Prior to staining a wood deck it is necessary to properly clean the wood for the best results. Removing all the dirt, mold, mildew, and graying will help the new deck stain to penetrate better and last longer.
When dealing with a deck that has an old failing deck stain on it, a simple wood cleaning is not enough. In this case a deck stain stripper must be used to emulsify and soften the old stain so it can be removed more easily. Wood stain strippers are more aggressive than a typical wood cleaner.
Some of the best deck stain strippers that we have found contain a mixture of Sodium Hydroxide and other surfactants and typically come in a concentrated powder formula. Once mixed with water they can be applied using a pump sprayer.
To get the best results using a wood stain stripper you need to let the product dwell for several minutes after applying it to the wood. This allows the stain stripper to penetrate and breakdown the old stain. The amount of dwell time depends on the type of existing stain. For instance most semi-transparent oil based stains will remove more easily than a semi-solid deck stain.
For hard to remove stains such as acrylic or silicone based stains, several applications and longer dwell times may be necessary. In extreme cases when dealing with a solid deck stain or paint, some sanding may be needed to fully remove the existing stain.
Once the failing deck stain seems to have been softened it is best removed with a power washer using light to moderate pressure. The caustic stripper will raise the pH level of the wood during the stripping process causing it to appear very dark. Following the stripping process with an application of wood deck brightener will restore the pH and brighten the wood. This brightening process should not be skipped. It is a crucial step to getting optimal results from the new deck stain and a more natural appearance.
Using a quality wood deck stain stripper will give you the best chance of removing the existing deck stain. Once the old stain is gone the new deck stain can fully penetrate the wood for maximum protection and lasting results.
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