Deck stain regrets and problems.

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Old 07-01-07, 07:31 PM
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Deck stain regrets and problems.

I bought a place with a 200+ s.f. deck made of pressure treated wood, with railing and two short steps. I believe it is at least six years old.

The deck is pretty sturdy, but had lots of moss and possibly mold on it; I doubt it had been cleaned in six years. So, we scrubbed it down with bleach, with reasonably good results, and got ready to stain.

Because the cleaned wood was still unevenly colored, I decided to use a SEMI-transparent stain, hoping it would blend the uneven coloration. Because this is an older house in a rural setting, I used a soft green, that would look weathered and blend into the landscape. Because I am old, wise, and the child of a painter, I used a well respected brand of oil-based stain.

I am not happy with the results. Frankly, it looks like a bad paint job with cheap pastel paint that had faded. And the color clashes with the house.

Since the climate is harsh and I enjoying staining, I am going to re-stain the deck every year. I will use transparent stain until the deck matches the house, and then just oil it.

Lessons I have learned:

1. Scrubbing on your hands and knees does a much better job than using a deck brush, and the difference is noticeable. Do one or the other. Don't start on your kness and switch to the deck brush because it is easier.

2. RINSE THE DECK BEFORE IT DRIES.

3. Stain chips show the color on FRESH wood; that will be more yellow, and that matters a lot if you use green.

4. The best way to get a weathered look is to let the weather do it. Pale colors don't look weathered, just cheap, for the first year or so [the shed I did a few years ago looks fine now.]

5. Semi-transparent does not blend discolorations any better than transparent stain, it just looks flatter and chalkier.

6. Always use oil for outdoors. The wood loves it, no matter how the color comes out.
 
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Old 07-01-07, 08:44 PM
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You probably would have gotten better results by bleaching the wood to a uniform color first.
 
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Old 07-02-07, 05:27 AM
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There are a lot of variables when staining an old deck. A clear stain will let any defect show while a semi-transparent will hide some it isn't a cure all for discolored wood. I usually recomend switching to a solid stain on older decks. It really depends on the condition of the wood.


"2. RINSE THE DECK BEFORE IT DRIES" - - very important! It is easier to rinse while the cleaner is still wet and any cleaner residue WILL affect how the stain bonds to the wood.
 
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Old 07-03-07, 07:43 PM
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Solid v. transparent stain.

If anyone knows how to bleach a deck made of pressure treated wood that has been left to the mercy of six northern New England winters and summers to a uniform color [ideally without poisoning the entire water table, but, hell, we all make compromises], please post here so others can benefit from my mistakes.

[That is really why I started the thread.]

Now I don't mind an old, well built porch or deck looking weathered, but well cared for. So I don't expect [or even like] one with a perfectly even coloration. I just wanted something to soften the edges.

You know, I knew what I should have done was oil the deck with clear diluted oil for three years, and let the sun and snow weather it even. I KNEW that. Even while I was buying the stain, I knew it.

But the deck looked so sad and tired, and the stain was so pretty, I decided to buy my deck a pretty new stain to cheer it up.

That'll teach me to anthropomorphize things.

I would suggest anyone in my situation [solid but shabby outdoor wood] to have the sense and patience to restore the wood first.
 
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