failed_deck_stainUsing a exterior stain stripper is typically needed if the old stain or sealer has failed by peeling, wearing unevenly or when changing brands of stain. A stripper will aid in removing the old stain by softening the bond between the stain and the wood cells. This allows easier removal with a light pressure washing or stiff scrub brush.

The process of using a wood stain stripper is incorrectly considered difficult. In fact it will save a substantial amount of time while reducing the any chance of damage to the deck with a pressure washer.

How to strip a exterior stain:

  1. As previously mentioned, a stain stripper should be used if the old coatings has failed unevenly or if changing brands of stain. If not then using a deck cleaner may be sufficient. If unsure please feel free to ask a question here: Deck Stripping Questions
  2. Remove all furniture from the area. Wear protective clothing, gloves, and eye wear.
  3. Mix the Deck Stain Stripper using the manufactures directions. In many cases it is best to test effectiveness first by applying to a small section. Reason is that all not deck stains are created equal. Many are more difficult then others to remove. Testing first will determine if it will remove the finish or if you may need to use a stronger stain stripper.
  4. Apply the stain stripper with a pump up sprayer. Best to do sections of 200-400 square feet at a time. Saturate all wood then wait 10-20 minutes. Test wood to see if slippery. This means that stripper has loosened the stain from the wood. If not reapply the stain stripper one more time.
  5. Lightly pressure wash or hand scrub all stain from the wood. Take care to wash with the grain of the wood whenever possible.
  6. Repeat if needed until all stain has been stripped from the wood. Spot strip any difficult areas that did not come clean the first time.
  7. Very important to thoroughly rinse all wood and surrounding areas to remove the wood fibers, dirt and grime.
  8. Apply a wood brightener to neutralize the deck stain stripper and restore the pH balance of the wood. Failure to apply a brightener will leave the wood in a high "caustic" state that will deteriorate the new deck stain faster then normal.

If you have any deck stripping questions please ask below. All questions are typically answered within a day.

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re: HELP
You have to remove the Sikkens first. Try the Restore A Deck Stain stripper. Apply this to the wood and pressure wash off. Repeat any areas that are needed. Apply the Restore A Deck Wood Brightener while the wood is still wet from the stripping. Wait 2-3 days to dry, then stain with the TWP.
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help
2 years ago a contractor built a new deck for me with pressure treated woo. He suggested I wait until the next summer to stain it. when the time came I hired a local who came highly recommended. They used a sikkens stain. It turned out horrible and the man hired blamed it on the one he hired to do the work. He offered to come back this year and restain it if I would supply the stain. I would like to use TWP. What do I need to do to get the deck ready for the new stain? I'm 68 y.o. lady and know nothing about this process, except that I paid a lot for a nice deck that now looks pretty awful.....help!
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re: question about sanding
Sand before using a deck cleaner and a wood brightener.
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question about sanding
Hi,

I have removed most but not all of the solid color stain from a wood deck. I need to sand some of the smaller spots off and plan to do so with a 5 inch round hand sander.

My question is do I do the sanding BEFORE or AFTER the wood brightener? Thanks@
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Solid stain, need to sand
Hi,
After stripping the solid stain from a deck the best I can, there are still some small spots of stain that I would like to sand off with a 5 inch hand sander.

My question is do I sand BEFORE or AFTER the wood brightener?

THANK YOU
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re: Removing solid stain from roof deck
I am sorry but it is not possible to strip this particular product off. It will have to be sanded, scraped, and/or even replaced.
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Removing solid stain from roof deck
Two summers ago I used the Rustoleum 4X solid stain on my pressure treated garage roof deck and pergola. After the first year the stain had started to lift,peel and crack in various spots and it looks terrible. I want to remove this stain and re-do the deck and pergola with an oil-based stain since this dck is in full sun all day during the summer. My deck is 20X22 so I want to use the options n that s least labor intensive. Will using a stripper work in this case?
What would you recommend? Thank you
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re: STAINING DECK QUESTION
We would not suggest using it. TWP or Defy Extreme are much better.
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staining deck question
Hello,
I started stripping our beck with Sherwin williams deck stripper. Now i have to use the revive brightener. Do we have to use Sherwin williams stain? The reason I'm asking is I just found out it's reviews say it's difficult to apply and people were not happy with it. Please if you have any advise I would greatly appreciate it.
Thank you
Linda
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re: oops
I am not sure a stripper will remove this or not off the composite. You can try the HD80 or the Restore a Deck Stripper but unsure if it will work well.
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Oops
We have composite decking with wood railings. We stained the whole thing with Cabot deck stain. The railings look great, the composite looks like a kindergarten art project. The composite did not take the stain so now it is blotchy and uneven. What do you suggest?
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Phillip, You cannot spot strip or sand and then apply to this areas and have it blend. You will have to do all of the wood. As for best method. Try stripping first then sand if needed.
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re: DECK IS A MESS OF PEALING PAINT AND STAIN
Becca, You will better off just sanding this.
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I just applied a translucent, teak colored stain to my pressurized deck. In my effort to stain the end of some of the boards I accidentally applied too much stain and it dried shiny and uneven in these places. The majority of the deck looks great but these shiny areas are very noticeable and I'd like to remove the stain in these places and then reapply. What would be the best way to go about this? Should I use a deck stripper and brightener or try to sand it off? Thanks, Phil
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Deck is a mess of pealing paint and stain
I believe the previous owner painted over failing stain -I've tried two different brands of stripper, the citristrip gel and a Cabot wood stripper. So far waiting an hour hasn't produced great results with either one, although the citristrip says to wait form 30 minutes up to 24 hours. I've been using a hose and a scraper. I don't have a pressure washer but I'm willing to rent one after figuring out what steps are best...or is it better to just skip straight to sanding?
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re: Stripping and Staining 15 year PT Deck
Do the deck first. When excessively over applied like this, you will need to strip multiple times and possibly sand as well. Brighten all wood when done. Stains within a week or two after the prep. As for applying, it depends on the stain brand you will be using.
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Stripping and Staining 15 year PT Deck
I'm stripping a dark brown colored semi-transparen t Benjamin Moore deck stain that has been applied multiple times to the point that it almost looks like a solid stain. I'm switching stain brands and will need to strip the spindles, rails and lattice as well. When stripping, should I do the rails and spindles first or the deck first? Also, how long can I can I go between stripping, brightening, and staining? I will be stripping it one weekend and staining it the following weekend depending on the weather.
Finally, I will be restaining it with another dark brown stain and was wondering if it was best to use a 'wet on wet' technique to apply two light coats of stain to get a uniform look or just go with a single coat. This is an older deck (15 year PT deck). Thanks in advance for your advice.
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re: Unsure
Do not use the Deckover unless you want a huge peeling mess. Read online reviews of how bad these products are. Use the Restore A Deck stripper and the wood brightener for the prep.
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Unsure
I'm not sure what stain was used previously on our deck. It is in the sun all day and the previous stain is fading, not pealing. Its cracking and wearing off. We would like to put something on it to protect it from the sun and water as we have a pool. Looking into the Behr deckover. How should we prep it, not knowing what was used previously and to ensure the new coat last? Thanks
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re: Canadian limitations
Shannon, strippers do not remove solid stains so yes you will need to sand it all off. Use brightener after is a good idea. Avoid those brands and order online. Look at the Armstrong Clark.
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Canadian limitations
Living in Alberta, Canada I'm unable to get the great products you routinely recommend. I have a solid stain on my deck that has started peeling. Should I just sand it down to bare wood? I can't locate any good strippers here. Once it's sanded down, do I still need a brightener? Finally, I can only locate sikkens, behr and similar stains which all rated badly. I would hate to do all that work sanding to do it again in a couple years. Suggestions?
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Deck striping
After stripping a section of deck and washing clean, can I allow that section to dry and continue on stripping another section before using a brightener? I have been using the brightener immediately following the strip procedure bur its not allows very convienrant.

Thanks
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Scott, the black streaks are from your nails. It is rust. The screws are either the wrong kind or just have lost the protective coating. Brighteners will usually remove the black rust spots but every time it rains it will rust again.
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I have noticed since applying a brightener to a stripped cedar deck that black streaks have come up at the screw holes. These weren't there before. I've tried spot scrubbing with brightener, some sanding, but nothing seems to work. How can I remove these black streaks?

Scott
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re: water stains
It really depends on how deep the water marks. If at surface it should come out, if deep in the wood than nothing will get them out.
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water stains
After stripping solid stain from cedar siding I have a few water stains. Do I need to remove them or will appling brightener take care of that?
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re: stripping solid stain from deck railing
Andrea, sorry but nothing removes a solid stain effectively outside of sanding.
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re: should we strip/brighten after it sitting for a year
Tracy, best to do it all so it is even.
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should we strip/brighten after it sitting for a year
We started stripping/brigh tening our deck last year, but ran out of time to do benches, and stairs, and flower boxes or to stain. Now we are done stripping/brigh tening the remainder of boxes and benches,and parts of the deck we missed last year. WE are noticing that there are parts of the deck that we re-stripped and then brightened look lighter than the rest of the deck we didn't re-strip. Would you recommend re-stripping/brigh tening the part we did last year to maintain consistent color when staining?
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stripping solid stain from deck railing
I've started using Armstrong Clark's RAD to strip old, worthless Cabot Solid Stain from my deck. Never want to use solid stain again. Applied Cabots about 5 or 6 yrs. ago and have been living with the peeling stain since about 8-10 months after applying it. Now it looks just awful. I did a test patch, and it looks like RAD may work pretty well on the horizontal surfaces, but the tests on the vertical posts and spindles shows only about a 40 to 50% removal after 30 min. Is there a gel or cream stripping agent that would better "cling" to the verticals and hopefully strip the rest of the solid stain? I've been looking at Citristrip, but that seems to be for interior projects only. Is that so? Thanks in advance for your product tips!
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Fuzzies happen when a cleaner or stripper softens the layer of damaged wood cells that are exposed and are removed. No way to avoid this from happening and they can be slight sanded off if desired. In many cases the look will not show when stained.
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Fuzzies
What causes fuzzies? What do you do to get rid of them? Do you need to get rid of them before staining.
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re: Stripping just the floor
JMag, I would suggest stripping the entire deck. it is very hard to not get the stripper on the railings. It actually makes it harder to not strip the rails. You cannot prevent fuzzies.
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Tammy, no it will not harm composite decking.
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Stripping just the floor
My wife used an oxyclean solution to clean the deck and many of the boards are now partially stripped of stain. Some of the deck is protected by a roof and is fine but the deck boards are at an angle to the house. So for some of the boards, the half under the roof, is ok but the half in the sun is partially stripped. Being new to decks, I assume I can't just topcoat the deck with the same stain but now must strip the whole deck? I don't want to have to strip the posts and fascia board. Do you have a suggestion for protecting these from the solutiion? Finally, how do I prevent those "fuzzies" that occurred the first time we prepped the deck.
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Stipping deck stain
I have a composite deck with cedar railing, will the stripper damage the deck boards?
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whats the best opaque stain to resist peeling?
Want to know what would be the best brand of opaque deck stain as I don't want to have to sand an entire 300 sq foot deck since the stripper remove only 40%. Any recommendations .thanks
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re: Deck Stripping
You can sand it all off.
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Deck Stripping
We need to remove old stain, but are afraid to use deck stripper because when we power wash it off, it will pour down the side of our house and might remove paint from our house. Any advice?
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re: Removing solid stain; cleaning and restaining
Nothing removes a solid stain effectively. You would need to sand it off.
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Removing solid stain; cleaning and restaining
Hi, can you recommend a good brand of solid stain remover for my deck. Also can you recommend a good solid stain brand. We were using Behr for many years and the product doesnt last. It peals constantly and we apply it sparingly as instructed. Have to restain every year regardless of their guarantee. Thanks.

Also the procedure on how to do a successful stripping and staining would be appreciated.

Regards
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re: work on oil based semi opaque stain?
Most likely but it does depend on the brand and if there is an excess amount of coatings.
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Will the stain stripper you reference work on oil based semi opaque stain? I would like to use a water based stain for the restaining process.
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re: 19 year old NJ deck
Liam, if you are switching stain brands then it would be best to remove the old stain (if possible) so the new stain can properly penetrate. Do you know the brand of the old stain or what type of stain it was?
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19 year old NJ deck
I have a large older deck.
Partial Sun
Good Condition

We just bought the house and I want to maintain the deck correctly.

I have had a few people tell me to just hose off the deck and apply a stain or sealer.

But after reading your site I am confused.

Should I strip and apply a brightener?

It doesn't look like the old stain failed, I just want to keep it up.
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re: staining previously opaque-stained deck
If you are re-staining an opaque deck with another opaques (solid color) stain then you do not need a stain stripper or need to remove completely. I would pressure wash the deck to remove the loose stain then scrap/sand.
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staining previously opaque-stained deck
I was told that it is not necessary to remove previous stain if restainning with opaque stain. The recommendation was to remove loose stain by wire brushing or scraping. Then sand to even the surface where loos stain was removed. Then apply new opaque stain, much like repainting.

Do you see any disadvages to following this procedure?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Dennis
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re: I have a deck and a gazebo with PT wood.
Both would work but I think the RAD stripper clings better to verticals. This makes it a little easier for removal.
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I have a deck and a gazebo with PT wood. They are stained using Olympic Maximum semi-transparen t in Redwood color three years ago. The deck floor is now gray. However, the rally and gazebo were at relatively better condition, and the redish color can be seen. I am going to re-stain the deck and gazebo again this year using TWP-1500. My question is that how should I prepare the wood prior to stain? What stain stripper and brightner do you recommand, Restore-A_Deck or HD-80? Thanks!
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re: Stripping Only a Portion of Deck
You would need to strip everything. Not really possible to spot strip.
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re: Deck stripping
Not sure what that could be but I doubt it will hurt the staining.
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Stripping Only a Portion of Deck
I applied semi-transparen t Behr stain to my previously uncoated deck. At the time the stain was applied, the wood was approximately 1 year old. Prior to covering with stain, the deck was exposed to a wood brightener. I live in Iowa and after one year, the floor boards of the deck were already starting to peel but all other surfaces on the deck (railings, vertical rails, etc.) were completely fine. Would it be a good idea to strip/brighten/ re-stain just the floor boards of the deck or does the entire thing need to be redone?
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Deck stripping
I am in the process of stripping my deck. When the deck dried it looked good but when I added the brightener and the deck was wet there is a film that i can scrape with my finger nail and then when the deck dried it was gone again. It rained and the deck was wet and I noticed the film again. It this normal? Maybe I just never noticed this before.
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re: deck in the front of our log home
I would look at the Restore-A-Deck Stripper (www.opwdecks.com/.../) and Restore-A-Deck Wood Brightener (www.opwdecks.com/.../).
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We have a deck in the front of our log home. The stain is very deteriorated and must be replaced. What is one of the best brands of a stain stripper and also a good wood brightener? The current stain is an oil based grey. We are also replacing all the lattice and railing on the deck.
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re: Life span of a deck
Most decks last about 20 years before needing to be replaced.
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Life span of a deck
I have a 20 year old deck. I can't get it to look anywhere as nice as i would like. What is a typical life span of the wood(pressure treated)? I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. The deck gets all elements and types of weather.

Thanks!
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re: home owner
Paints or solid (opaque) colored stains cannot be stripped easily or effectively. Deck Stain strippers work on transparent and semi-transparen t coatings not solids.

In your scenario you will probably need to sand it all off.
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home owner
We bought a house with a very large deck, gazebo, and lots of railing. It is stained a dark brown - it is really like paint - you can barely see any wood grain at all. The decking is wearing so that some exposed wood shows. Most of the railing and gazebo is thickly stained. I want to restain it - preferably with a transparent or semi-transparen t stain. But, all old stain must be removed. What do I do?
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re: Staining over stain
If you opt to re stain with a solid/opaque stain then you do not need to remove 100% of the old finish.

Take inconsideration that opaque stains lie on top of the wood. This is the main reason it peeled. Most likely it will peel again next year if you apply another opaque stain.
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Staining over stain
We applied an opaque "redwood" color stain on our deck last year and it didn't hold up. This is a 12+ year old deck, which had previously been successfully stained with a transparent stain. For whatever reason, this opaque stain started peeling this year. We've gone a few rounds with a stripper and a pressure washer and scrub brush, but I'd say we have only completely stripped 50-60% of the stain. There are no more flaking or peeling areas. Our next step was going to be sanding the deck, then applying brightener and restaining. Here's the question: if we opt for another opaque stain in the same color family, can we skip the sanding (we would do light sanding to remove any splintered areas, but would NOT try to sand off all of the remaining color.)I'm very wary of using the wrong sander in the wrong way and doing more damage than good.
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re: owner
Chris-

I would look at the HD80 Stripper (www.opwdecks.com/.../). Very effective and priced well.

To neutralize/brig hten I would suggest the companion product Citralic (www.opwdecks.com/.../).

Unfortunately nothing removes solid stains effectively or easily. Stain strippers are most effective on transparent and semi-transparen t finishes.
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owner
looking for a powerful deck stain stripper to use proffessionaly . been useing sherwin williams stain sealer remover and found it expensive and sometimes innefective particularly with solid stains possibly reformulated no voc . also neutralizeing with revive and white vinegar useing acid sprayer for both. what do you recomend for products and application tools ?
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