I really underestimated how much work reviving the deck could be. I’ve done tons of painting, so I thought “where’s the big deal, it’s just a paint job.” Well, I was wrong. Doing this right really matters. First there’s the need to clean it well—and I mean really well. Use a cleaner or stripper that will do much of the work for you. Granted, I prefer a low-environmental-impact product, but you really need the oils, dirt, and gunk stripped off so that the sealer will work. Then it needs to dry—baking sun kind of dry. But don’t you wonder how any project gets done if you need a full day of sun to dry it, but no baking sun to apply the next step? You should have seen me hustle to get this transparent stain and sealer on the deck before the sun hit it yet a good 4 hours before the rain. Oh, and FYI—once you’ve stripped it, the wood may look pretty ugly, so you’ll need to think about going with a tint or adding a bit of color. And, of course, you need to remember that a deck is a floor, so you have to paint yourself to an exit. Oh, and no kids, dogs, cats, neighbors, or wind-blown debris on it for 24 hours (that should be a picnic! Where’s the caution tape?). Whew—lots of factors, but worth it in the end if it’s smoother and splinter-free for bare footin’!