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Deck Refinishing and Maintenance

Photos and video by Basurto Painting

Refinishing An Ipe Wood Deck Outdoor Living Space

Old decks need love, too. And time and weather can really wear down the beauty of a deck. Our recent project was to restore an ipe deck for a client, including the nearby staircase and downstairs entry point. Of course, November is not ideal for outdoor work, as the colder weather makes our jobs more difficult. But in a real emergency, we come through for our clients!

Ipe (pronounced EE-pay) is the name for tropical hardwood lumber derived from Tabebuia serratifolia. Olive brown with light or darker varying streaks, it’s a very dense wood, making it highly long-lasting for deck use. Its primary foe is exposure and water damage over a long time, as pooled water begins to weaken the resolve of the wood.

ipe wood deck with sliding doors
Exposure and pooled water can weaken the resolve of the wood.

The deck refinishing was a matter of getting organized first. We cleared the deck of any furniture, mats, and planter boxes to avoid spills and obstacles later. Then we masked the surrounding walls with heavy-duty tape and painter’s plastic to protect the painted surfaces from chemical damage in the refinishing process.

We then washed the deck (not with a pressure sprayer, just with a garden hose) and scrubbed the deck with a stiff bristle brush using a wood cleaner and wood brightener. Then, we thoroughly rinsed the deck and let it dry completely. Once it dried, we sanded the deck with 80 to 100 grit sandpaper, using a random orbital sander connected to a dust extractor (essentially a vacuum). As such, the sanding becomes a dustless process. The result of these labors is that we exposed beautiful, unfaded Ipe wood. The new stain color was then tested and approved by clients.

garden hose on ipe wood deck
The deck was washed with a garden hose, not a pressure sprayer.

We then applied the selected stain color and type with a brush or a roller and wiped the excess with clean painters’ rags. (Soiled rags have to be placed in a bucket with water to prevent spontaneous combustion that the oil resin can sometimes cause in the stain.) We used a one-coat system for this job, which was an oil-based penetrating stain. Penetrating stain does not create a film on top but penetrates and protects the wood from inside-out instead and dramatically enhances the wood grain and appearance.

Ipe wood deck staining process
We used an oil-based penetrating stain which protects the wood from the inside-out.

We cautioned the owners to allow 24 hours for the deck to dry before foot traffic was allowed and 48 hours before the furniture could be moved back onto the deck. Once all the furniture was in its correct place, the deck was ready for the client to enjoy with their family and friends!

When we are performing maintenance on a deck like this, the process is similar, with a few fundamental changes:

As with a refinish, the deck would be cleared of any furniture, mats, and planter boxes, and the surrounding walls would get masked with heavy-duty tape and painters’ plastic. We’d also wash the deck with a garden hose and scrub it with a stiff bristle brush using a wood cleaner and wood brightener. The deck would be thoroughly rinsed and let dry completely. But no sanding this time! Sanding is the most time-consuming part of the refinishing process! Without sanding, it’s nearly 60% less time.

The deck is then recoated with the same type and color of original stain applied with a brush or roller. Again, we wipe the excess with clean painters’ rags, putting our dirty rags in a water bucket to prevent accidental fires. We allow our one-coat system to dry for 24 hours before foot traffic and 48 hours before the furniture is moved back onto the deck.

As you can see from these pictures, the Ipe has a beautiful, consistent tone and will improve the home’s look for years to come!

Do you have a deck in need of some maintenance? We can schedule an appointment to walk you through our various services. We offer thorough color testing before painting, ensuring that you are delighted and love the colors you choose. Our attention to detail and dedication to elevated standards will ensure that you and your family get the home you always dreamed of!