Cleaner and Brightener necessary on new deck before staining?


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Old 10-24-16, 10:46 AM
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Question Cleaner and Brightener necessary on new deck before staining?

Most of the stain companies say I need to use their “cleaner” and “brightener” before staining, even on new wood. Does that sound right? I’m wondering if they’re just trying to sell more product!
 
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Old 10-24-16, 10:57 AM
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I clean my deck with a 50/50 water/bleach solution each time before I stain it.

I have never seen the need to buy a dedicated cleaner or brightener.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 11:08 AM
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Yeah, that's what my deck builder recommended (the 50/50 water/bleach mix). The product manufacturer claims their product is oxygen bleach, which is supposed to be superior to chlorine bleach. They claim, "Using a chlorine bleach will not only harm the wood as well as the vegetation surrounding the deck, but it doesn’t actually clean or remove any stains, it just bleaches them out."

Then, they say that the cleaning makes the PH of the wood too alkaline, which could cause premature stain failure. So supposedly using their brightener brings the PH back to neutral, which makes the wood accept the stain better, increasing its lifespan.

Not sure how much of that is legit science versus marketing.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 11:28 AM
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I've been cleaning decks on/off for 45 yrs or so and have rarely ever used a brightener. I always use bleach/water and occasionally add TSP to the mix. Regular bleach is cheap and effective although oxygenated bleach is dummy proof and more environmentally friendly. While I've never checked PH levels on a cleaned deck [not sure how you would] I would think as long as it's rinsed well there wouldn't be any issues from the cleaner. It shouldn't take much to clean a new deck. I just built one in the spring on the side of my house and only used TSP to clean it when I stained it a few months ago.

How new is your deck? has it dried out from the PT process? what type of stain do you intend to use?
 
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Old 10-24-16, 11:41 AM
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The deck (actually a boat dock) was built in April, so it should be dry from PT process. I was going to use DEFY's Marine Seal Wood Dock Stain.

I just went on chat with DEFY and they said I really only need the brightener (which is is an oxalic acid) after using their stripper, as that raises the PH. So I can skip that step. They also said their cleaner is really just oxygenated bleach (sodium percarbonate), so I could probably use a generic of that.

The directions for their cleaner was just to mix it with water, but I see others say to mix sodium percarbonate with TSP. Sounds like you're saying TSP alone might do the trick. What are your thoughts on that? (Dummy proof is good!)
 
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Old 10-24-16, 11:50 AM
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Since it is above water it would be best not to use regular household bleach as the run off wouldn't be good for the lake/river. TSP probably isn't good for the water either. They sell a phosphate free TSP [tri sodium phosphate ] but I've never used it. The main thing is to remove any mill glaze along with any dirt/grime that has been deposited since it was built.

While I'm pretty sure I've used DEFY stains before it's been few and far between so I can't comment much about that particular stain.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 12:05 PM
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Thanks. I'll probably stick with the sodium percarbonate / water mixture for cleaning.

I was also considering TWP stain, which is oil based, whereas the DEFY is waterborne. I thought oil based would have greater lifespan, but reviews seem to indicate the DEFY stains are just as good in that respect. So if that's true, I figured the water-based would be easier to work with, and perhaps less prone to mold. Also their marine version is supposed to have additional UV protection.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 12:12 PM
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Yeah, a bit of a surprise but the latex stains seem to hold up better to sunlight/UV than the oil based stains.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 02:06 PM
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Most latex stains are of the solid variety. A lot depends on the climate the stain is in. In the deep south the sun will generally beat up oil base stains in short order. Here in tenn I've been satisfied with how the waterborne stains preform. The only downside to waterborne stains is it takes longer for them to cure. Most advise against applying if rain is expected within 48 hrs.
 
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Old 10-24-16, 03:31 PM
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I don't think it's latex. It's semi-transparent. Here are some links:

Overview: Marine Seal Wood Dock Stain-DEFY Wood Stain
Data sheet: https://saversystems.s3.amazonaws.co...-datasheet.pdf

Location is about an hour SE of Atlanta GA.
 
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Old 10-25-16, 03:13 AM
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It's a waterborne stain. If you intend to apply 2 coats - there is a recoat window, you must apply the 2nd coat within 2 hrs of the first. If you wait too long the 2nd coat won't bond correctly to the 1st and might peel. After the recoat window passes you need to either remove the 1st coat and start over or wait for the stain to weather away.
 
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Old 11-03-16, 11:03 AM
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So I sprayed the sodium percarbonate / water mixture with a pump sprayer, then rinsed with a pressure washer. When rinsing you can see the white cleaning mixture being washed away. But if I go back to an area I already pressure washed and pressure wash it again, I can still see white residue coming out. It's like it never completely washes away. Should I be concerned, or is that normal?
 

Last edited by MadDogMike; 11-03-16 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 11-03-16, 02:22 PM
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That is somewhat normal. You want to rinse well but go easy on the pressure so you don't fuzz up the wood.
 
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Old 11-03-16, 03:20 PM
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OK, thanks. I just used an electric pressure washer with a fan tip, so it wasn't super-high pressure.
 
 

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