By the time contractor Stephen Bonesteel arrived on the scene, the condition of this pine deck was bleak. Twenty years of harsh upstate New York weather without a lick of care had turned its once-bright boards a weatherbeaten gray, flecked with slimy algae and black leaf stains.
Still, even wood this neglected can be brought back to respectability, as Bonesteel demonstrated for This Old House. Over the course of a week, he power-washed and hand-scrubbed the deck back to a semblance of newness, then brushed on a protective coat of semitransparent stain.
Between refinishings, the best way to keep a deck in shape is with regular broom-washings using soap and water. “Clean it at least once a season,” Bonesteel says, “especially in spring, when pollen provides a food source for mildew.” Then, every three or so years, follow the steps here for a deck that looks - and lasts - its best.