Strip and Re-Stain a Deck
LESLIE: John in New Jersey’s got something going on with the deck. What happened? Tell us about it?
JOHN: OK, I used a name brand deck finisher.
JOHN: Did it according to the directions. You know, how you powerwash it; do the whole thing? You prepare it properly. You put it on. After you put it on it dried. It was very tacky. So I called the manufacturer. They said, “Well, use mineral spirits to get the rest off and the reason why it’s tacky is because only so much can be absorbed into the wood.” Well after you do it with the mineral spirits it looks like a checkerboard. And so when I called them back they said, “Well, the best thing to do then is to strip it and start from square one.”
LESLIE: And they wanted you to send them the bill?
JOHN: Yeah sure, right. (Tom and Leslie laugh) I asked if they were going to send me the help to do it. My question is if I do the stripper what do I do to the wood?
LESLIE: Well, are you looking for – you know, at this …
JOHN: I want to go back to square one because I’m very disappointed with the product.
LESLIE: So you want just a natural-looking, sealed wood deck that maybe has got like a clear stain on it that’s resistant to moisture and sun damage and all that.
JOHN: That’s correct.
LESLIE: Well, once you get it down to the raw surface – and you’ve got to use a chemical stripping agent because just a power washer and a scraper is not going to do the trick.
LESLIE: Use a stripping product. You know, if you’ve got tricky areas, reapply it, you know, after you do your first coating. But if you let the product do its job, you will see that, you know, you’ll get almost all of that off on the first try. So let it sit there 20, 30 minutes; whatever the manufacturer says. Then let that deck dry and the autumn is the perfect time because you’re dealing with less humid days; you’re going to find that wood’s going to dry out, you know, if you’ve got no rain in three or four days.
And then you can go ahead and apply any sort of stain. I think the Flood Company really has the best products on the market and if you go with – depending on the condition of the wood, you can go with something that’s like just their clear wood finish which offers ultraviolet protection but gives you a natural look. It’s almost like a clear coat and lets the true beauty of the wood shine through.
LESLIE: If you find that you want something – you know, maybe the deck’s not in the best condition and you need to help disguise that a little bit, you can go with a semi-transparent stain, also from Flood. That just puts a hint of color on; lets you still see the graining and you can go from, you know, natural tones to outrageous blues, depending on what you like. And if you find the deck’s in terrible shape and you just don’t want to see so much of the integrity of the wood itself, a solid stain is sort of your last step before replacement or some people just like that look of, you know, a heavily saturated color, which is what you get from a solid stain. But it doesn’t sit on the surface like a paint does. It penetrates into the wood itself to really stick and if you follow the manufacturer’s directions you’re going to get three to five years on a horizontal surface like decking.
JOHN: Excellent. One last question.
JOHN: When you’re stripping, does it have any effect on the wood? (INAUDIBLE)
TOM: No. No. No, it won’t affect the structural …
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. The pressure washing might.
TOM: Yeah, it won’t affect the structural integrity of the wood. If you use a pressure washer and you use too much pressure you’re going to wear away some of the surface; some of the soft summer growth and you’ll see more of the rings of the tree in the wood but it won’t affect the structure.
JOHN: OK, now does that affect concrete? Sodium hydroxide?
LESLIE: No, but you have to make sure that if you’ve got any landscaping around the property …
LESLIE: … that you cover it up and make sure you wear protective gear, you know, on your hands and your eyes because you don’t want it to accidentally burn your skin.
JOHN: Alright, thank you very much.