Q: What should I do about the fuzzy surface fibres that have developed on my deck? In the fall I stripped and pressure washed the wood and now it’s all fuzzy. I’m afraid that when I re-stain it will look bad. Should I be concerned?
A: You’re correct to be concerned about the fuzzy surface because it will make for a less-than-ideal finished deck, and quite a bit less than ideal. Your situation is also very common — pretty much universal, in fact, when decks are stripped and pressure washed. The good news is that the fix is fast and easy.
To remove the fuzzies, give the deck a quick sanding. That’s it. All those fuzzy fibres will simply pop off easily after one quick pass of the sander.
Normally I recommend a six-inch random orbit sander for sanding old finishes off a deck (with an 80-grit abrasive disk on board), but for removing fuzzies, the more common five-inch random orbit works fine. Just make sure the wood is completely dry before sanding. If there’s any moisture present the fibres won’t come off easily.
Pressure washing then sanding is actually my favourite way of preparing a deck for finishing or refinishing. But you need to be careful.
Most deck stains don’t work well and fail in a year or less. In a related column, I provide detailed information on finishing a deck properly so that you’re not making mistakes that get you back down on your hands and knees refinishing again too soon.