How to Restore a Wood Porch

Here are the steps for restoring an old, worn-out looking wood porch (and rotten in some cases):

Tools and Materials

  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Detergent
  • Paint Stripper
  • Hose or Power Washer
  • Wood Brightener
  • Medium and Fine Grit Sanding Blocks
  • Wood Filler
  • Pry Bar
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Wooden Nails
  • Wooden Flooring, Post or Fence Replacement (for rotten wood)
  • Boric Acid (10 oz.)
  • Water (2.5 Gallons)7

Step 1 – Determine the Extent of Restoration

The three main areas of a wood porch that needs restoration are the flooring, posts and fence. If these three are made of wood, then proceed with the steps below; if they are made of other materials, like steel, concrete, tile (for the floor) etc., read a DIY project on how to treat these types of porches.

Check the wood flooring for cracks, holes and rot. Make a mental note on these areas specifically the parts where there is dry rot. Wood with dry rot breaks easily; do not use power washer on these areas, as the water pressure will make the wood more brittle. Do the same checkup on the posts and fences.

Step 2 – Prep the Surface

Wash the surface with detergent and rinse it with water using a hose. Next, apply several coats of stripper using a paintbrush. Sand the surface with medium grit sandpaper. If the wood has not discolored yet (no graying), you can proceed to Step 3; if not, continue with the following steps.

Get the hose again and wet the surface of the floor porch. Apply wood brightener on the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instruction on how to dilute the wood brightener solution and the proper application. Rinse thoroughly using a hose or a power washer. Leave the area to dry.

Step 3 – Patch Holes and Cracks

Prepare the wood filler and using a putty knife, fill the holes and cracks with the filler. Wipe the excess with cloth and allow the filler to cure. Level out the surface with sandpaper.

Step 4 – Replace Rotten Wood

All rotten wood should be chiseled out or replaced with new wood strip, post or fence. For wooden flooring, pry out rotten strips with a pry bar. Check the extent of the rot. If it is a dry rot and not all parts of the wood have been eaten by the organism, just chisel out these or saw these areas until all the rotten areas are removed. Next, level out the remaining strip, apply borax on the exposed areas, and then patch it with wood by nailing the patch wood on the wooden flooring strip. This is best if the decayed parts were the bottom area of the flooring. If the decayed part extends up to the top of the flooring, it is best to remove the entire strip and replace it with a new one. Nail back the strip (the patched or the new one). For posts and fence, do the same steps as above, but you have to use circular saw to replace rotten posts and ladder to access the high parts of the post. There are tutorials that specifically teach how to replace rotten wooden porch posts or fence. Get the details of these DIY projects for your reference.

Step 5 – Re-Paint or Re-Stain and Seal

Sand the surface areas again using fine grit sandpaper. Apply paint or stain and sealer on the surface. Use a roller brush. Allow to dry.