How to Fix a Peeling Deck The Right Way

We’ve all been there – you step outside to enjoy a beautiful day on your deck, only to find that the once-stunning wood finish is now peeling and chipping away. Not only does this look unsightly, but it can also lead to long-term damage if left untreated. Fixing a peeling deck is not as difficult as it may seem! In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps necessary to revive your deck and bring it back to its former glory. So grab your tools and let’s get started!

Step 1: Assess the Damage

Before diving into any repair work, take some time to assess the overall state of your deck:

  • Examine the extent of the peeling paint or stain
  • Check for any signs of mold or rot
  • Determine if there are any loose or damaged boards

Once you have a clear understanding of what needs fixing, you can gather the appropriate materials and tools for the job.

Step 2: Gather Your Materials

To properly fix a peeling deck, make sure you have everything needed for each stage of the process:


  • Paint scraper
  • Sandpaper (80-grit and 120-grit)
  • Power sander (optional)
  • Broom or leaf blower
  • Wood cleaner/wood brightener
  • Stain-blocking primer (if using paint)
  • High-quality paint or stain
  • Protective gear (gloves, goggles)


  • Putty knife
  • Hammer/nail set (for protruding nails)
  • Paintbrushes/rollers/trays

With these items in hand, you’re ready to begin transforming your tired-looking deck!

Step 3: Scrape Away Loose Paint/Stain

The first order of business is removing loose paint/stains from affected areas. Don a pair of gloves and goggles, then use a paint scraper to gently but firmly lift off the peeling material.

Pro tip: For larger decks, consider investing in a power scraper to speed up this process.

Step 4: Sand Your Deck

Now that the loose material is removed, it’s time to smooth out your deck’s surface:

  1. Start by using 80-grit sandpaper on any rough or uneven spots.
  2. Switch to 120-grit sandpaper for a finer finish.
  3. If using a power sander, exercise caution not to damage the wood – keep it moving and avoid pressing too hard.

Remember always to sand in the direction of the wood grain!

Step 5: Clean Your Deck

With sanding complete, it’s essential to clean your deck thoroughly before applying any new paint or stain:

  1. Use a broom or leaf blower to remove dust and debris from the surface.
  2. Mix an appropriate wood cleaner/wood brightener with water per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Apply cleaner/brightener with a stiff bristle brush or roller – don’t forget railings and steps!
  4. Rinse thoroughly with water, ensuring no soap residue remains.
  5. Allow your deck ample time (usually 24-48 hours) to dry before proceeding.

Step 6: Repair Any Damage

While waiting for your deck to dry, address any necessary repairs you identified earlier:

  • Replace damaged boards
  • Hammer down protruding nails (or replace them with galvanized screws)
  • Fill small cracks with exterior-grade wood filler

By attending to these minor issues now, you’ll ensure that your newly revived deck looks its best and stands up against future wear and tear.

Step 7: Apply Primer (If Using Paint)

If you’re planning on painting rather than staining your deck, you’ll need first to apply primer. This step is crucial, as it will create a proper bonding surface for the paint while blocking any existing stains from bleeding through.

Pro tip: Choose a stain-blocking primer specifically formulated for exterior wood surfaces.

Using a brush or roller, apply an even coat of primer and allow it to dry per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Step 8: Paint or Stain Your Deck

At last – time to give your deck its fresh new look!

For painting:

  • Apply at least two coats of high-quality exterior paint, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly between applications.
  • Use long, smooth strokes with a paintbrush or roller.
  • Don’t forget railings, posts, and steps!

For staining:

  • Choose between oil-based or water-based stains – oil-based products typically offer better penetration and durability but may require more maintenance in the long run.
  • Opt for semi-transparent or transparent stains to showcase your deck’s natural beauty.
  • Apply the stain evenly with a brush or roller (avoid pooling), then wipe away excess using a clean cloth.

Regardless of whether you’re painting or staining, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for drying times before walking on your newly finished surface.

Step 9: Enjoy Your Revived Deck!

Congratulations – you’ve successfully fixed your peeling deck! Now that all your hard work is complete take some well-deserved time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. With proper care and maintenance, you can expect many years of outdoor enjoyment from your refreshed space.

How To Fix A Deck That Is Peeling Conclusion

In conclusion, fixing up a peeling deck doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. By following these simple steps and investing in quality materials/tools, you can breathe new life into your outdoor oasis. So get out there and show off that beautiful woodgrain once again!