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Old 05-19-2010, 10:37 AM   #1
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Default Two crazy decks!

I average about 10 deck restorations every summer. Typically I do a full prep...replace any bad wood, scrape any loose solid stain/paint, spread a bleach and water solution, pressure wash, let dry thoroughly, set nails/screws, sand deck boards and top of handrail, remove dust then restain. Never had any problems or call backs. Customers happy and refer me to neighbors and friends.
Well I guess it's bound to happen but this past month I had 2 jobs in a row that were unusual to say the least.
First job the customer (I'd done interior work for them previously) called and said they had their deck redone last year but now it's starting to peel and two neighbors said they should call me. (I guess I didn't make it clear earlier that I did decks). I show up, they show me the deck and it looks suspiciously like paint. I asked to see the can. It was SW Superpaint! I explained why this wasn't a good choice and asked if a "pro" was responsible. They replied that their condo handyman did it. I asked what kind of prep work was done, they said he swept off some leaves.
Long story short I decided to sand rather than strip (second story deck with patio underneath and both are "cut in" to building with walls on 3 sides.
Sanded through paint, solid stain and semi trans stain. Gave them some color brochures and they went with Ben Moore oil semi trans in Potter's Clay. They love it. Done!

Deck 2. Five years ago customer hired me to restore their deck. Beautiful house on mountain top, great views of our valley, deck about 10 years old never been stained. Did usual prep, applied 3 coats of Cabot SPF 48 in Coco Shell (I know!...learned my lesson but at the time it was the rave). It looked beautiful, they loved it...done.

Fast forward to this year, they called saying last year they had the whole exterior painted (I don't do big exteriors) and as long as the guy was there (he ownes a "big" painting business in the county) they had him put another coat on the deck. Now it's peeling and "looking wierd". They want me to fix it. I come up and it looks very strange. I ask to see the can that was used and they show me (sitting right next to the old SPF can) a can of Pittsburgh acrylic/oil toner in Canyon Brown. I show them right on the can it says can only be used over an oil stain. Gave them three options. Strip/sand to bare wood, reboard the deck and treads, or do heavy prep and recoat with same Pittsburgh and NO warranty. They chose the latter!
Today is final restaining day, can't wait to move on.

Would you guys have handled these any differently?
Do you all sand as a part of your normal prep?
What is your sander of choice? I just ordered the Porter Cable 390k. Have used Ridged and Milwaukee, always 5 inch RO but all die within 2 years.

Thanks much for any input.
Dan
Brevard, N.C.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:03 AM   #2
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It seems to always happen after stripping the decks that the boards (mostly cedar) fur up and in the usual sanding is needed. I really don't see how anyone gets around the sanding... but some say they do.

As for the sander... I'm not all that picky, I have a DeWalt RO. But I usually use the square palm sander.... again, a DeWalt. I don't do as many decks as you do, but I do get about 2-5 per season and have not replaced my sanders yet.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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I usually sand too. But I usually only work on unfinished raw decks. I think the prep for those are bad enough. I can't imagine doing a full strip on a deck with spindles and stairs. Then I always use a oil semi-transparent, never solid. Solids are just gonna peel, kinda like paint. I guess I would if the homeowners didn't mind after I educated them and that was the only option for making the deck look good.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:45 AM   #4
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Well on my end of the business, not many decks get sanded like they should. Most guys just dont do it, mainly because the customers dont want the extra charge. This is usually what I see.

Solid peeling deck---gets a chemical strip and a re coat of solid.

Stained deck ( transparent/semi )--- chemical strip, and light sanding on any bad areas, usually handrails, stairs and miscellaneous spots on the floor.

Thats typically the "norm" around here. Its not what i'd do on my own deck, but that what most people will pay for. Full strips, and proper sanding does happen, but its not in the majority.
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Old 05-19-2010, 11:48 AM   #5
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It seems to always happen after stripping the decks that the boards (mostly cedar) fur up and in the usual sanding is needed. I really don't see how anyone gets around the sanding... but some say they do.

Good chemicals will take off most coatings with minimal fuzzies. If you dont use a chemical and just water......you're working too hard.....that is unless you have a hot water washer, those are great.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:55 PM   #6
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Good chemicals will take off most coatings with minimal fuzzies. If you dont use a chemical and just water......you're working too hard.....that is unless you have a hot water washer, those are great.
I normally use SW chems... Never just straight water... I think the fur is more about how much you work it with a scrubber. Difficult stains can take more scrubbing than others. I stripped Behr off once... it was a PITA to get off, made for alot of sanding later... And decks with multiple layers... Ughh...

I have one coming up that has only one layer of waterborne stain, I doubt if I'll be sanding at all.

Hot water would be ideal, but I'm not that well equipped, yet...
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:11 PM   #7
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Hot water would be ideal, but I'm not that well equipped, yet...
Craigslist......

A customer of mine is retiring and wants to sell all his equipment and business.

1 van P.O.S
1 10000psi washer
1 hot water washer/trailer
3 4000 psi washers

misc tools, ladders,small power washers, sanders etc etc......$12k

He has a decent customer base, and for someone starting out, would be a pretty good deal. He keeps trying to get me to buy all his equipment, but for me....he would have to come down a lot.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:43 AM   #8
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Superpaint on a deck? Sounds like a Sev job!

I like those drum sanders, cheap to rent and really quick. They really can sink in tho, have to be careful.
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Old 05-20-2010, 07:47 AM   #9
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You may want to use your bleach solution after you powerwash. If its a raw deck I powerwash first, let dry, apply a wood brightener or bleach solution, rinse with garden hose, sand with ro, vacuum and restain. If its previously stained then I use a stripper before I powerwash. I always apply my stain or toners with a brush.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:19 AM   #10
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the proper way to do it is:
1. Clean deck to remove mildew and dirt. ( I've seen guys skip this process thinking that the stripper will clean the deck).
2. Strip deck. ( I normally factor in stripping the entire deck twice and somtimes, well most of the time you need to scrub the stripper in.)
3. Use wood brightener ( this help reduce the PH level in the wood and restore the wood to its original color)
4. Lightly sand
5. Stain.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diversers View Post
the proper way to do it is:
1. Clean deck to remove mildew and dirt. ( I've seen guys skip this process thinking that the stripper will clean the deck).
2. Strip deck. ( I normally factor in stripping the entire deck twice and somtimes, well most of the time you need to scrub the stripper in.)
3. Use wood brightener ( this help reduce the PH level in the wood and restore the wood to its original color)
4. Lightly sand
5. Stain.
Do you find your customers are receptive to the pricepoint that this schedule requires? How long does an average stripping/resurface project on a 16x10 deck with rails and stairs take you? Just curious because I don't think many in my market would be receptive to the price I would have to charge to make money on this type of project.

And what do you do with the stain thats stripped? Do you contain it or just blow it off the deck and let it scatter into the lawn?
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