Porch Stain Questions

chas045June 10, 2014

I am over 60 and have painted many interior walls but I guess I don't really understand porch and deck staining methods. I hope you all can give me some instruction on what I should be doing to maintain my porch deck. I had my first porch built new 10 years ago and I applied a semi-transparent stain after several months. It came out well. Several years later, I added some more of the same stain without thinking that much about it. I believe it came out well too. I also had a wooden fence installed but waited more than a year to stain it and by then, having read Consumer Reports strong opinion that solid stains lasted much longer, applied a Behr solid stain to that fence. I could see that the solid stain seemed to be much like paint (btw, that stain is still good 7+ years later).

My porch stain is beginning to need to be redone again. Major traffic areas particularly near or beyond the roof are essentially gone (but the boards look good) and other areas are showing thru in places, but still also look solid and clean. I was planning to use solid stain. I have been reading instructions about striping and cleaning or brightening and now I am confused. I had assumed that the point of stain was that it could be over-coated without a lot of fuss. I have and occasionally use a power washer to clean off minor crud and just a little green mold or whatever. Do I really need to strip old stain off? Do I need to use cleaner if it appears clean? I guess I could use bleach and detergent as recommended various places without being a lot of trouble.

Specifically regarding stripping: is this only for use after several layers have built up? Does using solid stain mean more need for stripping; every time? When I did the fence, I used a sprayer and a brush but perhaps I didn't brush it out enough. As I said before, it seems to be somewhat like paint. It is holding up great though.

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You really don't want to stain your deck floor with a solid stain if you don't have to. It won't hold up because people walk on it. It is totally normal to strip your deck each time you stain it if you are using semi-transparent stain. If you stain over what is there, the problem is that you have weathered areas and areas that are not weathered and it will never look even staining over both. Semi transparent stain wants to penetrate the wood, but it can't do this when you have stain there already, so it pools and gets darker there while the areas where the stain penetrated will look lighter. But don't worry, stripping a weathered semi transparent stain isn't like stripping paint. It comes off pretty easily. Sometimes I can strip a deck with no stripper. I just use a power washer, but this will depend on the strength of your power washer. Stripping wood will darken it so you will need to use a brightener to restore the wood to its original color and balance the ph. Be sure to follow all instructions on cans of stripper and brightener.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 10:33AM
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