Proper Strip and Re-stain of Cedar Deck

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Old 05-21-08, 11:44 AM
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Proper Strip and Re-stain of Cedar Deck

Hi...

My wife and I bought a house with a newer cedar deck that, in a moment of unexplained insanity, the previous owner stained with a solid gun-metal grey. It doesn't match the house, looks terrible, and is wearing thin/sort of flaking off.

We don't like gun metal grey.

We want to strip the old gunk off the deck, then re-stain it with a more visually appealing semi-transparent stain. Now, the original plan was to pressure wash the old stain off, then after drying for a couple days, re-stain it.

When I went to the paint store, I got to looking at the chemical strippers. The paint person there insisted that I didn't need to chemically strip the deck, that it was nasty stuff and the pressure washer would do just fine, and to maybe use a SMALL amount of bleach with the pressure washer.

When I searched on the net though, it sounds like this is a recipe for ending up with a blotchy deck when we restain it since some of the original stain will remain.

It was sugested the best way to rid the deck of the old solid stain was to sand. I've also been told sanding will close the pores of the wood and lead to rot, so don't do it.

Regarding the chemical strippers, 1/2 seem to swear by them, while the other 1/2 call it a messy waste of time and money and that they're not the magic bullet.

I like my deck. I really want to do this the best way, but don't want to waste time doing stuff that doesn't need to be done......so....what's the best way to go about this? Has anyone else gone through this? What worked for you, and what would you have done differently? Please, any advise it REALLY appreciated.
R.
 
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Old 05-21-08, 12:44 PM
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A lot depends on the coating that is currently on the deck. Some will respond to a deck stripper [not the same as paint stripper] A pressure washer does a pretty good job of removing latex coatings but care must be used so you don't chew up the wood!

The biggest problem with using sandpaper is the nail/screw heads - unless you can countersink them, they will eat up the sandpaper every time you blink. Too fine of a grit sandpaper will close up the grain but as long as it is all sanded evenly, it will take stain evenly.

A little hard to say what will work best without being there and maybe trying a few things. I'd recomend cleaning and pressure washing [good idea anyway] and then see how it looks and go from there.
 
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Old 05-21-08, 05:12 PM
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I don't see any problem with sanding - you don't need to use finer than 100 grit on a deck anyway.
 
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Old 05-21-08, 05:30 PM
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Well, the plan-to-date is to chemically strip the deck, using the power washer to "clean" it off afterwards. Then, depending on the results, we'll entertain the thought of maybe sanding it, depending on the condition after the wash.

One thing, has anyone used the stain stripping chemicals on a vertical surface? We have lots of railing spindles and a privacy wall set up, all stained the same awesome gun-metal grey. How is this stuff on vertical surfaces? Is it hard to apply, or relatively easy?

Thanks for the replys though....I'll probably post some *before*, *during*, and *after* pictures.
 
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Old 05-25-08, 04:40 PM
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***Update***

Okay....anyone everhear me say "hey, it'd be fun to strip and redo my deck", slap me. Been at it two days...I started chemically stripping it before being talked into just pressure washing. Since then, the deck has been pressure washed, which took about 80% of the stain off, meaning it still needs chemical stripping. About 5% has been stripped.

I now know what I'm doing after work for the next week or so.
 
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Old 05-26-08, 05:11 AM
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[QUOTE=Hauger;1370473..anyone everhear me say "hey, it'd be fun to strip and redo my deck", slap me. [/QUOTE]


The 'fun part' doesn't come until after you've finished and get to sit on your deck with a cold drink, admiring your handy work
 
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Old 05-29-08, 04:24 AM
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***Update # 2***

Okay, finished stripping the deck....what a near-thankless gungy wet job. The results look great though, although it did raise a noticable amount of fur on the wood (looking forward to the sanding!).

We've semi-decided now to use a deck cleaner/brightener on the decking and larger surfaces prior to sanding and re-staining (we stripped, sanded, and stained a test board to see how it would look without the cleaner). In other words, I'm done with caustic chemical # 1, and on to caustic chemical # 2.

Anyone have experience with this process? How well does the deck cleaner/brightener do at bringing back the original look of the wood?

Anyways, luckily the forcast is calling for rain for as far out as it goes....probably I'll hold off on using the cleaner until I know I can clean, sand, and stain the deck without a week or two of rain in between the steps.
 
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Old 05-29-08, 04:32 AM
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Using too much pressure [or tip too close] probably caused the 'fuzz' - you will have to sand to get rid of it.

I seldom use the deck brightners because a bleach solution usually does a decent job and if the wood is in rough shape, I usually sell the customer on switching to a solid stain.

How effective a deck brightner is, is relative to the condition of the wood.
 
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Old 05-29-08, 07:09 AM
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Well, the wood seems in really good condition....I was planning on using the cleaner to get rid of a small amount of areas where the original solid stain had worn away and greyed the wood somewhat.

What's this bleach solution you speak of? Does it do a good job, or just a "good enough" job?

You're right about the pressure washing being too close to the wood....thing is I had a rather stubborn relative helping who, while I was off doing other stuff, tore the hell out of some of the wood. Can't wait to spend a day sanding that all off.
 
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Old 05-29-08, 12:44 PM
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I always use bleach mixed with 50% water. You never want to use it stronger than 50/50 because bleach can damage wood fibers. Bleach is a cheap effective cleaner for most decks. 90% of the time a deck washed properly with bleach won't need a deck brightner.

A big advantage that the deck cleaners and brightners have over the bleach solution is they are more diy friendly. You have to try hard to hurt the wood or surrounding vegetation with these cleaners. Bleach requires due care!

Since you have already cleaned the deck, if you feel the deck needs further work for a nice clean surface for a transparent or semi-transparent stain - then use the deck brightner.
 
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Old 06-01-08, 05:22 PM
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***Update***

Went with the DIY friendly Oxalic Acid cleaner (Thompsons Deck Cleaner), it worked great. Now, I'm moving onto sanding, with 80 Grit sandpaper and a 5" Random Orbital (along with a detail sander which I'll be suprised if it makes it through the ordeal).

Anyways, just tonight I sanded 3 boards on a 8 foot privacy wall. Took 1/2 hour. My hand is numb from all the vibrations, and it ate one entire piece of hook & loop paper. The way I see it, this is going to take the better part of a decade to finish, and probably will cost the equiv. of a year's worth of mortgage payments in sandpaper.

Wish me luck.
 
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Old 06-02-08, 03:52 AM
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I know some are more particular than others but remember this is a deck, not the hardwood inside your home - it doesn't need a perfect sanding job. A quick sanding to knock down the fuzz may be adequate
 
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Old 06-10-08, 05:45 PM
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***Update***

Sorry to keep bumping the thread, but I figure I can't go abandoning the thread now.

I'm finished sanding. That's not to say the sanding's done, exactly, but as far as I'm concerned, the deck is as good as it's going to get.

I learned something. A belt sander is the only way to go for this job. Exception might be to use a power planer. See, I needed to take about 1/16 of an inch off the wood anyways, and doing it with sandpaper, although effective, is not quick nor cost effective.

The result so far is a deck that's ready for it's semi-transparent stain. What needs to be kept in mind here is although all this work (and there was a LOT of work) does a great deal towards restoring the deck, the wood will forever have "character". Anyways, the next step is staining, assuming the weather co-operates long enough to dry the wood then let me stain the deck.
 
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Old 06-13-08, 02:23 PM
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*** Last Update ***

Well, after 3 weeks spending every last waking minute when not at work toiling away on the deck, it's "done". The stain went on in a hurry yesterday owing to a forcast that predicts the rainy season to start tonight and not stop for, well, quite a while.

Speaking of stain, I spent lots and lots of hours researching stain and trying to find a good covering, I ended up settling on Cabot's Australian Timber Oil - Honey Teak. The thing is, I took test lumber in to have it stained to make sure I knew how the stain would react, and this stain was to have given a slightly dark amber look to the wood.

I applied it to the deck. The whole deck. I knew something was wrong, but ignored it and kept going.

I now own an orange deck. It's a nice looking orange deck, but yes, it's an orange deck. Not slightly dark amber at all, but orange.

Didn't see that coming.

Anyways, at this point, I don't care anymore. Orange it is. Come the fall I might try a different tint to try and "brown" the orange down a bit, but that's in the fall.

Alright, time to enjoy a beer and the "new" (orange) deck.
 
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Old 06-13-08, 04:28 PM
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Sometimes samples just aren't good samples........ but it's also possible the paint store goofed on the formula. Maybe the "orange" will tone down a little as it ages - or maybe it will grow on you
 
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Old 06-14-08, 05:35 AM
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I hope so....right now though the orange is failing greatly on the "grow on me" program. I'm hoping it weathers to a more natural, less "Home Depot Orange". If not, my two "get out of orange" plans are:

1) Attempt to mute it with a different stain in the Cabot's Timber Oil line.

2) Drink enough beer that the orange ceases to offend.

Anyways, thanks for all the help. I'm going to go rest in defeat now.
 
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Old 09-02-08, 08:25 PM
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i am trying to strip the paint too

hauger,

i share your pain and well the weather is getting colder so well. and the paint is taking its time to come off the deck. its not a straightforward job.

which stripping agent did you use and how many times did you actually have to use it to get all the paint off.

i am relying on a 1750 psi washer and till now i have used behr stripper for decks and today i used another product called lift off. i am like 50% done though. still more to go.

dont want to go to a higher pressure as i can already see the surface getting roughed up a bit.

any suggestions by anyone will help. what is the most effective while being environment friendly stripping agent and any other pointers to get that old white paint off my deck.

thanks

amit
 
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Old 09-03-08, 03:49 AM
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Welcome to the forums amit!

Are you trying to strip a stain? or is it paint?
Paint doesn't strip well with a deck stripper. For paint you really need to use a paint and varnish remover - one that you paint on, let work and then scrape off. I have used a pressure washer to remove paint and varnish remover - very effective but it blows paint chips everywhere

What type of coating do you intend to use when finished?
 
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Old 09-03-08, 08:35 AM
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its paint

the old owner put white paint on it and it is a pain taking it off. any suggestions on a paint/varnish remover.

let me know.

we plan to actually strip off all the paint and put stain on it to get a natural lool. that was atleast the intention. i am like 50% done almost. the big and easy to come off paint is off but some places are hard so did not come off.

till now i have used behr deck stain and finish stripper and yesterday i tried a product called lift off which peeled some of the thicker layers off.

any suggestions on the best products to achieve this job which are don't give out toxics.

thanks

amit
 
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Old 06-14-10, 10:10 PM
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deck staining

Marksr, if I post a pic of this deck im staining, could you give me some tips on how to tackle it in the condition that it's in? I just don't want to ruin this job. I havent seen the deck yet. Thanks
 
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Old 06-15-10, 04:08 AM
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Old 06-15-10, 04:52 PM
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snowboardcanada,

Welcome to the forums.

Too late now, but in the future, just start your own thread! (I had to dig through about 10 '08 posts to see why this one was at the top.)

WHATEVER!!

Post your pictures and Marksr will give it his level best to put you on the right track. (If he can't, NOBODY CAN!!) I'm waiting to see the pictures.

Lefty
 
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