This post was updated on May 2, 2022
Change from Water Based to Oil Based Deck Stains
DeckStainHelp.com continues to be a trusted source for the latest in deck restoration news and trending topics throughout 2022. Water-based stains and oil-based stains have their advantages and disadvantages. If you wish to change from a water-based to oil-based deck stain, or vice versa, here are some suggestions. Any questions? Ask below!
How to Change From Water Based to Oil Based Exterior Decking Stain and Vice Versa
The longevity of a deck or other exterior wood structure depends highly on how well it is maintained. A wood surface left alone or neglected will not last long in a harsh environment. Wood needs to be sealed and protected from moisture, UV rays, mold, mildew, and such contaminants that will cause rot and decay. The most common types of wood protectants are oil and water-based.
Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Once a wood surface is coated with a particular type of stain it is usually maintained every few years with another light maintenance coat of the same type of stain. However, on occasion, some homeowners may decide to change from oil-based to a water-based stain or vice versa.
To do this successfully a few guidelines need to be followed.
When switching from one particular type of stain to another, you have to remember the characteristics of the stains you are working with. These two types of stains will not perform well together. If the wood has a penetrating oil-based stain on it now, a water-based stain will not be able to penetrate the wood. If it is film-forming stains you are dealing with, they will not adhere well and normally the topcoat stain will fail prematurely.
To successfully change from oil-based to water-based or vice versa, you have to remove all of the existing stain. There are products like Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper that can help break down existing stains to make them easier to remove. The stripper is applied to the wood surface and allowed to dwell. It works to soften the stain so the wood surface can then be pressure washed or scrubbed clean. The second step of a wood brightener is then applied to neutralize the stripper and prepare the wood for a new stain.
Removing an old stain and getting back down to bare wood is the only way to ensure the new stain will adhere or penetrate the wood properly. Removing an old stain is not always easy. Solid stains and some water-based stains can be extremely stubborn. They may take several attempts to strip and sanding may be necessary. Once the existing stain is gone you can apply the new oil or water-based stain to a clean wood surface.
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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.