Restore an Aging Deck

Refresh your deck with these useful products.

Sponsored by Rust-Oleum

My friend Julie has a four-year-old deck. It’s never been stained or treated, so it’s looking old and gray, and the wood is starting to crack and splinter. When she asked for my advice on how to restore it, I recommended the same Rust-Oleum Restore10X product I used on my own deck.

Since the cracks were fairly small, she could have used the Restore 4X product. But after looking at the product samples at the home center, she preferred the look and texture of the Restore 10X product. So we gathered all the supplies and started the project.

We thoroughly prepped the surface by applying Rust-Oleum Restore Deck Cleaner. We diluted it according to the directions and scrubbed all the deck boards with a stiff broom. Then we power-washed the boards and let it dry for a week. Next, we covered the deck boards with a drop cloth and stained the vertical posts and pergola boards with Restore Solid Acrylic Stain and a roller. We applied the same stain to the rim joists and let that dry.

Then we were ready for the deck boards. We wrapped painter’s tape around the vertical posts where they met the deck boards so we wouldn’t get the textured product on the posts. Next, we loaded the special application roller cover onto the roller frame and dipped it right into the bucket of Restore 10X. I’ve used the product before, so I knew the application process was much different than painting with a roller. I pushed the roller onto the deck boards and rolled a small puddle in front of the roller. That forced the product deep into the cracks in the wood. And I made sure I only rolled in one direction, completing two boards at a time from end to end before moving on to the next row. We had the first coat down in less than an hour.

Julie wasn’t happy with the appearance and was concerned that I hadn’t applied enough product. But I assured her she’d be happy after the second coat. So we covered the roller with plastic wrap and broke for lunch.

Once the first coat dried, we applied the second coat using the same method. The second application is really the magic coat. Julie was thrilled as the deck boards came alive. The second coat filled in all the gaps and gave all the boards an even texture. By the time I was done, Julie was chomping at the bit to move her deck furniture back into place. But I convinced her to wait on the furniture and to keep her dogs off the deck until the product was completely dry. She waited two days and moved the furniture. She raves about the new look and the textured surface. She says it looks like a new deck, which was exactly what I wanted to hear.

— Rick Muscoplat, Contributing Editor

Skills required: Easy

Time required:

• Surface preparation: One hour. Wait one week before proceeding if you power-wash.

• Posts and pergola (or railings): Four hours.

• Deck boards: One hour per application. Drying time varies depending on the temperature and the wind.

Type of project: Deck restoration

Products used:

Rust-Oleum Restore Deck Cleaner

Rust-Oleum Restore Solid Acrylic Stain

Rust-Oleum Restore Application Rollers

Rust-Oleum Restore10X

Other tools and supplies:

9-in. roller frame and roller covers (for stain)

Paint tray (for stain)

Painter’s tape

Drop cloth


Water for cleanup


1. Surface prep: Clean deck with Restore Deck Cleaner. Rinse or power-wash and let dry.

2. Lay drop cloths on deck boards and stain vertical surfaces.

3. Tape off posts before applying Restore10X.

4. Install Restore Application Roller on the roller frame.

5. Dip roller into bucket and roll a puddle onto deck boards, rolling in one direction only.

6. Roll two boards from end to end before moving on to other deck boards.

7. Let the first coat dry.

8. Apply the second coat.

9. Remove the painter’s tape while the product is still wet.

10. Keep animals off the deck until the product is fully dry.

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