Deck RE-staining

Removing old stain, sanding and staining a deck in Highlands Neighborhood, Lincoln, NE

Here is an example of the most common procedure - re-staining.

This deck's previous finish was a semi-transparent oil, which wore out over the years. So the owners wanted to re-stain it with the same type of finish, making sure the wood grains were visible and brightening the color.

Let's take a look...

Inspecting a deck in preparation for staining.

Upon initial inspection, it is evident that all of the wood is in good shape. There is no dry rot or other signs of deterioration. The old stain is noticeably worn off the decking, but the spindles still show quite a bit of color. So, to ensure that the entire deck looks uniform in color, stain remover and an aggressive power-washing will have to be employed to remove the old stain.

Inspecting decking boards on a deck in preparation for staining.

Some scratches on the steps and decking left by the owners' pets will need to be smoothed out a bit.

Inspecting staircase and railings on a deck in preparation for staining.

Fast forward...

After the application of a stain remover, power-washing, and a sufficient drying time, the wood looks like this -

Raised wood grains on spindles after pressure washing.

This kind of raising of wood fibers does not happen anymore. After learning from this project, I adjusted the stain removal method to minimize this side effect significantly.

Raised wood fibers after pressure washing.

But now it's time for my "fab four" to take the stage -

Selection of electric sanders for sanding a deck.

While most of the sanding is done with the heavy-duty orbitals and a pad, a detail sander sits "right in the pocket" when it comes to corners -

Sanding railings on a deck in preparation for staining.

And in between spindles, where the other machines do not reach -

Sanding railings on a deck in preparation for staining - alt view.

Once the sanding is completed, and the dust is blown off, It's time to get ready for staining.

Logically, I would start with the handrails, but first, it is crucial to prevent drips (or over-spray) from hitting the decking because they will most definitely show through the top coat. So I prefer to run a strip of paper along the handrails. But a cardboard shield, a tarp, or a piece of heavy non-mar rubber (on a windy day) would work just fine.

Setting up for staining railings on a deck.

For oil-based stains, I prefer natural ox / white china bristle brushes -

Selection of brushes for staining a deck with an oil stain.

I ensure the stain is being worked into the grain and between boards -

Staining decking boards with a brush.

One generous coat is all it takes to make the deck look like this -

Semi-transparent oil stain on a deck in Lincoln.

Notice how this stain brings out the wood grains. They are apparent even from some distance -

Stained staircase and railings in Lincoln, NE

After a final touch-up, the deck is transferred back into the owners' possession -

Newly stained deck in Lincoln, NE

Lincoln, NE | April 2012