Help / Ideas needed for unusual deck re-staining problem.

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Old 09-02-15, 01:22 PM
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Help / Ideas needed for unusual deck re-staining problem.

We have a 20 year old deck that is 72 X 15 feet. Huge. It was power washed and re-stained with Cabot semi-solid three years ago. We wanted to re-stain again this hear and used a hypochlorite cleaner and a power washer on the horizontal deck surface only as all the mill work and stairs were in good shape.

We went back to Ace to get the same stain and told they could no longer get the same base, so we picked out another stain that was close in color (original was taupe, a medium dark brown). We picked out the closest match we could find on the Cabot color card.

We had a narrow weather window and started to apply it yesterday. Soon into the project we realized the stain we had received was much lighter and bluer -- a totally different color than the one we picked, but we thought "Ace is the Place" and maybe it will dry to match the Cabot chip.

[img]Wrong color deck stain applied to 60% of deck by John Clulow, on Flickr[/img

Long story short, we had coated half the 1100 sq ft surface and watched it start to dry before we realized it was going to turn into an off-white, slightly blue color against out decidedly brown mill work surrounding, and the staircase leading to the lower level.

It turns out the Cabot custom color formulation was way, way off. It wasn't even remotely close to anything on their color card.

So in discussions with Ace yesterday, and Valspar, they said there was nothing we could do, really, except to coat the rest of the deck surface, which we did this morning.

So what that background, we now have a very light, bluish deck surrounded by a taupe set of railings and spindles. What are our options, if any to fix this; if not this year, maybe next summer?

Will another treatment with the caustic cleaner followed by power washing strip off enough of this new stain next summer to enable us to re-apply a more acceptable color?

Would there be any kind of transparent stain that would be brownish we could put over this alkyd based stain that would adhere to it and change the color from bright and bluish to darker and more brown?

Any advice appreciated. The folks at Ace and Valspar, the root cause of the problem, didn't seem to know much in this regard, or why the color chip was a totally different color from what their custom color formula produced.
 

Last edited by ChicagoJohn; 09-02-15 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 09-02-15, 02:01 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

Do you know what the recoat window is on the stain you used? Many will have a minimum time between coats but some will also have a maximum.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 02:11 PM
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Are they willing to mix up another gallon the right color for free?
Assuming the label doesn't have any recoat window requirements, I'd get more stain mixed the correct [or at least close] color. If you can take either the old stain or a piece of wood with the old stain on it to most any paint store - they can match it.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 02:53 PM
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Thank you, Marksr...

We know that the formula from Cabot does not match the chip in the Cabot brochure. That is the root cause of the problem. It is a huge discrepancy in color, not just a minor one.

The label says in caps, "APPLY ONLY ONE COAT" and in a phone conversation with Valspar (who makes Cabot) yesterday from Ace Hardware, their technical person said you could not apply a second coat or it would just not adhere.

Based upon your advice, I am going to go to both Sherwin Williams and J.C. Licht tomorrow to see if they can be of help. Thank you.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 02:58 PM
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Thank you Stickshift....

The problem is that when they use the Cabot formula for colorants, it comes out way off from the Cabot color chip. So Ace did it right, but Cabot has the wrong formula for the color chip, and what we got is not even close to any other color chip in their brochure. Too bad they didn't check it at Ace before we took 5 gallons home at $40 a gallon.

A phone conversation with Valspar, maker of the Cabot semi-solid deck stains, seems to confirm what is on their label -- APPLY ONLY ONE COAT. So I will go to Sherwin Williams and J.C. Licht tomorrow and see if they can offer any advice.

I will post results here for possible help to others in the future. But one think I know now is -- Have the store color check the custom color before you leave.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 03:05 PM
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Paint stores normally put a dab of paint on the lid and dry it to confirm the color.

If the Valspar says it's one coat only then things won't change by going with a different brand. Those types of stains will repel the next coat just like it repels water. The only way to apply another coat is to remove most of the existing stain or let it weather [for possibly 1 yr]
 
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Old 09-02-15, 03:10 PM
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Not trying to pile on, but how can you roll out 550sf of stain and NOT realize its a wrong color? You should have noticed the minute the can lip was cracked that it was not in the brown family. I have come to realize that some outfits are great at matching color, others I won't even waste my time with anymore (I won't name anyone in particular and I have never purchased from Ace). But if they can't match the chip color in the store, I won't even bother to purchase the product. That is when it ends up on the markdown table. Sorry for your headaches.
 
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Old 09-02-15, 03:11 PM
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Yep, you're going to have to remove what's there to put anything else on it
 
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Old 09-03-15, 04:34 AM
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czizzi
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Not trying to pile on, but how can you roll out 550sf of stain and NOT realize its a wrong color? You should have noticed the minute the can lip was cracked that it was not in the brown family. I have come to realize that some outfits are great at matching color, others I won't even waste my time with anymore (I won't name anyone in particular and I have never purchased from Ace). But if they can't match the chip color in the store, I won't even bother to purchase the product. That is when it ends up on the markdown table. Sorry for your headaches.

Don't think I haven't asked myself that question many times, czizzi. Especially since I started out my career as a paint chemist for DuPont and then and since have been quite involved in color measurement in paints and composites.

We were just prepared to get this coating on in a narrow window of time given the heat and anticipated weather, and while I definitely noticed the pronounced color difference, I was telling myself to rely on Ace Hardware quality and that it would become the correct color when it dried. In many paint systems, as I'm sure you know, there is substantial change, and in this case I was thinking that if it became more transparent the yellow from the substrate would come through.

In hindsight, I now realize how wrong that hope and decision was. I'd like to think I'd have made the correct call were it not for the perceived urgency factor we felt. But we felt we didn't have the time to make a trip back to Ace and fit the job into the weather window, rolled the dice, and they came up snake eyes.

As soon as this became apparent, we went back to Ace to discuss options and as of now they seem quite limited. But I'm hoping Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore or maybe someone on Do It Yourself can suggest a remedy.

Thanks for your comment. My mistake may help others avoid one.

I suggested to Ace that they might want to check the results of their custom formulations like the big box stores do before they leave the store. I was told they do that, just not on deck stains. They also told me they had seen several other instances where Valspar formulation results did not match their color chips.

So I guess I think that between Valspar, Ace, and me, there's plenty of places to find fault.

On the plus side, my sense is this is a good product and that we have applied it such that it will perform optimally with respect to protection of the substrate. Also, the siding on our house is colonial blue providing at least some level of continuity. Perceived color comes from the spectral distribution of the illuminant as well as the diffuse reflection of the substrate so we've noticed that in full sun it does take on a yellowish cast but in cloudy conditions it's bluish. If we can't find a solution, maybe we can get used to it.
 

Last edited by ChicagoJohn; 09-03-15 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 09-03-15, 04:50 AM
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I'm hoping Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore or maybe someone on Do It Yourself can suggest a remedy
The only real option is to either remove the new stain or let it weather. The properties of the stain that seal it from the weather also prevent another coat from adhering well. Changing brands won't change that fact. The existing new stain doesn't need to be completely removed but does need to be degraded enough to allow the new coating to adhere.

It might be possible to apply a primer that will adhere but I'd be leery of building up the coatings that thick on a deck.


edit; I wonder if applying a liquid deglosser would allow you to recoat. It slightly dissolves the finish allowing the new finish to adhere better. It would be best to spray the deglosser on. There is a select time frame that the new coating must be applied in. Once the deglosser has completely evaporated the existing coating will start to harden back up.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 05:17 AM
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My mistake may help others avoid one.
John, that is exactly why I added my comment and caveat that I wished not to pile on. So many people come here seeking guidance it is helpful to others to insert best practices to prevent avoidable mistakes. Unfortunately, I'm not being much assistance with your problem. On the plus side, decks are usually on the back side of houses limiting exposure () and you have a GREAT conversation starter for when you have friends and family over for entertaining. I spend a great deal of my free time making fun of myself and am never afraid to admit when I make an error. It proves that we a human after all.
 
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Old 09-03-15, 05:39 AM
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John, that is exactly why I added my comment and caveat that I wished not to pile on. So many people come here seeking guidance it is helpful to others to insert best practices to prevent avoidable mistakes. Unfortunately, I'm not being much assistance with your problem. On the plus side, decks are usually on the back side of houses limiting exposure () and you have a GREAT conversation starter for when you have friends and family over for entertaining. I spend a great deal of my free time making fun of myself and am never afraid to admit when I make an error. It proves that we a human after all.

All points well stated. This deck is off the main floor on the back of the house which is on a hill with a walk out basement below, so nobody -- even neighbors -- can see it unless they are inside the house or on it. That is another of the pluses I hadn't thought about... and we seldom have friends and family over.

Like you, I generally report my mistakes for the benefit of others regardless of how stupid they may be. I know that when it comes to custom colors in the future, I will definitely be more circumspect.

I am still hopeful that I can find an alkyd coating at Sherwin or Benjamin that I might be able to thin down and apply with a roller or spray that will adhere to the existing coating and shift the color from bluish to yellowish. If I do come up with something, I'll report it here. I can't see why this would not be technologically possible.

Postscript: In our discussions with a sales person at Ace, we learned that they did in fact have six gallons of the same shading base on the shelf that we had purchased three years ago and that they could have mixed up the same Taupe color with it. Unfortunately, the owner waited on us last week and told us it had been discontinued, and that is what launched us into this journey.
 

Last edited by ChicagoJohn; 09-03-15 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 09-03-15, 07:55 AM
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Thanks again marksr and stickshift. After talking to the folks at Benjamin Moore this morning, I've decided "better the devil you know." The idea of using a chemical to degrade the coating surface so as to promote adhesion is a good one, but somewhat of an experiment. The BM people said they might suggest some things too but that more likely than not they would fail. My experience with coatings is entirely within water-based acrylic latex latex systems, so while I know alkyd chemistry, I have no familiarity with formulation technology, inter-coat adhesion failure mechanisms, etc.

So I've concluded our best course will be to live with this for at least a year, another benefit being that every time I look at it, I'll be reminded that in the contest between urgency and scrutiny, the latter should prevail. And should I forget to remind myself, I'm sure my wife will remind me. (She does not like the color combination; I know this because of the number of times she's told me... so far.)

In conclusion, this is a cautionary tale which would have been best posted on "DoItToYourself.com" if there were such a site.

Onward and upward!
 
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Old 09-03-15, 10:31 AM
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Not to beat a dead horse to death, but I just took this picture of the deck. Remember that TV discussion of the dress some saw as blue and other saw as yellow? Well, my deck is now changing colors depending upon the lighting and time of day. Sometimes it almost matches our colonial blue siding, and other times it takes on a decidedly yellow hue. I think this is an interesting example of how perceived color can vary with the spectral distribution of the illuminant, even though in this case it's all natural solar lighting, just different versions of it.

[img]yellower appearance by John Clulow, on Flickr[/img]
 
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Old 09-03-15, 11:32 AM
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40+ yrs ago I painted my parent's living rm with leftover paint [several different colors mixed together] Depending on the type of lighting [sunlight, daylight or light bulbs] that room would appear to be yellow, green or gold. Paint colors can appear different both from lighting or their surroundings. SWP's Navajo White is no where near white [almost a light pastel] but when used as a trim color along dark colors - then it appears to be white. Even a perfect match can appear to be a different color under the right circumstances. I had one customer who wanted the walls and ceiling painted the same color. When I got done she accused me of painting the ceiling white instead of the off white that was on the walls, I had to take a brush full of paint and paint both the wall and ceiling while she watched to prove otherwise.
 
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