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Old 03-14-2016, 06:45 PM   #1
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Default Deck Cleaning Prior to Stain

What's your method for cleaning decks prior to staining them? Bleach, rinse, and go, bleach then follow with oxalic acid or citric acid, or maybe no bleach and at all and a mild stripper instead?
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:29 PM   #2
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Wet, BM Remove, wash, BM Brighten, wash, let dry , stain.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:40 PM   #3
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So many variables on this one
Would have to see the deck first
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:43 PM   #4
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I know we're not supposed to pressure wash decks anymore, but, if dialed in fairly low, it's still an effective way to clean decks, especially grungy pressure-treated decks that are covered in gray/green mildew and dirt. I like to do them that way because you don't have to put any type of chemical on the wood. I know, I know.......it shouldn't be done that way.
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Old 03-14-2016, 07:47 PM   #5
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So many variables on this one
Would have to see the deck first
No exact deck in mind really. Lets say it's a never sealed before newer pressure treated deck.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:06 PM   #6
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Default Preparing decks for staining

For me, it depends upon the condition of the wood, what product is currently on the wood and the condition of that existing product, as well as what stain you plan on applying. Lots of variables. Generally, downstream Elemonator & bleach to clean. Depending upon what it looks like after the cleaning, I may or may not brighten with oxalic, applied directly via 12v pump. 80% of the time I do follow with oxalic, but I'm just saying I don't always. I'll add sodium hydroxide to the bleach if the deck is pretty gnarly, and if I end up adding the hydrox, I'll always follow up with oxalic.

If we're talking about removing an existing stain, assuming it was an oil stain, (since I'm not gonna screw around with stripping acrylics this year), I've used sodium hydroxide beads, F-18 or HD-80 applied directly, or boosted with glycol or butyl to downstream, also downstreamed Powerrsolve DSI, and even boosted the Powersolve with HD-80. Boosting the mix is just a way to make it stronger, more effective in certain applications. I always neutralized/brightened afterwords if using any of the above, (except bleach). If the deck has no sealer on it and/or for decks over water, sodium percarbonate, but that really has to be applied directly, and with warmish-hot water, and is the very least favorite way for me personally. I rarely follow the percarb with oxalic, although I've been subject to scrutiny because of it.

If you ask me in a year, I might have a different or better way. Always trying to lean. Love wood restoration more than any other part of our work. Whether it's hardwood floors inside or decks & fences outside.
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Last edited by stelzerpaintinginc.; 03-14-2016 at 08:34 PM..
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:14 PM   #7
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For me, it depends upon the condition of the wood, what product is currently on the wood and the condition of that existing product, as well as what stain you plan on applying. Lots of variables. Generally, downstream Elemonator & bleach to clean. Depending upon what it looks like after the cleaning, I may or may not brighten with oxalic, applied directly via 12v pump. 80% of the time I do follow with oxalic, but I'm just saying I don't always. I'll add sodium hydroxide to the bleach if the deck is pretty gnarly, and if I end up adding the hydrox, I'll always follow up with oxalic.

If we're talking about removing an existing stain, assuming it was an oil stain, (since I'm not gonna screw around with stripping acrylics this year), I've used sodium hydroxide beads, F-18 or HD-80 applied directly, or boosted with glycol or butyl to downstream, also downstreamed Powerrsolve DSI, and even boosted the Powersolve with HD-80. Boosting the mix is just a way to make it stronger, more effective in certain applications. I always neutralized/brightened afterwords if using any of the above, (except bleach). If the deck has no sealer on it and/or for decks over water, sodium percarbonate, but that really has to be mixed directly, and with warmish-hot water, and is the very least favorite way for me personally. I rarely follow the percarb with oxalic, although I've been subject to scrutiny because of it.

If you ask me in a year, I might have a different or better way. Always trying to lean. Love wood restoration more than any other part of our work. Whether it's hardwood floors inside or decks & fences outside.
Have you ever tried citric acid? I used it for the first time today on a grappa deck after using a mild stripper and I was impressed how much it brightened it up.

I have a newer pt deck coming up that I had just planned on bleaching and rinsing. But after today I'm considering trying out after the bleach/rinse.

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Old 03-14-2016, 08:27 PM   #8
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Have you ever tried citric acid? I used it for the first time today on a grappa deck after using a mild stripper and I was impressed how much it brightened it up.

I have a newer pt deck coming up that I had just planned on bleaching and rinsing. But after today I'm considering trying out after the bleach/rinse.

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I've used citric in small increments on a few projects around & over ponds. I'll try to switch to citralic this year after I use the last 15lbs of oxalic, but our difference in preference may very well be regional, since most decks I do here are softwoods, and oxalic is great for softwoods, as well as removing rust & minerals. Citric is much safer to use, and great for hardwoods, and maybe your state uses more hardwoods for decks? Just guessing. Citralic seems to be a nice compromise, blending the 2, but it's been very low on my list of priorities to be honest.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:32 PM   #9
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Love wood restoration more than any other part of our work. Whether it's hardwood floors inside or decks & fences outside.

Wish you were near me.. I'll get 100-200 requests for deck service over the next couple of months and I am taking on 0.00 of them. I hate wasting the leads. Every painter I have given them to was gung ho in the beginning then said.. uhhh no thanks. I don't blame them.
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:43 PM   #10
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Pressure
Why do you not take them ?
Is it simply because nothing will last ?

I am on a never ending quest to learn more about cleaners and brightners
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:13 PM   #11
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I was wondering the same thing are you strictly pressure washing now.
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Old 03-14-2016, 11:40 PM   #12
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No exact deck in mind really. Lets say it's a never sealed before newer pressure treated deck.
Pressure treated deck? I'd walk away.

Third year in a row mine has started failing. And I let it weather for 2 years
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Old 03-15-2016, 08:55 AM   #13
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Pressure treated deck? I'd walk away.

Third year in a row mine has started failing. And I let it weather for 2 years
Nah it's been baking in the South Carolina sun for a year, I'm sure it's about as dried out as its gonna get. Some TWP and it'll be good to go for a couple years.

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Old 03-15-2016, 09:30 AM   #14
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Pressure treated deck? I'd walk away.

Third year in a row mine has started failing. And I let it weather for 2 years
You need to use a deck brightener to get the uv degraded wood fibers off before you stain it. Powerwashing it just shoves the fibers back into the good wood and the stain won't stick to the good wood. Use the brightener, let it set for however long the instructions say, then powerwash the loosened dead fibers off at a fairly low pressure. It's actually much easier then trying to do a full on high pressure wash anyway. Let the brightener do the work.

On a new pressure treated deck the official word from Cali's Storm Stains is their oxalic/citric blend. And they recommend using the same if an unstained deck is exposed to UV for more then 3-4 days. That's all it takes to degrade the exposed wood to the point that not removing it CAN be detrimental to the finish coat.

The "science" of deck preparation is a constantly evolving process. As coatings evolve, as well as the wood treatments themselves evolve, the process will be constantly changing. You also have to take into account the environmental requirements of your area. The oxalic/citric is as I have been told the safest way to properly prepare the wood for final finishing.
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Old 03-15-2016, 02:22 PM   #15
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Pressure
Why do you not take them ?
Is it simply because nothing will last ?

I am on a never ending quest to learn more about cleaners and brightners
I built my business on deck restoration so I am grateful for that. Initially it was great because it is like selling two jobs.. the cleaning and the staining. Eventually though, with VOC changes up here, more and more decks were a strip of acrylic based sealers which required stronger and stronger stripper. Dead plants, accidental stripping of oxidized paint around windows and doors, callbacks from a drip or two of stain in a driveway, overspray and prep, having to shift trucks from washing to staining and back again, rain delays wreaking havoc on scheduling.. it just got to be too much. Its a lower profit margin service than other things I offer while being the most difficult. Not worth it. I can bill $85/man hr washing houses and roofs and we are in and out in one day with thrilled customers.

Five years ago I started backing out of them and haven't looked back. Its not a viable business for high volume.
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