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Old 03-21-2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


I have a deck that is anywhere from 15 to 20 years old I'm guessing (I bought the house last summer). The deck is in great structural shape but looks like it was never finished before and was very gray. Many boards have narrow cracks but all in all, considering the probable age of the deck, I think it is in good shape.

I spent this past weekend prepping it by:

1. I bought a snap-on 2000psi electric power washer from Costco and used that, along with some Flood deck wash to clean the deck. As I suspected, the electric pressure washer was just not up to the job (it would have been had I wanted to spend 4 days on it....)

2. Yesterday morning, I rented a gas pressure washer from HD and spent 4 hours on the deck pressure washing it. I pump-sprayed the deck cleaner in sections, quick scrub with a nylon brush, then waited 5 minutes and then power washed. Although I'm inexperienced with a pressure washer, I knew to keep the washer moving and not get the wand too close. I think it turned out very well and wish I had just done that from the start instead of screwing around with the electric pressure washer.

So now I thought I would be ready to stain....but the weather has unexpectedly turned for the worse. The weather forecast was "10% chance of showers" everyday this week. It started pouring rain last night and hasn't stopped. And the temp is expected to go slightly below 50 degrees for the highs this week and through next weekend. Current forecast calls for rain to stop Wednesday evening.

Questions:

1. I still have the electric power washer (it's a great unit for small areas, washing cars, etc so I am going to keep it). Do I need to re-wash the deck after all this rain is done? Or waiting a week or so after the pressure washing I did this past weekend is okay to just go ahead and stain?

2. I plan on heading over to a local paint shop that apparently carries Sikkens semi-transparent stains (which is what I plan on using, based on all of the forum discussions on this very controversial topic : ), and asking them but for now - is it okay to apply stain if the temps are hovering just below 50 degrees, as expected for this coming weekend? I hope to put first coat of stain on Sunday. That gives 3 days for the deck to dry, if the rain stops by Thursday morning as forecast (for what that's worth : ( )

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Old 03-21-2011, 11:00 AM   #2
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


Mark, no need to re-wash the deck as long as you plan on doing it within 2-3 weeks. Believe it or not some stains can be applied onto a damp (not soaking wet) deck. I like Deckscapes from SW but I know Sikkens is great stuff too. In a perfect world, it would be nice for the deck to get at least 2 to 3 days dry time before you apply the stain.........sometimes that just doesn't happen.

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Old 03-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


Thanks Gymschu. If the forecast holds then I should have 3 solid days of dry weather leading up to this Sunday when I hope to be able to apply the first coat. My deck does not get a lot of sun (which is probably why it's in good a shape as it is given how old it is and the lack of maintenance on it for so long), so I really want to give it three days' dry time.
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Old 03-21-2011, 12:15 PM   #4
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


one way to tell if the wood is ready for stain is to drip some water on it,if it readily absorbs you can stain,if it beads up and sits on the surface you need to wait

don't go by how many days,go by the condition of the wood
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:20 PM   #5
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


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Thanks Gymschu. If the forecast holds then I should have 3 solid days of dry weather leading up to this Sunday when I hope to be able to apply the first coat. My deck does not get a lot of sun (which is probably why it's in good a shape as it is given how old it is and the lack of maintenance on it for so long), so I really want to give it three days' dry time.
The best way to check the moisture level of wood is with a moisture meter. You can get a decent one for less than $50, they're actually pretty handy. Sikkens recommends moisture content less than 21%.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:43 PM   #6
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


I agree with NC. You should use a moisture meter. We own several moisture meters and it is our policy to always use them on all exterior projects, including deck staining. Sikkens makes some good deck stains. Nothing for nothing, but 2000 psi from a pressure washer is actually to much, with the right cleaner you wouldn't have to use anymore than 800-1000 ps i on a deck. I prefer to use per carbonated deck cleaner, as the cleaner does the work for me and it does not contain bleach which has lo
ng term effects.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:57 PM   #7
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


Thanks guys.

I originally tried the Flood deck cleaning solution that HD sells. It didn't seem to work all that well, so when I ran out (it only covered about 1/3rd of the deck) I switched to the Behr 2-in-1 stuff. It seemed to work about the same.

I'm wondering if it would make sense to rent a sander of some sort from HD and give the deck a quick light sanding? I don't have many 'fuzzies' on the deck, just a few spots where I was a bit heavy-handed with the pressure washer. I wasn't planning on sanding but after lugging the heavy pressure washer into and out of my van, and doing the pressure washing (in-between applying cleaner and scrubbing with a nylon brush), if the sanding will help then I don't mind doing it.

Is sanding a good idea? If so, then what type of sander should I rent? I can't imagine an orbital is a good idea because it would go against the grain of the boards.
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Old 03-21-2011, 11:55 PM   #8
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


If you haven't sanded a deck (floor) in 10 years....

DO IT.

By the time a decade rolls around, it doesn't matter HOW clean the deck is. It's NOT gonna hold stain well, because the wood grain/cellulose/lignin is SHOT. The grain is crushed and oxidized.

I've sanded my 15 y/o Construction-heart Redwood decks' floor 3 times in 15 yrs. Still looks damn-near new. It's in full sun...no shade.

Rent a 12"x18" "Vibrating-plate" sander, a couple backer-pads, some 60-grit paper, and sand the floor until grain looks even everywhere. Get all dust vacuumed/swept/wiped-out with paint-thinner.
* Also- because it's now sanded, you don't have to wait DAYS for it to dry!
* Once dust is wiped-out...you're staining!

>>> NOW you've basically got a new deck (floor anyway!), that will absorb & hold stain evenly. Read this sentence 3 times....

I stress this to my customers frequently up here. I usually get thanked for it...
My first 2 questions to people:
1) How old is the deck?
2) Has it ever been sanded?

Faron
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Old 03-22-2011, 06:59 AM   #9
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


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Originally Posted by Faron79 View Post
If you haven't sanded a deck (floor) in 10 years....

DO IT.

By the time a decade rolls around, it doesn't matter HOW clean the deck is. It's NOT gonna hold stain well, because the wood grain/cellulose/lignin is SHOT. The grain is crushed and oxidized.

I've sanded my 15 y/o Construction-heart Redwood decks' floor 3 times in 15 yrs. Still looks damn-near new. It's in full sun...no shade.

Rent a 12"x18" "Vibrating-plate" sander, a couple backer-pads, some 60-grit paper, and sand the floor until grain looks even everywhere. Get all dust vacuumed/swept/wiped-out with paint-thinner.
* Also- because it's now sanded, you don't have to wait DAYS for it to dry!
* Once dust is wiped-out...you're staining!

>>> NOW you've basically got a new deck (floor anyway!), that will absorb & hold stain evenly. Read this sentence 3 times....

I stress this to my customers frequently up here. I usually get thanked for it...
My first 2 questions to people:
1) How old is the deck?
2) Has it ever been sanded?

Faron

Sanding is a good thing Although, depending on the size, and if the boards are cupping, or uneven, you may be better off with an orbit sander ( the hand type ) I did mine last summer that way. Started with a quick once over using 50-60 grit, to knock down some grooves and remove any stain that was missed after I stripped. Then finished with 80 grit, to remove any sanding marks and even everything out. If you do it using the palm sander type, its slower for sure, but keeps you out of trouble. The big sanders can get you in trouble really quick. 80 grit is the highest I would use. Anything finer and the wood has a hard time taking stain properly.
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Old 03-22-2011, 08:52 AM   #10
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


I'm glad I have been following this thread. 2 years ago, right after I bought the house, I re-stained/sealed my deck. The floors didn't last the winter. Last summer, I pressure washed all the floors and resealed again. Now they look even worse. All the slats and other vertical parts are holding just fine, but the surfaces parallel to the ground (floors, top of rails) are all crapped out. I think sanding might be a good idea to fix? The deck is about 8 years old.
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:10 AM   #11
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


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I'm glad I have been following this thread. 2 years ago, right after I bought the house, I re-stained/sealed my deck. The floors didn't last the winter. Last summer, I pressure washed all the floors and resealed again. Now they look even worse. All the slats and other vertical parts are holding just fine, but the surfaces parallel to the ground (floors, top of rails) are all crapped out. I think sanding might be a good idea to fix? The deck is about 8 years old.
Looks like half has been washed/stripped. I would strip the rest first, then a quick sand starting with 50-60 and finishing with 80.


What stain did you use....and dont use it again
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:16 AM   #12
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


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Looks like half has been washed/stripped.
I know, the funny thing is that is just how it weathered. I peeled/faded just like I started to strip it.

Quote:
I would strip the rest first, then a quick sand starting with 50-60 and finishing with 80.
Using a chemical stripper, or just mechanical [pressure wash]?

Quote:
What stain did you use....and dont use it again
Thompsons, with redwood tint . I know, not a highly recommended product. I used that because it was what I found here in the basement, so I bought more to match - my fence and shed are the same color (and now also need to be refinished).
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Old 03-22-2011, 09:36 AM   #13
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


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I know, the funny thing is that is just how it weathered. I peeled/faded just like I started to strip it.


Using a chemical stripper, or just mechanical [pressure wash]?



Thompsons, with redwood tint . I know, not a highly recommended product. I used that because it was what I found here in the basement, so I bought more to match - my fence and shed are the same color (and now also need to be refinished).

Use a chemical. Gemini Safe Strip is an excellent product to remove that Thompsons. It wont kill plants or grass, and wont burn your skin...plus it actually works which is a bonus

Sikkens makes a great transparent stain, Gemini TWP is good too. Both of those products are oil base. Benjamin Moore Arborcoat is also very good. Its a hybrid formula, and recommends a clear UV maintenance application every year to keep it looking good.
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:34 PM   #14
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


So now it's been a full day of no rain and the deck has finally dried and....the results are not what I hoped after the washing : (

See the pic. There are lots of discolorations in the wood now. Overall it looks 1000 times better than it did, but I'm hoping there's something I can do to make it more even. See the 'white' spots and the leftover grayish spots? I'm thinking perhaps I could use some wood wash and my electric (2000 psi) washer to go over it again to try to even it out better? Here is a pic of most of the deck (it's showing up darker than it looks in person):



And here is a close-up showing the unevenness of the boards:


Maybe I need to do another coat of deck wash, scrub harder, and then spray it off after 20 minutes?
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Old 03-22-2011, 03:52 PM   #15
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Deck Power Washed...now many days of rain before stain!


It just hit me that I've been so focused on applying a semi-transparent stain that I completely dismissed the idea of an opaque stain, but perhaps given the condition of this deck that is the best way to go?

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