Best Deck Prep? Clean, Strip, or Sand the Deck? 4.8/5 (60)

by Deck Stain Help

This post was updated on April 29, 2022

What is the Best Deck Deck Prep 2022

This has become one of our most popular articles on DeckStainhelp.com. In this article, we help by guiding consumers in finding the best way to prep their deck for an application or reapplication of a deck stain or deck coating. Not all scenarios are the same, and this article with some input and pictures from you will help determine the proper way to prep.

Best Deck Prep? Clean, Strip, or Sand the Deck?

Best Deck Prep? Clean, Strip, or Sand the Deck?

Clean, Strip, or Sand the Deck?

This is the 2nd most popular question that deck owners have on this website with the first being What is the Best Deck Stain? Prepping your deck is the single most important aspect of the deck restoration process and will determine your final appearance and the stain’s longevity. Not prepping properly can lead to premature stain failure and overall poor appearance results. How to best prep your deck could vary on many scenarios:

  • Is the wood new or old?
  • Does it have a previous coating on the wood?
  • Are you re-coating with the same brand and colors as last time?
  • When was the last time it was stained?
  • What type of stain was it coated with before?

A better way to approach the deck prepping question is to ask, “what is the best deck prep for my deck due to its current condition and age?”

The three main ways to prep a deck are:

  • Deck Cleaning followed by Wood Brightening
  • Deck Stripping followed by Wood Brightening
  • Power Sanding
  • Or a combination of the above

How To Strip A Deck Stain Video

What is the Best Deck way to Prep My Deck?

We will ask a series of questions. Based on your answers to these questions, we will be able to provide help as to the best way to prep your deck before applying a deck stain.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood?
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating?
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color?
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know.
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain?
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues?
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure?
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition.

Post a comment below and make sure to include the answers to the above questions. Feel free to include any additional information that would be useful!

Ask in the Comment Section Below. Include Answers to the above Questions.

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

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JOHN F ROSS
JOHN F ROSS
1 day ago

I stripped a one yr old Behr (Crap) Solid Stain Cedar Deck last fall, never had time to Brighten or stain the deck. Winter got me.

It looks like it need a light sanding for some spots .
What are the next steps? …and what # of sandpaper should I use?
In Wisconsin so planning on TWP 100
Thanks

Debbie Buckingham
Debbie Buckingham
4 days ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? 4 years old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? The lower deck around the pool was stained using One Time 7-year stain.
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Getting this stain job done has been a lengthy disjointed project. The lower deck by the pool was done last year with the One Time stain product. Top deck has never been stained. All the railings were stained as well.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know.
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? I believe it is oil based transparent
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? some on 2 boards near a dripping faucet….now repaired
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? It hasn’t really failed, but hasn’t lived up to the product description.
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition.

We have a 5 gallon pail not opened of the One Time stain The deck was power washed with no cleaners and then sanded. Do we still need to use brightner? The cost of the One Time has more than doubled in price since we purchased it and we will need more. I’m thinking I should just use a different product but also hate to waste the 5 gallons. Thoughts and recommendations on that. Could we use what we have of the One Time and then use a different stain on the upper deck as close to the One Time color as we can get. Is there a colorable stain that we could match to the One Time color? I’m thinking a semi solid or semi transparent if we start over completely! Thanks for this awesome site and information!

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Moira J.
Moira J.
7 days ago

Hello,

I’m in Northeastern Ohio with full sun in the summer. I bought the house with the deck already in bad shape with no information on the history.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? – Old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Unknown
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Unknown of brand/color. Would like to use a dark stain.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Unknown
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? No
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Older deck and lack of upkeep
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Kelly
Kelly
8 days ago

Sorry double post

Last edited 8 days ago by Kelly
Kelly
Kelly
8 days ago

I bought a house last year, and would like to refinish the deck. I’m in Eastern Ontario, with a south facing deck that gets full afternoon sun.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? – Old, unsure of age
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Unknown – possible traces?
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Not picky on looks, just protecting wood for longevity
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Unknown
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Not apparent
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Likely just old?
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Lesa
Lesa
8 days ago

Lesa’s deck pictures.

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Lesa
Lesa
8 days ago

I live in Indiana. Cold wet snowy winters, hot humid summers. The deck faces East, so it gets afternoon shade. It has some cracks and splintering, but it has been stained regularly. For cracks, will wood filler or epoxy work?

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? about 30 yrs old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes. It had behr deck over, that I’ve scraped off. Now it has some peeling solid stain left
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Different brand. Similar color
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Solid stain brand unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Water based, solid
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? No
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Unknown
Lesa
Lesa
8 days ago

For the cracks, will a wood filler or epoxy work?

Nellie
Nellie
9 days ago

This webpage is a treasure trove of info! Thank you for putting it together. Wanted to ask about our deck and advice for refinishing:

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Old – approximately 30 years
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Barely, you can see what’s left in the photos.
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Switching (presumably, I don’t know what product was used previously)
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Unknown.. semi solid or semi transparent is my best guess?
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? None
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Age, high-altitude sun, lack of care – we moved in recently and don’t know the last time the deck was refinished.

Any products you’ve found in particular to be a great finish option for high-UV exposure? We’re south facing at 8400 ft and the sun is brutal to wood up here. Would prefer a clear or semi-transparent once we get this older stuff off. Oil-based better than water-based?

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Linda
Linda
9 days ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Old pressure treated
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? No
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? No
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Not stained
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? No stain
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Some in a couple of specific areas
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure?

This site is wonderful. Thank you in advance for taking these questions. We live in southern Ontario Canada. We have wet, snowy winters and humid summers. We are currently getting quotes from a couple of different companies to refurbish the deck and fence. Both are offering a power wash with a cleaner, sanding, stain and seal. One company uses a brightener. The other does not. When I asked about the brightener the company told me that it only needs to be used after a chemical wash. Can you please suggest your optimal approach to restoring the deck? If possible, could you please include as many specifics about each step as time allows? Would you recommend solid or semi-solid stain? With appreciation.
Linda

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Justin Baham
Justin Baham
9 days ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Older
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Switching to new brand
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Behr
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Possibly solid based on how it’s peeling.
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Yes
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Unknown
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of t
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Jerry Terry
Jerry Terry
10 days ago

I pit on Sikkens Rubbol DEK approximately 15 years ago and it’s becoming more scuffed and worn looking. I found your site and want to use RAD solid stain. All of the Sikkens is still adhering well to wood except on 2 of the steps where I did a second coat that is peeling. Will sanding the steps be enough prep or do I need to do more?
Thanks. Great site. Site won’t accept my fotos.

Sue Anne Haight
Sue Anne Haight
11 days ago

I am preparing to stain my huge deck with RAD solid stain. What is the best pump sprayer, or electric sprayer to use?
Thank you.

Gail Murray
Gail Murray
11 days ago

We have a new pressure treated pine deck that was done last summer (13 x 14ft). We are ready to apply a semi transparent stain. It gets full sun from about 10am to 6pm . We also live in Montreal, Canada with extreme cold in the winter and hot summers. Based on what I have read on your site, I need to use the RAD cleaner and brightener to prepare the deck and then apply the stain. I believe the Armstrong Clark semi trans stain would be the best given the amount of sun we get. Is this correct? Can the cleaner and brightener be rinsed off with just a hose? I’ve attached a photo of the wood. Thank you,

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Vitaly
Vitaly
11 days ago

Hello, what would be the right procedure for this deck? Moved in last winter to this. Don’t know if was coated before my bet would be it was not. It is definitely an older deck that’s all I can tell.
TIA

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Vitaly
Vitaly
11 days ago

Thank you for the quick response! Unfortunately the RAD stuff is not available in Canada and shipping takes longer than I can wait. The brands I can get within reach are Thompson’s (like 3in1 or the heavy-duty), Olympic, Sico or Behr. Can any of these do the job?

Staci Reimer
Staci Reimer
11 days ago

New Wood or Older Wood? Older Wood
Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes
Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? I don’t know what is currently on it. From other reviews, I am thinking about the brand Armstrong Clark for stain, chestnut color.
Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Unknown
What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Unknown
Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid? I don’t know
Mold or Mildew Issues? No
Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Unknown
This is my first time to attempt a project like this, so will you please be specific in telling me what to do, including specific brands, tools, chemicals, ect. I am so thankful to find your page and for your help. Moved in last fall, so I don’t know anything about the wood/deck/stain.

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Chaitanya
Chaitanya
13 days ago

New Wood or Older Wood? Older Wood
Does the Deck have a Current Coating?
Yes it does but mostly withered
Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? I am not aware of the previous deck stain used as it was done by the previous home owner
Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Unknown
What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Unknown
Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain?
Unknown
Mold or Mildew Issues? No
Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Unknown

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Angela Schmidt
Angela Schmidt
19 days ago

New Wood or Older Wood?
Deck was built 3 years ago (pressure treated wood) We waited 9 months before staining with Behr Solid color waterproofing stain & sealer. Brushed on one coat. Looked great first year.

Does the Deck have a Current Coating?
Second season it looked scuffed in some spots. Used a deck cleaner, waited a couple days and brushed on another coat of Behr Solid color waterproofing stain & sealer. Couple months into summer started noticing white spots. (See picture). This year it’s peeling everywhere. We just used Benjamin Moore Remove and pressure washed it. Most came off. Still feels a little gummy. Do we need to sand 100%?

Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color?
We want to switch/need advice. We were thinking of trying Benjamin Moore (they suggested a stain primer and then solid color stain?)

Deck Stain Brand Previously Used?
Behr Solid color waterproofing stain & sealer

What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Water-Based/Solid Stain

Mold or Mildew Issues?
no

Reason for Previous Stain Failure?
Curious to hear your opinion of what caused all this and what you would recommend. (Note: deck faces lake/Chicago weather)

Angela
Angela
19 days ago

Thanks so much for quick reply! My husband sanded it all and power washed it again and used a brightner/neutralizer,

Now with a fresh start, what would you recommend? Semi transparent or solid? Water based or oil based? Need this next attempt to last!

Angela
Angela
18 days ago

👍 do we need to prime the deck first with anything or just apply the oil based semi-solid stain? One coat or two?

Think it will cover some stubborn spots (under railings) that we can’t reach with the sander if we pick a similar color?

Angela
Angela
17 days ago

Can the Armstrong Clark be applied on somewhat damp wood (it’s been raining all week and 45 degrees here)?

nxnw
nxnw
21 days ago

Hi. I’m struggling to figure out the best approach for a switch from oil stain to a water-based product on a 2nd floor deck on my house’s S and W sides.

– New Wood or Older Wood? Probably ranges from 12-20 years old, W older than S. The wood is nothing special; “SEL STR” stamps still visible on the bottom of W section, S section may be no-ground-contact treated (seems to have remains of that orange-ish finish underneath). It’s still solid, though there are lots of cracks and imperfections.
– Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Very faded Superdeck transparent (or semi?) oil stain, Canyon Brown, applied by original owner and again once by me 2-3 years ago.
– Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Not a fan of Superdeck. It got moldy in short order on a shady deck at a previous house and it fades rapidly in the sun on the current deck. And I hate working with any oil-based product, wearing a respirator to minimize effects of toxic fumes, producing hazardous waste from cleanup and then smelling it for days or weeks while it off-gasses. Whatever oil’s upsides, the downsides are not worth it to me. Switching to water-based, #1Deck Premium Semi-Transparent in the closest color I could find to the existing stain.
– Mold or Mildew Issues? No, No overhanging trees. Some shade on W side, none on S.
– Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Sun, rain, snow and shoveling will be hard on any stain, and I don’t expect tremendous lifespan from anything I put down. I don’t need the deck to look flawless, a somewhat rustic look is fine. Bottom line, I’m done with oil-based anything as much as possible.

I’m in Alaska and don’t have access to many (most) of the prep and finish products discussed here. I’m currently leaning toward sanding, cleaning/brightening as prep rather than stripping, which seems likely to ruin finishes like latex paint that are on the house and some deck structural elements underneath.

Photos show S and W (with table) decks and range of remaining stain on the S side, darkest under eaves, fading with exposure, plus a test sanded board. Thanks for your help!

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nxnw
nxnw
21 days ago

Thanks for the quick response. Will stripper runoff not damage paint on the house wall, beams and posts? I’d rather not add repainting all that stuff to the to-do list right away.

Michelle Carr
Michelle Carr
21 days ago

We are in Phoenix, az and had a redwood deck built over our pool 3 years ago. We let it cure for 9 months before staining it with Valspar 1 coat Transparent stain/sealer. We did it ourselves and it was “OK” but done in late May so the weather was too hot. It needs to be done again but i’m not sure if we need to strip it before re-doing it ? and, is there a better product to re-coat it with? thank you, Michelle

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Michelle Carr
Michelle Carr
21 days ago

Thank you !

ally
ally
22 days ago

Hello,
We moved into our house about 5 years ago. Per the cans in the garage they used Behr Semi-Transparent in Redwood. Honestly, it looks solid in spots. Lots of flaking. I am wondering if we should go straight to sanding or first start by stripping then brightening. We were thinking of using Restore-A-Deck solid stain in Desert Taupe.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Older, guessing at least 7-10 years
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Switching brands and color, from Behr semi-transparent to possibly Restore-a-Deck Solid in Desert Taupe
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Behr semi-transparent in Redwood
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Semi-Transparent, but looks solid
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? not sure, some black areas, but haven’t tried scrubbing lately, live in humid NC
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? will be our 1st attempt, but seems like previous poor product choice
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition.



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ally
ally
21 days ago

Thanks. Would you use the booster to the stripper too?

Kevin
Kevin
22 days ago

Hi there,
I’ve been browsing your site and have found much helpful content as I prepare to refurbish my deck. I have recently moved into this house and my understanding is that this deck was built and painted about 15 years ago. I believe it is treated wood. I live in Quebec, Canada where we have high humidity and wet snowy winters. To the best of my knowledge here are the answers to the key questions.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Old wood.
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? I did a first pass with a pressure washer and was able to remove any loose paint however a substantial amount remains, especially on vertical and/or protected areas.
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Don’t know what was used 15yrs ago.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Unknown.
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Unknown.
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? No.
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Mostly age I would guess.
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition. Please see attached.

I would love your recommendations for the best way to prep and re-stain or paint the deck. I don’t particularly want to sand every vertical rung as they are mostly in excellent condition and it will be extremely tedious to get all four sides of every rung back to the wood.

Thanks in advance.

Kevin

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Kevin
Kevin
21 days ago

Thanks very much!

Tim
Tim(@tim)
23 days ago

Many of your posts related to cleaning cedar decks are related to prep before restaining, or to clean substantial mold etc. What is your recommendation for simple cleaning of dirt, stuck on pollen etc. other than just water? I have read baking soda, white vinegar, or dish soap are all gentle methods but think I remember you not recommending soaps. I do not want to effect the color of my stain an am not prepping it for restrain yet. Some of the deck cleaners in your articles say they lighten or brighten. I don’t want anything harsh changing the color.
Thank you.

David Price
David Price
23 days ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? 11 year old hardwood
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes, Ronseal
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? switching brands
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Ronseal
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Water-based
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? No
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Not good quality or long-lasting
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Steve
Steve
25 days ago

I have a cedar third floor deck and railings

The old deck was sanded 2 years ago (it was previously painted and peeling) and stained with a semi-transparent acrylic. It looked great.

Last year I replaced the old railings with cedar and used the same wood.

Now it is time to clean/ restore the deck and stain again as
–the stain has lifted in a few areas (not sure why),
–there is some black mildew,
–it is dirty.
My main concern is using a product that may damage (by rinsing/ washing off the product): the stain on the new third floor railings and wood around the sliding glass door; and damage the deck, wood siding, plants and planters directly below it at the ground level.

Chase
Chase
26 days ago

Bought this place in July 2020 and Deck was told deck was on the newer side though more recently re-stained, I believe. There is also a Juliette balcony above the deck which is stained in the same color. The third picture shows the underside of the balcony and the color/condition of the stain closer to what it looked like when we moved in.

I live in Connecticut, so can’t use TWP 100. I’m looking at the Armstrong-Clark Black Walnut or espresso and doing a two-tone with white verticals and railing. Thanks for your assistance. This website is invaluable.

New Wood or Older Wood? – Newish but not certain.
Does the Deck have a Current Coating? – Yes, unknown what type though.
Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? – New stain, new brand, different color, etc.
Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. – Unknown
What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? – Unknown. I do not think it is solid or semi-solid. I think likely Semi-Transparent based on what I’ve ready.
Mold or Mildew Issues? – Yes
Reason for Previous Stain Failure? – Not sure if failed, seller told me it had just been done when I bought the place, and it looked brand new at the time. However, it quickly faded. The picture looking up at the Juliette balcony gives a good indication of what the stain looked like when we bought the place in 2020.

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Chase
Chase
26 days ago

Thanks for the quick response. Are there any other reasonable options if I’m looking for an ebony-like color that wouldn’t require sanding to look good?

Chase
Chase
5 days ago

Am still working on a solution here as I can’t find a stain color that I like that is VOC compliant in CT. I happened upon the Deck Revive product on this site and it seems like that might be a good fit here. Would mix it with a darker paint, like charcoal, and pair with white verticals.

Last edited 5 days ago by Chase
Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Is the wood new or old? Old, >10 years. Refinished several times
Does it have a previous coating on the wood? Yes, Sikkens Cetol SRD
Are you re-coating with the same brand and colors as last time? No, I wanted to move to a semitransparent stain, like TWP 100. However, I’m open to other suggestions. Humidity is low (dry climate), hot summers and snow in the winter.
When was the last time it was stained? About 4 years ago, I know, too long.
What type of stain was it coated with before? Sikkens Cetol SRD

I’m completely open to suggestions on products for both preparation and the final stain. I’d like to finish with something that would allow me to easily clean and then reapply every 2-3 years. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

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Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Thanks, I was afraid of that. With the TWP 1500 series, is it necessary or beneficial to also add a sealer?
I appreciate the information and quick reply.

Harjeet
Harjeet
1 month ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Old wood 10+years
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? no coating, just moss/algae
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Would like to apply a transparent stain if you recommend.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Clear
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Yes. lot of mildew and some moss.
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Old deck

We bought a cabin in the woods. The deck is pretty old and has lot of mildew and moss. Would you recommend applying chemicals and then pressure wash or just pressure wash? What should be the nozzle deg that I should use?

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Harjeet
Harjeet
1 month ago

Thank you. Would you recommend a cleaner or a stripper (there is no previous color/stain on the deck but a lot of mildew.

Harjeet
Harjeet
29 days ago

Thank you. I am starting the deck prep this weekend, Would you recommend a semi-transparent stain or semi-solid paint. The deck is 5-10 years old. I do prefer a semi-transparent but not sure how it will look on a deck that old – what would you recommend?

D14197
D14197
1 month ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Older but some needing replacement
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes with solid stain
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Yes to Restore a deck semi
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. UNKNOWN
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Solid stain
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Mild
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Flaking in heavy traffic areas
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition.

I plan to use the RAD stripper system unless you recommend flooring sander?

Can I stain new boards with the old?

One coat or two?

Thanks D

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Dan
Dan
29 days ago

As an alternative would you recommend to power wash and sand existing solid stain, removing peeling areas and recoat with another solid stain such as RAD’s? This seems like it would be significantly cheaper and less labor but would it hold up as well??
Thanks for your help.

Volha Komar
Volha Komar
1 month ago

What shall I do to clean my deck?Our deck is 2 years old. We stained it a few months after installation with Valspar one coat clear sealer. Looks like there is mildew spots on it now?
Deck is in the sun morning through afternoon.
I want it to look natural yellow wood color. What will you recommend to clean it with? We were thinking sanding. And what shall we coat /stain it with? Thank you

Chris C
Chris C
1 month ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes, stained with TWP 3 years ago
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Maintenance coat with same brand and color.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. TWP
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? TWP
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Looks like some mildew.
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Weather

First I want to say whoever answers all these questions is awesome! Kudos to you. I came here 3 years ago for help and have referred tons of friends ever since! So just want to say thanks!

Wondering what the best route is here for my deck? Thanks!

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Lauren
Lauren
1 month ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Older
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? It appears to have had something applied to it in the past.
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? I don’t know what was last done to it.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Unknown
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? I don’t think so.
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Age and weather

We have a covered porch on the south side of our house that needs something done to it but I don’t know what. I don’t have any experience with refinishing wood so explicit instructions and recommendations will be much appreciated! In the pictures, the grayer boards are the ones that get weather and the darker boards are close to the house and almost never have sun or rain on them.

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Steve
Steve
1 month ago

New Wood or Older Wood? Deck is 4 years old
Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes
Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Unsure sorry – whatever you recommend
Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Unknown
What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Unknown sorry
Mold or Mildew Issues? No
Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Worse where it gets a lot of sun & near pool
2nd image is after I tried ultraprep solutions
Many thanks for help

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Steve
Steve
1 month ago

Many thanks,
Sorry to show my ignorance, we have a stain rather than an oil? On that basis we should use a stain again rather than an oil once we have power sanded as you suggest?
Thanks again

Byron K.
Byron K.
1 month ago
  1. New Wood or Older Wood? 5 years old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Yes, but it is flaking in some areas with more sun exposure
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? Switching to Defy Extreme Semi Transparent Cedar Tone
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Sherman Williams Superdeck
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Water-based, Semi-Solid
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Green/black mildew on top of wood where sun doesn’t shine
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? 4 years old, sun exposure, rain exposure. Tried to remove stain last year with pressure washer and deck scrubber and gave up (probably damaged wood with pressure washer). Wanted to avoid harsh chemicals due to thermoplastic polyolefin roofing material directly underneath deck. Should sand it instead?
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Last edited 1 month ago by Byron K.
Liz Breaux
Liz Breaux
1 month ago

Back deck installed ??; the wood is old as we’ve been here 11 years and not replaced it. My husband tried a solid-colored coat 2 years ago and this is the current condition. He does not remember the brand. There is some mold and some of the prior coating that needs to be removed. Should we sand or will a good cleaning work to get the wood in better condition to hold the stain?

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Tom A.
Tom A.
1 month ago

15 year old deck with some minor splitting and no rot.
Mostly cambara and with some red merant used on the top of the rails and privacy fencing.
Current coating is Messmers UV Plus done 3 years ago. I’ve used Penofin Red Label in the past.
I plan to strip and brighten the entire deck rails skirt and privacy fencing. Not having to
pressure wash would be nice but I have a machine if you think it’s needed.
Mildew and dirt typical here in southern New Hampshire
I’m not sure what I will put on this time.
Recommendations would be helpful on which cleaner stripper and brightener to use before applying a fresh coating. I really like a transparent coating that brings out the color and grain of the cambara.It’d be nice if something lasted a while.Your thoughts on a coating would be nice too.
A few pictures are attached. Any advice will be appreciated.
Thanks.
Tom

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Eric
Eric
1 month ago

Cumaru fence; installed 2 years ago new; used Armstrong Clark mahogany; what should I use to prep before re-staining

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Ben
Ben
2 months ago
  1. Older, maybe 20 years says the neighbors
  2. Yes, at least 6 years old
  3. Likely switching
  4. Unknown
  5. Unknown, my guess is semi solid or solid.
  6. Not really
  7. Time

Ideally I would switch to a semitransparent for the entire deck. That would I think make maintenance easier. But I’m guessing that will require sanding.

Images saved to phone are large and cannot attach so here’s a link instead of current conditions.
https://share.icloud.com/photos/06bnpE1eE3MCAP4Yrr_xxqFPg

Here is how it looked in 2016. https://photos.zillowstatic.com/fp/df1f068577a2af5044104a0326ab0347-cc_ft_384.webp

Earl
Earl
2 months ago

Hello I’m looking for advice to strip my pool deck and stain it. Thank you!

(1) Older wood about 5yrs old
(2) Yes
(3) Brand unknown would like to go with a more natural color.
(4) Unknown
(5) Unknown
(6) No
(7) Looks to be normal wear and tear and never recoated.

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Michelle
Michelle
2 months ago

Hello!

Can you please give me advice on the best way to prep my deck? Thank you!

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Old wood.
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? Currently has badly peeling paint.
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? I plan on cleaning and sanding off the current pain and applying a stain.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. Unknown.
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? Currently has some kind of paint.
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? None that I can tell. The dark in the pictures is mud and dirt.
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? I dont like the look of the previous paint, but I also don’t think they prepped or painted well. The deck looked pretty good the first year we got the house, now 3 years later the paint looks terrible.
  8. Here’s pictures. I have started to power wash the deck in two of the pictures.
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Michelle
Michelle
2 months ago

Thank you! I was also thinking that a two toned deck would look good.

Jay
Jay
2 months ago

Can you recommend what I should do to spruce up this deck? I just bought the house, don’t have any info on when it was last stained or cleaned, but there is green mildew in places, and some black stains too, and the wood feels rough. I’d like to keep the current color and hopefully just clean and re-seal it somehow with a transparent sealant, but I’m open to suggestions. It’s a very large double deck with four staircases, so it’ll be a lot of work in almost any case.

Wood is likely from the 1990s (house was built 1991)
Current coating seems to be a bluish paint/stain
Hoping to just clearcoat somehow (don’t have any experience with this at all)
Unknown stain
Some mildew in a few spots, usually where there’s shade
Stain just seems to be getting old. In one or two heavy-traffic spots I can see a red stain below, like maybe this blue was painted over some red

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Jay
Jay
2 months ago

Thanks for the quick reply! Is a deck stripper a chemical I would pre apply before pressure washing? Also, could I use a round pressure washer attachment (like I use for my driveway) or would it have to be straight pressure tip?

Jay
Jay
2 months ago

Then just choose a new stain and paint it on? No other clearcoat or sealant?

Jay
Jay
2 months ago

Very cool. Thank you so much for your help!

Brian
Brian
2 months ago

 
 
Can you recommend best way to clean and prep covered IPE porch for new stain. Also recommend stain type. IPE porch, approximately 12 years old, initially stained, has not been stained since initial stain, unknown type but believe oil base, glossy. Considering not staining but just a thorough cleaning. Some minor Mold and Mildew Issues. Reason for Previous Stain Failure; Age, normal wear and tear. Photos attached

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Brian
Brian
2 months ago

Can you recommend best way to clean and prep deck in order to re-stain deck with same solid stain. Also considering sanding the deck and applying new stain, looking for recommendation on that process as well and if worth it. Large wood deck, Approximately 1100 sq. ft. Older Wood, approximately 15 years. Current Coating is Solid Stain, most recently stained 3 years ago, was stained with solid stain prior to that as well. Applying maintenance coat of same deck stain, or Sanding and applying new Non solid stain. Deck stain brand previously used was Sherman Williams Waterborne Formula Exterior Solid Deck Stain. Some Mold and Mildew Issues. Reason for Previous Stain Failure; Age, normal wear and tear. Photos attached.

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JamesH
JamesH
3 months ago

We just applied a stain to our new cedar gate door a couple of days ago. And unfortunately do not like the stain color. What is the best method for completely stripping out the current wood stain?

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? NEW
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? YES
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? YES – we think to Cabot Timber Oil next

Deck Stain Brand Previously Used- Valspar Exterior Wood and Sealer (color October Brown)

  1. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? – Semi-transparent
  2. Mold or Mildew Issues? NO
  3. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Color does not match house
  4. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition.
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JamesH
JamesH
2 months ago

Thanks! The current stain has too much paint and not enough wood grain texture. Another idea- is it possible to lighten the paint look bring out the natural redwood grain wood more? Can sanding or something else achieve that?

Last edited 2 months ago by JamesH
Ray Gagnon
Ray Gagnon
6 months ago

I had my deck rebuilt just a couple of years ago. It was a nightmare. I went through 4-5 different contractors and they all were terrible.

My problem, as you will see in the pictures, is black mold. I assume the painter didn’t wait long enough for the wood to dry before staining.

My question is simple. Where do I go from here. I have tried several techniques to eliminate the mold but none of them have been affective at completely eliminating the mold.

I can remove a good deal of the black from scrubbing but I suspect that appearance aside the mold is still inside the wood.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? – the wood is 2-3 years old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? As you will see in the picture it was stained
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? I want to use the best stain and stay with the same color. I don’t recall what brand is on there now.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. – Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? it is water based solid stain
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? Major black mold issues, the mold is why i need to take action
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure?

the four pictures give you a sense of the extent of the mold problem

It is clear that just scrubbing isn’t going to do the job. Power washing will strip the paint off but it will also damage the wood.

What is my best course of action to restore the deck and eliminate the mold? I assume I will need to re-stain but what do I need to do to prep before re-staining.

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Dirk M Brinkerhoff
Dirk M Brinkerhoff
6 months ago

Here are my answers to your questions;

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? Our deck was built in 2015
  2. Does it have a previous coating on the wood? Yes, originally stained in 2015
  3. Are you re-coating with the same brand and colors as last time? Unfortunately we don’t know what Brand of stain or what color of stain was originally used.
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Unknown. Oil-based or Water-Based? Unknown. Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? I think that a solid color stain was used – sort of a dark redwood color.
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? I think that it might have a little mold/mildew, but not significant.
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? Unsure…age 6 years? Maybe because it might be a water based stain? Rainy & Wet conditions?
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition. We are going up tomorrow and will take some pictures.
Chris
Chris
7 months ago

I have an older deck around a pool for a house I just bought. It appears to have an old solid stain on it that’s peeling in some small areas. I plan on using RAD solid stain but I will have to replace a couple boards that are rotting. Firstly, do I need to wait a couple months to restore the deck to allow the few boards to weather after replacing them. Also, when I do restore the deck I know I need to get rid of any peeling areas but what else do I need to apply prior to application of the solid stain. From what I can tell I need to use cleaner and stripper but in what order and do I need to sand at any point if I’m just adding a layer of solid stain. And if I do need to sand how much am I looking to remove.

Thanks for your help.

  1. New Wood or Older Wood? old
  2. Does the Deck have a Current Coating? yes
  3. Are you Switching Brands of Deck Stain or Applying a Maintenance Coat of the same Brand and Color? assume switching to RAD solid stain
  4. Deck Stain Brand Previously Used? Enter “unknown” if you do not know. unknown
  5. What is the Current Deck Stain Type? Oil-based or Water-Based? Clear, Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid, or Solid Stain? appears to be be solid stain
  6. Mold or Mildew Issues? small area with mildew that can be pressure washed
  7. Reason for Previous Stain Failure? old
  8. You Must Include Picture(s) of the Current Condition.
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Chris
Chris
7 months ago

How long should I wait after replacing the boards to cover the deck?

Trina Scott
Trina Scott
7 months ago

My deck is old and was last coated with a basic Thompsons sealer about 2 years ago. It gets a lot of hot afternoon sun and appears all dried out with some black streaks. Is it necessary to strip or can I just use the Restore-A-Deck wash and then stain?

Ben
Ben
7 months ago

I would like to refinish my front porch. We bought our home earlier this year, so many of the answers to your questions are unknown, but I will try my best. Included in the pictures are a section of the porch that I have attempted to clean with a pressure washer and soapy water, followed by power sanding with 50 grit sandpaper after drying for several days. Neither the pressure washing nor the sanding removed the existing combination of dirt and finish very well. I’m glad I found this site to get some answers and formulate a plan before I try something else.

  1. older wood (unknown species but appears to be some type of hardwood, over 1″ thick tongue-and-groove)
  2. yes there is an existing unknown coating
  3. switching brands
  4. previous brand unknown
  5. current deck stain is unknown but appears to be transparent or semi-transparent because some grain is visible, even in dirty areas
  6. does not appear to have mold/mildew, just dirt, but I could be wrong
  7. years of neglect caused previous stain failure
  8. see attached photos

How should I prep this wood for a new transparent or semi-transparent finish to showcase the hardwood?

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Last edited 7 months ago by Ben
Martina
Martina
7 months ago

My deck is old, I pressure washed it but left it unstainef fir 1 year. A professional Restorstion outfit. Changed some wood planks and applied a water based stain both old and new wood without prepping it. Sherri brilliant us the water based stain. It was done on a Friday. I guess it’s cured, it’s been 30 or so more hours since. I hope the stain sticks . I could have five the staining myself if I would have known that tg were is no sanding or prep application of the deck

starhome98@aol.com
starhome98@aol.com(@starhome98aol-com)
7 months ago

I’m stripping my deck with the restore a deck stripper and neutralizer system to remove old TWP stain before I apply a different TWP color. During the neutralizing phase I accidentally applied more stripper instead of neutralizer. After the deck dried I noticed the color was yellowish instead of whitish and realized my mistake. What’s the best way to neutralize the deck after it dried? Thanks

Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith
7 months ago

Should I apply the brightener to dry wood?

Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith
7 months ago

Thanks for the help