Strip and renew wood before restaining
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Photo 1: Scrub
Scrub off old stain
using a stiff brush and
deck finish remover. Give
the remover 15 to 30 minutes
to soften the stain
before you scrub.
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Photo 2: Sand
Sand off tough spots or small areas
with a coarse stripping pad on a
grinder or drill.
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Stripping discs are faster and more effective than regular sanders and work best on angle grinders.
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Photo 3: Condition
Brush on a brightener/conditioner diluted in water.
Scrub the decking and rinse thoroughly to restore
the original wood color.
If the stain on your deck is weathered
and peeling, the first step
in renewing your deck is to
remove all the stain. Solid-color stains
protect wood decks and look great when
new, but even the best eventually flake and
wear away. At that point they
need to be scraped and stripped off
before the deck can be recoated.
First, scrape off as much of the old
finish as you can with a paint scraper.
As you scrape the wood, reset any nails
or screws that stick out from the wood
Next, strip the deck with a special deck
stain remover (1 gallon
covers 100 sq. ft.). Tape plastic over nearby
siding, cover or wet down bushes and
grass around the deck, then spread a
heavy coat of stain remover over the
stained boards. Cover 20 to 30 sq. ft. at a
time, keeping the wood wet until the finish
is soft enough to be scrubbed off with
a stiff brush (Photo 1).
Rinse the residue off with a hose and
allow the deck to dry. Use a stripping disc
on areas that are heavily discolored or
where the stain doesn’t come off (Photo
2). The rough discs work much faster
than belt or orbital sanders. They’re
available for either angle grinders (the
fastest option) or drills (much slower).
Finally, apply a deck brightener/conditioner
(Photo 3) to neutralize the
stain remover and clean and restore the
wood to something close to its original
color. One gallon covers roughly
200 sq. ft.
After the wood dries, restain or apply
a clear penetrating finish. Clear finishes
show more of the wood’s original color
but must be reapplied every year. Solid
stains protect the wood longer but can
be a pain to scrape off. Penetrating
stains also need to be reapplied more
frequently, but unlike solid stains, they
don’t need to be stripped off.