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Staining a Previously Stained Deck: Things to Consider

calander Oct 12 , 2020 user-iconAnderson Painting

Your wooden deck is an important part of your home, even if you can only enjoy it half the year. Applying a new coat of deck stain every 2-3 years or as needed is an important step in protecting your deck’s surfaces and retaining its natural beauty. Over time, UV radiation, rain, temperature fluctuations, and more will cause even the best deck stain to wear down and peel away, often leaving residue in its wake. When it finally comes time to restain your deck, you might wonder what to do with this previous coat. Here are some key things to consider when planning to stain a previously stained deck.

When in Doubt, Strip Away the Old Stain

Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to completely remove all traces of the previous coat of deck stain before applying a new one. The reasons for this may be fairly obvious -- a previous coat of stain might be peeling away from the surface in several areas. Simply staining over these areas would not allow for proper adhesion and penetration of the new coat. Additionally, you would end up with an uneven surface. Ideally, your new coat should be applied directly to the wood itself so it seeps into the material’s pores and properly seals your deck’s surfaces.

In order to lift away the previous coat, you’ll need an effective deck stain stripper, which can remove oil and latex coatings, solid and semi-transparent stains, varnishes, polyurethanes, and/or water sealers, depending on your needs. These stripping solutions can also clean the wood itself and remove/reduce stains from water damage, mold, and mildew. Follow the instructions for the stripper you’re using for the best results. After coating the areas you wish to strip, you’ll want to wait for a given amount of time before rinsing the loosened residue away. More stubborn spots may require scrubbing with an abrasive brush or scraping. After removing all of the old stain, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your deck with a pressure washer and allow your deck to dry for at least 24 hours. Then, you can sand the wood down to prepare it for receiving new stain.

Removal is Not Always Necessary

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. While it’s never a bad idea to sand and strip old stain, doing so can certainly be time-consuming and challenging. In some cases, you can get away with leaving the previous coat as it is, as long as you perform the other necessary preparation steps, such as sanding and power washing. If, for instance, the new stain is the same brand and color as the old stain, you might not need to go through the complete removal process. You do, however, need to properly use a quality deck cleaner to get your deck ready for a new coat, and sand your surfaces to aid in adhesion and penetration.

Going Darker or Lighter Makes a Difference

Another factor that plays into the stain removal equation is whether the new coating is lighter or darker than the old one. There are a variety of deck stain colors and finishes to choose from. Logically, trying to apply a lighter and/or more transparent stain on top of a darker and/or more solid stain won’t yield the visual results you want. Conversely, if you’re going darker and/or more opaque, you have more leeway when it comes to applying a new coating. That said, the best way to apply deck stain, regardless of its shade, color, or opacity, is to do so on a bare, receptive surface. This means stripping away the previous coating if you can.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to staining a previously stained deck, removing the old coating might seem like an extra, cumbersome task. Indeed, stripping the old stain takes time and effort, but doing so will help you get the best results so you can enjoy your freshly stained deck for as long as possible. You can skip this step in certain cases, but know that you do so at your own risk. If you need help removing your old coat of deck stain and/or applying a new one, the experts at Anderson Painting are here for you.

For more about us and everything we do, call us today at (919) 610-1855 or email us at info@andersonpaintingnc.com!