Exterior Wood Refinishing: How to Restore and Protect Your Outdoor Wood

Posted on 19 June, 2023

When it comes to the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your outdoor wood surfaces, such as decks, fences, and patio furniture, regular maintenance is key. Exposure to the elements can cause wood to deteriorate over time, making it essential to invest in exterior wood refinishing. In this blog post, we will explore the process of restoring and protecting your outdoor wood, helping you maintain its natural beauty and durability.

Assess the Condition of Your Outdoor Wood

Before embarking on the exciting journey of refinishing your outdoor wood, it is crucial to take a moment to assess the current condition of your beloved wooden surfaces. By carefully examining your outdoor wood, you can identify any visible signs of damage that may have occurred over time, such as unsightly cracks, pesky splintering, or undesirable discoloration.

A closer inspection allows you to gain a deeper understanding of the specific issues your outdoor wood is facing. Cracks in the wood can be a result of weathering, moisture exposure, or natural expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Splintering may have occurred due to wear and tear, frequent use, or exposure to harsh elements. Discoloration could be the consequence of UV rays from the sun or the growth of mildew and algae.

By pinpointing these problem areas, you can better determine the necessary steps to restore your outdoor wood effectively. Each type of damage requires a specific approach to ensure the best possible results. For instance, small cracks can be easily repaired with wood filler, while larger cracks might require more extensive measures like replacing the affected boards. Splintering can be resolved through sanding and smoothing the wood surface, while discoloration might necessitate the use of special cleaning agents or bleaching techniques.

Understanding the current condition of your outdoor wood not only enables you to address the visible damage but also helps you plan the refinishing process more efficiently. It allows you to gather the appropriate tools, materials, and refinishing products necessary to achieve a stunning transformation. Moreover, a thorough assessment ensures that you don't overlook any hidden issues that could worsen over time, potentially compromising the integrity of your outdoor wood.

Clean the Surface Thoroughly

To achieve the ultimate goal of restoring and protecting your outdoor wood, it is imperative to kick off the refinishing process with a thorough cleaning of the wood surface. This crucial step sets the stage for optimal results, ensuring that the subsequent refinishing products adhere flawlessly to the wood and deliver long-lasting protection.

To begin the cleaning process, it is essential to remove any loose dirt, debris, or remnants of old finishes that may have accumulated on the surface of your outdoor wood. These unwanted elements can hinder the bonding of the refinishing products and compromise the overall effectiveness of the refinishing process.

There are a couple of effective methods you can employ to achieve a pristine, clean wood surface. One approach is to utilize a stiff-bristle brush, which allows you to manually scrub away any dirt or debris lodged within the wood's crevices. Using firm, deliberate strokes, work your way across the surface, paying close attention to areas that are particularly susceptible to buildup, such as corners, grooves, and joints. By employing a stiff-bristle brush, you can effectively dislodge and remove any unwanted particles, ensuring a clean canvas for the subsequent refinishing steps.

Another highly effective method for cleaning the wood surface is to employ a power washer. A power washer utilizes a concentrated jet of water to dislodge and eliminate stubborn grime, dirt, and remnants of old finishes from the wood's surface. This powerful stream of water reaches deep into the wood's fibers, ensuring a thorough cleanse. When using a power washer, it is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully to avoid damaging the wood or causing unnecessary wear. Maintain a suitable distance from the wood surface and use a wide-angle spray pattern to distribute the water evenly.

By diligently cleaning the wood surface, whether through manual scrubbing with a stiff-bristle brush or utilizing the power of a pressure washer, you effectively remove any barriers that could hinder the refinishing process. This crucial step ensures that the refinishing products you apply will adhere seamlessly to the wood, establishing a strong bond and providing long-lasting protection against the elements.

Repair Damaged Areas

After cleaning, carefully inspect the wood for any areas that require repair. Replace any rotten or severely damaged wood components and fill in cracks and holes using an appropriate wood filler. Smooth out the repaired areas with sandpaper to create a seamless surface for refinishing.

Sand the Wood Surface

Sanding is a crucial step in the exterior wood refinishing process. Use medium-grit sandpaper to gently sand the entire wood surface, including any repaired areas. This step helps remove any remaining old finishes, smooth out imperfections, and create a clean, even surface for refinishing.

Choose the Right Wood Finish

Selecting the appropriate wood finish is vital to protecting your outdoor wood from moisture, UV rays, and other environmental factors. There are various options available, including oil-based stains, water-based stains, and clear protective sealers. Consider factors such as durability, ease of application, and the desired look to make an informed decision.

Apply the Wood Finish

Once you've chosen the right wood finish, carefully apply it to the prepared surface using a brush, roller, or sprayer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application techniques, drying times, and the number of coats required. Ensure proper ventilation during the application process to allow the finish to cure effectively.

Maintain Regular Cleaning and Inspection

After completing the exterior wood refinishing process, it's important to establish a routine maintenance plan. Regularly clean the wood surface using a mild detergent and water, and inspect it for any signs of damage or wear. Promptly address any issues to prevent further deterioration and extend the life of your outdoor wood.


Exterior wood refinishing is a valuable investment that can revive and protect your outdoor wood surfaces, enhancing their beauty and durability. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can restore your wood to its former glory and ensure its long-term preservation. Remember to assess the condition of your outdoor wood, thoroughly clean the surface, repair any damage, sand the wood, choose the right wood finish, and apply it properly. Additionally, maintaining regular cleaning and inspection will help you identify and address any issues promptly.

If you need professional assistance with exterior wood refinishing or have any questions, feel free to reach out to Doors and More Refinishing. Our team of experts in St. Augustine specializes in wood refinishing services, including exterior wood refinishing. Contact us at (904) 334-5177 or [email protected], and we'll be happy to help you restore and protect your outdoor wood surfaces.

Remember, with proper care and maintenance, your outdoor wood can continue to impress and provide enjoyment for years to come!

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