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Old 10-08-2013, 10:22 AM   #1
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Re-staining cedar siding/shakes


Hi all. I've been trying to help a friend with his cedar siding re-staining project. He originally said it would be as simple as applying one coat of semi-transparent, after a pressure washing. It's become clear it's nowhere near that simple.

He purchased the house brand new about 7 years ago. He didn't do any maintenance on the siding whatsoever - no cleaning. The house originally had an orange-red, semi-transparent oil-based stain. The house has slowly turned dark brown, like a "camp". After the pressure washing, almost all of the siding was still very dark. Obviously, when my friend tried to test apply the original semi stain color, it came out even darker than the weathered color - dark dark brown. On the walls with shakes, which were exposed to the most sun over the years (south facing), you could lightly rub it and stain "dust" would come right off. I used a whitener on a portion of this surface, and all the pigment and residue came right off (with brushing) to expose bare wood.

After some reading, I suggested to him to test by applying several applications of oxiclean solution to the dark siding (where the surface/pigment still appeared stable). I mixed up a 1-cup to 1-gallon ratio of oxyclean to water, and applied with a small garden sprayer. Immediately brown water started flowing off the house. After repeated applications, over an hour or so, the original color (or perhaps the bare wood) started to show through. At the same time, residual light brown sludge remained attached to the surface of the wood. A stiff brush was effective at pulling a lot of this stuff off, but it was difficult to pull it all off. I can't imagine trying to do the whole house with a scrub brush.

The house is located in NC, and obviously the summers are extremely humid. I guess my first question is: what do you think the top layer, that oxiclean is mostly removing, is comprised of? Is it just darkened/dirty failed stain, or is it some type of mold/etc? The 2nd question: is there any way to re-stain without first cleaning the entire house of this top layer? I personally don't see how it's possible, but my friend is holding on to hope that it's not necessary (for obvious time and cost reasons). We also tried a stain stripper, but honestly I would say the oxiclean did a better job - not to mention the stripper was nasty stuff.

If it helps, in the next few days I can take both pics of the various tests we did. I can also record time-lapse video of applying the oxiclean and the residue. There are many details I can include in follow-up posts, but this is a good summary to get started.

Any help or guidance would be appreciated.

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Last edited by outoftime; 10-08-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:42 AM   #2
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Re-staining cedar siding/shakes


Some additional details I left out:

The pressure washing was with a solution of bleach and TSP (I just found out it was not TSP, it was just detergent). He let it sit on the siding about 15 min before washing it off with low pressure.

The original semi-transparent stain was Sikkens Cetol SRD 77 (cedar).

The stain stripper we tried was Flood Wood Finish Remover (for fences decks and siding).

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Last edited by outoftime; 10-08-2013 at 11:28 AM.
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