How to Clean, Repair and Restore Your Old Garden Decking Boards!

So, you have an old-looking decking boards that was laid many years ago and has started to look derelict.

How To Restore Your Decking To Its Former Glory?
Restoring Your Old Decking Boards

Here at Wezaggle, we live and breath decking and love to share our restoration and repair tips to help our readers accomplish their goals in the garden.

We have restored many old DIY decking projects and know that with a little elbow grease your decking boards will be as good as new.

Restoring Your Old Decking Boards (Step-by-Step)

Listed below are the steps you need to take when it comes to old decking projects that are looking worse for wear.

Once you have completed these steps and put in the time your decking will look new.

Warning: Be careful with tools and stains, use gloves and goggles and avoid any contact with your eyes and skin.

Repair Your Decking Boards

Before you start sanding and scraping you need to make sure all decking boards are screwed down, do not nail your boards because nails will become loose after time.

Maintenance & Repair!
Maintenance & Repair

If you use single thread “4.5 x 55mm” you will get a good grip on your boards and frame.

Remove any broken screws and make sure all screws are flush with the boards. If you have screws sitting high and are “NOT” flush with your boards, you may trip.

But, more importantly, when it comes to sanding, you WILL ruin the sanding machine & sanding pads will rip.

  1. Remove any screws/nails protruding from the boards
  2. Fix any loose boards using a single thread screw 4.5 x 55mm
  3. Ensure all screws have been countersunk or flush with the decking boards
  4. Replace any rotten boards, handrails or spindles

Clean Your Decking Boards

If your decking project is black and full of mildew, then you need to clean the decking. We tend to use ajax; it has tiny pieces of grit that helps with removing moss and mould.

Preparing Your Decking
Preparing Your Decking

Once you have thoroughly clean your decking project with Ajax or similar using a stiff brush, you should start to see your decking boards.

Sand Your Decking Boards

Now comes the important part, yes, sanding everyone hates it, especially if you do it by hand. We use an industrial sander that takes off the top 1mm from the decking boards.

Clean & Sanded Ready For Painting!
Clean & Sanded Ready For Painting

It works great, but if you cannot access an industrial sander, a mouse or other handheld sander will suffice.

For the first sand, you should use rough sandpaper because it will remove the top layer much quicker.

Once you have gone over your decking boards with 80-grade sandpaper, you must go over it again with a much smoother grade of sandpaper *recommended 180″.

Once you have sanded the whole area again with 120 grit, you will see your decking in its former glory. It should be smooth to the touch and ready for sealing.

  1. Clean the decking with ajax before sanding
  2. Use 80 grit sandpaper until you get a rough feel
  3. Then change to 120 grit sandpaper (super smooth to the touch)
  4. Use a screwdriver or bradawl to get into the grooves

TOP TIP: Make sure you remove any dirt or moss between the groves. If grit and grime are still rooted in the dicking groves of your decking boards, it will look inferior when you treat your freshly sanded boards.

Oil Your Decking Boards

Once done correctly, your decking should look and smell like new wood! If it does not, then you need to use more elbow grease and keep sanding.

Oiling Your Decking Boards!
Oiling Your Decking Boards!

If you put in the effort, your decking will look better and last much longer.

So now it comes to treating your decking boards.

At this stage, I would use my Henry hoover and remove any loose dust from sanding, make sure you remove it from the groves of your boards.

When it comes to treating your boards, you must use oil or varnish that is nonslip. We use Ronseal decking oil because it soaks in deep and nourishes your boards.

Varnish/stains will be absorbed but not as much as decking oil! Once you have chosen your non-slip decking oil its time to apply the stain.

You can use a roller or paintbrush, always make sure you roll or brush along the boards “not” across them.

You will want to go with grain as they say in the trade because you get a better finish that looks more natural.

  1. Hoover or soft brush your decking before you stain
  2. Pay attention to the groves and make sure there is no debris
  3. Choose your non-slip decking oil
  4. Apply your oil with a brush or roller
  5. When applying your decking oil, make sure you GO WITH THE GRAIN!

Top Tip: Make sure you apply more than one coat; you can continue to do this over a few days


Once you have restored your decking to its former glory, sit back and enjoy your handy work.

Decking Restored!
Decking Restored

But, do not forget to keep oiling your boards, we would recommend every 2/3 months.

Which keeps it’s waterproof and the elements at bay! If you look after your decking, then you will not have to sand them down again for many many years.

Happy Restoration 😉

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.