How To Remove the Ink Stamps from New Decking? 4.9/5 (26)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

Remove Ink Stamps from New Decking?

Those who are familiar with the deck staining process are aware of how important it is to properly prep your deck before staining for beautiful results. In this article, we discuss how to get rid of pesky ink stamps from new decking before prepping and staining your wood surfaces in 2020. We always appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below with pictures of your deck stain projects.


Deck_Ink_StampPressure-treated decking when new has a tendency to have very annoying ink stamps on the wood when processed at the mill. Lumber is stamped at the mill according to its grade. An American Lumber Standard Committee (ALSC) grade mark and an American Wood-Preservers’ Association (AWPA) tag certify the lumber’s quality. These stamps are very troublesome for owners to remove prior to applying a decking stain that is either transparent or semi-transparent as the ink will show through the stain.

We have found this to be the most effective way of Decking Ink Stamp Removal:

Sand First then let Wood Weather Naturally

Since most decking stain manufacturers want you to let new wood season and weather before staining it is advisable to do these steps:

  1. Right after installing of new wood you should lightly sand all stamps off with 80 grit paper. Take care to sand with the grain of the wood.
  2. Let wood weather for 1-4 months or as suggested by stain manufacturer.
  3. Clean and Brighten all decking after the weathering for the stain prep and even out the appearance
  4. Apply stain. Please read this about New Decking stain

The reason for sanding first then weathering is to make sure the stain will apply evenly. If you were to sand the ink sports right before staining then there will be a very strong chance that the stain will take lighter in the sanded areas, resulting in a very uneven appearance of the deck stain.

If you have any questions on this topic, Please Ask Below


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Jacqi M
Jacqi M

My husband just installed new deck boards on a pre-existing base. Great job!! However, we are trying to deal with the manufacturer’s markings. My question is, it is now mid-September. Should we wait until after the winter months to stain (going to use semi-transparent stain)? Deck gets a good bit of weather (rain, snow, heat…). Wasn’t certain how long it should sit. Pressure treated – a good bit kiln dried. Thank you very much!!

John W
John W

Why do deck installers place decking boards with the stamp side up. Why not install board with the non stamped side up? Maybe a logical reason? Thanks.

William Cote
William Cote

Bark side out to prevent cupping on deck surface.

Cheryl Flick
Cheryl Flick

We bought green treated lumber to build a deck. Some of the boards have a touquise color to them. How can remove it?

Ben
Ben

how to remove bleach from pressure treated wood

Jennifer
Jennifer

If stain has already been applied over the ink stamps on a deck, will the ink always be on there or will it eventually come off with weather and wear and tear? How long would that take to wear off?

Shawn Hines
Shawn Hines

We acquired a brand new built deck (6 months) with treated pine when we bought our house this spring. We were waiting for the wood to weather before staining it and I just sanded off the ink stamps. Unfortunately, I reviewed your site (which is amazing information) after I sanded the stamps with 150 grit sandpaper. I read we need to wait to stain the deck to let the newly sanded spots to weather so they are more uniform. Two questions, should I go over all the sanded spots with 80 grit and how long should we let the newly spots weather before we stain. We live in NC so we still have a few months (currently august) of nice weather left. We are leaning towards the Armstrong stain after reviewing your site. We were going with Behr before that. Thank goodness I found this site!

Warren Courtney
Warren Courtney

What do you use to clean and brighten a new weathered cedar decking

Rebecca L Boone
Rebecca L Boone

We installed WeatherSheild wood decking with ceder tone. It has stamped marks on it. How do I remove the stamped marks without removing the cedar tone?

Jeannie Solis
Jeannie Solis

I built a cover deck about 6 weeks ago. Sanded for prep. It’s been 6 weeks now. And I still can not get these stamps off. Any other suggestions. This project was big. But getting it prepped for staining and trying to get these stamps off has been a nightmare.

Andrew Gullett
Andrew Gullett

Hi,
I just installed deck boards by EcoLife. The boards are air dried after treatment. Should this type of wood have a weathering period before staining? Also, there are perpendicular marks on the boards from the spacers used during the manufactures drying process. I used a scrap piece and sanded, cleaned and used a brightener. I used a semi solid stain but I could still see the spacer marks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

mike
mike

I installed a new deck last fall and did not remove the stains then. I just sanded them off now and have lighter spots where I sanded Is there anything I can do to make them blend in/

Kathi B
Kathi B

Some marks from patio chairs (black) have stained a newly built pressure treated wood deck. What is the best way to remove these stains (from chair legs) before sealing deck

Melinda
Melinda

A blue crayon melted on our new pressure treated wood deck. We scraped up the solids, but now need to remove the soaked in color. How can I remove the stain? Thanks!

Louis
Louis

PT wood often has annoying wax pencil 'sorting' marks (as well as the manufacturers ink stamps). Since I've built quite a few decks for some picky customers, including myself, I've experimented with just about every solution out there, with spotty results. For starters, if water can penetrate the wood (i.e. wood not sealed well) leave a wet towel on the wax area 10-15 minutes. If water only beads on wood, skip this step. Heat an iron to medium high heat, cover the wax with the clean cotton towel or old tee shirt and apply the iron for 3 or 4 minutes. Wet or dry, steam or heat will melt the wax and the cloth will absorb it. I repeat the process until no more wax transfers to the cloth. I was hoping that by leaving the iron on the wood for longer periods with higher heat it might replicate the mill coating effect (blade friction/heat cause sap/etc. to rinse to the surface) and remove more wax, but just repeating the process was just as effective. Anyhow, I let the wood cool then sand with a pad sander starting with 80 grit and progress to a 220 grit. Using chemicals to break down wax can cause it to penetrate more deeply into the wood, and result in a worse stain than you started with, often not visible till it dried out. A few failed conclusions were xylol, borax, vinegar, mineral spirits, white gas, and HD degreasers (which do break down wax). Now if you're looking to eliminate those ink stamps, good luck!

Steve Adams
Steve Adams

Having built my own decks, and also hiring contractors for larger projects, I had not ever run into caring for older decks and pressure-treated pine. This article, as well as others on this site, have been extremely helpful. Preserving and maximizing the appearance of my home is easier than I thought. Thank you.

Steve
Steve

Sikkens is terrible

Mickey
Mickey

No its not. The rubbol solid deck stain which is an alkali/oil hybrid is incredibly durable and looks great on a deck.