Sunday, April 5, 2009

Brand New Deck!

Since we had a nice weather day on Saturday we decided to strip the old stain off the deck.  It had only been on the deck for about two years, but for some reason the stain was starting to wear off in spots, which leaves the wood unprotected and ugly.

The before:

Removing the stain wasn't as bad of a project as we thought it would be.  It was a little time consuming (we went non-stop from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M.), but not really difficult or back breaking.  One word of advice- this stuff is very toxic and harmful to your skin.  Protect every inch of  yourself because if it gets on you it immediately causes burning and blistering (my torn up hands can prove this).

These are the simple steps for deck stain removal:

1)Apply deck stain remover (we used Jomax Zinsser from Lowes- good stuff) with brushes or rollers to a small section of the deck.

2)Wait 15 minutes for stain remover to penetrate the stain and do it's job.  Reapply stripper as needed to keep the area from drying out as you wait 15 minutes (this is very important).

3)Use a power washer to wash away stripper.  I had read that you may need to scrub the area before using a power washer, but in our case this was not necessary.

4) Repeat steps 1 through 3 until the whole deck has been stripped.

5) Use a deck brightener/cleaner to neutralize the acidic component of the stripper and prepare the wood for stain or sealant.  We haven't done this yet.  We were going to wait until it was closer to when we were going to put sealant down.

Here is the deck after:

We are not going to use a tinted stain ever again; instead we are going to use a clear wood sealant and give the deck a good cleaning every year or two.  We have to wait until the weather warms up and dries out to get everything completely finished.


  1. P.S. We want to see a picture of your hands - they can't be in that bad of shape from the stuff?

  2. I really like the natural wood look. It turned out great! Good job guys!

  3. I like the natural look too. My hands really aren't that bad- I am wearing three band aids right now and should probably be wearing more. You should have seen the brush I was using- the bristles had completely disintegrated by the time we were done!

  4. Man, you guys work hard. This blog makes me feel so lazy.

  5. I just bought the stuff. I searched high and low in Internet how to deal with my ugly looking deck and there doesn't seem to be any definitive way of handling peeled stained deck. And I read your comment which sounds rather easy. If everything works out the way you did your deck, I may have the best looking deck in the whole neighborhood. By the way, how big is your deck? It looks quite big.

  6. I'm glad we could help! I believe our deck is a 12x16 ft rectangle with an offset 10 ft octagon (it's been awhile since I built it though, but I think I'm right).

  7. Oh, and we thought it was big when we built it but we ended up adding a 12x18 ft brick laid patio next to it for more space!

  8. As I suspected, the stripper didn't work the way you/manufacturer described. I left the stripper on the deck up to 20-25 minutes, but still it didn't strip the stain and I had to strip the remaining stain by hand using a stripper. Maybe my stain is too thick and solid. I thought your description sounds too easy!!
    Now my goal is to do a little bit every day through out the spring and summer. I thought I would do this deck(12' by 25') before my friend comes to visit on April 26th!!
    Anyway having you as a consultant gives me a comfort. Thank you for being there.

  9. That's too bad. The stripper worked fantastic for us. :(

  10. I just started doing this as well. I had 2 coats of the heavy duty stain. I too will NEVER do that again. What a pain. However this Jomax stripper is good stuff and as stated please cover yourself. I too have a nasty burn on my forearm.

  11. Terrible product. I don't know how you did it so easy. I kept it it damp by rerolling and I still had to very aggressively scrub and scrub with a long handle hard bristle brush and it still isn't all clean. I don't know if it is a must to have a pressure washer, which I don't have. It said on the label that you just use a regular hose. I would never buy this product again and am taking the rest back to Lowes.