Learning how to repair a splintered wood deck is a great way to save money and increase the value of your home.

It’s an unfortunate reality that many homeowners will face at one point or another, but it happens. Splintering boards can cause your deck to be unsightly and unsafe for anyone to walk on.

But before you get stressed out about the cost of a whole new deck, take some time to read this blog post and learn how to fix splintered wood deck!

With just a few simple wood deck resurfacing options, your splintering wood will look new in no time!

How To Repair Splintered Wood Deck

To repair splintered wood decks, first chisel and sand down the splinter. Next, fill the cracks on the surface with epoxy wood filler. Then finish by painting or applying two coats of restoration coating. Remember to schedule regular cleaning and maintenance practices to prevent the development of deck splinters.

Tools & Materials for Resurfacing Wood Decks

How To Resurface Splintered Wood Decks

Wood deck refacing involves some crucial steps. These steps are curated to help repair decking boards with mild and severe splinters. 

Remember to wear closed-toe shoes, eye protection, and leather gloves to protect yourself.

Resurfacing Wooden Decks Procedure

Follow these steps to fix splintered wood deck;

Step 1: Power wash your deck

Power washing a deck marks the first step of preparation for repairing decking. First, assess the foundation carefully to examine the extent of rot damage on your cracked splintered deck before resurfacing your deck.

If you are worried about the pressure washer worsening the splinters on your deck, relax. A power washer has a regulator controlling the sprayer pressure (2000 psi) and an angled nozzle (15-degree) to clean out various debris textures and remove deck mold. (Here’s our comprehensive guide on how to get mold out of wood.)

Besides, the power sprayer drastically reduces your time cleaning the deck boards manually using a scrub brush.

Let the pressure-washed surface dry for 24 hours before you bleach it.

Step 2: Clean with water and bleach

Bleaching the wood kills deck mold. It also helps to restore the uniform natural wood color. Bleaching splintering decks also allows the wood to take the deck treatment better.

Prepare a bleach solution by mixing equal parts of half water and half bleach. Fill this solution in your power washer and spray down the entire decking boards.

If there’re areas with build-up mold and mildew, focus the nozzle on them to lift them off the deck. You could even scrub them off using a scrub brush and then continue spraying.

After this, let the deck dry up thoroughly before proceeding to the following stage of deck resurfacing.

Step 3: Repair Cracks and chips

Splintering or cracking wood decks pose a danger to anyone walking bare feet on them. Therefore, it’s imperative to fix splintering decks and prevent accidents. But, of course, only carry out the repairs when the bleached wood is fully dry.

If your deck boards have any nails sticking out of their place, sink them using a hammer. If the nail is rusty or bent, replace it with a new one. If the deck boards were attached with screws and lifted, countersink them using a drill or drill down new screws.

If you notice any boards with extensive rot damage, remove and replace them entirely. First, use a Prybar to lift it off the joists where the boards intersected.  Then, cut a new board in the exact size of the damaged one and then hammer or screw it down like the other boards.

Chisel down any spiky splinters on the surface. If that results in a crack on the surface, you can fill them with epoxy wood filler. 

Avoid using interior wood fillers on exterior surfaces. Most interior wood fillers may appear perfect for the wood shade you’re working on, but exterior fillers are best for exterior projects.

If you don’t have any filler in the shade of your deck boards, you can whip up a small batch of homemade wood filler. Use a putty knife to push the wood filler into the cracks and remove the excess. Then, let it dry before you begin sanding your deck.

Step 4: Sand the deck

The best sander for your deck project is a flooring orbital sander. This sanding machine is larger and perfect for heavy-duty sanding, unlike a hand sander.

If you don’t already own a large floor sander, you can rent one from a rental store near you. You can also buy the sandpapers you will need from the same rental outlet.

Set up your orbital sander and attach 100-grit sandpaper: this is suitable for the first round of sanding. Even though sanding along the direction of the wood grain is easier when using a belt sander, do your best to sand along the wood grain with an orbital floor sander.

Finish sanding with 120-fine grit sandpaper. This final pass helps to smooth any coarse lines and gives you a pleasantly smooth surface.

Although the orbital sander collects the sanding dust, you still need to clean the deck with another round of pressure washer. Make sweeping motions with your power washer to remove any fine layers of dust particles from your deck.

Again, let the wood deck dry thoroughly for another day or two.

See Also: Is Trex Decking Slippery

Step 5: Apply a protective finish to your deck

If, after bleaching and sanding, you fall in love with the natural appearance of the wood and decide to keep it, a deck stain is your best bet. In this case, choose a semi-transparent deck stain with enough pigment to shield the wood from sun damage.

However, if a pop of color appeals more to you, pick the best paint for weathered deck in your preferred color shade. Paint prolongs the deck life by providing solid protection against UV rays and water damage.

Still, if you are interested in a smooth finish that conceals the cracks in the deck boards, go for a restoration coating. This sealant is an acrylic-based finish. It’s about ten times thicker than regular paint and covers about twenty square feet per gallon.

Whichever deck finish you settle on, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the best applicator to use. Also, ensure to spread the stain sealant or paint between deck boards.

Most importantly, allow the first coat of the finish to dry for about 24 hours before applying the second coat. Then, allow your finished deck to dry fully for about two days before using your deck.

How To Smooth Splintered Wood

You can glue down the part of the splintered wood sticking out if it’s not too brittle. If it’s feather-like, you can chisel the edges of the splinter to remove it without leaving a rough edge on the board.

Next, sand it to even out the splinter. Finish by applying a deck wood filler and deck restoration coatings.

What Will Happen to a Poorly Maintained Deck?

A poorly maintained deck is predisposed to significant damage from the sun, rain, and moisture. These factors will eventually cause the fading of the wood deck color.

In the end, your deck will rot, grow mildew, splinter, crack, or even fall apart.

In regards to painting, ensure you use the correct and best deck painting colors. Expired or low-quality deck paints lack the necessary properties to provide a tight bond. That is why you see most deck paint peeling within a short time.

See also: Will an outdoor rug break a wood deck?

How to Keep Wood Deck from Splintering and Feathering

The most obvious way to prevent wood decks from splintering is to apply a high-quality exterior penetrating wood sealer with a UV filter.

Test the effectiveness of the deck sealant by sprinkling water on the surface. Water droplets should bead up as a sign that it’s impenetrable.

Afterward, ensure to carry out regular cleaning and maintenance. This helps you counter any potential aging, wear and tear of your deck before it transforms into a major splinter situation.

Here are the best clear sealers for redwood decks.

Resurface Decking FAQs

How to fix a splintered wood deck?

Scrape off the rough edges of the splinter using a chisel. Sand to even out spiky edges. If the crack is too pronounced, fill it with wood filler matching the wood shade you’re fixing. Let it dry, then paint or apply a semi-transparent stain sealer.

Can you fix splintered wood?

Yes, you can resurface cracked wood if it’s not too damaged. You can chisel or sand down the splinter and then reseal the wood. Remember to maintain your entire deck periodically.

Does sealing a deck help with splinters?

Sealing a deck helps protect the wood from climatic elements that accelerate splinters –water and UV rays. Although a sealant helps, it will succumb to splintering if the deck is neglected for long.

What is the best treatment for an old wood deck?

A quick fix for restoring old deck boards is pressure washing them to remove debris and paint on the surface. If the paint persists, sought for some of a paint stripper to remove the paint. Next, power rewash it with a bleach solution to remove mold and mildew growing on the old deck. This prepares the deck for sanding and resealing. (Here are some of the best paint strippers for wood deck).

What is the best wood sealer to prevent splinters?

Thompsons WaterSeal penetrating stain is the best wood sealer to prevent wood splinters. It’s a penetrating wood sealant with a UV filter. This sealant prevents the wood from soaking up water and moisture and prevents sun rays from discoloring the wood.

Read More: How to Support Bed Slats

How to Resurface a Deck Summary?

Knowing how to repair splintered wood decks means you can easily carry out deck re-facing before the situation worsens. While this guide will help in the deck resurfacing process, it also recommends avoiding the splinter’s development.

One thing you should have is the patience to see this process through. But, if you’re not up for this entire process, you can always hire a decking contractor to get the job done.

Good luck and see you in our next article “Is it cheaper to build a deck or concrete patio?”

Leave a Comment