Best Deck Stain Strippers 2019 4.8/5 (63)

by Deck Stain Help

Update 2019 Best Deck Stain Strippers

Those who are familiar with the deck staining process are aware that you must properly prep your deck before staining for beautiful results. In this article, we discuss the best deck strippers on the market. We always appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below with pictures of your deck stain projects.

Note: See here if you need to remove a Difficult to Remove Deck or Wood Stain.


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.

Best Deck Strippers Tested To Date:

  1. Restore-A-Deck Stripper Review
  2. Defy Stain Stripper Review
  3. HD80 Stripper Review

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 break down 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.

Note: See here if you need to remove a Difficult to Remove Deck or Wood 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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Allen
Allen

I plan to use RAD Deck Stripper, Brightener & semi-transparent stain to update cedar flooring (35 yr) of screened in porch. The current stain is Cabot semi-transparent applied 9yr ago.

1) Is my small power sprayer (pic) sufficient to power wash rinse after stripper?
2) What duration of dwell time do you recommend for the RAD Stripper (no additives)?
3) any recommendations on preventing discoloration of screens during this process?

Thanks

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Mardi
Mardi

Hi, one more question to go with my previous post. Reading another of your answers to someone else , you said use brighter “after” sanding. On our new deck I have brightened before sanding. Am I supposed to brighten after Sanding too? New and old? Or just with old? Thanks again!

Mardi
Mardi

Hi! I have a year and one half old huge 2000 square foot redwood deck we need to stain now. Th tannins turned it very gray. We have pressure washed it and applied Preserva “Renewer & Cleaner” wood cleaner and brightener. It did bring back nice clean color. Next we will sand it and then stain. Also we have two much older redwood decks, but still ok, adjacent to the new one, that have been stained several times over the years with semitransparent stain, either Superdeck or Cabots. Questions: 1.) what is best stripper to use to try to get old decks looking like the new? (We plan to pressure wash, use Preserva Renewer and Cleaner, and sand the old ones too after the stripper). 2.) What type of sander is best, drum or orbital for the flooring part? We have to rent it. Included are pics of new cleaned, but not yet sanded deck next to the two old ones. Thanks!

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Charles
Charles

Can RAD stripper be applied to the remaining, original stain directly after a pressure wash (ie – while wood is still damp)?

Sharon
Sharon

I have a treated wood deck. I waited 18-24 months for the new decking to “dry” then applied Sherwin Williams semi-transparent stain. After a couple of years, the deck stain is showing a lot of wear. I used a deck cleaner and power washer to prep it for new stain. I think I need to strip or sand it before I can reapply stain or clear coat. Which would you recommend? What type of stripper or sander?

Also can’t decide whether to use stain or just apply a clear coat finish. Any suggestions on this would be appreciated.

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James
James

Hi there, I have a deck that I’ve sanded down with heavy grit sandpaper but is still showing some green. It was treated about 4 years ago with copper 2 green wood preservative. Will a stripper help remove the remaining green? Or Is there anything else I can use to remove this remaining green? Thanks!

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James
James

I’ve sanded down my deck with a heavy gritt power sander but there’s still a lot of green from the previous owner using copper 2 green preservative to treat the deck several years ago. Will a stain stripper work to remove the remaining green? Is there any other way to remove this green copper 2?

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Karla
Karla

I put a semi transparent stain on my deck and it is way to thick, looks more like a brown paint job because the grain of wood is not showing through. Is it possible to use a stripper to take some of the stain off and then maybe finish it with a transparent stain, depending on how much of the stain comes off? It the first time this wood has been stained. What kind of stripper would you recommend?

Pete Ackerman
Pete Ackerman

I have used a diamabrush to remove a large amount of paint from my deck but still have spots with paint..what paint remover do you recommend? I am then planning on staining the deck, what steps do you recommend? Thanks Pete

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John
John

I have an older cedar deck. The pictures show it after pressure washing. The peeling boards are from replacement boards put on one year ago. The whole deck was then covered with Sikkins water based semi-solid stain. I want to remove the Sikkins and wondering if I can use a stripper first (will it damage the unfinished spots?) and then spot sand before using a brightener. Thanks

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Jeff
Jeff

I have 10 year old pine soffit with a clear finish. I suspect it was sealed with Profin oil based sealer (but am not certain). The soffit has aged and there are a few mildew spots. It actually looks pretty good considering. The house has a lot of soffit and I’m not looking forward to sanding it all or stripping it. What would you recommend? I live in Bellingham, WA.

Thanks for your help
Happy 4th

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Michele Donohue
Michele Donohue

Hi. We have an Ipe tongue and groove covered front porch which is usually treated with Cabot Australian Timber Oil every 1-2 years. It was scheduled to be done this year. We did a very light sanding to rough up the surface. Unfortunately we used Sikkens Cetol and I absolutely hate it… how can I remove it?!?! We looked into having it sanded but last time the floor guy took too much off so that is no longer an option. I contacted Sikkens but they were not very helpful – just said use a stripper for oil based stain. I did try Circa 1850 stripper and it appears to have lightened it a bit. Only left it on for a few minutes. Any assistance is greatly appreciated, just sick over it. It’s only been on there for 48 hours

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K Johnson
K Johnson

We put Behr Semi-Transparent waterproofing stain and sealer on our deck 2 years ago. It is peeling off all of the flat surfaces, but on the vertical posts etc…We would like to remove it all and start over with a new stain. Will a wood stripper work or will we need to sand the areas that are not peeling?

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Julie
Julie

I use spent my weekend washing, sanding, and staining two new porches (seasoned for a year) but I really don’t like the color (semi transparent but too dark) and did a poor job with the application (some lap marks). How do I fix this?

Ralph
Ralph

Have a deck surrounding a pool with IPE wood that was finished with Penofin Hardwood Formula, usually used jomax deck stripper, then a brightener then re-oil it, of course waiting for it to dry in between each step. What can i use to replace the Jomax to strip the deck. none of the local stores carry it

Paul
Paul

How do I remove Behr Semi Solid stain (dark brown) applied 3 years ago? Will stripper take it off or will I have to sand? Made my deck too hot to use here in Atlanta. Thanks.

Steve
Steve

We used Flood CWF – UV (cedar) to finish our new deck 3 year ago. It now looks dull and has spots where the finish has come off. Should I strip it and re-finish? What product would work best to finish it. We would like to see some of the wood grain.

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Len
Len

I am striping cwf Flood what should use

Ann Sirochman
Ann Sirochman

We used Behr semi solid stain on our deck. The deck was properly washed and sanded prior to stain application. We woke up to a blotchy mess because we did not apply it correctly. How do we remove the stain? We want to rent an orbital sander but not sure if we need to strip or sand?

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Ben
Ben

Hello. If using a stripper is too harmful to the local environment, can pressure washing thoroughly then brightening suffice for prep?

If not, are there any eco friendly strippers? (I’m guessing that’s probably not a thing.)

DAWN BLOSS
DAWN BLOSS

Hello. We applied solid color paint for a deck and 2 years ago reapplied the paint. Since then it has been flaking off and looks bad. I hired someone professionally to do it. Costing me 2700 to remove the paint and replace a few boards and then have it restained. It took him forever and still is not completed. Come to find out, he fell through a small board and now is suing me. He told me that he applied 12 Strippers on my deck. He then came to the conclusion that I need to replace my deck that it is unsafe. I am out 1350 which is half of the job and never finished it and looks like crap still. He could not tell how bad my deck was until he fell through. Could that be the case. Could all that stripper weaken the boards and that why he fell through. Just trying to get another opinion on this. They only sanded one small area. Just need your opinion and expertise. Thanks for listening.

Gary e Wilmoth
Gary e Wilmoth

Removing old layers of solid stain on deck bench’s need good solid stain removal do you have any recommendations. Thank you

colin boland
colin boland

can you recommend a stripping brand to remove old decking oil? I tried the ronseal stripper from woodies and used a power hose but that did not work. The oil is really deep in the decking and is about 3 yrs old. Thanks

Randy Morgan
Randy Morgan

New deck using the usual 5/4×6 treated deck boards. Sanded using 220 grit paper. Rolled Superdeck semi-transparent oil. Many sticky patches weeks later. Any ideas how to fix this ?

Kim
Kim

I had someone stain my porch but I don’t like the color, so I’m trying to figure out if I need to strip what he did or if I can stain over it. He used Cabot semi-solid deck stain extra pigmented oil stain. I want a darker color but semi-transparent because I don’t like the way the semi-solid looks. Thank you!

diane weidt
diane weidt

HELP!!!! We have a 5 year old deck that I had used a Behr solid deck stain on after waiting a year for it to “dry”. I put 2 coats on but last year decided I wanted a darker color so I just stained over it with another Behr solid color stain. This spring, “surprise” it started peeling in some spots so I started the awful task of trying to remove the stain and start over. I power washed and made a mess of quite a few boards and it hardly made a dent in the removal process. Then I rented a vibrating plate sander to try to remove the remaining stain. Again, there was a great deal of stain left behind! Then, like an idiot, I thought I could just paint over it with another brand of solid stain and now I basically have a “leopard” deck with various finishes from where the original stain was left behind, to the bare boards. I understand now what I should have done in the first place, and that is SAND the entire deck again. My question for you is, which grit do I start with to remove the actual remaining solid stain and then how do I proceed as far as when and to what grits to I switch to in order to get my deck back to a state where I can actually use a semi-transparent stain on it. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated!
“moronic mom in MN”

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Erick
Erick

What is the best paint stripper… I inherited a painted deck…

john white
john white

Will strippers harm the finish on the aluminum deck posts

Kevin
Kevin

Trying to remove some Behr deck over on my deck. After 1 year it started pealing. Is there a stripper that will soften this stuff before I pressure wash?

willie scott
willie scott

will deck stripper hurt vinyl siding if it gets on it.also can you get solid oil base stain(dark brown).

Pat
Pat

Just sanded deck and applied new semi transparent stain. I made a very poor choice of not testing the color. Now I want to remove the new stain. I really do not want to sand the entire deck again. Would a chemical stain remover and pressure washer do the job?

Michael Grubach
Michael Grubach

I have a solid stain deck that the floor of is look rough, missing color in spots. Whats the best way to get another solid stain to adhere to my deck? Chemical stripper, sanding, or just pressure washing?

Renard
Renard

I used Rustoleum 10x 4 years ago and some spots have now peeled off. Could I spot repaint with more 10x after scrapping and power washing; followed by another full coat? Any other suggestions short of total stripping or replacing?

Barry
Barry

I want to use a solid stain on my deck this time. The deck still has some of the semi-transparent stain in places. Do I need to strip off the old stain first?

Gerry
Gerry

I want to fix up the deck (approximately 600 sq ft) and not sure on best way to prepare it and what stain to use. I don’t know what the existing stain is as I just moved in but it looks like semi transparent. The wood is all in very good shape but the existing stain is peeling off in many areas, so do I have to strip it first or sand it off?
What process and products are best to use? See images attached:
Thank you!

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Celeste
Celeste

I have been researching and testing multiple products over the last few weeks. I just cannot finalize my decision. I love, love love X-180; I applied on an older stained red cedar siding board, it cleaned very well but left behind residual CWF-UV from 15 plus years ago – I just slightly scraped it, and the old coating was basically cedar colored dust – I did not use a power washer – is it possible that this would have removed this degraded coating? We have 2000 sq. feet of vertical surface, we really DO NOT want to use a stripper if at all possible. Our goal is to stain with either TWP-1500 or Q8 Log Oil. Any suggestions.

Rod
Rod

Are sanding and wiping clean a deck with 10-yr-old solid stain suitable for preparing a deck prior to refinishing with a solid stain having similar color? How does this approach compare to using stripper and cleaner prior to refinishing?

John Givens
John Givens

Planning on stripping my 12 year old cedar deck to refinish (see earlier post): Question: Once it’s stripped and cleaned and brightened, do i have to let it weather again before I apply the new stain?

Linda
Linda

Since my deck has been stripped and dried, can I wet the deck with water and now use a brightener… or is it too late?

Linda
Linda

I stripped my deck with a stripper that also had a brightener included in it. Is that sufficient for a brightener, or should I use an additional one? My deck is already stripped and dry.

Ray
Ray

Hoping you can help preserve domestic tranquility in my household…Just bought a house located in the mountains in the south San Francisco Bay Area. Working on restaining my redwood deck. In areas of the deck that get lots of sun, the previous stain was mostly gone. In the areas that do not get sun, the stain is dark (probably the original color, which I am trying to match) and almost glossy. Don’t know what product was used before, but it had obviously been a while since any maintenance was done. I first pressure washed the whole deck and stairs, which easily removed most of the color, and then used the RAD stripper on a test section…the wood turned black. I waited about 30 minutes then started power washing. It was taking forever to get rid of the black and get down to the more natural wood color. Plus, there was this clumpy gooey stuff (was it an acrylic?) that came up during the power washing. Running out of daylight and starting to panic, I quickly completed the power washing on the test section, mostly just to get the stripper off, so I did not go to bare wood. I then applied the brightener and decided to see what it looked like the next day.

Well this morning I went out and was mildly surprised. The areas that I took down to bare wood looked great and absorbed water. Interestingly though, the areas where I did not take down to bare wood also absorbed water. Although these areas were lacking that true redwood look – they were a little brownish, but not bad…I think I could live with it.

I am using the Armstrong Clark semi transparent Sierra Redwood stain, so it is kind of on the dark side. If, using the RAD with a minimal power washing effort, and the deck still absorbs water when dry, I assume it will absorb the stain and I am good to go. Am I correct?

Thank you very much for your reply!

Bev Beutner
Bev Beutner

where to purchase Restore A Deck ?

Bev Beutner
Bev Beutner

What to do Had my deck done recently by a handyman thinking he would ask me what I wanted him to use but he just came along and used used a stain which I have never used and he picked a color that I can’t stand dove right in when I wasn’t home I’ve always used ultra wood pretetent and that was what I wanted him to use How can that stain be removed ?

Jeff
Jeff

Hi I’ve stripped off my old stain, washed then brightened my deck with the restore a deck product I now have a lot of fuzz on the wood which i assume was from the pressure washer. I was going to lightly sand it down, what do you recommend for the grit I believe they say 60-80 grit on the deck boards and then go over it again in 120 grit to give it that smooth to the touch feeling? But wI’ll that 120grit be too smooth and close the pores ? Will I need to brighten again after sanding or can I wash / blow off all the dust and stain the next day? Ideally i want to sand on Monday and hopefully start stainning by Tuesday before thw rain comes back this week but your recommendation would be great. Thanks

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Gerrie
Gerrie

need to sand a large deck. what type of sander is best to use ? Thank you

Annisa
Annisa

I used superdeck stain and sealer remover from Sherwin Williams, and was very disappointed. It made my porch look like it had been through a fire. what should have been a weekend project just turned into a couple weeks project. This product is crap!!!! After seeing what the stripper did to my porch I returned all of the superdeck products back to Sherwin-Williams. I showed the lady who sold me everything a picture of what it did to my wood, she not only refunded me for the products I brought back, but also refunded me for the stripper. She was very apologetic. Great customer service for horrible product.

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Dave
Dave

We used Superdeck deck stripper and got the exact same results. We even repeated the process with little improvement. I agree this product is junk and has caused us even more work. We generally like Sherwin Williams paint products. But the Superdeck products are money wasted..

Annisa Christensen
Annisa Christensen

I ended up sanding my whole porch, took 80 hours and 2 sanders. Then used a product called Timberflex. I’m very pleased with the results

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John
John

I’m not sure if anyone here has ever used Wolman’s stripper on solid color deck stain, but I just tested it out and had fantastic results. Spray on, wait, pressure wash off – removed 95% of the stain. Just wanted to share.

Jon
Jon

I tried it on my deck to remove acrylic stain and I thought it was terrible. Power washed off in some spots, but took forever.

John
John

Were you using regular Wolman’s, or the ASR formula? One is made for acrylic, one is made for everything else.

Vicki
Vicki

Does the deck stripper need to rinse clean before using a deck brightner? I have been rinsing and rinsing, and I still see suds. Also, I still see small amounts of the previous stain in different places. Do I need to reapply the stain stripper?

Jess T.
Jess T.

Great site! Having a hard time getting a solid stain removed. (It’s an old deck, owners neglected it, I am trying to see if I can save it instead of replacing it.) I tried rustoleum’s deck stain stripper today, didn’t get very far. I soaked the stain with it for almost an hour. It started to come up but then the wood looked to be soft underneath. I think the pressure washer sprayed off some of the wood before the stain, on the areas the stain came up. It’s going to take forever at this rate, never mind the vertical railings. I also have a container of Beyr’s deck stain stripper to try tomorrow. I see most of your recommendations aren’t for solid stains, and that sanding will be required. I’m still hoping there’s something that can help! Any recommendations, appreciated!

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Cliff
Cliff

Best rated deck stain remover