How To Restore A Wood Deck Instead Of Replacement

How to get a few more years out of an old wood deck when replacement isn't an option. A budget-friendly deck restoration for a fraction of the cost of a brand new deck.



Today I'm sharing how we were able to salvage our 30-year-old cedar deck with an almost like-new restoration. I'll show you how, with a lot of elbow grease, we repaired, replaced old rotting boards, and refinished the old wood to look like new.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget. -Friendly Deck Restore

Budget Deck Restoration Instead of Replacement

For three weeks we've been tirelessly working, one DIY project at a time, on creating an inviting outdoor living space on our deck. The deck restoration is the second project in our Deck Makeover series.



A cozy outdoor living space makeover on a beer budget! ~Marie


It all started with a plan to power wash our 16' x 16' cedar deck and give it a fresh coat of stain. If you also own an older home then you would probably agree that oftentimes projects end up opening a can of worms.



Such was the case after all the built-up grunge on our deck was removed with a power washer and revealed some rotting and unsafe deck boards.



I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to quit while we were ahead and replace ALL the deck boards with composite decking. Here in the Canadian prairies, wood decks take a beating from our long and harsh winters. But replacing our deck was not an option so we had to find a way to restore the old deck on a budget.



Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the deck restoration, I should mention that we are self-taught DIYers and not trained professionals. This step-by-step tutorial is based on our building knowledge only. However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer like us, you'll find these steps helpful if your deck is in need of restoration.



I've included a supply list further down in the post. It contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.



Almost all of the DIY projects shared here at Interior Frugalista have step-by-step tutorials so why not get your budget DIY on and subscribe. You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.



Budget-Friendly Deck Restoration Tips

Enough chatter, you'll find tips for budget-friendly deck restoration below, starting with replacing the rotting boards.



How To Remove Rotting Deck Boards

Six of our deck boards were rotting and in need of replacement. The boards were originally attached to the joists with screws from the top. For the most part, they were easily removed with a power drill. However, some screws were stripped so we used a crowbar on the open end (opposite side of the house) to pry the boards off.



What To Look For After Removing The Rotten Deck Boards

Thankfully our decking joists (the structure of a deck) were still sound. If yours are showing a lot of deterioration, deeming them unsafe, I'm afraid you're looking at the added cost of replacing them. Hopefully, they all don't need to be replaced so you can avoid having to build a brand new deck.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

Replacing Rotting Deck Boards

Replacing the cedar boards was not cheap at $20 per board but far less expensive than replacing them all. The problem was that now we have six brand new deck boards that stand out like a sore thumb amongst the old deck boards



I completely forgot to take a before picture of the entire deck but you get a pretty good idea of how terrible it looked from the photo below.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

How To Make Old Deck Boards Look New

Just like refinishing worn interior hardwood floors, renting a floor sander makes the job much easier and less time-consuming. It took four 30-grit sanding pads to remove the residue from the old solid stain and have them looking somewhat like the new replacement deck boards.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

Four hours and a heck of a lot of dust later the deck was ready for a semi-transparent stain. I'm not going to lie, it took a lot of blood (blisters), sweat, and tears of exhaustion. But it would have taken much longer to sand the deck on our hands and knees with a handheld power sander.



To our dismay, we discovered the ends of several deck boards butting against the house were rotten and unsafe to walk on. Years of moisture from leaky gutters took their toll.



As I mentioned earlier, replacing the deck was not in our budget so we had to come up with a creative way to repair the ends of ALL the deck boards without replacing them. Onto plan B.



How To Trim The Ends Of Each Deck Board

After a lot of deliberation, we decided to run new cedar boards parallel to the existing deck boards, essentially creating a frame around the deck with 45° angles on the corners. To do this we used one row of cedar 2" x 6" boards and two rows of cedar 2" x 4" boards at a total cost of approximately $70.



First, we had to cut about 12-inches off the ends of each board against the house. The amount to cut off each board was determined by the distance to the first decking joist from the edge of the deck.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

We needed to access the joist to screw in the new wood blocking which supports the long span of new deck boards. To do this we used a chalk line reel to mark a straight chalk line on the deck boards. Next, we trimmed the boards with a skill saw and steady hand.



How To Add New Wood Blocking Deck Supports

We made wood blocking supports with lumber that we had on hand. They were cut to size and toenailed into the joists with wood screws every 16-inches.



Once those were attached, we started with a cedar 2" x 4" deck board against the fresh-cut deck boards and attached it with two deck screws per joist.



Before attaching the next 2" x 4" board, we used the shaft of a screwdriver as a guide for the gap between each new board.



The last deck board is a 2" x 6" cedar board run against the house. I apologize for not taking photos of this step so instead, we created a helpful diagram below.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

Staining The Restored Deck

Before staining, the freshly sanded wood needed to be prepped for stain. We used Behr Premium All In One Wood Cleaner to both clean and condition the wood so the stain would not have a blotchy finish.



We stained the deck boards with Behr Premium Transparent Penetrating Oil Wood Finish in the color Cedar Naturaltone. It offers waterproofing, UV protection, and a dirt & mildew resistant finish.



The folks at Home Depot highly recommended the stain be applied with a deck stain brush and not be rolled on. Getting on our hands and knees was not happening so we attached an extendable paint roller handle to the brush.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

We stained the apron of the deck with a contrasting solid Behr Deck Plus Stain in the color Sea Foam. It covered the old California Rustic solid stain color that's been on the deck for years. I used the same stain color on the Repurposed Headboard Garden Bench for our deck.



A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget.

But I couldn't just stop there. I love the idea of using an area rug to create a conversation area on the deck. Unfortunately, in our climate, fabric area rugs are not feasible so I made a permanently stained area rug instead.



While our budget-friendly deck restoration cost more than we anticipated, it was far easier on the pocketbook than replacing the entire deck. I've included a cost breakdown of our wood deck restoration below.



Wood Deck Restoration Cost Breakdown

  • 6 cedar deck boards = $120
  • 3 cedar end boards = $70
  • Floor Sander Rental including four 30-grit sanding pads = $80
  • Behr Wood Cleaner = $20
  • 1 can Behr Transparent Oil Stain = $54
  • 1 can Behr Solid Stain = $46
  • Deck Brush = $15
  • Total Cost = $405


We estimate replacing ALL the cedar deck boards on our 16' x 16' deck would have cost approximately $1500. Replacing it with composite decking (which would have been my first choice) would be at least $2000. We'll leave that for the next owners.



Supply List



Thanks for stopping by the Interior Frugalista today! I hope you were inspired by this budget-friendly wood deck restoration. If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!



If you enjoyed this idea for restoring an old deck rather than replacing it, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Budget Outdoor Deck Ideas or Budget Outdoor Living Ideas board on Pinterest.




A budget-friendly deck restoration. How to restore an old outdoor wood deck to buy some time when a brand new replacement deck isn't in the budget. #budgetdeckrestoration #budgetwooddeck #olddeckrestore


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Comments

  1. Appreciate seeing the breakdown of the work and all of the costs. Thanks for the the article!!

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  2. How did you pry up the old boards?

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    1. We used a crowbar on the vertical boards starting from the open end of the deck furthest from the house. We used a circular saw between the joists on the boards closest to the house.

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  3. That's just awesome! I'll be featuring you this week when the next To Grandma's house we go party starts!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Tarahlynn, I'm glad you like how we restored our old deck. Thrilled to have it featured this week - thank you! xo

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  4. Thanks so much for this, Marie. We have a rotting board in our deck, and it's seriously in need of painting/staining. Thanks for sharing with us at TFT, too!

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  5. That was a lot of work! But the outcome looks so good. I am facing a similar problem - plus building a new deck for the dog pen - and the cost is a concern for sure. Congrats on getting it done. #HomeMattersParty

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  6. Thanks Donna, it definitely was a lot of work but in the long run, saved us so much money. The price of lumber is crazy right now! Good luck with your deck restoration/build.

    ReplyDelete

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