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steven994 06-17-2010 07:52 AM

Deck Staining Nightmare

Two years ago my wife and I bought our current home. It's a 10 year old victorean style house with a 1000 sqft pressure treated deck. The deck was never stained and had a natural weathered look. The deck had no damage and is protected from intense sun from the 10 huge maples surrounding it.

After buying the house we decided to stain the deck to give it some extra flair. We chose a CIL semi-transparent redwood stain. It took me about 10 gallons to do the whole thing and about a weeks worth of my time.


1. Pressure wash deck to remove dirt, some mildew, and organic matter between deck boards.
2. Let dry for 3 days.
3. Horizontals - Applied stain with roller. (Did not back brush in)
4. Verticals - Applied stain with brush
4. Dried for a couple days (no rain throughout process)

One year later

The deck is an unsightly nightmare. I wish I never stained it at all. The stain has peeled almost everywhere. Its coming off in flakes just like paint. The only areas where the stain held up was on verticals (the spindles), and on the wrap around veranda that has an overhang from the house. This area doesnt get rained on, and doesnt get sap, dirt from the maple trees.

Cause hypothesis

I did notice that immediately after staining the deck water was not beading up on the deck like it should and rain would soak into the wood. Rain did bead up on the wrap around veranda, which is protected from the elements by the eve.

1. After 10 years of weathering, sap aborption, etc. The top layer of wood on my deck would not allow the stain to penetrate, leaving it as a layer on top, which easily peeled under rain, snow, freeze thaw conditions. This did not affect the area under the eve that held up nicely.

2. The deck is low to the ground (about a foot off the ground). All around the exterior there are facia boards so you can't look under neath. It may be possible that I have poor ventilation causing moisture to absorb into the deck from below, permiate through, and lift the stain off.

Im leaning to #1.

Possible fixes if I were to restain with redwood color

1. Sand the entire deck with a floor sander to remove top layers of damaged wood.
2. Buy a premium quality semi-transparent stain such as secants, oylmpic, cabot.

Big $ for large deck, and I dont mind that, but if the same thing happens, I'll probably go out of my mind, and destroy the deck with an axe.

Submit to mother nature, and opt for a two-tone deck

I am seriously considering this. I'm thinking about buying deck stripper and removing all the stain from the horizontal surfaces (the deck itself) and leaving the redwood stain on the verticals (the spindals). Then I would pressure wash the deck, and apply a clear protectant such as cabot australian timber oil. If this were to fade/fail over time it wouldnt be a big deal as its not huge color change.

How would a two tone deck look with a natural colored horizontals and redwood stained verticals? Opinions?

mark942 06-17-2010 08:07 AM

Could you post a picture of your problematic deck? Although a informative post, a picture is worth a thousand words and brings about a better understanding for those who might be of some help to you...........:thumbsup:

steven994 06-17-2010 08:21 AM

Will update with pictures sometime today.

Gymschu 04-04-2014 01:31 PM

Just to make you feel better, decks are a continual maintenance issue. Even in the best of circumstances, you usually get 2, maybe 3 years out of a stain on a horizontal surface. You did everything right from proper cleaning to using a semi-transparent stain.

I highly suspect it is the moisture coming up from the underside of the deck boards and with that lack of ventilation, it is causing the peeling issues because it is very unusual for a semi-transparent to peel so bad although it DOES happen.

What I use on decks is the CWF-UV made by the Flood Co. It's relatively cheap, protects well, and gives at least 2 to 3 years of protection before a recoat. Then you just pressure wash, allow to dry, and hit it with more CWF. You can get it in Redwood or Cedar tones or opt for the clear.

Matthewt1970 04-05-2014 10:14 AM

This is what you used?


joewho 04-05-2014 09:08 PM

I'd answer this post, but it's from 2010. lol, he's probably re-stained twice now.

Matthewt1970 04-06-2014 10:10 PM

Lol, good job Gymschu. :)

Marklifedo 06-14-2017 05:56 AM

Re: Deck Staining Nightmare
I'm afraid as soon as you stain a deck, you have to restain it often. Always an issue.

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