How to Remove Old Stain from Deck

Last Updated on May 9, 2022 by Bright Calister

How to Remove Old Stain from Deck? If you move to a new house with a deck, or you have a deck that you haven’t paid attention to for some time, the chances are that it would need some work. The best step to take is to remove the old stain before you can do anything else. But, how can you remove old stains from a deck?

The deck is essential because of the various values they add to your house. However, it would help if you gave it some attention. You can clean, seal, stain, or repair your deck. It is crucial to do it every year.

This article will discuss the best methods to get rid of old stains from decks. Also, we shall discuss the best paint, stain, and sealer removers you can use on all types of decks. Hence, we shall make it easy for you to restore your peeling deck to its glory once again.

The following steps will enable you to get rid of old stains from piece-of-wood of the deck.

Power Washing

It would be best if you prepared a deck before you can stain it. You need to powerwash the deck since it is one of the best ways to eliminate old stains to enable you to stain the wood again. Power washing the deck will eliminate all built-up dirt, mold, mildew, and other unwanted debris.

Chances are, you will use a deck cleaner to complete this process. You can’t skip this crucial step, or the deck will have all the grime trapped under the new coat of stain you apply. Also, the wood won’t adhere to the new coat properly.
Hence, the first step is to ensure you eliminate an old stain is to wash the deck thoroughly.

Stain strippers

Although washing the deck is an excellent way to get rid of old stains from the deck, chances are it may not be enough. Several decks, especially those with old, chipped stains, need a deck stain stripper to be free from old stains. Deck stain strippers help soften existing stains to enable you to get rid of them with ease.

The component of deck strippers often includes Sodium Hydroxide and other chemicals to develop an extra forceful stripper than conventional wood cleaner. You can apply the stripper using a paintbrush and rollers, similar to how paint or stain is applied. If you combine them with water, you can use a pump sprayer to apply it too.

After applying the stripper, it would be best to allow ten or fifteen minutes or any other time in-between to enable the stripper to sit adequately before removing it.


Timing is necessary if the stripper is to soak into the stain and break it down adequately. After the deck stripper has exhausted the fifteen minutes, you will see the old stain coming off the wood. This is a sign it is the right time to powerwash the deck at least one more time to get rid of all the stains.

If the old stain remains after everything, you should use sandpaper to eliminate the residual stain. Once the old stain is gone completely, you can move to the next step in the process.

How to prepare an area for stain strippers

Before you can apply the stain stripper, it is essential to read the obvious warning labels on the product to know the safety measures to take when handling it. Although most of the deck stripping products are biodegradable, you will need to protect your hands with gloves, old clothes or apron for your body, and goggles or mask for your face.

Protecting the area around the deck is essential as well. Therefore, if you have a landscape near the deck, you should cover then with plastic to prevent getting the stripper on them. Although the strippers degrade into the soil quickly, they won’t react well on the leaves and flowers around.

Also, it would help if you had a hose with a decent nozzle attachment. Stripper needs continual misting water to ensure the wood remains damp because it reacts with water to draw out old stains. Hence, if the word is too dry, the stripper won’t function properly, and this implies you have to repeat the entire process.

It is crucial to avoid using stripper products on hot, sunny, or cold days. Perfect spring weekend is an excellent time to start the process.

How to select the right stripper

Getting it right with your selection for a deck stripper is crucial because it is the difference between success and failure. Hence, it would be best if you considered the following factors before buying a deck stripper.

Environmental – friendly

If there are plants surround the deck you want to work on, it is best to use a stripper that is environmental-friendly and does not kill the landscape around your home.

Environmental-friendly deck strippers do an excellent job of cleaning the deck without harming the environment or causing any damage to the safety of your family and pets in the house.

Removal type

You need to identify what you intend to get rid of from the deck wood. Depending on the kind of stain, dirt, or vanishes you want to eliminate, you have to select a deck stripper that is more aggressive than others.

Deck strippers come in different cleaning ranges, and knowledge to eliminate them from the deck will assist you in finding the perfect stripper.


Before you decide to use a stripper, it is best to clean the deck with water properly. You can use a pressure washer or any other means you think is suitable for this purpose.

Going through the instruction given by the manufacturer, you will discover some strippers need a particular application method like a pressure washer or other ways to get the best out of them.

Knowing the proper method or equipment to use with the stripper enables you to prepare better for the use of the stripper.

Removing paint or deck stripping

If your main intention is to eliminate the old paint from the deck, you should use a paint removed instead of a deck stripper. It does not mean you can’t use a deck stripper to remove paint, but it is not a perfect paint remover.

Deck stripper functions by emulsifying and scattering the stains within the wood. The work of the deck stripper leads to a cleaner-looking wooden deck.

However, it is not as effective to get rid of the paint, which is the specific work of the paint remover.

Using the right quantity
You have to estimate the size of the deck you intend to strip off old stain. This step will assist you in purchasing the right quantity of material needed for the deck wood. From experience, it can be discouraging to purchase less amount than what is required and have to return to the hardware store on multiple trips to get more supplies.

On the contrary, purchasing more material than what you need will waste resources as you will have an excess of material left behind after stripping the deck. The right estimate will help you avoid these frustration hurdles.

Deck strippers

Having learned about the ability of deck stain strippers to help restore the appearance of your deck by eliminating old stains, we shall give you an example of strippers you can purchase for your deck.
defy wood stain stripper

It is effective in eliminating semi-transparent stains and sealers from the deck. It comes in a gallon, and one of them is enough for 150 square feet.

1: Restore-A-Deck stain stripper

This is arguably the best stain stripper around. It is a fast-acting chemical solution capable of eliminating tough stains and most oil and latex-based older wood finish. You can use this stripper on any exterior wood surface. This chemical comes in a 5-gallon pack that is enough to cover 1 thousand squad feet area

2: Woodrich wood stripper and cleaner

This compound is effective in cleaning outdoor decks from all kinds of dirt and stain. It comes as a powdered solution which means you have to add water to it. After adding water, you can get as much as five gallons of deck stripping mixture from it.

3: Wood deck brightener

How to Remove Old Stain from Deck

After using a deck stripper, chances are the deck won’t regain its lost texture. Don’t worry, and it is widespread knowledge for wood to look darker after being exposed to a stripping treatment.

The explanation has to do with the stripper raising the wood’s PH, which changes the color. This is a problem for wood cleaners too.

You can start by lightening up the wood. It is best to use a wooden deck brightener to complete this task. The only task here is applying the coat of a feck brightener to the wood, and it will restore the color alongside the PH of the deck.

Additionally, it will assist the new coat of stain to adhere better to the wood because it opens the wood’s pores for deeper penetration. Immediately you are done with this step, rinse the deck thoroughly.

However, it is best to allow both the deck stripper and brightener to dry for a minimum of two days before putting the new coat.

While the waiting period may seem drab, it is a crucial part of the entire process. Immediately the wood is dry; then, you can stain your newly cleaned deck. If you try to stain your deck before the expiration of the two-day waiting period, it can lead to inconsistency in the strength of the stain.

Lastly, after hours of waiting and prepping, the wooden deck will be ready for a new stain. You can relax knowing the wood is prepared in the best way possible and give you an excellent stain that showcases the beautiful qualities of the wood.

Sanding the deck is another excellent method of removing old stains. Whereas sanding can lead to a clog of the wood’s pores and create an uneven stain, it can wood in conjunction with a wood cleaner to deliver an effective surface that is perfect for restaining.

However, it is best to use a chemical stripper first before sanding the surface of the deck. Sanding off old stain can bury old stain within the surface of the deck. Also, the old stain will gum up the grit of the sandpaper, which is the basic tool for sanding, making the job very slow.

Sanding a deck will require 80grit sandpaper. However, it is best to wait until after you have stripped the deck. Both stripping and sanding will bring back the beauty of the deck.

But, you should ensure restaining takes place immediately because the newly sanded deck vulnerable to the element can easily stain if water is present.

Conclusion-How to Remove Old Stain from Deck

Old stains can be challenging to get rid of and make your deck a shadow of itself. Hence, you have to use the appropriate measures to get rid of them. We hope you have learned the essential steps that will help you do that in this article.

It is essential to remember to take the proper safety measures before using any deck stripping products. For example, gloves, masks, aprons should not be ignored before applying any deck stripper.

We wish you the best of luck in the next deck repair project.

Important Reads:

How to Restain a Deck Without Stripping

How to Remove Polyurethane from Brush

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Brush Marks

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