Stripping deck

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Old 05-21-13, 12:04 PM
K
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Stripping deck

I have a deck about 250 sq-ft that has been treated with a transparent sealer nearly every year for the last 10 years. It has progressively gotten darker and we really loved the original wood color that showed through very well until the last few years.

I want to strip the horizontal surfaces (floor and rail) of the transparent sealant that is fairly dark. The spindles still have a fairly nice bright natural color. I used Wolmans Deck Strip from Menards with a power washer with minimal results. I also tried a 2nd treatment with scrubbing a test area with a wire brush. This worked a little better, but I'm guessing I will need to treat and scrub the entire deck at least 2 more times to get the stain/sealent completely off.

I've considered sanding but with the screws and uneven surface I don't think it's a solution. I haven't really looked at sand blasting, but I think it might be more of mess. I think my best option will be to simply go through a couple more cycles of scrubbing the stripper off and then rinsing. Actually I'm not a huge fan of just using the power washer since it seems you need more mechanical action for the max benefit of the stripper. The power washer also really throws sludge all over the place (2600 psi washer really sprayed it well past my poly protection and I ended up cleaning more of the house than I wanted).


Does anyone have any suggestions on the type of stripper, how long to let it sit, or if a wire brush is the best tool??? A scraper won't work well since the boards are no longer flat. I don't want to spend a lot of time, but I think the best and fastest may be to go through a couple more cycles of putting the stripper on and getting on my hands and knees to scrub off. Any suggestions??
 
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Old 05-21-13, 04:07 PM
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There's a reason they call it stain.
It's now soaked into the wood below the surface.
Only way I know of is to start sanding to get it back to bare wood.
There no way to go from darker to lighter without having bare wood.
 
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Old 05-21-13, 04:58 PM
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I'd be leery of using a wire brush much, the steel is apt to leave dark marks on the wood. A regular paint stripper followed by PWer would likely be quicker but there isn't any getting around the mess factor. Angling the tip away from the house will help but you'll still need to periodically rinse the house as you go. Once the stain is all gone, you can clean with a bleach/water solution or a deck brightner to get the light color back.
 
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Old 05-21-13, 05:49 PM
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Thanks for the feedback.

I've only used clear sealant on the deck, but I'm shocked at the ineffectiveness of the stripper. Even the test area which has been treated twice and scrubbed still is not bare. I should try a paint stripper because I'm guessing it's stronger than the deck stripper. I have a couple gallons of furniture stripper (works good on detailed work) that I may try. I'm hoping it'll soften the sealant better.

Yeah, I thought the wire brush may be a little aggressive on the wood. I'm thinking of using a stronger stripper (whatever that is), and hope for the best.
 
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Old 05-21-13, 06:08 PM
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The stain has soaked in and is now part of the wood fibers, no form of stripper is going to remove it.
 
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