How To Remove Old Stain From Deck

If you enjoy spending quality time on the deck of your house, then an old deck stain can be a complete turn off. There is nothing that’s as disappointing as remembering how good your deck used to look like. Therefore, it is important to remove old stain.

Several factors can lead to a rugged looking deck stain such as dirt, grease, and mildew amongst others. Overexposure to sunlight and moisture plays a significant role in making your deck look rusty.

If you are wondering how to remove an old stain from deck, we’ve got you covered. Some dirt stains can be cleaned. But if the stains are stubborn or peeled off, then it’s time for you to remove it.

See also  Water Based vs Oil Based Stains

Table of Contents

Do You Need To Strip Old Stains?

Before you decide to begin removing your stain, you must first determine whether you want to remove it. If the peeling and flaking is too much, then you ought to remove it. But in some cases, it could be debris, dirt or grease stains that can be removed by thorough cleaning.

Additionally, if you are not sure whether you need to remove your old stain, you can use the water test. You will need to pour some water on the deck. Make sure that you focus on the high traffic areas because they are more prone to peeling.

If you notice that the water is being absorbed, then it’s high time you apply a new stain. If you also observe that water is only being absorbed in some specific areas only, then, that means that there are some stain remnants which need to be removed before application of a new one.

Cleaning The Deck from Old Stain

If you decide to remove the stain, you should then thoroughly clean your deck. You can also use this opportunity to repair damaged or cracked parts. One of the challenges with removing an old deck is that you have to thoroughly remove it so that the new stain can adhere to the wood. Failure to do so guarantees that the new stain won’t serve you for long. You should, therefore, ensure that you remove all old deck stain.

Removal of Old Stain From Deck

Here you will be required to have one of the following; sandpaper, pressure washer or a deck stripper. These are the three methods you can use to remove the stain from the decker.


The sandpaper will help you clean the deck till the previous stain is entirely removed. However, this method will require you to purchase several sets of sandpaper. You must dedicate some time to do the scrubbing. If you don’t have any help at home, you can hire a handyman to help you out. This procedure may take longer, but it’s very effective. It will ensure that the old stain is fully removed.

Chemical Deck Striper

On the other hand, a chemical deck stripper functions by softening the wood for easy removal. As mentioned above, stripping is essential in creating an even surface for the new stain. One thing you need to know is that; even though the stain in high traffic areas may have worn down, there will be stain remnants in other areas. You will, therefore, have to strip the entire deck.

Oil-Based or Water Based Deck Stripper?

There are the two types of strippers. The oil based and water based deck strippers. Quite often, most people are often confused on which to pick. The water-based is capable of efficient cleaning and has a minimal odor. However, the oil-based deck stripper is capable of penetrating deeper and thus sufficiently removing all the stains. Therefore, the type of stripper you should use highly depends on the condition of your old deck stain.

Using a Pressure Washer

A pressure washer is also quite effective because other than spraying the deck stripper it also completely removes dirt and contaminants on your deck. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer, you will have to rent one for around four to five hours.

That time is sufficient for you to remove the old stain.  When renting, make sure you pick one that allows intake of chemical cleaners. It’s because you will have to mix the deck stripper with water. Or rather, you can choose a pressure washer that has an intake hose that will draw the deck stripper from a separate bucket.

Between the three, the pressure washer is more recommendable because it’s less tiresome and it does the job faster. However, using the all the three is also advantageous. It’s because, at times, the stripper may fail to remove old stains adequately. You will have to sand the deck. Don’t forget to wear protective gear when handling the chemical deck stripper.

Application of a Wood Brightener

Now that your deck is clean and free from the old stain you can now begin thinking of applying a new stain. But before you get to that, you should know that the chemicals in deck strippers often make the wood darker. A wood brightener can aid brighten the wood to give it a new shine.

Apply a New Stain

Now that you will have succeeded in removing the old deck from stain, you can now apply a new stain of your choice. You should, however, give it some time to dry while you choose an ideal stain. Some types include;

  • Solid color stains
  • Oil-based stains
  • Semi-transparent stains
  • Clear stains

Make sure that you go through the pros and cons of each stain before you apply it on your deck. The above guide will help you easily remove old stain from deck. You won’t face any difficulties when applying a new stain as long as you completely remove the old stain from the deck. A deck is an integral part of your outdoor home area. You should make sure that it looks great at all times.

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