This post was updated on January 19, 2022
Best to Clean or Strip the Deck Stain?
We appreciate you visiting Deckstainhelp.com as we continue to be your go-to source for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics through 2022. Below, we talk about whether you should Clean or Strip the Deck Stain? Feel free to leave a comment below with any pictures you may have.
Deck Stain Stripping vs. Deck Cleaning
Knowing the difference between deck stain stripping and deck cleaning can be vital to your deck maintenance or restoration project. It’s important first to understand why cleaning a wood surface is necessary.
Besides the obvious overall appearance and curb appeal, a wood deck should be cleaned and sealed every couple of years to prevent structural damage. Water and moisture wreak havoc on wood inviting mold and mildew which can lead to wood rot. The sun’s U.V. rays also damage wood fibers and turn them an unsightly gray. In colder climates, freeze/thaw occurrences can warp, crack, and split boards ruining a deck in no time.
By cleaning the wood and protecting it with a quality wood stain, you are locking out moisture, blocking sun rays, and protecting the deck from the environment. This ensures a better overall appearance and a longer-lasting wood structure.
Now that we have determined why cleaning a wood deck is necessary to let us uncover the differences between deck stain stripping and deck cleaning. Before applying any sealer to the wood it has to be cleaned properly. You need to use a deck cleaner to remove all the unwanted soils such as dirt, mold, mildew, and graying. This will guarantee a clean surface for the new deck stain.
The deck cleaner is mixed up as needed and normally applied with a pump sprayer. It should be allowed to dwell on the surface for several minutes to break up the unwanted soils. This is then followed up with a stiff brush scrubbing or light to moderate pressure washing to remove the contaminants. The deck is then rinsed and a deck brightener is applied to restore the pH of the wood and brighten the wood grain.
When an old failing wood stain or sealer is present a deck cleaner is usually not aggressive enough to remove it. In this case, using a deck stripper instead of a deck cleaner will not only remove unwanted soils but also unwanted stain or sealer remnants. Deck strippers are a more aggressive caustic than a deck cleaner. They emulsify and soften most deck stains so they can be washed away with all the other contaminants. The deck stripping process is the same as deck cleaning with the applying, dwelling, and pressure washing. The only difference is the product used and like mentioned, that is determined by what is existing on the deck prior to cleaning. A deck brighter should also be applied following deck stripping.
Basically, the difference between deck stain stripping and deck cleaning is whether or not there is an old deck stain present or you are just removing dirt, grime, graying, etc. Determine what is on the surface of your deck and use either the deck stain stripping or deck cleaning process, followed by deck brightening to prep the wood prior to staining.
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As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.