Getting old stain off

napoleonxvSeptember 15, 2006

The old stain on my deck has been wearing away, so I intended to remove it all and re-stain it (with the brand I'd read as top-rated in Consumer Reports). I bought a container of stripper, tried applying it to a couple of spots on the deck -- nothing came off at all. Tried another brand of stripper, same result. And yet I was able to remove the stain in some places just with my sneakers. So it seems like I can't take the old stain off, but at the same time I can't *not* take it off. Any suggestions?

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It sounds like you are talking about a solid. Solid stains are VERY difficult to remove. Nothing you can buy on the homeowner market is going to do the trick. Most professionals wouldn't even try to take on the job if they are experienced. You may have to resort to sanding it all off or just priming it and recoating with another solid like Cabot's or Deckscapes.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:54AM
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Can someone tell me how a stain can be a solid?
To me if it's a solid, it's paint.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 7:14PM
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All the 'stains' are paint, they just have varying amounts of pigment.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 7:17PM
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Solid stains are about as close to paint as you can get except the surface film is more breathable than paint. Pigmentation level is not what separates a solid satin from a penetrating one. That is too broad of a statement.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:11PM
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All the 'stains' you are using are paint formulations. They contain more or less solid pigment (that cannot penetrate anything) and differing levels of binder (some of which can penetrate depending on formula).
The pigment sits on top of the wood and is held in place by the binder. If there is enough binder present it mauy penetrate into the wood before hardening, but if you section a pices of wood after applying the finish you can typically see how shallow the penetration actually is.
Even aniline dye (a true penetrating 'stain') rarely goes much more than 1/16 of an inch in softwood without being driven in under pressure.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 11:17PM
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Now your answer is more complete, brick, but still not 100% accurate. I have seen Ready Seal (a paraffinic oil based sealer with no curing agents) penetrate halfway through a 2"x6" piece of cedar (as viewed via cross section).

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 9:29AM
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That is a selaer, not a stain by any definition.
It is not the same.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Therein lies the discrepency. People use the words interchangeably. Other than a "solid", noone uses stain on an exterior wood job. Tinted wood sealers are the norm.

When someone says "stain" I automatically assume they are refering to a sealer unless they are talking about a solid. In which case yes, we are talking about watered down paint that forms a film and does not penetrate the wood.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 12:28PM
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