Applying a Second Cleaning, or Stripping Instead.
Terrific Forum; extremely insightful and knowledgeable feedback.
I live in Kansas and have a six-year-old pressure-treated deck that has had no maintenance (due to my health issues) since its initial cleaning and staining (TWP 100 Series) six months after it was built. Despite the unfortunate oversight, the vertical wood stain is in good shape and the decking boards don’t appear neglected, perhaps because the deck receives minimal sunlight.
I just cleaned the decking boards using Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner (admittedly not my best decision) and a pressure washer operating at 1,500 psi. Not having ever done this, I am unaware as to whether the old stain should have remained on every board, or if some or all of the stain should have been removed. Apparently, my efforts resulted in a combination of both.
For this reason I have posted three photos taken 24 hours after cleaning. One photo shows what I consider to be an acceptable outcome of the cleaning process (about half of all decking boards appear as such).
The second photo reveals the least appealing area of the decking, with the boards retaining an ample amount of old stain (about 5 percent of the boards are similar in appearance).
The third photo shows one of the steps leading up to the deck that has the greatest amount of retained stain. I included this photo because I feel that these two boards are sufficient for visually conveying the condition of the remaining 40 percent or so of the decking.
I’m at a loss as I ponder my next step(s) for hopefully achieving an outcome in which all decking boards appear like those in the initial photo. Surprised that the cleaning process removed a notable amount of old stain, I do not know what are considered realistic expectations regarding the condition of the wood after cleaning it and to what extent the cleaning process prepares the wood for staining. My ignorance is not confined to the cleaning process and its expected outcomes; it also contributes to my poor understanding of the various aspects of stripping.
My first inquiry, therefore, is whether I should clean the deck a second time with a higher quality cleaner and, if necessary, use a firm brush on the more stubborn areas?
Or should my next step be to strip all decking? If stripping is indeed a consideration, would you consider it to be prudent to wait until I observe the condition of the boards after first proceeding with a higher quality and more aggressive second cleaning? In considering your response, it probably goes without saying that in no way am I eager to do more steps than are necessary. But I would add that, based on my familiarity and experience with cleaning, and my perception that stripping is a more detailed and timely undertaking, I would prefer to consider a second cleaning if you have a high degree of confidence in its ability to prepare the wood for staining.
At this point in the restoration process, I'm very interested in knowing what is acceptable, and what is not with respect to the condition of the boards. For instance, if a second cleaning were to improve the appearance/condition of the boards overall, with some boards retaining light amounts of old stain, I would surmise that the cleaning process was successful. In other words, when cleaning, but not stripping, to prepare the wood for staining, is cleaning a sufficient means of preparation if I should not be concerned by the remains of a small amount of old stain due to the fact that I believe (possibly erroneously) that two coats of stain will sufficiently mask the thin layer of old stain.
Also, would you mind advising me on the order of the remaining steps (e.g., clean, strip, brighten, stain) and the acceptable amount of time between steps?
Lastly, what is the best method for applying TWP (101 cedar)? A hardware employee recommended a roller, which is not a method listed on the can. In determining your response, would you be so kind as to take into consideration that one acceptable method might be preferred over another when health issues (chronic pain and fatigue) dictate that I pursue that which is least taxing physically?
Permit me to apologize for the lengthy message and to extend my gratitude in advance of your anticipated responses. I very much appreciate your taking the time and making the effort to consider how best to advise me.
I very much appreciate your response. You certainly saved me from doing an unnecessary step. I’m going to assume, based on your instruction, that when brightening the wood the same day as stripping, doing so on wet wood is not a problem? With regard to staining, I understand the need to wait 48 hours. But if rain or a busy schedule keeps me from staining for, say, one week, is waiting that long a problem? Lastly, you mentioned using a stain pad and brush. What exactly is the purpose of the brush? Is it to be used to go over those areas where there is an excessive amount of stain? Thank you.
Thank you again for your expedient and helpful response. Regarding the brush, I understand now that you were recommending it as an alternative application tool to a stain pad.
As for the stripping and brightening process, what would you consider to be the top two or three best products (I garnered the following information from the DeckStainHelp Web site)?
Stripper Products: Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper; Defy Stain Stripper; HD80 Deck Stripper
Brightener Products: Restore-A-Deck Brightener; Defy Wood Brightener; Citralic Wood Brightener
Regarding the brightening process, it is my understanding that some people elect to not rinse the brightener before applying stain. I disagree with this approach. But I’m curious as to whether you would recommend pressure washing or simply using a garden hose?
Finally, pertaining to stain pads, is there a specific brand you recommend?
We like Shurline or Padco pads. Best to always rinse after a wood brightener. https://www.deckstainhelp.com/why-rinse-a-wood-brightener-with-water/
Any of the prep products work well. Most lean towards the RAD products.
I want to convey how grateful I am and how much I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions. You obviously have a tremendous amount of experience and an impressive level of insight. Your responses cleared up so many of my questions and concerns, giving me understanding and direction as I plan for my next steps in the prep and staining processes.