What is the Best way to restore wood porch railing and spindles?

by She8935409
Hello fello DIYers, I have a wood porch railing across the front and side of the house. Unfortunately with all the rain the gutters got clogged and overflowed onto the railing. It now looks a dingy green/black color. Before anyone suggests replacing it with the new "plastic" wood, I am on a limited budget and would like to restore them myself. I am concerned about using a pressure washer on the wood. Also, I've tried steel wool on the spindles but it doesn't make much improvement. I would like to put on some clear coat to protect the wood but keep the natural look (instead of staining the wood). If anyone has any experience with a project like this, I could really use some advice. Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I've included a picture to give you some idea of what it looks like. Yes, that's a wild turkey eating out of my bird feeder, Haha. Thank you to anyone who has served our country and have a Great Memorial Day weekend!
  13 answers
  • Carol Marszalek Carol Marszalek on May 25, 2018

    You could try deck cleaner first. Pressure washing would be the bestmethod. Are you hesitant due to the age or condition of the wood? By being careful with how close you get with the pressure washer head could still be a safe bet, just try on a small area to determine its safety and efficac.

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    • Carol Marszalek Carol Marszalek on Jun 05, 2018

      yes, it should be, but do you know you can rent a pressure washer from home improvement stores very inexpensively?

  • Betty Betty on May 25, 2018

    you can buy them already cut and make at home depot . I would also try deck bleach .home depot or Wal-Mart . I put it in sprayer and sprayed my deck then hose off . good luck .

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      What do you mean "you can buy them already cut..."? I haven't seen a deck bleach is there a brand you would recommend? Thank you for your input.

  • AmAtHome AmAtHome on May 25, 2018

    There are deck cleaners that attach to your hose, and probably will need a very stiff brush as well. There are lots of products you can apply after to restore it, here's some that Rustoleum makes: https://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/rocksolid/deck/6x-deck-coat/

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      Great! I really appreciate your reply and the link included. It definitely gives me another option. Thank you.

  • 44g30179358 44g30179358 on May 25, 2018

    Use a mixture of 1 cup hydrogen peroxide, half cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup lemon juice. Add to 1 gallon of hot water. Using a long handle brush, scrub it onto the wood. Let it soak in a while, then spray clean. Should do the trick. If more drastic measures are called for, use 1 cup of bleach in a gallon of hot water and follow the same process. Last but not least, I have fallen in love with Krud Kutter. Spray on straight, scrub lightly and it should help. Good luck. If you get all the mold off, then use clear coat or even floor wax rubbed on with a soft cloth will help close up the pores of the wood.

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      Thank you, I really like the natural solution. Will it also be safe to use with the hosta planted across the base of the front porch? Your floor wax tip is a greatly appreciated suggestion!

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on May 25, 2018

    You can sand the spindles down and apply a coat of marine varnish. If it good enough for a boat it should be okay for a railing. Sometimes a pressure is too harsh and may strip some of the outside wood.

  • JudyH JudyH on May 25, 2018

    The green is algea and the black is mold. I used a very strong 1:1 solution of bleach and water, and a stiff brush for the same problem. Then I rinsed it really well until the slippery bleach was removed, waited a few days for the world to dry out, then applied Thompson's Weatherproof Wood Sealer.

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      Thank you, I appreciate the suggestion. That is a strong solution...maybe what it will need too.

  • Mary Kathy Woitynek Mary Kathy Woitynek on May 25, 2018

    try oxi clean it's cheap and won't hurt any plants etc. and it really works. Let it set for a while before rinsing off.

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      Thank you, great suggestion. I have been concerned about using any chemicals because there are hosta plants across the front porch.

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on May 25, 2018

    Once you have it cleaned off, give it some vinegar to kill the mold and mildew spores. Let the wood dry really well before you seal the wood. I would recommend a marine polyurethane, at least of couple of coats. It is made to hold up under outside weather conditions for quite a while.

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      Thank you for your suggestion. I like the marine product idea. Hopefully I can get it to dry out long enough, haha.

  • Emily Emily on Jun 03, 2018

    We have four porches on our old house plus a deck in the back. Our balusters are turned and have been painted. My husband can do this work. Here he is replacing some on our upper front porch. A picture taken from the front yard would help us give advice. Steel wool is probably too fine for what might need sanding. Don't power wash. And repair the gutters or clean out before doing any work to the railings and balusters. Make sure all the wood pieces are dry before you stain them and adding polyurethane or varnish will help them be resistant to water. This is difficult work, no doubt about it. Good luck!

    • She8935409 She8935409 on Jun 05, 2018

      Wow! Beautiful work. If we lived closer...would you be interested in hiring out your husband, Haha? Yes, not an easy project and unfortunately it's been let go for so long. I was able to clean out some "sluge" stuck in the vertical gutter drain so I feel like that's half the battle. I really appreciate your suggestions and enjoyed the pictures you included. They give me some more incentive. Thank you very much and good luck with your project too.

  • Jcraw Jcraw on Jun 05, 2018

    The railings are gorgeous. I might spray Wet and Forget from my porch

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Jun 05, 2018

    Many deck cleaners are landscape friendly ( plant and turf) with the Oxi Clean bleaches. I would suggest trying that sort of solution with a bucket scrub brush or magic eraser while wearing gloves or whatever personal protection the packaging suggests.


  • Betty Betty on Jun 06, 2018

    I was talking about the pre cut railings if you could not restore your old ones . Also the bleach comes on a gallon jug. .colox work best for me then the genetic bleach .took a couple days after the sun helped bright it up .