Help With Removing a Solid Deck Stain
Once a deck has been stained with a heavy pigmented or solid stain it can be hard to maintain. Solid deck stains are like paint in that they form a film on the wood surface to provide weather protection. Once it is time for maintenance, a cleaning and recoat are necessary. After several years the solid stain begins to buildup and has trouble adhering, thus it begins to peel and flake constantly.
To stop this negative effect from occurring, or to switch from one deck stain to another, it is best to remove the solid deck stain completely and start with bare wood again. But removing a solid deck stain takes patience and a little bit of work.
To remove a solid deck stain you need to use a deck stain remover. Stain strippers contain aggressive ingredients to help break through and soften tough to remove deck stains. Once the stain begins to emulsify it can then be pressure washed off.Start by covering any nearby plants and landscaping. Put plastic and tape over windows and any areas that aren’t being stripped. Wear protective gloves and eyewear. Coat the deck with the stain remover in a uniform manner by applying it with a brush or a pump sprayer. Allow the product to remain wet on the wood for 10-15 minutes. For harder to remove solid stains longer dwell times may be necessary.
Once the solid stain begins to break loose from the wood surface, use a pressure washer at 1000-1200psi to remove the solid stain completely. A stiff scrub brush and garden hose can also be used. Reapply the stain stripper and repeat the process if stubborn areas remain. Rinse thoroughly.
After you are satisfied with the results it is important to apply a wood deck brightener. After the wood is stripped it will appear very dark in color. This is due to the caustic stripper raising the pH of the wood. This is the case with using a stain stripper or wood cleaner and is very normal. To reverse this effect, apply an even coat of deck brightener to restore the wood’s natural color and pH levels to a more neutral state. This will enhance the grain and open the wood pores for better stain penetration. Rinse thoroughly.
Allow the deck to dry for a minimum of 48 hours before applying a new deck stain. If there are still some remnants of old solid deck stain, you can remove them using a sander. Use a leaf blower or broom to blow away the sawdust. Use a rag with mineral spirits to further clean the sanded area if you are using oil based stain. Use a rag damp with water instead if you are using water based stain. Proceed with staining or sealer the wood.
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