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How To Remove the Ink Stamps from New Decking?

Deck_Ink_StampPressure treated decking when new has a tendency to have very annoying ink stamps on the wood when processed at the mill. Lumber is stamped at the mill according to its grade. An American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) grade mark and an American Wood-Preservers’ Association (AWPA) tag certify the lumber’s quality. These stamps are very troublesome for owners to remove prior to applying a decking stain that is either transparent or semi-transparent as the ink will show through the stain.

We have found this to be the most effective way of Decking Ink Stamp Removal:

Sand First then let Wood Weather Naturally

Since most decking stain manufacturers want you to let new wood season and weather before staining it is advisable to do these steps:

  1. Right after install of new wood you should lightly sand all stamps off with 80 grit paper. Take care to sand with the grain of the wood.
  2. Let wood weather for 1-4 months or as suggested by stain manufacture.
  3. Clean and Brighten all decking after the weathering for the stain prep and even out the appearance
  4. Apply stain. Please read this about New Decking stain

The reason for sanding first then weathering is to make sure the stain will apply evenly. If you were to sand the ink sports right before staining then there will be a very strong chance that the stain will take lighter in the sanded areas, resulting in a very uneven appearance of the deck stain.

If you have any questions on this topic, Please Ask Below

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8 responses to “How To Remove the Ink Stamps from New Decking?”

  1. Steve says:

    Sikkens is terrible

  2. Steve Adams says:

    Having built my own decks, and also hiring contractors for larger projects, I had not ever run into caring for older decks and pressure-treated pine. This article, as well as others on this site, have been extremely helpful. Preserving and maximizing the appearance of my home is easier than I thought. Thank you.

  3. Melinda says:

    A blue crayon melted on our new pressure treated wood deck. We scraped up the solids, but now need to remove the soaked in color. How can I remove the stain? Thanks!

    • Sand it out or replace the board. Cleaners will not remove the wax.

    • Louis says:

      PT wood often has annoying wax pencil 'sorting' marks (as well as the manufacturers ink stamps). Since I've built quite a few decks for some picky customers, including myself, I've experimented with just about every solution out there, with spotty results. For starters, if water can penetrate the wood (i.e. wood not sealed well) leave a wet towel on the wax area 10-15 minutes. If water only beads on wood, skip this step. Heat an iron to medium high heat, cover the wax with the clean cotton towel or old tee shirt and apply the iron for 3 or 4 minutes. Wet or dry, steam or heat will melt the wax and the cloth will absorb it. I repeat the process until no more wax transfers to the cloth. I was hoping that by leaving the iron on the wood for longer periods with higher heat it might replicate the mill coating effect (blade friction/heat cause sap/etc. to rinse to the surface) and remove more wax, but just repeating the process was just as effective. Anyhow, I let the wood cool then sand with a pad sander starting with 80 grit and progress to a 220 grit. Using chemicals to break down wax can cause it to penetrate more deeply into the wood, and result in a worse stain than you started with, often not visible till it dried out. A few failed conclusions were xylol, borax, vinegar, mineral spirits, white gas, and HD degreasers (which do break down wax). Now if you're looking to eliminate those ink stamps, good luck!

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.