Need opinions on refinishing the deck

Old 09-16-16, 10:15 AM
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Need opinions on refinishing the deck

I need some advice on my deck. I purchased my home this year in Feb. The previous owner had painted the deck in order to prep the house for sale. The moisture under the paint froze and the paint started to peel. So in the space of a few months the deck is beginning to look unsightly. The previous owner had a poor choice in color (the deck is painted some light shade of blue). I thought it would be nice to get rid of the paint and stain the deck a rich dark brown color. FYI, the deck is about 20+ years old so some of the boards have minor cracks in them and there is some warping of the boards but nothing drastic.

I invited a deck contractor for an estimate. He looks at the deck and tells me that since it's been painted once the deck can't be stained ever again. When I probe further he tells me it will be expensive to get rid of the paint. He'd have to use some very strong stripping chemicals (which he is licensed to use) and it would get expensive. He also talked about the previous owner using bleach to kill mildew and that would need neutralizing as well. I am not sure if I should buy his story.

He then recommended a Behr Deck Over product and said that Behr had a 10 year warranty on the product. In reality though, he did not guarantee his work so to me it didn't seem like a big difference maker since labor would be most of the expense. I have a 635 sq ft deck and he estimated $3300 to do the work including railings etc.

My wife asked me why it couldn't be sanded and that got me doubting the contractor. I would like to know what is the best way to prep this deck and whether it would cost that much to re-finish the deck. Is it OK to power sand the deck to remove the paint instead and then stain? Or is doing a chemical strip, sand and seal the way to go?

Please tell me what my options are. Any feedback would be appreciated.
Old 09-16-16, 01:06 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Not sure I buy half of what that contractor is saying I use bleach more than anything else for cleaning decks/siding and I've never neutralized any of it - it does need to be rinsed well! Based on your description of the paint's condition I would pressure wash the deck first. That might remove 90% of the paint, at least any paint that has poor bond with the deck. Then you will be in a better position to evaluate how to continue.

I've never used nor would recommend any of those deck over coatings as they are prone to fail and will require more work to make the deck look decent when they do fail.

I'm not fond of sanding decks. Between the gaps between boards and nails/screws it will be hard on the sandpaper ..... but it can be done.
Old 09-16-16, 01:17 PM
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My 2 would be to remove as much of the paint as you can by scraping and scrubbing and then using a solid body stain.

I agree about not buying much of anything the contractor was saying.
Old 09-17-16, 06:04 AM
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At 20 years old that decking is fast approaching the expected end of it's life span.
Using a solid stain on decking will be a mistake, been there done that.
The issue is it will soon show wear patterns where it's walked on the most
It works fine on the railing.
If it was mine I'd be replacing the decking, letting it dry a few months then staining it the color you really wanted.
Keep in mind the darker it is the hotter the decking will get.
Old 09-21-16, 05:33 PM
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For about $6 a sq ft you could replace the decking with composite material and never, ever, have to worry about painting or staining.

I fully understand many shy away from the up front cost but think of the year after year savings in time and money from never having to do anything but a simple scrub down.

20 years is too long to be adding that kind of money.

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