Deck still tacky after 2 weeks

momofboys3August 29, 2010

I'm not sure what to do about my deck. The company I hired to refinish the deck initially stained it the wrong color, and failed to sand prior to staining. They agreed to return and fix the problems.

I wasn't here when they came to remedy the situation, but the rough spots appear to be sanded and the color is now correct.

However, the deck is still sticky to touch and very unpleasant to walk on barefoot because of this. Will this cure to a hard finish eventually?

Thanks! Katherine

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Depends somewhat on what stain they used!!
...and their EXACT prep.

* What EXACT brand/series of stain was used?
* What EXACT stain was the previous one?
* Was the WHOLE deck re-sanded evenly?
* How big a color-change is it?
* Were any strippers/& neutralizers used?
* How many coats of the stain were used?
* Age & wood-species of your deck?

It's important...need to know this stuff b4 answering!


    Bookmark   August 30, 2010 at 10:46PM
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I used Cabot semi-transparent and have some areas where I must have applied more than others. Those spots are shiny and tacky. According to the 3 different techs that I spoke with at Cabot - "the tackiness will take up to a year to go away" or "2 weeks" or "gee, I don't know what to say". The info they gave on application was just as varied - everything from apply a very thin coat, apply like you would polish a fingernail, apply and wait 5 minutes and then wipe off excess. I'm totally frustrated, can you tell? One of them said to wait about 2 weeks and then use some deck cleaner on it and it should help. At least the season is coming to an end and I can just let it go until next spring and see what happens.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 7:59AM
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I hear your pain! This deck drama has been going on all summer!

Looks like they used Sherwin-Williams DeckScapes. The new stain is darker than the initial stain. I was out of town when they redid it, so I don't know if a thorough job of sanding was done.

My question is: will this tackiness resolve without further action, or do I need to contact the contractor on this matter?

I haven't paid them yet, and while they have tried to fix their errors, I am not happy with the deck the way it is and don't know enough about staining and sealing to judge whether or not this will resolve.


    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 9:34AM
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"Most" of the time if a deck surface is tacky after it has been stained, it is because too much stain has been applied and it will not soak into the wood anymore. This is why I prefer to apply stain lightly, then wipe off extra with a rag after it sits for 5-10 minutes.

Other times it is simply because the stain chosen does not soak well into the wood used. What type of decking did you use? If it is hardwood decking, I really like ipe oil. For pine, try using Thompsons.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 2:44PM
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I think you are correct about too much stain. It's still tacky and when I inspected the deck further there is a wrinkly skin (that peels off when touched) over still wet stain in places. I've called the contractor to reinspect the work done.

How can this be fixed?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 4:45PM
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If that stain is a typical Semi-transparent Oil, those type of stains ALMOST ALWAYS require only ONE coat.

* Since they're designed to PENETRATE...and not "build a film", 2 coats of it will result in EXACTLY what you're experiencing.
* So, if too much stain was applied...OR, in your case, TWO coats of a S/T stain were applied, easily peel-able layers will form.
* won't resolve itself. It has to wear off.

2 choices:
1) Let it wear off some. Have them FULLY sand the floor next year and re-stain.
2) Scrub thoroughly with a fairly stong deck-cleaning solution, rinse and let dry. See how it won't be perfect though!

>>> If it were MY deck...and I've done a 12" x 18" Vibrating-Plate sander, and fully sand out the deck floor color.
* Have them sink screws/nails.
* Sweep/Vacuum to remove most dust.
* Wipe down deck floor with paint-thinner dampened rags.
* Let dry an hour, and apply new stain...ONE COAT!!!
* Now you'll have a beautifully even deck floor.
* I've got a 14y/o Redwood deck, west-side/no shade, and have sanded the floor/steps twice. Still looks VERY GOOD for a deck this age! I've used Sikkens SRD Redwood #089 the last 2 stain-applications.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2010 at 11:48PM
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Thanks for your advice. My deck is 18 y/o redwood deck. It's on the north side of the house, and over the years, due to trees, there is very little sunlight. There was moss growing and it needing a good cleaning, but the people who built the deck used great materials. Everyone notes the thick planks used.

In the past I've used clear sealers, but the salesman talked me into color because he said it will require less maintenance.

Is it reasonable to ask the contractor to return in the spring and redo this mess? They still haven't come out to look. I would like them to just start over and do it right, but I also want to reasonable. However, it sounds like this is not an easy situation to remedy!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 8:39AM
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Unfortunately you are in a bad spot. Ideally, you would want the contractor to come out and fix the problem. That is what I would push for first. faron has given you the best option on what to do "if it was his deck." But that is a lot of work and questionable if the contractor would be willing to go through all that. If the contractor wants to get the job done right, and keep a good name, he should work with you.

If the contractor is not willing to work with you to fix this, I would strongly consider having someone else look at it this spring. Explain the entire situation to the new contractor so he knows exactly what you are looking for and what you are not happy with. That way, he can be sure to quote it properly knowing you want it completely sanded and refinished. Many people will simply quote a cleaning and refinish, that is not what you will want most likely.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 3:59PM
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I would try, on a step or other small area, wiping down with mineral spirits. You may need to rub a bit to remove the surface film, but I think that will do it. Let it dry a day or two after, depending on weather, and see what it feels like then.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 9:33AM
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Paint thinner is pretty weak.

If the excess surface film is pretty dry now, PT won't really touch it...


    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 8:51PM
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The contractor came back. Lightly sanded most of the deck, scraped the blistery wet parts, and then recoated. For some reason the knotholes have all turned black on the deck and of course it's still sticky. I guess I'll wait and see if it dries okay.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 8:37AM
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Unfortunately, the contractor just repeated what he had done the 2nd time. Most sealer systems are one coat and are designed to be absorbed into the wood. If there is a good coat all ready present, the new coat cannot soak in, thus the stickyness.

At least the contractor is trying to please you. He just may not know what he is doing.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Let me re-emphasize: I would try, on a step or other small area, wiping down with mineral spirits. You may need to rub a bit to remove the surface film, but I think that will do it. Let it dry a day or two after, depending on weather, and see what it feels like then.

Mineral spirits will work to get the excess off. It's really easy to test.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:02PM
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Ok folks, so I am one of these guys who have had this tacky stain problem. I waited two weeks before I finally tried a few things. I attempted to stain again in hopes of emulsifying the original stain and then wiping to no avail, still tacky. I tried to pressure wash the tacky off and nothing, Finally, as a last resort, I tried one more thing. I purchased a bag of oil absorb. I spread it out amongst my porch which is about 240 square feet. I let it sit for about an hour. Then, I took a garage broom and gently pushed the oil absorb over the surface of the deck a few times. When I was finished, the dust from the oil absorb was adhered to the tacky spots. I gathered up the remaining granular and crushed it up as much as possible, attempting to get it as fine as possible. Then, I spread out the remainder equally over the surface of the porch deck once more. I waited 24 hours, then pressure washed off the entire thing with a medium spray tip on a 3000 psi pressure washer. All the excess tacky oil from the stain was absorbed into the speedy dry. I blew it off the deck and followed it up with a good 24 hour air dry. I was back sitting on my porch the following night. It worked great. I hope this helps someone else out there. Questions, try me at

Good luck folks!

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 10:41PM
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