinish it.

Be aware that regular cleaning and maintenance can help prolong the time between refinishing, as well as protecting the deck from the elements. If you are unsure if your deck needs to be refinished, it's always best to consult with a professional like G&B Quality Cedar Products.


It is also important to note that cedar decking does not need to be treated with a finish or a sealant, but it will help to protect the wood from the elements. And note that refinishing a cedar deck is necessary to restore its original color and protect the wood.


How to Refinish a Cedar Deck: Step-by-Step Guide

Refinishing a cedar deck can be a big project, but it's one that can be done with the right tools and knowledge. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to refinish a cedar deck:


#1 Clean the Deck

The first step in refinishing a cedar deck is to clean it thoroughly. This will remove any dirt, grime, and stains that have accumulated over time.

  • Use a pressure washer on a low setting to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using a high-pressure setting, as this can damage the wood.

  • If there is mildew or mold, mix a solution of one part bleach to three parts water and apply it to the affected areas. Scrub the surface with a stiff-bristled brush and rinse it off with a pressure washer.

  • Allow the deck to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

#2 Sand the Deck

Sanding the deck is an important step in preparing the surface for a new finish.

  • Use a flooring drum sander or belt sander to remove the old finish and smooth out any rough spots.

  • Start with a coarse grit sandpaper and work your way up to a fine grit.

  • Sand the railings, stairs, and any other areas that have been stained, if you have any.

  • Use a hand-held orbital sander to reach the tight spaces and corners.

  • Sweep and vacuum the deck to remove all the sawdust and debris.

#3 Apply a Protective Finish

Once the deck is clean and sanded, it's time to apply a protective finish.

  • Choose a finish that is suitable for cedar decks. Some popular options include oil-based and water-based stains and sealers.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions and apply the finish according to the recommended method.

  • Use a paint roller or brush to apply the finish.

  • Allow the finish to dry completely before applying a second coat.

  • Allow the finish to dry completely before using the deck again.

#4 Maintain your deck

After refinishing your cedar deck, it is important to maintain it properly.

  • Clean the deck regularly using a mild detergent and water.

  • Inspect the deck for any signs of wear and tear, such as fading, cracking, or warping.

  • Apply a new finish as needed. The time between refinishing will vary depending on the climate and the amount of use the deck receives.

It is important to note that cedar can be painted, but it is not recommended as it will not allow the wood to breathe and can trap moisture, leading to rot and decay. Staining a cedar deck is a better option as it will enhance the natural color of the wood and protect it from the elements. Following these steps will help restore a cedar deck, and make it look like new again.


It is also recommended to use high-quality cedar deck boards, like G&B Quality Cedar Products, as the process of sorting and grading by hand ensures the highest quality products.

By following these steps, you can effectively refinish your cedar deck and protect it from the elements for years to come.


FAQs About Refinishing a Cedar Deck

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions people learning how to refinish a cedar deck are also asking.


Is it Better to Stain, Paint, or Oil a Cedar Deck?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best finish for a cedar deck will depend on your personal preferences and the condition of the wood.


Staining a cedar deck is a popular option as it enhances the natural color of the wood while protecting it from the elements. Oil-based stains are known to provide the most natural look and are easy to apply. Water-based stains are also a good option as they dry faster and have lower VOC emissions.


Paint is also an option for cedar decks, but it is not recommended as it does not allow the wood to breathe and can trap moisture, leading to rot and decay. Additionally, paint will not enhance the natural color of the wood like a stain does.


Oiling a cedar deck is also an option, and it is known to provide the best protection against water and UV damage. It also enhances the natural color of the wood, like staining.


To ensure your cedar deck stays in the best condition, it is important to clean cedar decking and know how to care for a cedar deck.


Do I Need to Remove Old Stain Before Restaining a Deck?

It is not always necessary to remove the old stain before restaining a deck. If the old stain is in good condition and still provides protection to the wood, it can be left in place and a new coat of stain can be applied over it.


However, if the old stain is flaking, peeling, or has worn away in spots, it should be removed before restaining. To properly refinish a cedar deck, it is important to know how to refinish a cedar deck, including the steps to remove the old stain if necessary.


Should I Sand My Cedar Deck Before Staining?

Yes, sanding your cedar deck before staining is an important step in preparing the surface for a new coat of stain. Sanding will remove the old finish and smooth out any rough spots, allowing the new stain to adhere better and provide better protection for the wood.


It is also important to clean cedar decking before sanding to ensure that the surface is free of dirt and debris.


What is the Best Finish for a Cedar Deck?

The best finish for a cedar deck will depend on your personal preferences and the condition of the wood. Oil-based stains are known to provide the most natural look and are easy to apply, while water-based stains are also a good option as they dry faster and have lower VOC emissions.


Additionally, oiling a cedar deck is known to provide the best protection against water and UV damage.


What if My Old Decking is Beyond Repair?

If your old decking is beyond repair, it may be time to replace it with new cedar deck boards. G&B Quality Cedar Products is a great choice for homeowners throughout Canada and the US looking for high-quality cedar products. We are a family business founded by two brothers who have high-quality standards and take pride in our work.


At G&B Quality Cedar Products, we personally sort and grade all of their cedar products to ensure the highest level of quality control is maintained. we understand the importance of quality products and that's why we offer a quality guarantee.


As a trusted western red cedar lumber supplier and cedar deck board provider, you can count on us for high-quality cedar products. We work primarily with contractors and lumber yards, but homeowners can count on us for the same high-quality products.


Final Thoughts on How to Refinish a Cedar Deck

Refinishing a cedar deck is an important aspect of maintaining the longevity of your deck, and it can be done by following the step-by-step guide provided in this article. To ensure the best results, it is important to choose the right finish for your deck and to keep it clean and well-maintained.


G&B Quality Cedar Products is a great option for homeowners looking for high-quality cedar products, including cedar wood for saunas, cedar fence posts, sound barrier fencing, and more. We are a family-owned business that takes pride in providing high-quality products and we offer a satisfaction guarantee.


Request a quote today based on your unique needs!

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