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Old 05-11-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
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Old Deck staining advice

Hey guys, I wanted to throw out my plans on a deck restaining project I'm gonna tackle sometime this summer (I've learned it is much easier to ask the people who know before starting than to wait until I've royally screwed it up and ask how to fix it).

I have a deck that it probably clocking in at 25yrs of age, bought the house a year ago so I have no idea what it was treated with in the past (appears to be a semi transparent or possibly a really old solid stain). Anyhow, it is in bad shape at this point and I want to completely remove the old stuff and restain myself so I know it is being protected.

So I plan to strip, then brighten, then stain the entirety of the deck and attached arbor. I've got some cabot stripper, cabot brightener and plan to use a cabot semi transparent stain. I've got a stiff plastic bristle brush I plan to use for brightening.

My first big question, I plan to do the stripping and brightener together and then I understand that I should let it dry out as much as possible before applying the stain (3-5 days). Can the deck sit for a while after the stripping and brightening process? The weather in ohio can be unpredictable at best, so finding a time I can do this and definitely not get rain for a few days might be tough (I picture it raining after day 2 even though it wasn't supposed to). I'm wondering if I can strip it down and brighten it and then apply the stain possibly a couple weeks later.

After I've got it stripped and brightened I'll countersink all the nails and then I plan to go over it quickly with the orbital sander using an 80 grit because the surface is pretty rough at this point. There are also some areas where the wood is either gouged out or a chunk has gone missing, can I use wood filler in these places? I understand it won't look completely like the surrounding wood, but this deck is pretty ancient and the brand new look is definitely off the table for this one. Just hoping to fill gouges to lessen splintering and make a somewhat more uniform surface.

Planning to apply the stain with a garden sprayer and smoothing with a stain pad that attaches to a long handle and using a brush for the crevices between boards.

Anything in this description that I am missing? No huge errors that I am about to commit? Thanks everyone for any input you've got.


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Old 05-11-2012, 09:39 AM   #2
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Far better to just replace any bad boards, filler is a very bad idea. Every spot you fill will not take stain and will just stick out more.
If you can find Tompsonized decking boards or kiln dryed after treatment decking board they can be stained without having to wait for them to dry out.
Do not just set the loose nails, pull them out and replace with 3" ceramic coated decking screws.

If those are the original decking boards there about 10 years past the time to replace them.


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Old 05-11-2012, 11:05 AM   #3
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Pull nails and flip bad boards to underside. Just be sure to do that before you clean the deck. It can sit a few weeks cleaned before you apply the sealer. It needs to be about 12%moisture content. When you apply the sealer do not let it dry before you overlap, keep a wet edge at all times. Do not apply a second coat once it is dry. Be sure it can be sprayed, some sealers can not. We use 3/4" nap rollers to apply and always keep a wet edge. Take some photos before and after.
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:53 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CaptRandy View Post
Pull nails and flip bad boards to underside.
Durr, of course. Much easier to flip a board over than mess with trying to fill the cracks. See, thats why I ask, there is always a better solution out there that I didn't think of. Will definitely snap some pictures before I get started. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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2 weeks after cleaning - max

Wood can get enough UV damage in just a week to compromise the surface and cause your stain to fail prematurely. We've seen that lot, both on decks and log home surfaces. So, it's best to stain within 2 weeks of cleaning.

Also - you already know this, but it's always worth saying again: get all of those chemicals you use OFF the wood. Thoroughly rinse or neutralize according to the instructions. Chemicals left in the wood will eat at the lignin and, again, lead to premature stain failure. (It's actually not the stain failing. It's the loose wood fibers falling off, but it looks like stain failure...it looks like peeling, flaking stain. And it's frustrating.)

Happy re-finishing!
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Old 05-16-2012, 04:01 PM   #6
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When you do put the .. transparent penetrating sealer.. on, take a run of 4-5 boards at a time and do the entire length- repeat. Much easier to keep a wet edge that way. I like to use a roller to apply ( still back brushing with a long haired pad on a pole) so I can control which boards get it.


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