Wood Fuzzies on Deck After Prepping? Why it happened and how to fix.
Before applying a deck stain or sealer you should prep the wood properly first. Prepping is the most important part to the deck stain’s longevity. When evaluating the prepping process you should look at two options. Does the wood need to be cleaned or does an old stain need to be removed?
When To Use A Deck Cleaner
-Best to prep with a deck cleaner if you do not have an old stain, the wood is heavily grayed, wood is new, or you plan on applying a maintenance coat of deck stain.
When To Use A Deck Stain Stripper
-Use a deck stain stripper if you need to remove an old stain that has failed unevenly, was over applied, or you are planning on switching stain brands. This will allow the new stain to properly absorb into the wood grain.
One of the negative effects of using a Deck Cleaner or Deck Stripper is it is possible to get “wood fuzzies” or “wood furring” when finished. This looks like very small raised wood grain fibers or hair on the decking boards. When you are prepping a deck you are essentially remove a layer of oxidized or damaged wood cells. The more you remove, the greater the chance of making the wood look “fuzzy” or “soft”.
Here are a couple examples of when there is a greater chance of this happening:
Heavily Grayed or Neglected Wood
-When the wood is left to gray (oxidize) from the UV you will need to remove all of the damaged wood cells. The grayer the wood, the more you will need to remove from the surface and the greater the chance of getting the “fuzzies”.
Multiple layers of Older Deck Stain is Being Removed
-Deck Stain strippers are a mild caustic that may also create the furry look to the wood grain. The heavier or stronger the concentration of the deck stripper, the greater the chance of the wood fuzzies showing
Preventing Wood Fuzzies
-Only use as strong of a concentration of the cleaner or stripper as needed.
-Minimize the wood fuzzies from showing by using a wood brightener as soon as you are done with the deck cleaner or deck stain stripper and while the wood is still wet. This will neutralize the cleaner, leaving the wood in a neutral state.
How To Remove Wood Fuzzies
-Make sure that when you are done with the prepping that you rinse the wood extremely well to remove all excess wood pulp from the decking during the washing.
-After the wood has dried, you can remove the fuzzies by lightly sanding or buffing the wood. As contractors we like to use sanding buffing pads. They are not aggressive and will smooth the wood without over sanding. You can use these buffing pads on floor buffing machines that can be rented from your local rental yard. We can remove the wood fuzzies from a 500 sq. foot deck in 10 minutes with a floor buffer. Use a smaller pad and hand held buffer for the railings if needed.
Taking care to minimize and remove the wood fuzzies from your deck will result in a longer lasting and better looking application with a deck stain.
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