Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
Deck Stain Help Articles
Deck Stain Reviews Ratings

Posts Tagged ‘Deck Restoration Help’


What is Best Deck StainsNote: This is the first version of our most popular article on We help by guiding consumers in finding a high quality and low maintenance deck stain based on a series of questions. This article alone had had over 11,000 Q&A questions to date. We have updated this article by including some answers to our most popular questions.

Please visit our updated article here: The Best Deck Stains?

What is the Best Deck Stain?

This is the most popular question that deck owners have. Unfortunately there is not a “best” deck stain out there. There are products that are better then others, but there is not one that will outperform every other stain.

A better way to approach this common question is to ask, “what is the best stain for my deck and it’s environment”? Just because a deck stain performs well in the Northeast part of the country does not mean it will perform well in the high altitudes of Arizona. There are also VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Laws the come into effect for different parts of the country. This may limit what is available in your state. For example, TWP 100 Series cannot be used in 17 states that have a low VOC content of 250.

To understand a deck stain and its potential longevity, we should first look at the main reasons deck stains fail:

  1. UV rays from the sun will damage the wood resulting in degradation of the wood cell structure. This will break down the stain while causing the wood to oxidize (turn gray).
  2. Water, snow, and ice will cause damage to the wood by breaking down the exposed cellular structure.
  3. Freeze/thaw will expand and contract the wood resulting in the stain “bond” with the wood cells to fail.
  4. Mold, mildew, and algae will  leave the wood unsightly/dirty and can result in rotting.
  5. High traffic areas will leave “wearing” patterns.
  6. Previous stain used was of low quality or applied poorly.
  7. The Stain was not applied properly or the wood was not prepped properly prior to application. Bad prep is the number one reason stains prematurely fail!

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Bleach Is Bad For Wood

In this article we are going to cover what actually is “Wood Deck Cleaner”. We will compare the different types of deck cleaning options available and what are the positives and negatives of each.

Wood and Deck Cleaners

Exterior wood and deck cleaners are designed to clean and prep your exterior wood prior to an application of a wood stain. These cleaners come in many different concentrates with different ingredients. The main purpose of deck cleaners is to remove contaminants such as dirt, oxidation (graying), mold, algae, and in some cases, a very deteriorated stain that has failed. Deck cleaners are typically made up of caustics soaps that will aid in the scrubbing or pressure washing of your wood during the prepping process. Most deck cleaners will raise the pH balance of the wood resulting in a neutralizing acid (deck brightener) application to cancel the caustic of the cleaner, leaving the wood in a neutral state.

Note: Deck cleaners are not designed to remove old stains. You would need a deck stain stripper for this.

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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.

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Pressure Washing A Deck
Pressure Washing A Deck

Pressure Washing A Deck

Wood restoration can be one of the most misunderstood services and one of the toughest for do-it-yourself homeowners. One thing to keep in mind is that the main reason a new deck sealer will fail prematurely is because the wood was not cleaned properly beforehand.

When wood becomes weathered, it needs to be cleaned prior to sealing. Cleaning a wooden deck can be a difficult task for a homeowner that is uneducated about the process.

Using a pressure washer can be an effective method. You must also use the proper cleaners to get the dirt and grime out that is deep down in the wood. Most people make the mistake of using too much water pressure when using a pressure washer. Wood is actually pretty soft and can damage easily from excessive water pressure.

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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.