How to Refinish a Deck That Has Been Painted

Many people paint their decks because they like the look, but if you want to remove paint from your deck and refinish it, this article will show you how to refinish a deck that has been painted. We’ll walk you through the steps of stripping an old finish with a chemical stripper, sanding a deck to bare wood, and staining a new finish over the old.

How to Refinish a Deck That Has Been Painted

This exterior project takes patience, but once you get started, it doesn’t take long to finish. It’s best to complete the job in one day, but it’s not necessary if you need to work on it for several days. Be sure to work outside or in a well-ventilated area, and if possible, work on a warm day, so the finish dries quickly.

Step to Follow on How to Refinish a Deck That Has Been Painted

Step One: Prep Work

The first step to refinishing a deck is power washing. Use a pressure washer to remove all dirt and debris from the deck, being careful not to damage any part of the structure. Next, you must strip off all existing stains or paint. You can do this by hand with a screwdriver, but it’s much easier to use a chemical stripper.

You may need to apply multiple coats of the stripper if the finish is particularly thick. You will need to follow all instructions on the label for proper application and safety precautions. Allow the chemicals ample time to work their magic, then use a scraper or wire brush to remove any paint residue that remains on your deck boards.

Step Two: Cleaning

Once the surface of the deck is entirely stripped, use a hose to rinse it thoroughly. Use a cleaning solution if you have one available. Allow all excess moisture to dry from your deck boards as completely as possible before moving on to the next step.

Cleaning the Deck Area Before Stain

Make sure that no mold or mildew is growing on your wood before continuing. If necessary, use a chemical cleaner to remove any mold or mildew from your decking. Make sure you follow the instructions on the cleaning solution exactly as they are written for the best results.

Step Three: Repairing

Replacing any broken rail boards is important as well. If your deck is large, you may need to hire a professional for this part of the job. It’s important to make sure that all nails are removed before you replace any boards. Replace any missing board slats or steps as well at this time.

If you’re using a power screwdriver, select drill mode instead of the default setting to ensure that your screws are seated at the proper depth. Wipe away any debris that is created during this process. Next, use a palm sander to sand every part of your deck, paying special attention to parts that receive the most amount of traffic.

Step Four: Staining

After your deck is stripped and cleaned, you can start staining. Brush on a generous coat of stain to one section of your deck at a time. While the stain dries, work on another section until all parts have been given two coats of stain apiece. Let the first set of coats dry completely before applying a second coat.

Let each coat dry for at least three hours, and make sure you give it a  full 24 hours to dry completely before applying the next coat. Two coats should be sufficient for most decks, but if you need more than this, you can apply up to three coats of stain.

Step Five: Reestablishing Your Finish

After the second coat of stain has dried completely, re-stain any areas that look thin or transparent. Next, apply a generous amount of stain to the rest of your deck, then wipe away any excess with a clean rag. Let this coat dry for at least three hours before applying the third and final coat of stain.

This coat should dry for at least 24 hours before you attempt to use your deck. Some stains may require up to five days of drying time. You must allow this third coat of stain to dry completely before applying any protective finish, even if it takes longer than the specified time frame given by the manufacturer. This will help in how to refinish a deck that has been painted.

Step Six: Protecting Your Deck

Once your deck is completely dry, you can apply a protective finish. Apply it sparingly to one section of your deck at a time, then wipe away any excess that may have seeped through the cracks between boards with a clean rag. Allow this first coat of sealer to dry for an hour before applying another coat of sealer.

After the second coat is dry, apply an application of sealant to your entire deck every few months to maintain the appearance and integrity of your decking for as long as possible. Depending on what type of sealer you decide to use, your deck may require re-sealing every year or every few years.

Step Seven: Finish Your Deck

Using a paintbrush, apply a generous coat of varnish to your deck boards, starting from the bottom and working your way up. Use light strokes as you go, making sure to keep an even amount on each board. Allow this coat to dry for about an hour before applying another coat.

Applying Varnish to Deck Boards

Continue with this process until you have applied a total of three coats. Let each coat dry for three hours before applying the next one. After your final coat, let your deck sit overnight to ensure that it is completely dry. Thanks for reading about how to refinish a deck that has been painted.

Step Eight: Enjoy

Your deck is complete! You may step on it immediately, but only with the proper shoes. Staining your deck will make it much more durable and protect it from water damage, but you must keep children off of it until they wear shoes to avoid damaging boards or causing splinters.

Now sit back and enjoy your new outdoor space! If you’re repainting an existing deck, remove the boards one at a time. Brace each board with a 2×4 before prying it off with a crowbar to avoid damaging any nails that might be holding the boards into place.

Once all of the old boards have been removed, sand down and clean any nails or screws left in the decking with a wire brush. Next, sweep up any old paint and debris and lay down some drop cloths to work on while you strip and prepare your new boards for repainting or staining, depending on what type of look you’re going for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Paint Over an Already Painted Deck?

You can paint over an already painted deck, but you will need to do some preparation work first.

First, you should remove any old paint that is on the deck before starting the painting process. You may also want to sand down any loose or peeling paint with a wire brush before continuing with the painting process. Next, if there are spots where the old paint has been damaged and not completely removed, then you will need to patch them up with a primer or filler material like spackle.

Can You Sand a Deck That Has Been Painted?

Yes, you can sand a deck that has been painted. The best way to do this is by using a sander with 100-grit paper. This will take off the paint in one pass and leave your deck looking brand new.

Do You Have to Scrape All the Paint Off Before Painting?

No, you don’t have to scrape all the paint off before painting. Scraping the paint can be a messy process, and there is no need for it if you use a professional painter to do the job. The answer depends on what type of paint is being used and how much work will be needed for the project.

Will a Pressure Washer Remove Paint From a Deck?

No, a pressure washer will not remove paint from a deck. However, it can be used to clean the surface of the deck and remove dirt and grime.

You can use your pressure washer to clean your deck by spraying it with water before scrubbing it with a brush or using soap and water. You should also avoid getting any chemical cleaners on the surface of the wood because these chemicals could damage the finish on your deck.

Can You Jet Wash Paint Off Decking?

Yes, you can. The process is pretty simple and not as difficult as it may seem. You will need to use a detergent with high surfactant content that contains an abrasive agent to help remove the paint from the wood. It is important that you don’t use soap because it could make the wood too slippery for your hands to grip.

Start by scrubbing the area with a coarse cloth until all of the paint has been removed and then rinse with water before applying a sealer or varnish to protect against future stains.


If you need to refinish a deck that has been painted, we recommend sanding it down and then applying an oil-based primer. This will help protect the wood from water damage and provide a smooth surface for future coats of paint. Once it’s primed, apply two or three more layers of paint before sealing the entire surface with sealant.

You should also know how often your manufacturer recommends staining or recoating your deck boards to maintain the color and prevent them from drying out prematurely. Hopefully, this post was helpful! The conclusion paragraph is informative and provides information on how to refinish a deck that has been painted.

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