15 Year Old Deck, Pressure Treated Wood?, Paint or Stain?

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Old 09-07-15, 06:13 PM
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15 Year Old Deck, Pressure Treated Wood?, Paint or Stain?

My wife and I just moved to a home recently with a deck built in 2000. Please see the pictures. I am not positive, but it seems to me that the deck is made from pressure treated wood. I am basing this on the green tint on the end of the boards. Can anyone confirm that for me?

Also, if the deck is pressure treated wood, I read somewhere that pressure treated decks older than 2003 contain arsenic and that there would be a danger in sanding or pressure washing the deck because of that. Is that true? Would a stripper be safer to use than sanding or pressure washing?

If possible, I would like to remove whatever is on the deck and stain it. As you can see from the pictures, the deck is peeling in several places. However, I do not know if this is paint or stain? How can I find out? If it is paint, I don't want to use anything harsh such as those chemicals that contain methylene chloride in order to remove it.

If it is impossible to know whether this is paint or stain, and given the deck's condition, would I be better served by just painting the deck every 2 years or so?

Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.

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Old 09-08-15, 03:25 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

The green you see is mold/mildew. I'd clean the deck and see what it looks like before I made the decision as to which stain to use. I wouldn't be concerned about the arsenic as most of the chemicals used during the PT process have either leached out long ago or are in the wood to stay. It's better to clean the deck than to sand it. Between the nail/screw heads and the gaps between boards you'd spend a fortune in sandpaper.

To clean a deck I mix up a bleach/water solution [40-50% bleach, never stronger] and spray it onto a damp deck with a pump up garden sprayer, let it set but not dry and rinse. A pressure washer makes the job easier but a water hose will work fine. Stubborn areas might require a 2nd treatment and/or scrubbing with an old broom.

You will probably need to use a solid deck stain but depending on how well the deck cleans up it might be possible to use a semi-transparent deck stain.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 07:42 AM
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That wood doesn't look all that good to me. Might be better after you clean but my thought now is to use a solid body stain.

And, while I agree with Mark about cleaning instead of sanding, don't be afraid to use sandpaper where it's needed to smooth the wood. Nothing finer than 100 grit needed, though.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 07:45 AM
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About the only times I use sandpaper on a deck is to smooth out a handrail or fix damage where someone failed to use due care with a pressure washer and chewed up the wood.
 
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Old 09-08-15, 08:17 AM
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Yep, that's about what I do as well unless I'm dealing with a deck for the first time where really low grade wood was used. Just didn't want the OP to shy away from sandpaper if it's needed.
 
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