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Quick fixes to revive your deck, from power washing to painting and more

Power-washing your deck can make it look years

Power-washing your deck can make it look years younger. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto / Wojciech Kozielczyk

Decks can be a simple addition to the backyard with enough room for a small grill and a chair or two, or they can be multi-level behemoths with a hot tub and built-in seating. Whether your deck is simple or extravagant, it can probably use some refreshing. Over time, weather wears down the finish, making your deck age before your eyes. Or perhaps your deck is simply crying out for a makeover. Some quick fixes can get your deck revived and dressed up in a weekend.


Every deck can look better instantly with a scrub or power washing. If you have more elbow grease than money, a good stiff broom and some deck cleaner will refresh your deck and take years of its look. Or rent a power washer or hire a power-washing service to give it a professional wash and bring it back to life. Once it’s washed, you can reseal, paint or update. Starting with a fresh, clean deck is always the start to giving it new life.


If your deck is stained, think about giving it a coat of paint that matches the trim of your house to make the deck look like a unified part of the home. Try painting the railing the same color as your trim color; then use a contrasting color to stain the deck flooring and use the same stain on the spindles. This dual color makes a nice contrast that also dresses up your deck and looks like an upgrade from an all-stained or all-painted deck. If you’re creative, paint on an “area rug” or even stripes, like a nautical blue and white on a coastal home, to dress up your deck’s flooring. You’ll add some vibrant interest to those rows of flat boards.


Some simple changes can help transform your deck and give it an updated look without having to rebuild from scratch. One way to update your deck easily is by changing out your railings from vertical spindle to something horizontal and more open. The fastest option? Cattle panel or hog wire fencing. Opt for the type bought at a farm, tack or feed store. These stores will have panels that come in more sizes (stick to one size for a unified look).

Other options include a metal cable railing that is fitted into the posts and then tightened to make snug, or cable system kits from your local home center. The horizontal lines make the deck feel more open and spacious compared with the vertical lines of spindles, which can feel more cage-like. Even better, you get a freshened deck with an updated look with easy-to-install updated railings.

Some more super-quick updates: new solar post cap lights or under-railing lighting for nighttime enjoyment. For more fun, try adding to porch swing or hanging a projection screen to create your own summer drive-in. And don’t forget to try new plantings and landscaping around your deck to finish dressing it up.

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