Re-staining an Old Deck 4.8/5 (14)

This post was updated on January 18, 2022

How to Re-stain an Old Deck

We here at DeckStainHelp.com thank you for your continued support. Without you, we wouldn’t be the internet’s number one reference for all things wood deck restoration related. See below for tips on how to treat and stain an old deck. As always, we appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below.


Deck Stain Failure

Old Deck Stain

Bringing an old deck back to life can be very rewarding. But like any rewarding venture, the task can be daunting. With the right knowledge, however, it can be well worth the effort. A restored deck can give your home’s exterior a much-needed facelift not to mention raise your home’s curb appeal and value.

Re-staining an old deck requires a few tools. A pressure washer is very helpful but a scrub brush can also be used. Pressure washers can be rented if you do not own one. Before re-staining an old deck, the surface needs to be clean. A good wood cleaner will go a long way in aiding the cleaning process. A quality deck cleaner will loosen dirt, grime, and graying making them easier to remove with the pressure washer or scrub brush. It will also rid the old deck of mold, mildew, and algae. The idea is to reveal clean bare wood so the new deck stain will perform properly.
If an old deck stain is present then you must use a deck stain stripper instead of a deck cleaner. The washing process is the same but the stripper will also loosen and emulsify most wood stains so they can be washed away as well. It is essential to remove any remnants of old stain so it does not hinder the performance of the new stain. Follow up the cleaning process with a quality wood brightener by following the instructions. You basically coat the wood with the brightener after cleaning; allow it to dwell for several minutes, then rinse. This helps open the pores of the wood to allow better stain penetration.

Once clean, allow the old deck to dry for a day or two. Re-staining an old deck can be done with a roller, brush, stain pad, or sprayer. Be sure to protect any landscaping or other surfaces from unwanted drips or overspray. Apply the stain and allow it to absorb into the wood. The amount of stain the wood will soak up depends on the age, condition, and porosity of the wood. Do not over apply the stain. Wipe away any excess stain that does not soak up after 10-15 minutes. This applies to the penetrating type of stains, not the film-forming type. The film-forming type of deck stains are applied more like paint but they are more prone to peeling and cracking.

Re-staining an old deck is not hard with the right tools and knowledge. For the best results, it is recommended to perform a light wash and maintenance coat to your old deck every couple of years.


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Pete
Pete
3 years ago

I bought a house three years ago that has a 400 sf exterior wooden (pine non PT) deck that had been covered with a solid stain. It didn’t last. Power washing took up much of the stain. It’s been sanded and cleaned. It’s ready for a new surface. I’ve decided on a semi-transparent that the wood will absorb and I can avoid future peeling.
What’s my best option in terms of a stain that will absorb and stand up?

Joey
Joey
4 years ago

Hi there,
I moved into a house with a deck and I wanted to restain it. The old home owner left me the old can. I also purchased more cans of the same stain. When I applied the stain it looks like a completely different stain. Do you have any suggestions what may have happened?

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Stuart Munro
Stuart Munro
4 years ago

Deck location state: MA
Full sun for part of the day
Pressure treated wood (not sure what type of wood)
No mold/mildew issues
Reason for previous stain failure: N/A
Previous coating: Cabot Oil-base Semi-Transparent Deck and Siding Stain

I plan on re-staining this deck (floor only; I did the fencing last year) with the same Cabot stain (in same color). Condition of the old stain shown in attached photo. Do you think I need to sand before staining, or will cleaning/brightening be enough?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

deck.JPG
Stuart Munro
Stuart Munro
4 years ago

Thanks for the reply. Was this change in formula for VOC compliance, or has Cabot made another change, and do you have some idea of when they did so? I used the Cabot low VOC stain (16300 series) the last time (four years ago, if memory serves), and the stuff that I see available now has exactly the same can/labeling, etc. If it’s the same stuff, I’ll use it, but if not, I’ll re-evaluate which stain to use, since I’ll have to sand.

Stuart Munro
Stuart Munro
4 years ago

Okay, I’ll go with that and just clean before application. Thanks again for your help.

Bob Colburn
Bob Colburn
5 years ago

Deck Location State: Northern Illinois
Full Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade: Almost Full Shade
Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Mold or Mildew Issues: Near forest – some slight issues
Reason for Previous Stain Failure: N/A
Previous Coating? Either white solid stain or paint. Based on some chipping I would guess paint.

I recently purchased a home with a deck in poor condition. The verticals (framing) is white with either paint or a solid stain. It is in better shape than the decking was, so I don't feel like I need to strip it. I want to change the color and was wondering if I could use solid stain. If so, which stain? Otherwise I will paint with the Behr Marquee. Thanks!

joe
joe
5 years ago

hello,

we built a new cedar deck last summer (2015) using s4s kiln dried cedar. later (october) we applied a penetrating stain (woodrich) after brush cleaning to remove mill glaze, neutralizing and allowing the wood to dry. the stain was pretty well taken up by the new wood.

NOW, (1 year later) we'd like to apply another coat of the penetrating stain. what should the prep process include?

i'm thinking wash again (oxyclean) with brushing as needed, then neutralize with citralic acid, allow to dry and then spray/brush on the stain.

i don't really want to aggressively remove the first application of stain but do want to get another application soaked into the wood before winter.

thoughts/suggestions?

thanks
joe

Micky
Micky
5 years ago

Hi we just stripped and sanded our 10 year old deck. We were wondering whether we should stain it now or wait for spring. We are in Toronto and the fall usually is accompanied with quite a bit of rain. Much appreciate your comments.

Joy Zidon
Joy Zidon
6 years ago

We have a deck that was stained with an oil base Pittsburgh stain 3 years ago. We added on to the deck and now want to stain it all. How do we go about matching the stain to make the deck look like one? I also want to go to water based stain. I find water based stain go on and looks better. We also have a bunk house that is stained with the same Pittsburgh stain and the north side has gotten darker or looks like its wet. Why is this and what do I do this next time staining?

Paul Agud
Paul Agud
6 years ago

At the end of your article "Restaining an old deck" you recommend "light wash and maintainence coat every couple of years". Please tell me how that differs from the full wash+brighten+stain routin described earlier in the article. I used TWP two summers ago — it's now quite worn- looking and I need to refresh, using the same TWP 103 product (assuming it's still available).

Christine
Christine
6 years ago

We live in upstate NY. Our deck is old and gray but still in good shape. We power washed it and are looking for a product to improve the look without peeling. What would you suggest? Thank you!

Rocky
Rocky
6 years ago

I stained my 20+ year old deck last spring with an old sikkens solid oil stain. I did sand the whole deck with 60 grit sandpaper effectively removing 90% of the old solid deck stain that was failing. It is now January and I noticed that there are a few small areas where there is peeling. My question is the following, will the deck need to be stripped or can I apply another solid stain over this if most of the stain has adhered to the deck. Sikkens has told me to clean the deck with a mixture of water, tsp, and bleach then do a light scuff sanding with 80 grit sandpaper before applying a maintenance coat. I will be forced to use a water based stain as they no longer sell solid oil stains in my area. I live in Montreal Canada where the winters can be brutal. My deck is raised off the ground by 3 feet and is made of pt lumber. I really don't want to sand it down to the bare wood again (took 3 days). What are my options?

April masilamani
April masilamani
6 years ago

my deck is dark in places where furniture was and grey where exposed to sun. It's kwilla hard wood. I've sanded and used a deck old stain remover but there are still strong demarcation marks. Will this look bad when I re stain.

Lori
Lori
6 years ago

I live in Minnesota someone said I should just wait untl next Spring now to restain my deck is this true or is it helpful to do it now?

Linda
Linda
6 years ago

We had our deck power washed but some stain remains. Sanding is not an option as the nails will get in the way. Should I still apply a stripper or will a brightener do? We live in Connecticut so get a fairly snowy winter and the deck gets heavy sun. What is the best stain for us? We wanted to go with a more natural color (and stay away from a painted look).

Linda
Linda
6 years ago

If pressure washing is not an option any further suggestions?

Judy
Judy
6 years ago

I recently divorced and have the house. My ex-husband did all the outside work but neglected the deck. It is about 17 yrs old and is graying. I want to restore it. This was very helpful information to a "beginer" with a senses of being overwhelmed by the project. I feel better prepared to tackle this project. Thank you.

Caryl
Caryl
7 years ago

My husband and I bought an older house and looks like the back deck was painted…we would like to restore the deck this summer but not sure how to proceed. After reading the article on behr deckover and rustoleum products decided against that…is there a way to stain a deck that was once painted?

Dave
Dave
6 years ago
Reply to  Caryl

You can rent (or buy) a high powered pressure washer, and if you are lucky and the pressure is sufficient (3200 psi or so)…the old stain will be able to be blasted off down to the bare wood. I just did this on my 20 year old deck (it was BLACK with muck but originally was the "wrong choice" of redwood color). With a deck washing oxidizer product applied afterward (I used FLOOD), the deck wood looks very close to "new". After it dries out for a couple of days, you can stain it any color, as you wish. (no sanding required)

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