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Old 10-20-2008, 07:19 PM   #1
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Default restaining a fading deck

I have very little experience with decks. Could use some help.

Pressure treated deck with semi-transparent stain. The middle of the deck where most traffic is has lost the majority of its color.

the other areas of the deck are semi transparent stain but have actual sneaker prints all over the place from the original stain job!


My paint rep told me that I could power wash the deck, which I have next to no experience with. Or, I can scrub the deck with Cabot Problem Solver. Then restain the deck with a darker semi transparent stain than the current color.

The spindles and railing are in good shape.

Will this deck come out uniform in color with a semi transparent stain over areas that are faded next to non faded?

The deck is 10x 15 and has 2 steps to get from the grass to the deck surface. So it is very low to the ground.

Also, the HO wants me to flip one deck board because its got a chunk missing. It probably was the best side of the board to use when the deck was built. So that would give me a full board that is perpendicular to the traffic area unstained as well.

Sorry I dont have any pix. But below is a horrible example with the flipped board and traffic areas missing most stain.

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Last edited by flashme18; 10-20-2008 at 07:34 PM.. Reason: forgot something
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:38 PM   #2
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It's probably not a very hard problem to fix but I would encourage you to not go for the easy fix (darker semi-trans. over the lighter) on this one. It most likely will not match up and have a consistent look and since you say you have very little experience with decks then I would imagine you'd have a harder time finessing the finish to a uniform look, but don't worry, you'd waste a lot of time and effort trying to cover up the problem when you might be able to get back to bare wood and do it correctly from the start with about the same amount of hassle.

I'm just guessing that you may have Behr semi-trans. Does the homeowner have a left over can or a can with touch up stain that you could look at? That would help tremendously in determining the exact procedures to take. If it's an oil based semi then count yourself lucky and get ready to strip it and restain. If it's a water/latex/acrylic based finish then don't count yourself lucky and think about how much you want the job.
The only way, in my opinion, to effectively cover over the worn areas and foot prints is to switch to a darker semi-solid or a solid color stain. Neither of those are very appealing to me and as they are more film forming than most semi-transparents, they will create a larger maintenance headache down the road for the HO.

We can walk you through the procedure for the stripping and help with a better stain selection but it'd be best to have some more info. What type of stain is currently on the deck (brand and type). What part of the country are you in? and do you have a pressure washer (what gpm if you do)?

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Old 10-20-2008, 08:02 PM   #3
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I will call the HO and find out if they know what type of stain was used on the deck.

I live in North Jersey just outside NYC.

I do not have a pressure washer but can rent one, so I wouldnt know the PSI or GPM on it.


If the homeowner has no clue about the stain, are you suggesting that I tell the HO that a semi-solid or solid stain is best and to basically pick a new color? Can I apply the semi-solid or solid without stripping deck?

I honestly like the solid stain decks. My friend's father changes his deck color every few years.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:25 PM   #4
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Solid stained decks can look great but are prone to peeling and flaking and will obviously begin a layered system when the first restain is required. They are also less durable to foot traffic and harder to strip. So, I would recommend staying away from it in general but sometimes a customers budget only allows for a fix it now approach with little consideration to future problems.
If the HO can't determine the stain then I would recommend doing a test spot with a sodium hydroxide based stripper to get an idea of how well it will come up.
The stripper should do almost all of the work and you should be able to power wash at around 800 psi. Adjust the machines pressure by buying an oversized tip. Don't regulate the pressure with the unloader valve on the pump because as it lowers pressure, it also lessens water volume and that makes your washing take a lot longer and you shouldn't regulate pressure with the throttle because that also lessens water volume and can limit the cooling power of a pressure washers air cooled engine. Rent a 4 gallon per minute machine and buy a size 10, 40 degree nozzle. That will give you about 750 psi.
Apply your stripper (pump-up sprayer works well). Allow it to sit without drying out unitl you can tell the stain is loosening (often you can rub it to bare wood with the toe of your boot). When it is ready, powerwash without getting the nozzle too close to the wood, maintain several inches at least and between 6-12 inches ideally. Reapply stripper to any stubborn spots and repeat until you feel like the wood is completely bare or until you feel the stripper is no longer being effective. While the wood is still wet, neutralize the stripper with either oxalic or citric acid (also called wood bleach or brightner). Let that sit for between 15 and 30 minutes and rinse it off. It's fine if it dries on the wood of the deck.

Things to watch out for:
1) getting stripper on plants or painted siding or glass
2) getting oxalic acid on plants or siding or exposed metal (downspouts, window tracks, etc.) and glass of windows
3) allow adequate drying time before applying your stain. Generally 48-72 hours (without rain, sprinklers, watering plants on the deck, etc.) Be careful to explain this one. You'd be amazed what a HO will do while you're not there, like getting out of their pool and laying on their deck on the days you're waiting for it to dry
4)apply stain with the goal of maintaining a wet edge or going a whole length of a board at a time. no starting and stopping mid board as this leads to lap marks.

Let us know what the HO says about the type of stain and we can give more detail on what stripper to use or what strippers to take for a test.

The reason I asked about your location is because of the temperature in your area. Are they wanting this done before the winter season? I'm in TN, so I may not be the best to judge the temps. for drying time for different stains for you.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:30 PM   #5
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In this situation, I think it would be most practical to strip the old stain off completley, neutralize the pH, and reapply a stain/sealer of the HO's choice. I do this quite frequently:

For that size deck you will need about 3 gallons of super deck stripper. I cut it 1:1 with water. I also carry a spray bottle with this solution to test a small place to see if the stripper will actually take the current stain off.
To test, spray a 2 x 2 area, let it stand for 15min, spray it again and let it stand, scrub it gently with a brush, and rinse with water. If it comes up, you're in business.

Rent the pressure washer, buy a pump up sprayer, and apply deck stripper to all surfaces and rails of deck. Let stand then pressure wash the whole deck being careful not to get to close which will damage the wood. I have a 3500 4.0gpm machine and it makes pretty quick work of washing decks.

Next, apply brightner or neutralizer in this manner: Cut 1 gal of brightner with 4 gallons of water. Apply to entire deck surface, wait 10 minutes and rinse off. Low pressure is fine.

Wait two sunny days for drying and apply whatever stain/sealer the HO desires. 8-12 hrs total is my production rate but it takes two trips so charge accordingly.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:34 PM   #6
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Luke

What stripper do you use?
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:39 PM   #7
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VP,

It's literally called "Purple stuff, Super Deck Stripper". I purchase it at my local power washer distributor called Pressure Works. I assume its the same stuff everyone else uses, I don't think its proprietary.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:22 PM   #8
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how much longer would it take to apply the stripper and clean it with a brush and then wash it off with a garden hose??

i told the homeowner powerwashing can hurt the deck ..but i guess i will just say i mis remembered( straight out of Roger Clemens' school of thought)

The cost of materials is going up a lot here if i strip the deck. Add the pressure/power washer cost and the cost of staining their deck just doubled from my original ballpark phone estimate for sealing the deck. I had no idea how bad the deck was when i spoke to them on phone. This is sounding like an $7-800 job.
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Old 10-20-2008, 09:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flashme18 View Post
how much longer would it take to apply the stripper and clean it with a brush and then wash it off with a garden hose??

i told the homeowner powerwashing can hurt the deck ..but i guess i will just say i mis remembered( straight out of Roger Clemens' school of thought)

The cost of materials is going up a lot here if i strip the deck. Add the pressure/power washer cost and the cost of staining their deck just doubled from my original ballpark phone estimate for sealing the deck. I had no idea how bad the deck was when i spoke to them on phone. This is sounding like an $7-800 job.
strippers tend to start breaking down the wood. power washing can be hard on the wood, especially if it is starting to break down. However, if you know what you are doing, have the right chemicals, and the right equipment, you can strip, brighten, and restore decks very efficiently and safely. Just as safe as using a brush and hose, and less labor intensive. One thing I am noticing is that it is really easy to jump on the powerwashing is bad and damages wood, blah blah blah bandwagon. They are large, powerful, loud, expensive, and mysterious. I jumped on that bandwagon. I have since disboarded. Powerwashing can be done right and be an efficient way to clean things more thoroughly than the "old fashioned way". It can also be done wrong and wreak havoc on the substrates being cleaned.

For your first deck, I would recommend doing it by hand, sans powerwasher. I like the flood brand stripper, pressure teks brightener, and SW deckscapes semi transparent oil based stain beefed up to a semi solid color if that is the desired look. I like the BM stain color samples chart.
Oh, and the last deck I did was $3300 I think? It was a little bit bigger than the deck you are looking at though.
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Old 10-21-2008, 12:17 AM   #10
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Default Sand it Man....sand it...

Rent a 12" x 18" Vibrating-Plate sander.
(Get 2 or 3 backer-pads too...)

Start with ~50-grit, then finish with 60 or 80.

In an hour or so, you've got a new deck floor.
No chemicals, No neutralizing, No PITA pressure-washer, , No plant damage, No waiting a week to dry; and, after removing all dust, you're staining the same day!!!

>>> Because old/degraded wood is now gone, instead of just "Clean"...the deck will absorb AND HOLD stain EVENLY EVERYWHERE.

I've done this to my own 12yo Redwood deck 3 yrs. ago.
(Used Sikkens SRD Redwood, #089)
It still looks very good.

Sanding is actually Sikkens preferred method of prep.

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Old 10-21-2008, 01:52 AM   #11
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flash,

I second what tsunami said. It's hard to know what to tell you on how long it will take. Obviously this will take you longer until you get a few under your belt. For me, I'd plan on 5 hours combined for the 2 trips and that would include set-up and breakdown, but decks are one of the main services I offer so I've got procedures down to a pretty tight system and there's no standing around wondering if the stripper has worked long enough, or waiting to check this or that. I would probably plan on it taking you somewhere between 8 & 12 hours depending on the condition and type of stain and the condition of the wood.
When you finish stripping, cleaning & brightening, you will probably notice the wood looking a little "fuzzy." Some fuzzing is normal and you can get a lot of it out while the wood is still wet just using a scotch brite pad (green synthetic wool pads).

You might want to consider the option of just sanding the floor but I would strip it. You've got a great small deck to learn on and you may run into some trouble if you have to start getting in between the floor boards to sand the sides and certainly the spindles will be a nightmare to sand.
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Old 10-21-2008, 01:01 PM   #12
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i sold the homeowner on stripping the deck. I priced it out at $600. Unfortunately it is going to rain this weekend. So I am going to strip and clean it tomorrow or Thursday and stain it next week.

What strippers do you guys suggest? What tips can you give me for the fastest system of stripping it?

I have a pump sprayer, a scrub brush that attaches to a painters pole, my painters plastic and tape, dropcloths. I think i have a hand scrub brush laying around.

What else do I need for supplies? Will the stain or cleaning product eat through those clear plastic paint tray liners?

Application:

Do you guys brush and roll on the stain and then go back over with a dry rags?

I learned to apply with rags instead of brushes. I would save myself a crapload of time by rolling the horizontal surfaces.

For stripping and cleaning..how long do i wait between stripping and then using the brightener? Is the brightener/ or cleaner necessary once I have stripped the stain?

The weather here is about 50-55 degrees. How long will it take for a deck to dry?
How long must stain dry before any rain? or customer walking on it?

Sorry for all the questions. Just want to do everything kick ass.
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:08 PM   #13
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You can call Sunbrite Supply (I've got their atlanta # but there is a closer branch to you if you google it) and ask them to set you up with Rip-it stripper (one jar should be plenty) and one jar of their brightner. I normally buy both by the case so I don't know the individual price but I think they are probably around $10-15 each per jar.

Apply the brightner immediately after the final strip. Normally, the deck will still be wet but if it is not, then rewet it. Brightners can be a little harsh on the lungs if applied to dry, hot wood.

I spray most stains but when not spraying I either use a lambswool pad or a stainers brush (big fat brush that really holds a lot of stain).

I tend to use Porter Paints, Pittsburgh Paints or Ready Seal stains. What color does the HO want? SW will be a fine choice for you as well. Don't use Behr. I find oil based stains to be easiest to work with and the easiest to do maintenance on.

****prewet any plants and any siding or windows that you aren't going to cover and keep them rinsed throughout the stripping/brightening phase*****

Have Fun!
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:25 PM   #14
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flashme,

I did 29 decks this summer and all of them had old stain on them. First off, what type of wood is this deck made of?

Second, strip away. It's the way to do this deck right, however, don't strip it without a powerwasher. Use Olympic Stripper available at any PPG store or lowes. Put the stripper on one section at a time, keep it wet and let it sit for an hour. Power wash the deck after a light scrubbing after the 60 min has passed. Then use a wood brightener to restore the wood's ph balance (I make my own bleach and tsp mixture). After your done with all that, 9.9 times out of 10, you will have to sand. You just can't get away from furring the wood after using all those chemicals on it and scrubbing. Even if you didn't run a power washer on the deck, it will still fur. It's those harsh agents you're using to strip and clean the deck. When you are done sanding, blow the deck off with a high powered leaf blower and stain it. $600 is way low on this type of job. Use it as a learning experience and bite the bullet - but don't skip the sanding. Staining over furred wood will look terrible and you'll wind up doing it again once the HO sees it. From now on, with work like this figure at least $900 on a very small deck and go up from there.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:33 PM   #15
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Pinnacle,

Just to offer my two cents, I think you should switch your brightner from the bleach/tsp mix and start using oxalic or citric acid. Besides brightening, the brightener should neutralize the alkaline stripper which requires an acidic material. Bleach and TSP are both alkaline.

I do completely agree on the sanding because of the furring of the wood though. We tend to use the synthetic pads, similar to scotch brite pads but I used to sand a lot.

Flash, I'd recommend 80 grit sandpaper if you do sand. Get paper that is too fine and it can begin clogging the pores of the wood and restrict the stain from penetrating.
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Old 10-21-2008, 06:47 PM   #16
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VP,

It's literally called "Purple stuff, Super Deck Stripper". I purchase it at my local power washer distributor called Pressure Works. I assume its the same stuff everyone else uses, I don't think its proprietary.
Thats cool that you have a local distributor.
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:31 PM   #17
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Thats cool that you have a local distributor.
They do all the service for pressure washers and paint sprayers. The deck stripper runs about $80 per fiver but I cut it in half with water. Maybe I should talk to them about getting an online distributor setup.
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Old 10-21-2008, 08:04 PM   #18
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They do all the service for pressure washers and paint sprayers. The deck stripper runs about $80 per fiver but I cut it in half with water. Maybe I should talk to them about getting an online distributor setup.
We have purchased from a couple this year that came highly recommended and been very happy with the results.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:18 AM   #19
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another thing about wood brighteners that a lot of people do not know is that by using an oxalic acid brightener is that you set the wood to a slightly acidic ph. This reduces mold and mildew build up. Plus bleach is used to dissolve wood in paper pulp operations so I don't really like to dump it on peoples decks.
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Old 10-22-2008, 12:37 AM   #20
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Default Decks Age??

I forgot to ask...How old is the deck??

>>> If it's towards 10 y/o, do yourself & the HO a favor and just sand the floor.

You're giving them a "new" floor again....not a "mostly" de-fuzzed/chemical-stripped harsh surface that MAY not take new stain all that well...

You could strip the spindles, etc. first, and finish-sand where needed.
* When the floor is dry, sand it.
* Sweep AND Vacuum off dust.
* Then wipe with a paint-thinner dampened rag that doesn't lint.
* You'll be amazed at how much more dust comes off!!!
* Wait an hour and stain the floor.

Basically...save the floor for last.
I'm serious >>> from the start of floor-sanding 'till done with the stain...could be only 2 hours .
THAT ALONE will make you the hero of that deck floor.

There are "nose" extensions for some palm-sanders that can reach between spindles to sand.

Lastly...DON'T use a Solid-stain on a deck that low!!
Ground-moisture coming up wants to push off solid stains b4 their time.
Stick with Semi-transparents.

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