Wood Fuzzies (Furring) on Deck 4.9/5 (54)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

Remove Wood Fuzzies on Deck

For 2020 and beyond, Deckstainhelp.com vows to remain committed to being your go-to source for deck staining tips and latest industry news on the internet. Pesky wood fuzzies/furring may show up when you are prepping your deck. If this happens, we have some suggestions on how to fix the problem. If you have any further recommendations we may have left out, please feel free to share them in the comments below. Also, we encourage you to share pictures of your completed super deck projects.


Deck Furring

Deck Furring

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 of 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 essentially remove a layer of oxidized or damaged wood cells. The more you need to remove, the greater the chance of making the wood look “fuzzy” or “soft”.

Here are a couple of 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.
-Do not let new wood sit too long unstained.

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 handheld 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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jennifer
jennifer

We followed the advice above and used a floor buffer to remove the fuzzies. It worked amazingly well on the floor. We were very thankful for the advice. Now we need to do the railings and spindles. What do we use to get the same results?

Ron Harp
Ron Harp

I cleaned and used defy brightener on my 14 month deck today. Hosed off between applications and after brightener. A few hours later the boards under a roof look fine but the boards that are always exposed to sun/weather have many that just look way to white. Do I need to redo any or all the prep or will these stain appropriately.

Joe Baker
Joe Baker

Hi! I appreciate all the info. First question, which craft beer do you recommend to keep me calm on this project? Next … Here are pics of my genuine mahogany hardwood deck after cleaning and brightening to remove oxidation. I have some bad fuzzies and the wood looks almost bleached out after drying, even though the brightener was on only 15 minutes. One pic is when mostly dry and other is a close up of the fuzzies when wet. Does it look To you like I need to buff, or will Penofin hardwood oil even this out and hide the white and fuzzies? Thanks!

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Rebecca Coble
Rebecca Coble

Okay we change stain on our log home from sikkens to Wood guard they stripped the house with stripper and power washer then sand it some of it and now I added stain well it is furring what can we do they claim it will lay down in a couple weeks from the wood guard

Thomas schram
Thomas schram

Had a spot where it appears cleaner soaled into wood and didn’t rinse away, resulting in a spot where sealer failed, what is the best remedy?

Bill
Bill

We just performed an initial deck clean on Cedar prior to first ever stain. We are left with oxidization white fuzzies. When wet they don’t show. Can we stain over them or should we remove using the buffing suggested? Can we use vinegar to dissolve??

Dale
Dale

After fully sanding down to bare wood I applied the RAD deck cleaner and brightener over the weekend, but I wasn’t able to apply the Brightener until the next day and have some fuzzies on the deck which otherwise looks great. Is it ok to use a buffing pad on my small random orbital sander (need to figure out if they sell these) to remove the fuzzies before applying the TWP-1500 or would I need to apply the brightener again?

Dale
Dale

Oh and btw – it’s a cedar deck that I’m going to treat with TWP-1500 in clear so that it goes grey naturally over time.

Susan
Susan

Help! We did not stain our new deck last year, waiting a year, we cleaned it, got fuzzies but stained thinking it would not show. But it does. Will they wear away or should we sand and restrain? We stained a pecan color so it a darker color.

Anthony Battista
Anthony Battista

Affriad deck pad will get caught on deck splinters, can it be rolled on? What would be best?

Ashley
Ashley

Regarding a pine fence: Same issue with the furring but will take your advice and buff it out. Have you seen or heard this: I have a pressure treated pine fence that’s been “weathering” for almost 2 years. Just pressure washed (with the grain) and I noticed that the tops of all of the boards have furring that appears to be much worse than anywhere else. In the photo, I circled where I see horizontal lines in the wood as if that area alone was pressure washed against the grain. Any thoughts?

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Todd
Todd

Hi,
I have the fuzzies as described after cleaning heavily oxidized cedar deck. I have tried sanding and have realized this will not get at the fuzzy without taking a lot of wood off which seems unnecessary and a ton of time and effort. I’m going to try buffing with 3M pads as recommended here and elsewhere. What pads do I get? Do they come in “grits”
Thanks!

Lisa G.
Lisa G.

Hello –

We are in the process of restoring an older (20-25 yrs.) deck and have been following the advice on this site. We’ve stripped the old stain off, and most of the boards have some degree of the fuzzies. The deck is large and we’re running up against the obstacles of limited time on weekends to do the work, and either too hot or rainy weather. We may have to skip sanding the fuzzies to get the job done without having to re-clean the deck and are wondering how this might affect our results.

The information above states that removing fuzzies will result in a longer-lasting stain application. Can you explain this in more detail? To us, it seems like fuzzies are more of a cosmetic problem (which we’re thinking about living with at this point) and we’d like to understand how fuzzies can reduce the life of the stain. We’re planning to use RAD semi-transparent stain.

We’re not opposed to renting a sander/buffing machine as mentioned in many of the Q & A, but we’ve never worked with one before. The deck was constructed with nails (that pop up quite frequently) and my husband is concerned that the pad might get caught on the nails and ruined. Is this something to be concerned about?

Thanks in advance for your advice. We appreciate this site and all the great info you provide!

Joe
Joe

I just had my deck power washed with water and steam and it did a good job taking off a pealing semi transparent stain that was only one year old, but it left a new problem: a ton of fuzzies. The company I hired told me this is wood pulp and it will go away on its own. Is this true? He said he sanded and stained already.

Patricia Garret
Patricia Garret

How can you tell if a deck sealant is any good after several years? Can I use deck sealant on my wood shed?

Patricia Garret
Patricia Garret

How long does deck stain last before you have to throw it out? How can you tell if deck sealant is any good?

Alissa
Alissa

Our deck was built 10 months ago, pressure treated pine. Used defy brightener and stain on railings and it turned out pretty good. Started on floor today and wanted to use defy cleaner to prep before staining. Applied cleaner then brushed. Dirt (I’m assuming) along with pulp-type clumps were coming up from the wood… like a lot of it. Used power washer to try to get the clumps cleaned off easier.

Wood has dried and looks horrible! Did we damage the wood with the power washer or was the defy cleaner too concentrated? It looks really bad.

Steps to correct this:
1. Buff with 60-80 grit
2. Rinse off deck (is it safe to use the power washer to rinse, or could that cause damage again?)
3. Use defy brightener
Do we do this when the deck is still wet from rinsing after sanding? Or is it better to let dry then dry sweep to remove sanding dust, then re-wet and apply brightener?
4. Let deck fully dry
5. Apply defy stain

How long should we wait after sanding and brightening to apply the stain?

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you!

Alissa
Alissa

Photos

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Alissa
Alissa

Add on question… half of the deck is currently in this state. The other half has been power washed only and has no fuzziness. Do you recommend using the defy cleaner on the other half of the deck, knowing full well it will cause these fuzzies – to get the whole deck in the same fuzzy state? Then sand/buff the entire deck at the same time?

mill
mill

Can I sand off furring / fuzzies after the stain was applied and dry? They showed up after staining. We had stripped, then neutralized/brightened, powerwashed, let dry, and buffed out the wood. At that point it looded good. Then applied stain. A day later the furring is back and I can scratch off the material with my fingernails. Wondering if I can let it finish drying and then sand it, and if so what grit sandpaper to use because we will be doing it by hand.

Barb
Barb

My deck was built 8 months ago. I hired a guy to stain it yesterday. He pressured washed it and now the wood looks all fuzzy and furry. How should he continue with the stain?

john reinertsen
john reinertsen

I have clear T&G cedar siding —installed vertically— that was last stained with Flood semi solid oil stain —8 years ago. The stain is mostly gone and flaking— and the siding is gray with some black mold in sections. The house is in NY City —so lots of hot humid summers and damp winters. The East, South, and North sides of the house take the most abuse. After stripping,cleaning, and brightening, —-what stain do you recommend? I was thinking about Defy —but wondering —if —even after stripping, cleaning, and brightening— I can go water-base stain over previously oil stained wood?

Frank D'Andrea
Frank D'Andrea

I finished laying my cedar deck boards last October and let them weather and grey over the winter, which they did.
A few days ago I used RAD cleaner and brightener as per the instructions. Used pressure washer to remove cleaner and then used a hose to remover brightener.
The product worked really and the deck looked amazing when it was wet.
Of course when it dried, there were fuzzies and some grey areas around the knots and other grey patches.
I used a soft sanding pad with light pressure (80grit) to remove most of the fuzzies by hand sanding.
I then went over with a floor maintainer /buffer with white and red buffing pads. I rented from Home Depot as per your recommendations.
This worked well to remove all remaining fuzzies.
I rinsed everything with a hose and then applied brightener again. I let sit and rinsed.
Deck looked amazing wet and when dry no fuzzies!
I still have some grey patches though. Is this ok or do I need to remove. You can only notice when the boards are dry, wet looks great though.
I plan to stain in a couple of days.

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Frank D'Andrea
Frank D'Andrea

The above photos are after the cleaning and brightener, still wet.
The following photos are after removal of fuzzies, rinsing and brightener and after drying. Here you can see the grey patches. Is this ok or do I need to sand off?
Again, they aren’t grey when wet only dry. When wet those areas are darker, then changes to grey after drying.

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Mark Huntley
Mark Huntley

Had a heck of a weekend cleaning and brightening my deck, 11 months old, never stained cedar. Tried without pressure washer, using scrub brush, that was useless. Repeated the cleaning with a pressure washer, the decklooked beautiful wet. When it dried, lots of gray areas and fuzzies, mainly near the knots.

Went to HD and rented the buffer and white and red pads. that did nothing. Took it back and HD recommended a random oscillating sander with 60 grit paper. That worked well, took all the gray fuzzies off.
Question is, do I have to Brighten again or can I just wash and wait to dry and stain? Thanks and great site!

Mark Huntley
Mark Huntley

Before sanding.

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Kathy
Kathy

So happy to have found this article and chain of questions. I have a bad case of the fuzzies, and will be taking the advice already mentioned. What do you think of Home Depot Deckover? Is it a good product, and will it possibly mask the fuzzies if I don’t do a terrific job of getting them off the wood?

Brian
Brian

I stripped and brightened our deck last weekend. Everything looked great until it dried. I think its due to the fuzzies. Do I need to hit it with a buffer? If so do you need to set all the screws first?

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Kris
Kris

Our 3-year-old cedar fence, stained in Thompson’s clear water seal, has weathered terribly due to the Southern California sun. It was pressured washed recently but now shows spots where the stain was removed, other spots not. Additionally, fuzzies are apparent, even with sanding. What is your recommendation at this point? We plan to now use Defy in their water base product after we resolve the issues. Pictures show after pressure wash and sanding. Thank you.

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Chris
Chris

Have a cedar deck that is a year old. It is spotty with black mold on every board and also has some dark strips of mold on some boards (appears to be on boards slightly cracked). Have tried bleach and doesn’t make a difference and I also have fuzzies. Not sure if best way to handle all the issues. I also had an old oil based stain that was stripped and there are light spots of that stain remaining on railings (vertical surfaces). I am thinking of starting there with a stripper and then a cleaner for everything and then finally an oxalic acid brightener. Is that best way to proceed? Can these steps be done on a damp/lightly raining day?

Robin
Robin

I just had my covered porch pressure washed in preparation for staining. The man who did this used a large round device on the end of the pressure washer. After it dried you can see circles on my deck. Will these show thru after I stain it? Is there any way to remove them before staining?

Kat
Kat

We pressure-washed a deck..(I am a contractor) so we have done many decks over the years. This particular deck had
the fuzzies. And while we were washing, they were so bad that they actually rolled up into balls and were sticking to the side of the house and brick. So we had to rinse it over and over again.
We applied semi-transparent stain and now a few days later I can scratch the stain off with my finger nail.
Do you think because of the heavy fuzzies, the stain did not penetrate like it should?

Debra M
Debra M

Just had a new deck built with pressure treated wood, was ready to get it prepared to stain since spring is around the corner but I have sanded rough edges and where screws were placed. I will give it another month or 2 after sanding to weather and then prep with cleaner and brightener. I noticed quite a few cracks and knot holes and was wondering if there is a filler to keep them from getting worse? Would like to use a lighter stain but didn’t know if there was a clear sealer for the cracks and holes that could be covered by stain? Thanks!

Linda Jones
Linda Jones

My cedar siding was just cleaned by a contractor who either used too much chlorine bleach (80-100 gallons on my end townhouse) or too much pressure from his truck-mounted pressure washer or both. So much furring (fuzzies) has occurred that is is clumped on the siding and and clumps have fallen onto the screens of my windows and onto my decks. How can this be SAFELY removed before staining. I live in Northern VA and staining needs to occur soon because the weather will soon be too cold.

Kim
Kim

I used a patio and deck cleaner with a nylon brush and noticed the fuzzies the next day. Frustrated, I didn’t know what to do so I’ve waited. Now, two weeks later, I found this conversation with many answers…… My question: Now what should I do? Start over with cleaner, then sand, then brighten, then seal/stain?? All in what time frame???

Shawn
Shawn

Hey there, I just cleaned and brightened my deck that has never been stained (8 months old treated pine) and I have fuzzies. I was reading your responses and wanted to see if you could clarify a few things for me.

A) Can I stain (semi transparent Armstrong Ruatic Brown) immediately after sanding or do I need to brighten again?

B) What is the Home Depot near me doesn’t have a buffer but just a normal floor sander? Should I search for a buffer or will it do the trick?

C) 60 or 80 grit?

D) Will Bud Light, Miller Light or Coors Light help me stain better?

Thanks for your help and quick response.

Emily
Emily

Pressure washed our wood fence tons of fuzzies. What do I do?

Donnaa
Donnaa

Have lots of fuzzies. 1) clean, 2) Buff 3) use Brightner 4) pressure wash. I pressure washed with deck cleaner. Got lots of fuzzies. Used 80 grit on all parts except floor of deck to smooth fuzzies, while waiting for your answer. I checked with Home depot they don’t have Brightner here in Canada, and today I went to get buffing pads and was offered white non woven buffer pads by Diablo used to remove light scuff marks and dirt. The deck floor is the hardest, ( bad back, plus 68) so trying to find easiest method possible. Are these the correct pads or is 80 grit orbital disc what I need. Also a friend mentioned Scotch Brite Sanding pads with a handle that can be purchased. Thinking back when deck built should have used the decking that never needs staining, worth the extra expense. Await your reply, thankyou

Dave Kisker
Dave Kisker

We have a redwood fence that is several years old now, having never had any coating/stain applied. We attempted to do it after the first winter, but were stopped by what I know know is “fuzzies”. Trying again, with some hope of actually getting it done before winter. I’ve tried a number of things.

1. Restore a deck cleaner, with power washing. This gets the grime off, which leaves a thin layer of grayish material. It’s not uniform, so it cannot be just left. Power washing removes this fairly well, but now we have fuzzies. A scotch brite pad while wet removes all this gunk but gunks up the scotch brite quickly. If dry, it works better, giving a buffing action, as you suggest. But, doing a couple hundred feet of fence, board by board, by hand, both sides, is not feasible.
2. Tried the Behr cleaner, chlorine based. Reacts very quickly, making it look very light. However, closer inspection shows that it’s just the same grey coating, and when you rinse the cleaner, the grey starts coming off, leaving the fuzzies behind. Plus, I don’t like the chlorine product.
3. Sanding with 80 grit when dry is obviously a workable solution except that the surface is wavy from the aging of the wood. But, it eliminates the fuzzies. However, I think I’ve found a solution that is comparable to your floor buffing pads for decks. This appears to be a similar, thick-ish scotch brite like product that I can use on my RO Sander, hopefully being much quicker and less aggressive than 80 grit on the wavy surface. (Backup would be the scotch brite on the palm sander that someone has suggested.

So, now, my question. (All the above was just to put this in perspective…we’ve been very frustrated by the lack of a reasonable solution until finding your page…)

So, the three steps will be: 1. clean using the deck restore cleaner; 2. use the deck-restore brightener; 3. sand/buff the fuzzies away.

What is the correct order of steps 2 and 3?

Reading through all of the material here, it’s not clear whether it’s best to let the wood dry after step 1, buff it and then rinse/brighten it, or, if the brightener should be used immediately after the cleaner/powerwash, and then, after drying, do the buffing, followed by another rinse. We have over 200 running feet to do, both sides, so even small time saving and efficiency improvements will add up.

Thanks for your help.

Donnaa
Donnaa

Just finished clening my deck( 8 yrs. old, no finish). Lots of fuzzies. From reading your article, I have to buff the deck with buffing pads, then apply a stain and sealer or stain/sealer combo. Hope this is correct, I still have to do my front steps and porch. Why couldn’t I bave just stained over the deck without cleaning it,since it never was stained before.

Lian
Lian

We have a deck with Thompson waterseal semi transparent in a color we don’t like (there when we bought the house, we also reapplied it two years ago because we didn’t know better). Today we used a wood stripper and then a wood brightener. Unfortunately the stain is still there in many places so we are planning to wait for it to dry (3 days or so? Some rain forecast for tomorrow) and then sand to remove it. Does that seem like an okay plan? After sanding, what should we do? I am seeing conflicting advice (option 1: vacuum/sweep, then immediately apply new stain/sealant. Option 2: rinse off, wait for it to dry, apply new stain/sealant. Option 3: apply brightener again then follow option 2. Option 4: ???). Thanks!

jackie
jackie

Is it ok to remove fuzzies on my deck with an orbital sander?

Don
Don

So I have a fence I want to stain but after cleaning it I have the fuzzies. I cannot use a floor sander and homedepot here in Canada does not seem to have sanding buffing paper. Can you post a link to what you mean so I can maybe order some from somewhere else? Or am I ok with just sanding it with an 80 or 100 grit to get it prepped for staining?

Leslie
Leslie

Fuzzies have appeared after taking solid stain off deck and cleaning. Do I sand deck before using Brightener or after sanding off fuzzies?

Bernice
Bernice

Hello, My deck has never been stained or maintained and is very Dry and grey. Should I lightly power wash it to remove the grey, then sand the fuzzies?

Jeff Smith
Jeff Smith

(my previous posting attached the wrong picture… here is the correct wet picture) I stripped and brightened my deck yesterday with the restore a deck kit. It worked great and looked really good while wet, but as it began to dry, I can see the furring. I’m attaching some pics of when it was wet, and what it looks like today when dry. Would you recommend using the floor buffer, or will the TWP 1503 dark oak stain be dark enough to hide it?

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Nate
Nate

After sanding our whole PT deck with #60 my wife used #220 on the railings b/c she wanted them to feel smooth. After brightening, will that fine of a grit prevent the stain (Sikkens CETOL SRD Dark Oak) from absorbing deep enough into the wood on the railings to protect them well over the next 2 years?

Phill
Phill

Hi, so here in England for some God only knows reason we are intent on having grooved decking, not your lovely smooth hardwood. So in someone’s infinite wisdom grooved decking is now the norm and cleaning and maintaining is hard. Do you have any idea on how to remove bad fuzzies from a grooves deck as no machine I can fine will get into the grooves. It was laid over a year ago and never treated hence it went really grey. After scrubbing the patina it now all fuzzy. Many thanks

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Marty
Marty

We recently prepped and stained our deck using the cleaner and brighter suggested by Armstrong Clark. The painter followed all the instructions but didn’t remove the furring. We are planning a second coat in about 6 months to give it a richer look. Should we go ahead and sand it to smooth out the furring and let him add a second coat at the end of the summer or will that help at all? Thanks

David
David

I have an older (15+years) redwood deck. It has deep grooves from previous owners power washing. I used Olympic deck cleaner today to help get the fadded and greying Olympic semi trasparent stain off. Some old stain remails and the Fuzzies are back. I purchased a 4 inch belt sander and a handheld smaller palm sander today at Harbor Freightt. Will the belt/palm sander get the job done. Some grey still remains but hoping the sanding will help. Its a large deck thats old but surprisingly sturdy.

Chief
Chief

Any thoughts what color 3M pad I should use with a Tennant F14 orbital floor machine (20”x14”) on a cedar deck? I was thinking the 3M SPP.

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Brad
Brad

What is the best way to get fuzzies on floor under the railing where buffer can’t reach?

Justin Steiner
Justin Steiner

What color pad on the buffer?

Colleen paradiso
Colleen paradiso

I have a 12×16 foot deck. The paint needs to come off. I tried Behr stripper and this is what happened! Please give me some advice on what to do next! I need to get this paint off!

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Elliott W
Elliott W

Any way to remove furries after staining? I used Armstrong Clark natural tone after cleaner and brightener with pressure washer. I used an 80 grit sander to remove 90% of furries but more showed up after stain. I need to do a light clean and light coat of stain anyway to even out the blotchiness.

How to Apply Deck Stain
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