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-   -   Given these facts... Deck stain DIY or pay professional? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f4/given-these-facts-deck-stain-diy-pay-professional-116730/)

tentaguasu 09-09-2011 12:04 PM

Given these facts... Deck stain DIY or pay professional?
 
Any help is much appreciated.

Some background. I have a relatively new home - it will be two years old in November. The deck was (obviously) built new. It's weathered two summers and two winters and has not been treated in any way.

It's still in pretty good shape, though it shows a touch of mildew here and there. (see photos below).

My wife and I are pretty fussy about quality, looks, finish. I tried to stain the deck myself and was unhappy with how it was coming out. I was brushing on stain using a water clean up stain and ended up with some unevenness and some shiny spots ("flashing" I believe), from overapplication. :mad:

Also, when I tried some deckwash products, I had horrible results. A pro-painter who looked at the deck felt it was in good enough shape that no washing or preping was needed.

I received quotes around $1200 to do the deck, top and bottom and I really don't want to pay that kind of cash.

So my specific questions are:

1. Is there a method (other than just being a better brusher) that will give me a more even look, but do a decent job? Pads? Spray?

2. From the photos, would you agree that no prep is needed (for a semi-transparent)? What about the very light mildewing? Can I just stain over it?

3. Do I need to worry about the rather largish black mildew stains on the underside of the deck? Do they cause any structural damage or can I just leave the underside go?

4. For someone relatively inexperienced at this type of job, can I expect decent results if I'm careful, or should I just knuckle under and pay the cash?

Any insight is VERY MUCH appreciated! :)

Uneveness and flashing...
http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/...asu/photo4.jpg

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/...asu/photo2.jpg

Current condition of deck:

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/...asu/photo3.jpg

http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/...asu/photo1.jpg

Very light mildewing:
http://i1199.photobucket.com/albums/...uasu/photo.jpg

housepaintingny 09-09-2011 02:33 PM

First you will need to clean the deck, remove the grey wood (dead wood fibers) and open the poures of the wood up. Use a sodium percarbonate based deck cleaner, nylon brush and pressure washer on low pressure.

jsheridan 09-09-2011 07:13 PM

Welcome tent, don't mind the abbreviation, although I could have spelled out in the time it took me to write this. Stubborn that way. Firstly, imo, I would question any "pro" who would suggest that an untreated deck, sitting exposed for two years, wouldn't require preparation prior to staining. UV rays from the sun begin to degrade wood in as little as one week's time. HousePainting referred to dead wood, that's the by product of UV degradation when the UV destroys the lignin in the wood. Lignin is to wood what mortar is to a brick wall, it holds the cellulose fibers together. After two years you have ample dead wood on the surface. Scrape your fingernail across the grain and you'll pick up dead wood fiber. Is that what you want to apply stain to, dead wood, where it will wash away with the rain? Ask your painter if he is concerned at all about the lignin damage and what he will do to correct for it? You'll think you're speaking greek. Secondly, then how is he going to treat the mildew. I would guarantee there's more to the bloom than the little area you're seeing. The whole deck needs to be treated for mildew. Thirdly, the deck is grayed. Whatever "color" you put over gray is going to look like color over gray, mud. You need to return the wood to its original look for it to look decent when done. Finally, it's rare that the underside of a deck is treated. I've done only one underside in my life and that was because more entertaining was done on the patio underneath than was done on the deck. Trust me, it's messy and laborius trying to put a water consistency product on upside down. A deck should be treated underside if it's clearance from the ground is less than eighteen inches. I would find it helpful to see a wide angle shot of the deck as a whole and get the square footage you're talking about doing.
As to prep, HousePainting and I part ways here. I prefer to use Cabot's Problem Solver Wood Cleaner with a little bleach. Bleach on decks is controversial, especially with HousePainting, but hey, Sikkens recommends using bleach, and they know more about decks than I, so I'm in good company there. It's a far superior product imo than brightener, however, it doesn't specifically state that it removes dead wood, but I'm sure they know about that condition and they don't recommend any other treatment in addition to the cleaner. For years I used just the cleaner and never had a problem with any stain peeling or failing. Sanding is also an effective way to resurface the deck for staining. As to whether you should DIY, that's a question only you can answer. Some are handy, some aren't. If your tool box consists of a telephone and phonebook, call a deck guy, just not the one you spoke to already. Not all painters are good on decks, so be particular, trust me. If you choose to DIY, we're here to help. Adhere to Brushjockey's signature line. Good Luck.

housepaintingny 09-09-2011 08:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jsheridan (Post 724815)
Welcome tent, don't mind the abbreviation, although I could have spelled out in the time it took me to write this. Stubborn that way. Firstly, imo, I would question any "pro" who would suggest that an untreated deck, sitting exposed for two years, wouldn't require preparation prior to staining. UV rays from the sun begin to degrade wood in as little as one week's time. HousePainting referred to dead wood, that's the by product of UV degradation when the UV destroys the lignin in the wood. Lignin is to wood what mortar is to a brick wall, it holds the cellulose fibers together. After two years you have ample dead wood on the surface. Scrape your fingernail across the grain and you'll pick up dead wood fiber. Is that what you want to apply stain to, dead wood, where it will wash away with the rain? Ask your painter if he is concerned at all about the lignin damage and what he will do to correct for it? You'll think you're speaking greek. Secondly, then how is he going to treat the mildew. I would guarantee there's more to the bloom than the little area you're seeing. The whole deck needs to be treated for mildew. Thirdly, the deck is grayed. Whatever "color" you put over gray is going to look like color over gray, mud. You need to return the wood to its original look for it to look decent when done. Finally, it's rare that the underside of a deck is treated. I've done only one underside in my life and that was because more entertaining was done on the patio underneath than was done on the deck. Trust me, it's messy and laborius trying to put a water consistency product on upside down. A deck should be treated underside if it's clearance from the ground is less than eighteen inches. I would find it helpful to see a wide angle shot of the deck as a whole and get the square footage you're talking about doing.
As to prep, HousePainting and I part ways here. I prefer to use Cabot's Problem Solver Wood Cleaner with a little bleach. Bleach on decks is controversial, especially with HousePainting, but hey, Sikkens recommends using bleach, and they know more about decks than I, so I'm in good company there. It's a far superior product imo than brightener, however, it doesn't specifically state that it removes dead wood, but I'm sure they know about that condition and they don't recommend any other treatment in addition to the cleaner. For years I used just the cleaner and never had a problem with any stain peeling or failing. Sanding is also an effective way to resurface the deck for staining. As to whether you should DIY, that's a question only you can answer. Some are handy, some aren't. If your tool box consists of a telephone and phonebook, call a deck guy, just not the one you spoke to already. Not all painters are good on decks, so be particular, trust me. If you choose to DIY, we're here to help. Adhere to Brushjockey's signature line. Good Luck.

Sikkens does recomened bleach, tsp water mixture which does work well. I am actually a Sikkens certified contractor and a Wolman certified contractor. To be certified I took some test and aced them and then had a rep look at some of my past work which was log cabins and decks that I used there products on and the projects where 1.5-2 years old and the stain still looked great. Bleach will kill and remove mold, mildew, and allagy. I prefer a sodium percarbonate cleaner, because it removes the mold, mildew, dirt, grime and dead wood fibers with minimal work. As its dwelling its lifting everything out of the wood poures and a lot of times when your rinsing you'll actually see dead wood fibers being washed away. I use to use a lot of 9abott stain, but have never used there cleaner. Now I primarily use Sikkens Stain and Sherwin Williams stain when I need a solid stain. Then after cleaning like to apply a brightner that contains citric acid which will remove rust, tannin and any other stainsin my opinion feel bleach sometimes mask the dirt and does not clean as well, but it will remove mold and mildew for sure, it kills the spores

jsheridan 09-09-2011 08:10 PM

HP, you should give the Cabot's cleaner a shot. If you like minimal effort, this workhorse is your bet. I've used it on the grayest, dirtiest wood and used a garden hose to rinse, only scrubbed a bit to address some possible controversial mill glaze. Beautiful. I'll be posting some pics soon where I used that combo and you'll see.

housepaintingny 09-09-2011 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jsheridan (Post 724849)
HP, you should give the Cabot's cleaner a shot. If you like minimal effort, this workhorse is your bet. I've used it on the grayest, dirtiest wood and used a garden hose to rinse, only scrubbed a bit to address some possible controversial mill glaze. Beautiful. I'll be posting some pics soon where I used that combo and you'll see.

Thansk Joe. I will try it sometime.

jsheridan 09-09-2011 08:26 PM

3 Attachment(s)
This gazebo sat for over three years, raw. I used the Cabot's cleaner and rinsed with a garden hose, that's it. I used a scrubby on the spindles for a little glaze. Treated with one coat Cabot's Toner Heartwood, a great product, which I just used today in fact.

Brushjockey 09-09-2011 08:37 PM

I don't do much outside anymore, but for years I maintained a couple of high end all redwood decks. We always used Dekswood brightener, which i believe uses Oxalic acid as its main cleaner/brightener. Always worked good for me and I though most of the "brighteners also used this as there main active ingredient. Its a type of wood bleach, but has nothing to do with household bleach.

jsheridan 09-09-2011 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brushjockey (Post 724863)
I don't do much outside anymore, but for years I maintained a couple of high end all redwood decks. We always used Dekswood brightener, which i believe uses Oxalic acid as its main cleaner/brightener. Always worked good for me and I though most of the "brighteners also used this as there main active ingredient. Its a type of wood bleach, but has nothing to do with household bleach.

Yeah, the older I get the less I'm anxious to do outside, and God knows you got a few years on me:laughing:. I can only imagine. I do enjoy doing decks though, in spite of how they kick my as. It's a good tired:laughing:
I think you're right about the Oxalic as the main ingredient.

Brushjockey 09-09-2011 09:41 PM

Quit rubbing it in or I'll wipe your quote from my sig!!

:mad:
:laughing:

jsheridan 09-09-2011 10:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brushjockey (Post 724891)
Quit rubbing it in or I'll wipe your quote from my sig!!

:mad:
:laughing:

Okay.
That's good one.
By the way, did you note my homage to you in the Roman 35 thread.

tentaguasu 09-12-2011 10:02 AM

Thanks everyone for your help, I very much appreciate it.

I'm located up north, so I'm running out of time to do anything with the deck before it gets too cold.

I was willing to pay to have it done professionally, but based on your comments here I'm wondering if I'm just paying for nothing....

Here are two concrete follow up questions:

1. If I do not attend to the bottom of the deck (at least not now) does the mildew on the bottom pose any threat to the deck? Other than discoloration, do I need to do anything or risk some problem down the line?

2. Do I really need to do something now before winter, or am I OK to let this thing go through another winter without treatment and attack it come spring?

Again, thanks for the wisdom!

jsheridan 09-12-2011 11:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tentaguasu (Post 726464)
Thanks everyone for your help, I very much appreciate it.

I'm located up north, so I'm running out of time to do anything with the deck before it gets too cold.

I was willing to pay to have it done professionally, but based on your comments here I'm wondering if I'm just paying for nothing....

Here are two concrete follow up questions:

1. If I do not attend to the bottom of the deck (at least not now) does the mildew on the bottom pose any threat to the deck? Other than discoloration, do I need to do anything or risk some problem down the line?
Mildew is mostly a discoloration thing, unlike other forms of fungus, which are detrimental.
2. Do I really need to do something now before winter, or am I OK to let this thing go through another winter without treatment and attack it come spring?
Obviously, it's another season of surface degradation. Is it going to ruin the deck? No. Hiring the wrong guy to do an inferior job could be more damaging to the deck than leaving it unfinished. Do some research on decks, preparation (lignin), and stains/staining over the winter. Make it your curl up with a good book material. Now you know what you're talking about, start researching local contractors for guys who do a lot of deckwork, if you haven't decided to tackle DIY. As I said, most painters offer decks, but very few of them truly know what they're doing. I could stand to learn a lot more, but I do a bit of research prior to any deck I do and any material I choose. I think decks are slowly becoming a specialty field. Around mid-late February, have them come and look over the deck with you there. Ask questions and, without being a half-smart as*, let them know from your questions that you have an understanding. If you have a good understanding, and they sense that, you'll have an easier time choosing your contractor.

Again, thanks for the wisdom!

Good luck and check back with any further questions.

chrisn 09-13-2011 02:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by housepaintingny (Post 724845)
Sikkens does recomened bleach, tsp water mixture which does work well. I am actually a Sikkens certified contractor and a Wolman certified contractor. To be certified I took some test and aced them and then had a rep look at some of my past work which was log cabins and decks that I used there products on and the projects where 1.5-2 years old and the stain still looked great. Bleach will kill and remove mold, mildew, and allagy. I prefer a sodium percarbonate cleaner, because it removes the mold, mildew, dirt, grime and dead wood fibers with minimal work. As its dwelling its lifting everything out of the wood poures and a lot of times when your rinsing you'll actually see dead wood fibers being washed away. I use to use a lot of 9abott stain, but have never used there cleaner. Now I primarily use Sikkens Stain and Sherwin Williams stain when I need a solid stain. Then after cleaning like to apply a brightner that contains citric acid which will remove rust, tannin and any other stainsin my opinion feel bleach sometimes mask the dirt and does not clean as well, but it will remove mold and mildew for sure, it kills the spores


You need to read this

http://www.spore-tech.com/viewCatego...?idCategory=78

jsheridan 09-13-2011 06:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chrisn (Post 727075)

Hi Chrisn. I'll respectfully ask that we not cloud issues and cast the deck restoration people into a cloud of suspicion. I responded to GaryWBR in a similar manner. I understand the point of that article, and it would be pertinent if we were remediating mold in a hospital ICU for lung patients, we're not. We're preparing decks for stain. I'm not trying to sound flippant, seriously. I've never bleached a deck for mildew with health effects in mind, only for appearances. I'm shallow that way. It's outside, and the only diff between it and the billions of its mid-air floating relatives is that its found a place to settle down. And, for that purpose, bleach is effective. This animates so because the last thing we need is to get the nervous nellie's hair afire over deck mildew, like the lead and VOC hysterias. I can just see the men in oxygen fed space suits now, building containment tents around Bob Smith's hazard-taped off deck . That article has the potential to discredit those in the industry who are only using a tried/true and cost effective method to remove mildew prior to staining, not produce a healthy breathing environment. Unfortunately, some people lack the common sense to make that distinction. If there isn't a distinction, you tell me.
"Reputable mold remediation contractors use appropriate products that effectively disinfect properly scrubbed and cleaned salvageable mold infected wood products. Beware of any mold inspector, mold remediation contractor or other individual that recommends or uses chlorine bleach for mold clean up on wood-based building materials."


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