This post was updated on January 19, 2022
Stain a Deck Without Cleaning First?
The correct answer is – not if you want the deck stain to last as long as it should. The number one reason a deck stain fails prematurely is that the wood surface was not prepped correctly. Even a high-quality deck stain will not be as effective or protected as it should if the wood deck was not been washed first using the right deck cleaners.
A good deck cleaner should be used to remove gray wood fibers, dirt, mold, mildew, and other pollutants that are deep down in the wood. In some instances, a deck stain stripping agent is required to remove an old failing deck stain. It’s vitally important to remove all remnants of an old deck stain so the new stain can penetrate the wood. More times than not, most deck stains will not adhere to each other. When a deck stain is applied over an old failing stain it will start flaking and peeling within a year or so making an even bigger mess.
After the deck cleaning or deck stain stripping process, a wood deck brightener is then needed. This “brightens” the wood while restoring back to the proper pH level. The reason for a deck brightener is that the cleaner or stripper used is caustic and leaves the wood at a high Ph level, looking very dark. Deck stains penetrate better and will last longer when they are applied to a more acid surface. The brightening of the wood brings out the natural beauty which is important when using clear or semi-transparent deck stains.
Restoring a deck properly can save the homeowner money by protecting their investment. Avoid putting deck stain or water repellent on a wood deck that has not been cleaned first with the proper deck cleaners. Hurrying a project like a deck restoration will only end up costing more time and money than necessary. Follow the proper recommendations for cleaning and use only quality deck cleaners and deck stains to achieve professional results and longevity of your wood.
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