If your deck has seen better days there are a few easy things you can do to spruce it up as good as new. Wood left unprotected on decks can experience substantial UV and water damage over time. The first step is to replace any boards that are extremely cracked, splintered, warped or that contain any loose or missing knots. You will also want to screw or nail down any raised fasteners. Identify any rough areas and sand them down with sandpaper. You never want any sharp surfaces across the surface of your deck. This can be very dangerous for bare feet.
The next step is to clean off your deck. Remove all furniture and grills from the deck. Use a safe oxygen based cleaner such as American Deck Products deck wash to strip off layers of dirt, leaves, grease, mold, and mildew. If you want to restore the original color of the wood you should try using a deck brightener. It is amazing how easy and well these products work. Once the deck is dry you will want to protect it from future damage by applying a coat of high quality oil based stain. We recommend Wood Defender deck stains. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and plan ahead to avoid rain. Use a pump sprayer or a brush to evenly apply the stain. Use drop clothes to protect areas that you want to keep clear from staining.