The continuous exposure to sunlight and moisture, coupled with the accumulation of dirt, grease, and mildews can give your deck a ragged look and some really ugly stains. If these stains are not very stubborn, they can be removed by following a regular cleaning schedule. But if your deck has lost its former luster and shine, then it may be the time to transform its look by removing the old stain and applying a new one.
The removal of the old deck stain is a prerequisite for the success of the new stain. If there is any remnant of the old stain, the new stain won't be able to penetrate the surface. The new stain would simply sit on the old stain, as deck stains do not adhere to each other. As a result, the new stain will flake or peel off easily within a year or two. So, it is of utmost importance to remove the old stain, and prepare the surface before applying the new stain. Let's find out how to do this in this Gardenerdy article.
How to Remove an Old Deck Stain
Determine if the Stain Needs to be Removed
If peeling and flaking are very much evident, then it is not difficult to decide whether the deck stain needs to be removed. But sometimes, you may not be able to see any old stain. In such a situation, you can splash some water on the wood, and see if the wood absorbs the water. If water is not completely absorbed into the wood, or you can see water forming droplets at some places, then there is some old and failed stain on the wood that needs to be removed before applying the new stain.
Clean and Repair the Deck
Before removing the stain, sweep the deck thoroughly to remove any kind of dirt and debris. Give special attention to the cracks between the boards. Inspect the boards closely and look for any sign of damage. If required, consider to repair or replace the damaged parts before removing the stain.
Try a Deck Stripper
If you like to go for the chemical deck stripper, apply a generous coat of the stripper on the wood. A deck stripper basically softens the stain so that it can be washed out easily. Allow the stripper to stay on the wood for about 15 to 20 minutes. Then use a garden hose or pressure washer to rinse the surface.
Deck strippers usually contain sodium hydroxide and other surfactants to soften old stains. A deck stripper can take off the old stain, as well as the finish of your deck. Both oil- and water-based deck strippers can be used for this purpose, depending on the type of stain. However, they are not very effective in removing solid stains or paints. For removing solid stains or paints completely, it is better to use sandpaper.
Apply a Wood Brightener
Deck strippers usually make the wood darker, besides raising the pH level. This is the reason why, a wood brightener needs to be applied on the deck after using a deck stripper. However, before applying the brightener, make sure that the old stain is completely gone. The wood brightener can lower the pH level, and give a new shine to the wood.
How to Apply a New Stain
Choose a Stain
There are several types of deck stains that can cater to the needs and preferences of different individuals. Some of them can give a light transparent to semi-transparent shade, while others can impart a rich hue. Some popular options for this purpose are, clear stains, semi-transparent stains, oil-based stains, and solid color stains.
Each of them has its own specific advantages and shortcomings. For example, the solid stain can give best protection against sunlight, but it peels away faster than other paints. So, before choosing a particular stain, try to evaluate the various pros and cons, along with your requirement.
Apply the New Stain
When your deck is completely dry, you can apply a stain of your choice. Use a natural bristle brush for applying the stain, if it is oil-based. For water-based stains, a nylon brush can be used. To spread the stain evenly on the deck, use a roller, preferably a long-handled one. Never stain your deck in the presence of direct sunlight. Be sure to wear gloves, shoes, full-sleeve shirt, and safety glasses while staining your deck. Some spilling and splattering might happen while staining the deck, which should be cleaned immediately.
The presence of any old stain on the deck can prevent the new stain from penetrating the surface. This is the reason why it is important to remove the old stain before applying the new one. After applying the new stain, try to retain the transformed look of your deck by keeping it clean from dirt and grime. Follow a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule to prevent stubborn stains. Regular cleaning usually involves daily sweeping with a soft broom, along with occasional mopping with a damp mop and a suitable deck cleaner.