Deck Resurfacing vs. Deck Restoring – What is the Difference?

You have been enjoying your deck all summer long, firing up the grill, grabbing a few rays or just relaxing with a book.  With fall approaching, it may be time to think about some deck and patio maintenance to ensure your outdoor space survives the winter and is ready to go next spring.  The question we are frequently asked is What is the difference between  deck restoring and deck resurfacing? When should you consider one over the other? These are excellent questions because there is confusing cross-over in the language and the process.  If you search the phrase wood deck resurfacing you will see a number of products for sale.  These products are great for restoring the finish and maintaining your wood deck but resurfacing a deck is a completely different process.
Deck Resurfacing
Pressure treated wood deck with curved edges in Eldersburg, MD


What is Deck Resurfacing? 

Deck resurfacing is the process of replacing the deck boards, railings and/or stairs on existing deck frame and foundation.  There are a number of reasons someone might wish to resurface a deck.
  • The deck isn’t that old but has not been well maintained so the surface boards are weather worn. 
  • The deck surface is fine but the railings or stairs are in disrepair or unsafe.
  • You purchase an existing home but do not like the finish or materials used for the deck surface.


While there are good reasons to explore resurfacing patios and decks, there are also some very important details to consider before making the final decision.  At Cedarbrook, when a customer asks about resurfacing, we try to educate that customer on the steps to take before investing in a project. 
  1. Consider the age of the deck.  The typical warranty period for a wood deck is around 25 years.  If your deck is 20+ years old, it may not make sense to put new boards on an aging frame.
  2. In order to make resurfacing a practical solution, it is imperative that the deck frame and foundation be in good condition and still meet manufacturer specifications.  Before moving ahead on any resurfacing project the frame and foundation should be fully inspected by a qualified deck building professional who knows the product specs and can assess the condition of the deck and frame.  Resurfacing is a bad investment if the deck frame is not in good condition.

    Deck Resurfacing
    Wood deck frame and foundation
  3. In our experience, about 2 out of 10 deck projects are good candidates for resurfacing.  In many cases, due to deck age and condition, it is a better investment to replace the entire structure.  It can be a very expensive mistake to purchase new deck boards and railings only to attach them to a frame that won’t last another year or two.


Deck resurfacing can be an excellent way to spruce up an existing deck for a reasonable investment.  Resurfacing can be a great fall project because these projects can be finished in a shorter time-frame.  Just make sure to do your homework and get the structure fully inspected by a trusted professional before making the final decision.  The Cedarbrook team is happy to schedule an appointment to inspect your existing deck and discuss all the options about resurface vs. replace.