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Discussion Starter #1
Previous owner applied semi transparent orange stain 4 years ago. Today, I went over the deck with a floor sander (36 and 60 grit). The wood has a lot of grain and texture so there are tons of lower parts that the floor sander did not sand. Unless I took the tip of a mouse sander to all the boards for about 5 days, I don't see a way to sand my way out of this situation. What's the next best step? Stripper and power wash? This is the deck after sanding.
648885
 

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What did you expect to see after sanding? Boards warp when exposed to the sun and weather even when protected. The second board from new in the lower left side of the pic seems to show something inside the crack between 2 boards. There things that look like splits on the ends of some of the boards. Either you fix it now or it will be a lot worse the next time.
Have you thoroughly inspected the structure underneath and at the railing. Made all repairs needed?
The railing looks to be some dark stain, are you going to return the deck to that color?
You could just stain/seal the deck now and push the cart down the road. Next time there will be more boards that will have to be replaced. i have had 2 wooden decks now my decks are concrete and tile.
 

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To be honest, that’s about as good as you can get a wood deck. Now do you see why painter’s hate redoing decks and HAVE to charge an arm and a leg to do so?
 

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SWD ... i think you are seeing the ground below through a wide joint.

To the OP ... I like that look. If you want smoother, go back with the floor sander and take off another 1/8”.
 

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I'd say you are ready to recoat. Pick a different semi-transparent or semi-solid (Cabot or Sikkens) and get to it.

My buddy had a deck in similar condition, and he basically pressure washed every couple years, and just put on a fresh coat (not following the directions). No sanding or stripping, and it looked great.
 

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Looks OK to me just based on the picture. Off the top of my head I only notice one low spot that has some gray in it, that should be sanded, but don't take too much off. You might even want to fill it with a stainable exterior wood filler because you don't want water puddles forming in your planks. That area looks damaged already and water sitting in there will cause more decay.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone. So like you mentioned, this is about the best I'm going to get out of this old deck. So I stained it today with "transparent" Valspar Honey Gold. Their marketing claims "just a hint of color". However, it's very very yellow and looks like mustard to me! Not honey. Not gold. I think I'm going to have a second go with sanding and stripping as I can't live with a mustard colored deck (but more important, my wife can't!).
 

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I am really glad you posted the color issue. I am terrible at colors. Went to the store with color sample had them make up 5 gallons. Sprayed the new pickets for the fence. Almost pink, she the one who must be obeyed was furious. I calmly looked at her and stated. I argued with you about me picking out the color so you get what you get. She did get the right color made and we jokingly called the pink the primer. Never got sent to the store when color was an issue. YEAH
She knew not to have me do this. I just suck at color matching.
A buddy of mine uses redwood stain on his porch. Always looks good, he does it every year.
Lots of sun and weather in Phoenix.
 
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