Sanding and Re-Staining Your Deck
LESLIE: Uh-uh. Adrian in Michigan needs some help with a deck question. What can we do for you?ADRIAN: Hi. We have an older deck that was recently gently pressure washed because it needed to be refinished.TOM: OK.ADRIAN: And the contractor recommended going with a solid stain. They started painting it; about a third is done and, unfortunately, the color is not working out and it looks kind of taupey, almost like Silly Putty next to our sage-green, grayish house.LESLIE: OK.ADRIAN: So now we’re stuck with this taupey-colored solid, half-painted deck; the other half being kind of like a red cedar, you know, gently-pressure-washed color and we’re wondering how to remedy the situation. Do we have to sand and start over or could we maybe go over the whole thing with a darker color without making it look too pasty? Where do we go from here?LESLIE: And what they used …ADRIAN: I’m sorry. The contractor had said we had to go with a solid stain to protect it more but now I’m even wondering about that.TOM: Well, your contractor is right.ADRIAN: OK.LESLIE: And what’s on there now? Is that taupey, putty-color solid stain or actual paint?ADRIAN: It is solid stain.LESLIE: Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend going over the half-stained and the half-unstained with another product because then the finished product is not going to look the same on both halves; it’s going to sort of adhere to both sides differently and sort of show its color differently because of what’s underneath.What I would recommend is go to the home center, pick up a chemical stain stripper or a paint stripper. And be cautious of how you use it. Follow the directions, apply it to the surface where the solid stain is and let it sit there and do its job and get off as much as you can. This way, you’ll be back to a uniform surface of that unfinished, whatever wood you’ve got there that’s sort of in its clean state, ready for new surfacing.And then, you’re right, solid stain is the proper thing; only because – especially if you’re dealing with an older deck and the graining is not looking so great and the planks themselves on the decking are kind of showing wear and tear – a solid stain is going to saturate that wood itself, deposit that color into the wood grain, allow you to still see some of the grain but give you a nice, saturated color appearance.In a sagey-green family, I think mahogany tones – deeper reds that sort of have a purply-brown base that are sort of in that natural mahogany range – would look gorgeous. And that really is something you can achieve through a solid stain. At this point, I wouldn’t go semi-transparent because you’re going to be dealing with too much difference in the surface.ADRIAN: That’s what I was thinking. Actually, we were leaning towards even a darker brown maybe.TOM and LESLIE: Mm-hmm.ADRIAN: OK. And what about the underside? Do we need to paint that?TOM: No, absolutely not.