failed_deck_stainUsing an 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 any chance of damage to the deck with a pressure washer.

How to strip an 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 eyewear.
  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. The reason is that all not deck stains are created equal. Many are more difficult than 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 than normal.

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

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John · 10/26/2017
    2 years ago I applied a water based semitransparent stain on a cedar deck. The appearance deteriorated so I cleaned the wood and then spot cleaned other areas where the stain lingered. See photo. After the second cleaning I noticed some raised grain. Is the only solution sanding?

    Also, dies a wood brightener do some cleaning in addition to neutralizing?

    My end goal is letting the cedar age and turn grey.

    Thanks for your reply
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 10/27/2017
      A wood brightener does not clean. It lightens the wood and neutralizes. The raised grain does not look that bad. You could just leave it alone. If you do want to remove, you will need to sand.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/17/2017
    VC Randell:
    Have an ipe wood deck that has been neglected for 5 years. Old stain needs to be taken off and then restrained. Not sure how to proceed and if this wood is treated differently.
    Thank you.

    Yes, any old coatings should be removed first. Once prepped, use a stain that is designed for this: https://www.opwdecks.com/exoticwoodstains.htm

    Here are some IPE tips as well:
    https://www.opwdecks.com/how-to-stain-ipe.htm
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    VC Randell · 07/16/2017
    Have an ipe wood deck that has been neglected for 5 years. Old stain needs to be taken off and then restrained. Not sure how to proceed and if this wood is treated differently.
    Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 06/30/2017
    Joy L.:
    I used Olympic maximum solid stain/ sealent. To remove most of it I used jomax. I need something stronger to get the rest removed. What can I use?

    Deck strippers will not remove solid stains. You will need to sand it off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joy L. · 06/29/2017
    I used Olympic maximum solid stain/ sealent. To remove most of it I used jomax. I need something stronger to get the rest removed. What can I use?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 05/15/2017
    Ed Glysson:
    Under our deck is a Biuthene 3000 membrane which directs any water to some scuppers. Are there any safe stripper products to use with this membrane? Thanks, Ed

    I am sorry but we are not familiar with this membrane and if a stain stripper will harm it or not.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ed Glysson · 05/14/2017
    Under our deck is a Biuthene 3000 membrane which directs any water to some scuppers. Are there any safe stripper products to use with this membrane? Thanks, Ed
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 04/29/2017
    Chelsea:
    purchased a home and the stain is not HOA approved. it is almost espresso brown looks black from far away. Is it possible to remove the dark stain in order to stain it a lighter approved stain color?

    What brand and type of stain is the dark brown?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chelsea · 04/28/2017
    purchased a home and the stain is not HOA approved. it is almost espresso brown looks black from far away. Is it possible to remove the dark stain in order to stain it a lighter approved stain color?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 05/04/2016
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    L.Miresse · 05/04/2016
    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!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 04/19/2016
    Sand before using a deck cleaner and a wood brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Scott S · 04/18/2016
    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@
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Scott S · 04/18/2016
    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
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 04/06/2016
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Herb Mardon · 04/06/2016
    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
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 09/27/2015
    We would not suggest using it. TWP or Defy Extreme are much better.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Linda Dodson · 09/27/2015
    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
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/06/2015
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Christie · 07/05/2015
    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?