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Deck Stain Removal – Stain Strippers 5/5 (1)

Deck Stain FailureThere 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.

Theses are basic steps needed to strip a failed deck stain:

  1. Remove all furniture/grills.
  2. Take precautions by covering nearby bushes with plastic tarps. Deck Strippers in general, are biodegradable but prolong exposure will burn the foliage.
  3. Read all manufacturer’s directions.
  4. Apply the stripper by a bucket/scrub brush or a plastic garden sprayer. Do small sections of 100-200 square feet at a time.
  5. Let the stain stripper activate for 10-20 minutes.
  6. Heavy scrub or lightly pressure wash the surface.
  7. For stubborn areas repeat the process by applying more stripper, letting the stripper activate longer.
  8. It can be difficult to remove all of the old stain, especially on the verticals. Best to shoot for 90-100% removal.
  9. When done make sure to rinse thoroughly all dirt, grime, and old stain residue from the decking and nearby structures (i.e. house siding).
  10. 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.
  11. Rinse deck brightener after 10 minutes.

See here for a list of deck stain stripper reviews

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14 responses to “Deck Stain Removal – Stain Strippers”

  1. Sue W. says:

    After stipping and using a deck brightner how long can I wait to stain the deck?

  2. Susan says:

    I recently stripped my deck and the old stain came up in little dried-paint-like blobs that got on my concrete and patio furniture, then dried there. Any ideas for how to remove the blobs without using more stripper to soften them, since I doubt I can put that on concrete/furniture?


  3. Michael Barnas says:

    I stripped my deck with a two-part stripper, but will need to sand it as well. Should I sand before or after using part two (the brightener)?

  4. B. Larson says:

    Help!! I am stripping my deck for second time in 4 yrs. I do not know anything about staining. I been using Home depot products: cleaner# 63, stripper#64, and Behr Transparent Wood Protector in natural color, not oil base. The entry way on the south side is very good. I live in MN. on the lake. The deck on the lakeside has never been taken care of, & it's lot bigger. The transparent wood protector worked fine for the front. I am bit worry after reading the report on Behr stain to continue with the project.—–

  5. Pat @ 709 says:

    Just finish staining my new 12×10 cedar deck. I HATE the semi- transparent color. I thought it would change after drying, but it is still ORANGE. Want to re-stain immediately. Can I use any stain remover? Will I need to use a brightener or sand? I would be grateful for any and all suggestions.

  6. Larry says:

    My cedar house is stained with oil based Sikkens SRD semitransparent How do I remove old stain and prpare surface. I have tried several products in small areas without success.

    • A deck stains stripper may work but that depends on how many coats and how thick it is. The SRD is strippable but can be difficult if over applied. If a stripper does not remove it all then you may need to resort to corn cob blasting.

  7. Ric says:

    1. Do I need to cover my siding by my deck when applying the restore a deck stripper?
    2. Do I have to immediately apply the brighter in the same day?
    3. Can I use the same pump sprayer for the brighter and stripper?



    • 1. Depends on what type of siding it is. Does not harm vinyl. Aluminum may be an issue of heavily oxidizing. Does not remove paint unless the paint is already failing.
      2. Yes that is best.
      3. Yes but rinse with water when switching.

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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.