There are many types of Exterior Wood Deck Stains on the market. They range from slightly pigmented sealers to solid color stains. One thing is for certain, they all fail after years of neglect, rain, snow, and UV degradation. In many cases, it is possible to use a deck cleaner and re-coat over an old stain. This is not practical though if the old stain has failed by wearing unevenly, peeled or if switching brands of stains. In these cases, you will need to use a Deck Stain Stripper. Stain strippers contain a more aggressive “caustic” than a typical deck cleaner. These caustics break down the bond between the cellular structure of the wood and the old stain. This makes removal of the stain easier with scrubbing or a light pressure wash.
These are basic steps needed to strip a failed deck stain:
- Remove all furniture/grills.
- Take precautions by covering nearby bushes with plastic tarps. Deck Strippers in general, are biodegradable but prolong exposure will burn the foliage.
- Read all manufacturer’s directions.
- Apply the stripper by a bucket/scrub brush or a plastic garden sprayer. Do small sections of 100-200 square feet at a time.
- Let the stain stripper activate for 10-20 minutes.
- Heavy scrub or lightly pressure wash the surface.
- For stubborn areas repeat the process by applying more stripper, letting the stripper activate longer.
- It can be difficult to remove all of the old stain, especially on the verticals. Best to shoot for 90-100% removal.
- When done make sure to rinse thoroughly all dirt, grime, and old stain residue from the decking and nearby structures (i.e. house siding).
- Use a deck brightener to neutralize the deck stain stripper. This is an important needed step. Failure to do so will result in the new deck stain failing faster than normal.
- Rinse deck brightener after 10 minutes.
See here for a list of deck stain stripper reviews