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How To Stain A Previously Stained Deck

How to refinish an older deck

Q: How do you stain a deck that has already been stained?

A: As the years go by, your wooden deck can begin to show signs of aging and weathering from the elements. The once richly stained wood is now faded and dull from the sun. High traffic areas of the stained deck show signs of being worn down from the constant back and forth walking. Eventually it becomes inevitable that you’ll need to re-stain your deck. This doesn’t have to be a daunting task though. Once you understand how to stain a previously stained deck, the entire re-staining process can be completed in as little as 4 steps! 

Step 1 - Cleaning

First and foremost, you’ll need to clean the deck. Start in a corner and work your way out across the deck using a pressure washer, making multiple passes over each section. Once finished, let the deck dry for 72 hours. After it dries sweep it off one more time before you begin re-staining. You don’t want to stain on top of any dust, as it will hinder the stain from adhering to the wood. If you don’t have a pressure washer, an alternative method is to use a high-quality deck cleaner. When using a deck cleaner, you’ll need to first sweep the deck off to remove any loose debris and dust. Then you’ll apply a layer of the deck cleaner to the deck. As it penetrates the wood it removes dirt, mildew, algae, mold, leaf marks, and other stains. Once finished with the deck cleaner, let the deck fully dry before moving onto the next step. 


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Step 2 - Sanding & Stripping

Glance over the deck and see if there are any rough or coarse areas that need to be sanded. Also check for areas where the previous stain might be peeling off. These areas will need to be sanded out as well. If you stain on top of peeling stain, the new layer of stain will end up peeling right off with the old one before you know it. Additionally, if you want to make sure you have as even a color as possible you need to use a stripper. Deck Stripper is formulated to help remove old stain so that new stain can penetrate properly and appear uniform in the hue you have chosen.


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Step 3 - Staining The Deck: First Pass

The type of stain you are using will factor into how you need to apply it. If you’re using a wood toner, semi-transparent stain, or clear wood sealant, you’ll need to apply a thin coat using a high-quality roller brush or sprayer. Apply an even, thin coat going with the grain. When using solid color stains, you’ll want to apply two coats using a roller brush or paintbrush.

Step 4 - Staining The Deck: Touchups

Now that the entire surface is stained, you’ll need to backbrush. Use your paintbrush to push stain in-between each board, into the seams, and into the edges. 

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Now you know how to stain a previously stained deck! Taking the time to re-seal and re-stain your deck will be an investment well worth the time. Even if your boards are treated from the factory, they are still vulnerable to the elements when left unsealed. Protecting your deck now will prevent you from having to do any costly repairs to potentially weather damaged boards anytime soon.
(Updated: 3/27/2019)

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