Step-by-Step Instructions for Rust Removal and Deck Resurfacing

Whether enjoying outdoor meals or hosting gatherings on warm evenings, a wooden deck is a welcome amenity for any home. However, over time weathering takes a toll, leaving behind structural damage or rust that requires attention. With some elbow grease and basic tools and materials sourced locally for the job, you can resurface rusty metal or weathered wood decking like the pros. Follow these step-by-step instructions to restore your deck to a sturdy, long-lasting surface for years of use and enjoyment.

Materials Needed

To begin the process, gather these materials: a wire brush, rust remover or deck cleaner, wood putty or epoxy, primer/paint or stain, 150-grit sandpaper, a pressure washer, painter’s tape, and drop cloths. Additional items like a magnetic hammer may assist in rust removal. Contractors offer asphalt services like specialized sealants or resurfacing products too for more durable deck repair. Have a cart or wheelbarrow handy to transport away debris as you work. Proper safety gear like eye protection, gloves, and a mask are also a must.

Assessing Condition and Prep Work

First, inspect all surfaces for rotted, split, or missing boards that require full replacement. Investigate fasteners for signs of rust or nails backing out. Mark any troublesome areas. Use the wire brush and rust remover to scrub away surface rust on metal components like railings following product instructions. Pressure washes the entire deck space, paying special attention to seams or other debris-collecting areas. Let all surfaces fully dry before proceeding.

Replacing Damaged Boards

If boards or fasteners require replacement, remove and replace them with moisture-resistant wood that matches existing dimensions. Space evenly to allow drainage. Use exterior-rated wood screws or hot-dipped galvanized nails set flush. Drill pilot holes to prevent splitting. For rusted nails, use a magnetic hammer to easily remove heads before extracting shafts. Fill any gaps or holes with wood putty or epoxy mix, smoothing flat.

Deck Surface Preparation

Use the 150-grit sandpaper to lightly scuff wood surfaces for better primer/stain adhesion. Blow away or wipe away sanding debris. This helps roughen previously sealed or painted surfaces for recoating and new wood for an optimal bond to protect from water damage. Scrub down bare, existing painted surfaces with deck cleaner as needed before priming.

Priming and Painting or Staining

Apply a high-quality exterior primer with a paintbrush or roller following product directions. Primer prepares all surfaces uniformly before the finishing coats paint or stain. Once dry, topcoat all horizontal and vertical decking surfaces with an oil- or water-based deck paint or multi-season deck stain as preferred. Paint or stain also under railings where foot traffic occurs. Work in sections, cutting in neatly at borders before back-brushing or rolling.


With proper planning, preparation, and attention to detail, deck repair and renovation is not an overwhelming chore. By taking your time through methodical steps, along with the correct materials suited to your project, you can restore deck surfaces to like-new conditions without professional help. Employing good safety habits and following product cure times are important. With a refreshed, protected deck, create lasting backyard or patio memories for seasons to come!

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