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NFT: DIY Help - Deck Staining

Mark from Jersey : 5/1/2021 7:06 pm
Hey guys. I recently repaired a few boards on my deck that were rotted bad (cedar) and stained the wood a darker brown (solid stain). I did a good job prepping the wood but maybe not good enough. It has been several days and the stain keeps rubbing off on my hands when I test certain boards. I went with what I though was a good stain company (Armstrong Clark) vs. some of the garbage they typically sell at the BB stores.

Deck, made of cedar, had not been sealed/stained in two years.

I power washed, gently, the floor boards and rails.

I scrubbed the deck with a pre-prep detergent and let it sit for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

I went over the rails and floorboards with 120 grit sand paper. I went over a few rougher spots with a 220 grit afterwards. I am reading I should have used 80 grit but who knows. I also used a manual/flat sanding tool that might not have got the boards that great.

I tried rinsing the boards off today and wiping down with a soft bristle scrub brush and no good. I thought maybe what was coming off of my hands was maybe leftover dust from my sanding but thats not the case. Its the pigment from the stain.

Any advise here? My thinking is I need to sand better, get a machine, use 80 grit paper, blow off all the dust, wipe the boards down with a rag after dusting, then reapply new stain after not getting any rain for 48 house.

To clarify  
Mark from Jersey : 5/1/2021 7:16 pm : link
I used darker stain so that new boards/old boards would match better.
Here's a good link to check out  
JohnF : 5/1/2021 7:22 pm : link
DECK STAIN: 5 Essentials for Staining Your Deck So It Looks Great and Lasts Long
How many coats did you put down?  
Bill in Del : 5/1/2021 7:37 pm : link
Ideally 2 thin coats with a few hours of each other should be enough. Any more and the wood may not be able to soak it up. Could it be that you laid down too much?

I have a 20x20 cedar deck I restored last year. I prepped with light pressure wash and a deck cleaner. Allowed a couple days to dry then sanded with an orbital. I used Olympic elite (highly rated in CR) solid dark red stain and it came out beautiful. It's all in how you prep, how you stain and quality of stain.
Mark from Jersey : 5/1/2021 7:43 pm : link
I was very careful not to over apply. I did the entire deck by hand with a stain brush. I went over the boards repeatedly so that there was no excess. A few spots were wet 24 hours, expected based on directions, so I wiped them off with a rag. By the end of the second day the deck looked great and dry.

Only thing I can really think off is the stain didnt penetrate well enough...thinking getting an orbital sander and 80 grit wheels and really taking off any old product and open the pours of the wood better.
I just repainted my deck  
robrosz : 5/1/2021 7:49 pm : link
You need to be careful of the moisture in the wood. Did it rain just before you applied the stain or right afterwards? I used superDeck by sherwin Williams. They also have a transparent stain. I did rent a deck sander from Home Depot and used 80 grit sp.
Pressure treated wood doesn’t absorb stain as good too
Mark from Jersey : 5/1/2021 7:59 pm : link
I waited over 48 hours after last rain to apply the stain. I applied the stain on a Tuesday. We did not get any rain until Friday.
Mark, not sure else to tell you  
Bill in Del : 5/1/2021 8:10 pm : link
Like Rob mentioned trapped moisture will affect it. After I pressure washed I let it bake in the sun for a few days before I sanded.

Maybe the grit size was too fine, or maybe just an issue with that stain.

One thing I noticed when researching stains is allot of mixed results by different people.

Do a search online within decking forums see if anyone else has used that same stain and has had the same issue. If your going to sand it down and start over you may want to consider a different brand stain.

When I researched stains for my project, I don't remember coming across the brand you used.
Thanks Bill  
Mark from Jersey : 5/1/2021 8:17 pm : link
It is somewhat puzzling for sure. I’ll have to think about whether or not to try a different brand. I read good things about them and placed an order as they are not sold at the BB stores.
I believe the best stain for decks is the PROLUX SRD  
BillT : 5/1/2021 9:17 pm : link
Used to be Sikkens but PPG bought it. One coat is it. Since you already power washed I’d let that dry thoroughly. Then sand 60/50 grit. It’s an excellent product.
I hate deck staining  
Jersey Heel : 5/1/2021 9:36 pm : link
Finally replaced the deck in the front with Trex and hope to eventually convert the back deck too.
Sanding wood is more difficult (or finicky) than people think  
PA Aggie : 5/1/2021 9:50 pm : link
The species of wood, the sanding grit, the quality of paper (how long does the cut last), and what you are going to be finishing it with all factors into the project.

From your description, the problem is likely a combination of a marginal quality stain, and sanding too smooth. Wood is porous, and different species are more porous than others. Softwoods (fir, cedar, pine) are the toughest to stain. While oak and other 'open grain' woods are the easiest.

Progressing through grits of are flattening the 'mountains', the high parts. The mountains get smaller, therefore your surface area is reduced. Reducing the surface area reduces the penetration of the stain. When stain companies say 'put 2-3 coats on' it is complete bullshit because only analine dye stains (alcohol based) get progressively darker as you apply more coats. They are just trying to sell you more product. Most of your stains are mineral spirits based (user friendly) but additional coats typically acts as a solvent and actually removes some of the previous coat. A good stain is a one coat application. Sanding of softwoods is typically good at 120 grit.

As some have said, surface preparation is important especially moisture content. Good luck.

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