This post was updated on January 30, 2023
Best Deck Stain Removers
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 2023. Below, we talk about Deck Stain Removers. Feel free to leave a comment below with any pictures you may have.
For the best results when cleaning and maintaining a wood deck, removing all the old deck stain is crucial. Deck stain is meant to penetrate into the wood to provide protection. When an old stain remains on the wood it prevents any new stain from penetrating. The newer stain will instead remain atop the old stain and will be prone to peeling and flaking.
To ensure the new deck stain dives into the wood and provides adequate weather protection, any existing deck stain must be removed. During the wood cleaning process, a deck stain remover should be used. When using a deck stain remover it is not necessary to use a deck cleaner. The deck stain remover will not only remove old stains but dirt, grime, mildew, and graying as well.
There are many types of deck stain removers on the market. Liquid and powdered forms are the most common. The liquid forms are usually ready to apply while the concentrated powder forms require mixing with water.
Deck stain removers can be applied to almost any exterior wood surface or deck to aid in proper cleaning and prepping for stain. Stain removers are commonly applied using a garden type pump sprayer but may also be applied using a soft brush.
Deck stain removers are very aggressive and will emulsify most semi-transparent and semi-solid deck stains. For hard to remove stains several applications may be necessary. Deck stain removers may not remove all deck stains especially some solid stains or paints.
The deck stain remover is a great way to aid in proper cleaning and prepping wood for a new stain application. The lack of removing deck stains leads to excessive buildup, darkening, and peeling. Deck stains do not adhere well to other deck stains, so removing a failed deck stain prior to a new application is definitely the best option to ensure excellent results.
Always wear protective gear when handling any type of cleaner or stripper. Protect landscaping, windows, concrete and other non-targeted areas with plastic or tarps prior to cleaning. Follow the recommended directions per the product label for the best results. Use caution when cleaning wood with pressure washing. Getting too close to the wood can cause permanent damage.
It is best to apply a wood brightener to the deck following cleaning or stripping. This will reverse the darkening effect on the wood and will ensure proper stain penetration.
Have A Question about Removing a Deck Stain? Ask Below.
Deck Stain Help & Questions
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
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.
what is the max amount of time between stripping and applying Brightener? Rough cedar vertical siding stripped 2 weeks ago. Didn’t get the Brightener applied. Can I do it now without having to apply another coat of stripper? Have been using Rad stripper with both additives.
Just brighten now. It should be fine.
Not sure what to use to remove old paint/stain from my deck. I moved in a couple of years ago and not sure what products the previous owners used. Do you recommend a stain stripper? or go right to sanding or power-washing?
You cannot strip this. Sanding is the only way to remove.
Is there a product out there that would safely remove “Valspar Clear Deck Stain” from my eastern red cedar fence…. without damaging?
Hi, please let me know what stain remover I should use. I have used Pittsburgh Paints and Stain Ultra Advanced Stain and Sealant Semi-Transparent acrylic oil formula cedar color on pine wood–about 10 years of recoats. Bar none the worst stain I could have ever picked. I’ll never use an acrylic stain again. I have used Cabot wood stripper and Wolman and they just don’t seem to do the job that well — used several recoats and lots of scraping and power washing. I have done about half of the deck but still have half to go. I know by the pic it looks like it should come off easily, but do not be fooled, it does not. Thanks for any input you have.
What you have on there now looks like an opaque stain and probably cannot be stripped. You would have to sand it off to remove it.
It actually is a semi-transparent. Says right on the can.
It may say that but what is actually on your wood is not semi-transparent and looks opaque.
Okay, one more question, please. I would still like to strip as much as possible before sanding. So, what stripper do you suggest in that case? Thanks.
The RAD stripper with both additives: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/restore-a-deck-stain-stripper-booster-thickening-gel-review/
Let is sit on the wood for 45-60 minutes and then pressure wash off. Mist it with water to keep it from drying out while it sits.
how do you remove deckover?
Power sand to remove.
What brand of wood stripper works? I wasted a gallon and entire full afternoon using Behr Wood strain stripper which did not work. What would you suggest
What brand and type of stain are you removing? Pics would help.
Behr SemiTransparent- weatherproof all in one Wood stain and Sealer
Pictures, please. Many times Behr says semi-transparent on the can but in reality, it is looking and performing like a solid stain.
When removing the deck strip what is the recommended PSI for power washer so as not to damage the wood?
PSI is relative to how close you are to the wood when washing. A 3500 PSI washer can be used but you would wash from 8-10 inches away and that would drop the pressure in half.
Trying to determine a safe PSI–so is a pressure of 1750 a safe range?
Yes as long as you are washing with a proper technique.
I need to remove old stain from my vinyl siding. Is this safe to use? If not, what would you recommend?
No way to answer his question properly without more info. Stain brand and type of stain? Pictures as well.
Is Wolman deckstrip allowed in Canada
Sorry but not sure.
2 yrs ago applied Sikkens proluxe semi transparent stain to new cedar decking..blistering off.. would like to strip and use another brand of semi transparent stain.What stripper would you use? I was thing of using TWO 1000 stain.. any thoughts Tom .. My location N.J
For NJ, you will need to use the TWP 1500. Try the Restore A Deck Stain stripper kits. You may need to sand as well.
Trying to remove acrylic semi transparent sealer from posts on the deck. Used bleach and water as we have aluminum railings and tsp would damage them. Some sealer remains and sanding is not doing the job. Any suggestions?
Post a picture please.
It was a clear stain. A thin film is present and when sanding it just clogs up the paper.
Try a deck stain stripper and pressure washing to remove.
which product would you recommend to strip the solid Behr Premium Waterproofing Stain and Sealer stain off the deck?
This product will most likely will need to be sanded off to remove fully.
After deck remove applied can you pressure clean
That is correct.
I just installed a new cypress fence with pressure treated posts and crowbars. How soon can I stain it and what is the best penetrating stain. I know to stay away from the box store kind. Thank you
Depends on if the wood is smooth or rough sawn cut. See this:
When it was two months old, our deck was stained with Preservawood Redwood (lighter than Pacific Redwood). I couldn't be near our house for 3 weeks the smell bothered me so much. I am desperate to switch to Defy or another very low odor stain, but it seems so complicated and prone to failure of one sort or another. I found a deck restorer who has never used Defy, but he is willing to try. Another deck guy said, "once oil, always oil," What do you think I should use? If we can make the switch, should we sand as well as strip? How can we test to see whether all the oil stain is gone?
Strip off and sand only if needed. Brighten all wood when done. Once the stain is visibly removed from the wood, you can switch to the Defy Extreme with no issues.
1. Is there a product available for stripping an 8 year old, semi-transparent, water-based stain from a pressure-treated pine DOCK and GANGWAY on the lake?
2. If I use RAD stripper, should I protect the painted steel frame that holds the boards in place?
Hi Sue, who is the manufacturer of the stain that you are trying to remove?
I don't know. I would guess Behr.
Try the HD80 Stain Stripper.
I was hoping to use Defy stripper since it is biodegradable and this will be applied and powerwashed on a dock (not deck) over the lake. Defy Is rated 9 for removal of old stain (TWP) while HD80 is rated 8 (Olympic oil). Perhaps an extra application of Defy stripper would work for what could be an 8 year old semi-transparent, water-based Behr stain?
HD80 is biodegradable as well. Difference is that HD80 can be mixed stronger if needed while Defy is a pre mix. We like the powders for Behr removals for this reason.
Thanks! An amazing site!
I have a fairly old deck with three generations of pine decking, original boards, replacement boards (2 yrs old) and new boards. What is the best approach to remove the existing semi transparent stain and restain and have a consistent color to the deck? I want to restain with a semi transparent stain.
Do you know what brand the current stain is?
2 weeks ago I stained my cedar fence with Sherwin Williams oil based semi transparent stain. This was a horrible experience. Not only was there a huge inconsistency in color but also in the stain, only one side of my fence actually looks like it was stained the rest looks like paint. not only does my fence look horrible but I used 20 gal of stain on a fence that should have only took 10 gal, and the fence isn't even finished. I just want to know what would be the best way to go about removing this stain. Thanks
Sounds like it was over applied. It is not easy to remove a newly applied stain, even harder if over applied, and nearly impossible if it is a paint. There is no easy way to remove it. You could try a stripper and pressure wash it off. You will probably need to strip it multiple times and it still may not come all the way off. Might want to contact SW for some advice.
Bought Behr "Premium" gel stain remover to remove some old acrylic stain from previous owner. It was a horrible experience. You can read my review on Home Depot and some rants on this site. DON'T BUY BEHR. Follow the sound advice from this site the first time and save yourself a headache from wasted time and money. You will also save yourself from some alkaline chemical burns by wearing proper protective equipment. Buy Restore A Deck. Higher concentration and longer dwell time took acrylic off nicely with power washer.
I just finished staining my deck and it looks great. But I made a mess of the concrete walkway. Any suggestions what can I use to remove oil based stains from this?
Not easy to remove. We usually try a graffiti remover from a local hardware store and pressure washing.
What is the best deck stain stripper available in Canada?
Sorry but we have no idea what is sold there.
Hello, I love your site and wish I had run across it ages ago! I (along with many others it seems) applied the awful Behr Semi-Transparent stain, and 2 years in, it looks awful. I'm trying to get rid of it, but I'm having the hardest time doing so.
What's the best way to get rid of this awful product (taking into consideration both time and cost-effectiveness)?
A) Buy a better stain remover? (The Behr stuff from Home Depot didn't even take off their own product!) If so, it seems like HD80 works best on acrylic stain like Behr, is that right?
B) Rent a belt sander? (Will this remove all of the stain below the surface?)
C) Replace the wood? (With the work I have already put in stripping 25% of the deck, I could have bought lumber and replaced the entire surface of the deck by now.)
Some combination of the three?
Here are the answers to the 5 questions I've seen in other threads, in case that helps:
Deck Location State: Illinois
Half Partial Sun, Half Full Shade
Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Mold or Mildew Issues: A little
Reason for Previous Stain Failure: Peeled
Thank you so much for your help!
a. Powdered stain removers like HD80 can be mixed stronger so they will usually be more effective. Still will need to sand though.
b. belt sanders will help
c. if you can afford it and the wood is not in great shape then this could be a viable option.
Once removed you can use the TWP 1500 or Armstrong Clark for much easier future maintenance.
I applied Behr Transparent weather proofing wood finish to my deck 2 and a half years ago. It is 100% acrylic. It is faded, flaking and peeling. Can you offer any advice on what kind of stripper I could use. Already sanded with a deck sander, but still remains large areas and splotches. I still have railing and 2 stairs to do.
Deck Stain Strippers do not remove solids completely. They will remove some but you will still need to sand to get the rest off. Try HD80 Stain stripper.
In 2011 I stripped a 100% acrylic deck with Wolman's ASR. It required a lot of product to strip the acrylic, but I did it. I sanded, washed and used a brightener. I stained with One Time Deck Stain. After it cured, I noticed what appeared to be inconsistent saturation. In Jan 2013 I stripped my dock, sanded, washed & brightened. This time I waited a month before I stained thinking my deck problem was because I hadn't thoroughly rinsed the stripper. I applied Wood RX Ultra and now have the same problem: inconsistent saturation. The mgf thinks the wood won't accept the stain because it wasn't properly neutralized, but I used Restore-A-Deck brightener. Any idea what's causing this problem?
Ritch, it has nothing to do with being neutralized properly or not. Could you post a picture in our forum so I can see what you mean by inconsistent saturation?
Wood some times will have a different density due to the grain. Maybe the tree the wood was from went through a drought and grew slowly for a few years then grew faster. This causes the grain to be more dense in certain areas. Maybe you might want to think about using a solid color stain instead of a transparent or semi transparent stain.
I have a large deck that was stained with a product called flood, it was a solid color stain and it lasted 10 yrs. About to strip it and refinish and I'm going to use flood solid color stain again, hope it works as well this time ad it did 10 yrs ago.
we have a 2 yr old pressure treated wood porch that my husband painted Flood solid stain on and we want to remove it. We have tried the Flood wood finish remover and have gone through 2 gallons and does not seem to work all that well. Do u have any recommendations on what brand to use to finish. We live in Washington state at the base of Mt St Helens SW Washington where we get lots of rain and some snow. We do get some freezing temps in Jan-early March. Thank you for your quick response.
Sharon, no stain removers will remove a solid stain. You will need to sand it off.
I stripped Flood Deck and Spa 100% acrylic stain using Wolman's Acrylic Deck Stripper (ASR). It was difficult and time consuming, but I got it done. I had to use several applications, kept it covered with plastic, used a two hour dwell time and pressure washed. I then sanded it. It was a nightmare. Plus, the wood now won't consistently hold the new stain.
I've read comments thread and agree with all. It's unfortunate there are so many problems related to decks, particularly when it comes to removing old stain.
My worst experiences have been decks I treated with Cabot SPF (since discontinued). After a coat or two nothing else will hold, no chemical removes and only recourse has been alot of deck sanding.
I have an older dock out over the water and for years used Olympic semi-transparent stain. Two years ago I switched to a Cabot semi-transparent oil-based stain, and have not been happy. I now am ready to re-stain the dock again, but need to strip the combination of old Olympic and Cabot stains off before applying a new stain. Any suggestions?
GatorSig, when you have a buildup of stain it can be difficult to remove. Try the HD80 stripper and sand if needed. Brighten the wood when done.
I have a solid behr stain on my deck that I need to strip. I cant find the info here on what stripper works best for solid stain- any recommendations?
Janell, sorry but strippers will not remove solid stains effectively. You will need to sand it off.
I find your website to be extremely helpful, I have a new (2 month old) pressure treated pine deck and as recommended in this site I'm planning to use the Restore-A-Deck kit before staining for the first time. My question; I have grass and flowers bordering the deck, when rinsing these chemicals can they harm the greenery?
Yariv, we have not had issue but we always prewet vegetation and rinse well if anything gets on them.
I used ONE TIME natural finish on mahogany decking 1×4 tongue and groove. We followed the manufacturer's directions, but the product failed to hold both a finish (flaking) and color (uneven fading/water spots). I have power washed the decking, but do not know how to remove the OneTime from the boards or what to use to NOW protect the boards and bring back the color. I think I am going to use TWP or Armstong Clark preservative. I would like to ask how to remove the ONE TIME an prep for the TWP or Armstrong Clark.
Tired Mommma, the RAD Stain Stripper should remove the One Time.
I had the same problem with One Time. I stripped it with Wolman's ASR, but I now have a problem with another stain saturating the wood,