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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I've been a long-time reader on here, but this is my first post of any substance!

I have a customer that has a 5-6 year old Cedar deck that had issues with stain not adhering properly. They pressure-washed the old stain off the deck surface a couple years ago but it has since greyed from weather. The railings have two coats of stain but it is peeling and blotchy, so we are talking about replacing the rails with either wood or composite, but they would like to re-stain after that's complete. They have had bad experiences with previous contractors, and I'd love to change that for them, but I'm nervous to put stain on this deck.

I know I need to start with a cleaner and ph balancer, but then what stain should I use? Every set of reviews I read for waterborne or latex stains had negative experience with peeling, and the commonly available oil stain around here (cabot) doesn't get good reviews either. I've used both SW Deckscapes and Cabot in Solid finishes with good success, but I haven't visited those decks afterward and really don't want to chance it on this one and get a call back expecting me to fix problems that were already present.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
Zach
 

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Do they want to change the color?

If not just oil the deck after proper cleaning.

If they do want a color change use a semi-transparent instead of a solid stain.

Have had good luck with Sikens.

Decks need maintenance, every two years is not that bad.

Tom
 

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First thing I would try is spray some water on the deck and see if it beads up or soaks right in.
If it beads up then the stain / sealer maybe preventing the stain from sticking. I think you would need some sort of deck stain remover and a good power washing.

If it soaks right in then just power wash the deck clean and let it dry really good before staining.

Try to use a semi transparent stain unless the boards are really weather beaten then most likely a solid stain will be needed to make it look good.

I have had good luck with Deckscapes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Really appreciate the help guys!

There is no color on the deck boards now; it's faded to the natural cedar grey color which is partially what concerns me about recoating. Some of the lower spots and knots still have small amounts of the old color, but they did a pretty good job removing it with the power-washer.

On the stain, I really prefer using the waterborne stuff for cleanup and even application (doesn't seem to fling as much); do you think it would be tough enough to not peel after a couple years? They know that it will need to be recoated annually or biannually, I just don't want it to require epic amounts of power washing each year.

I wonder if the original contractor tried to stain the deck before it had weathered a few weeks, and that's what started their issue to begin with...
 

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I am no expert on finishing decks but I think the original deck would have needed to dry out for six months before the first coat of stain, so that could be a reason for stain failure.

Whether oil or water based stains? I would go with water based. Frankly water based products are generally better suited to exterior applications due to superior UV resistance. The oil paints and stains will get brittle and break down, along with fading.

Definitely need to be thinking along the lines of staining every two years and that will require a good power washing every time.
 

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I'm with Ohio Painter.

I live in a coastal area where adhesion is a common problem. In my opinion, you should strip the deck with a stain and sealer remover(not the same as a cleaner), power wash it all off, and then brighten with a neutralizer. This will get rid of any old stain and allow the surface to accept new stain. Secondly, I believe in oil stain. The waterbased ones don't penetrate as deeply into the wood. Sometimes they work well, but it seems to be hit and miss. Deckscapes Semi-trans Oil based stain is my go-to product. It's slow drying, so it really soaks in. I apply it liberally and backbrush. Cabots are great, but harder for me to get a hold of out here since they were bought a few years back. Superdeck is also great and very forgiving.

Stripping the deck sucks. That's why it's the best way to go. It's a whole extra set of steps and you're playing with acid. It also forces you to charge more. Many contractors are not willing to put forth that extra effort. I routinely strip decks and siding when they're stained. I have very good results. If you want to make that good impression, strip it. Also, it will ease your mind, because you know you're starting with a fresh surface. After you strip it, the surface will be dark. The neutralizer will brighten it back up.
 

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The only thing I would add is if the deck has areas that are bare and gray wood along with other areas that still have some stain then it sounds like a solid stain will be needed.
If you use a semi transparent then most likely the patchiness will show through.

There is no substitute for good prep work.
 

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The only thing I would add is if the deck has areas that are bare and gray wood along with other areas that still have some stain then it sounds like a solid stain will be needed.
If you use a semi transparent then most likely the patchiness will show through.

There is no substitute for good prep work.
Agree:thumbup:

I would not use semi-trans without removing ALL of the old stain and making the surface uniform(brighteners, cleaners, etc.), otherwise you'll have a spotty mess. Solid stain is nice. Hides imperfections, it's uniform, but you get to keep the wood texture. Also, easy to maintain.
 

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Just finished a large deck with Olympic Maximum Solid color. It looks great. Tons of colors to choose from. This deck has sun exposure almost constantly and the semi-trans just wasn't holding up.

"There is no substitute for good prep work"

I second, and third that!
 

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I like to use Thompson's deck cleaner/stripper you spray it on with garden sprayer let soak in then you can power wash it or just use a garden hose to wash down. I have done a number of decks I have used SW Deckscapes and Sikkens I prefer oil over water cause water base drys out oil put oils back into the wood and being its cedar it will draw the oil in water base lays on the woods that's why it peels in a couple years.
 

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I have done a number of decks and I have used Sikkens I prefer oil over water cause water base drys out oil put oils back into the wood and being its cedar it will draw the oil in water base lays on the woods that's why it peels in a couple years.
X2, totally agree. I had the most complaints from Thompsons water seal for being slippery when covered in water and problems with peeling. I have tried using flood and that soaks in ok but often darkens the would, especially if covered heavy and it also only has a 2yr life span on decks. Lately i have been using Sikkens semi-transparent "natural" for cedar and pressure treated. Stuff soaks in well, does not darken the wood much, is not slippery to walk on, water beads up well and they have had great reviews.
 

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WoodTux, I've been using it for years on wet decks with good results. Go to woodrich-brand.com, call them up and talk to Russell about your project, he is the expert on deck stains. If the wood is greyed you might need sodium hydroxide with a pressure wash instead of just a deck cleaner, depends how bad the deck is.
 
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