A Peeling Deck Needs to Be Stripped
LESLIE: Hue from Montana’s up next and he finds The Money Pit on KBLL. And you’ve got something going on with your deck. Tell us about it.
HUE: Well, I do. It’s … it peels. It’s been stained and I’m probably unique in that I’ll admit that I don’t understand anything (laughing) about this kind of stuff. But I know it’s not supposed to peel.
LESLIE: OK, so …
HUE: So, I think what’s happened was years ago I think it was painted. And then, it’s been stained over it. And oh, I paid somebody a thousand bucks – oh, just a little bit over a year ago – to restain it and it’s getting to the stage where it needs it again.
LESLIE: Now, Hue …
TOM: Hue, that’s not a deck. That’s a science experiment. (laughing)
LESLIE: Hue, when you hired this guy and gave him a small vacation’s worth of money, did he remove whatever finish was on there before?
HUE: No. What he did, he power sprayed it.
LESLIE: OK. Well then, that man is not a professional. Let me tell you about this. You can’t – number one – you’ve got to remove whatever is there. And you have to also make sure you have a clean surface. And power washing with just water is not cleaning it at all because the water is just moving around the surface debris and it’s not getting rid of that dirt. It’s like imagine leaving your car outside all year long and you get pollen and dirt and dust and weather effects and bird droppings and then you just hose it down. It’s not clean. Same thing with power washing your deck. You have to strip whatever finish is there. And if you get a good one, put it on during the cooler part of the day; let it sit there for about 20, 30 minutes; get a stiff brush; then you can use the power washer – not too aggressively because that can actually damage the wood. So use the pressure washer to wash away all of that and then you can refinish. And it will last as long as they guarantee you on that can.
HUE: OK. Now, it has … you know, this is about the third time around where it’s peeled.
LESLIE: That’s because you’ve been applying stain over stain over paint. You haven’t been getting down to a place where it can adhere because you’re just putting it down on top of something that’s not sticking well. That’s why you’re seeing things break down.
HUE: OK. Is there any kind of special stain that would provide more adhesive power? I guess by definition, stain goes into wood.
HUE: And is there anything that (chuckles) also goes through what’s there?
TOM: You mean is going to pierce the old finish? No.
LESLIE: You want to stop … you can’t … you can’t skip the preparation step.
TOM: Hue, you’re not listening. (laughing) You’ve got to get rid of the old stuff first. Leslie’s 100 percent right. You’re not going to put anything on top of this that’s going to be able to reach down and make all that stuff go away. Once you have those multiple layers of poorly applied product and poorly prepped product, no matter what you put on top of it, it’s going to peel off.
LESLIE: You’re putting good on top of bad.
TOM: Yeah, not going to work. You’ve got to get down to the raw wood and then you put on a good quality stain and it’ll last.
HUE: And I should be staining … so I should be sanding this now or …?
LESLIE: No, stripper. A chemical stripper. It’s … look for a good product. Go to the home improvement store; there’s a great one from Flood. It’s a chemical stripper. Put it on the deck and it does the work for you. If you put it on there, you’ll see the paint start to change and come up and come off. And then, give it a good scrub with a stiff brush and then hose that away.
HUE: Thank you very much. I will do … I’ll look for a chemical stripper. That doesn’t sound good, does it? No. And …
TOM: (laughing) Yeah, but you know what, Hue? It’s legal. Alright, buddy? (laughing)
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974. Prep is where it’s at, though.