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Best Stain for an Old Deck 4.8/5 (23)

Best Stain for an Older Wood Decking

Best Stain for an Old DeckWood decks can be a beautiful addition to any property but when neglected they can also become an eyesore. When a deck goes too long without being maintained sun and water damage occur. The wood loses its natural oils and becomes very dry and porous. Cracking, splitting, warping, and graying are all signs of an old deck that has not been protected against weathering.

Here are the steps needed to make your old tired deck look new again:

Repair First

Do a thorough look over for any rotten boards and replace them. Check for loose boards and railings and tighten these up as well with decking screws. Check foundation for any structural damage.

Clean and Brighten Deck

It is not impossible to bring an old wood back to life. A little care and maintenance can revive most neglected decks. If the deck is still in good structural condition the grayed wood can be cleaned using a wood deck cleaner.

Use a scrub brush or pressure washer with the deck cleaner to remove unwanted mold, mildew, dirt, and graying. The transformation of washing an old deck back to clean again can be amazing. After using a wood cleaner it is important to use a wood brightener. While the wood is still wet, apply a wood brightener to the surface to enhance the wood’s beauty and open the wood pores for better stain penetration.

Apply Penetrating Stain w/Non-Drying Conditioning Oils

Once the deck dries choose the best stain for an old deck. Because old wood decks are extremely dried out, a wood stain the conditions the wood is essential. We use stains like Armstrong Clark for an old deck. This type of wood stain contains non-drying penetrating oils that help rejuvenate the wood cells. These conditioning oils stay deep in the wood to replace the wood’s lost natural oils.

The stain also contains drying oils that separate from the conditioning oils. These drying oils remain on the exposed surface to cure locking in the conditioning oils and providing a layer of protection against weathering. This conditioning of the wood’s cellular structure and weather protection are the key to reviving an older wood deck.

Maintain Every 2 Years

Repeat the cleaning and staining of the wood every 2 years to keep up the look and extend the life.

Many deck owners think an old deck may have to be torn down and a new one built to replace it. This is not always the case. Old decks can be cleaned up and coated with stains specifically designed to rejuvenate old wood. It may just be possible to bring your old wood deck back to life and get many more years of use out of it.

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247 responses to “Best Stain for an Old Deck”

  1. Keondra says:

    I am trying to find the best products to clean and stain my deck, which was built prior to 1991. The deck is grey and does not appear to have been treated in the past. I was told that it would be best to apply a solid color as opposed to a semi transparent for older wood. I am concerned however that if I use a solid color stain, when the paint chips or peels I will have to strip, clean and repaint the deck every other year. I was considering using the Behr Deck Over, but based upon reviews online it does not appear to hold up. Researching your site, I was considering the Armstrong Clark Stain, TWP 1500 or Defy Extreme, but none of the local hardware stores in my area in the state of Maryland seem to carry the products. Are there any products you would recommend that I could purchase at HomeDepot or Lowes?

  2. Joe says:

    I was doing some research on a problem my wife and I are having with our older front and back decks built with newer and older pressure treated wood that came with our home in Conway, SC, the decks prior to purchasing the home 3 yrs ago were neglected, never painted or stained, we did some minor repairs to the floors, did all the prep work to clean them using deck cleaner, pressure washed, let dry for several sunny days, then painted the decks using Lowe's Valspar non-slip Deck paint, the railings are white and the floors are light blue, giving each deck 2 – coats, after several days we noticed the wood painted white started turning a dark egg shell color in places and the floor is starting to turn green in spots with some peeling, after touching up the rails and floors, this is happening again, should we have used kiltz or a primer before painting, what can we do to stop this or correct it – Getting very frustrated. – Thanks for your time.

  3. Court says:

    I have a question. We just bought a house probably about a month ago and the deck the gentlemen we bought the house from just put the deck up at the beginning of this year. Its about a 500 sq foot deck around a pool. Most of the wood is still the original color but a lot of areas are starting to turn a light grey. We live in NY and its going to start snowing soon here. The days are about 50-60 and nights about 30-25 a lot of rain though we only get a day or two break in the rain. What can we do to get this grey off the deck and be able to stain in the next day or two? Can we stain over the grey? I would like a clear or maple color stain. thanks ahead of time for your help.

  4. David says:

    I have a 3 year old deck that doesn't have a stain. What do you recommend for cleaning and staining.
    (Location central Illinois)

  5. Joe says:

    I live in Alaska. My deck is old and dry. What is the best stain to buy for my deck in Alaska?

  6. teresa hinkson says:

    I want to stain my deck again. Some of the old stain will not come off. What should use to ensure I get coverage. And I don't want to use solid cause that looks like paint when it's done. I made that mistake on the front deck .

  7. patty monday says:

    I have a well weathered cedar deck. After prep clean up, what can I put on it if I want to protect the deck but make it more uniform in a grayish wood grain look ? If a color im not sure what color. House is med dark ruff sawn natural cedar ,white windows with black trim. Now what to do with deck, please help.

  8. Carla Mathis says:

    We let our new deck set for one full summer. Then we applied deck stain. Looked outstanding.. Then when spring came there was several spots that was peeling. When walking across with bare feet the peeling stain would come off on feet. What should we do now?

  9. Deloice Conner says:

    Very helpful information, there are so many products it is hard to decide which is right for my porch. I have 2 Large decks and are showing their years. With the right information I hope to keep them well for many years.

  10. Kathy Long says:

    We have a 12×12 pressure treated pine deck that we built in 1987. Since it is on the north side of the house and we have had an awning over it during the summer it is in good shape. We are thinking of just taking up the floor, leave the frame, and replace the floor with new PTL. Is there a point where you should not repair a 30 year old deck? Do you have to replace a deck when it is this old? The posts and frame look fine.

  11. K. Eller says:

    Obviously the "non-drying" oils can't stay wet forever. How long is it before they dry enough to use the deck?

  12. Cynthia webb says:

    High altitude,freeze,thaw,lots of rain,morning sun.

  13. KayKay says:

    Deck is greying and is in bad shape after not being resealed for a few seasons. It is an east facing deck with no shade. We are new home owners and extremely hesitant to go the full solid route – since we fear both the painted look as well as the peeling pain. Can we power-wash, and go the semitransparent route in dark walnut or dark oak? (darker to hide imperfections) Will a couple of coats and then maintenance every 2 years suffice? Thanks in advance.

  14. S. Easton says:

    The information was knowledgeable and useful.

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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 in consideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.