Did I ruin my deck?

Old 07-30-08, 05:23 PM
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Did I ruin my deck?

We bought our current house in 2004 and it had a pressure treated deck, that at the time was unfinished. I power-washed the deck 1st then stained the deck in Summer of 2006 with cabots decking stain (semi-solid) and it held up well till last summer. I decided to put another coat on last summer and a lot of it never really seemed to penetrate, as evidenced by that shiny/tacky look on top. I guess it really didn't need the 2nd coat. Now this summer, the deck looks pretty bad. A lot of flaking stain, right down to bare wood and quite a bit of checking/cracking of boards. In fact, some are showing signs of cupping. I was planning on putting another coat of stain on this summer, but am more curious as to why the boards lost that smooth feeling/look and now have all these cracks? I was wondering if maybe the power washing in the very beginning was too harsh. I didn't gouge the wood in any way, but maybe there was still damage done. Should I even put another coat of stain on this summer and is there anything I can/should do differently?
Old 07-30-08, 07:18 PM
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You didn't ruin it -- it's starting to show it's age. (If Marksr checks in here and tells you something other than what I'm about to say, listen to him!)

You did the right thing in '06 with the pressure washing and then applying the stain, as evidenced by how nice the job came out. But the coat you put on in '07 -- what did you do to prep for that? It probably wasn't needed. It the '07 coat didn't penetrate the '06 coat, then the '06 coat was still in fine shape and sealing well.

Flaking stain is probably the '07 coat reacting with the '06 coat and destroying it.

Checking, cracking, splitting and cupping -- that's just wood doing what wood does after a few years. You MAY have brought all that on a year or two sooner by restaining too soon, but it was going to happen at some point anyway.
Old 07-30-08, 07:46 PM
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thanks. I don't know when the deck was added, but probably late 90's or so. I can't remember if I washed the deck last summer prior to adding more stain. At this point, should I wash then restain?
Old 07-30-08, 07:56 PM
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All you have to do is pressure wash it again. I don't know if I would restain it.. I prefer clear sealer instead.
Old 07-31-08, 04:57 AM
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Not all deck stains are the same. Some require removal [either chemically or with weather] before a 2nd coat can be applied - or the 2nd coat needs to be applied within X amount of hours of the 1st. Read the label.

Lefty is correct that the initial coat prevented the wood from obsorbing and bonding of the 2nd coat. A simple test is - does water still bead on the wood. If it does the current coating is still giving protection.

It is always a good idea to pressure wash a deck prior to staining. I don't know if a pressure washing alone will correct your problem - you may need to use a deck stripper [not the same as paint stripper] Generally the more pigment a stain has the better it will last. Clear stain/sealers usually have the shortest life span. Price is usually indictive of quality.

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