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How can I tell if I need to strip my deck before re-staining or re-sealing?

Do I need to strip my deck before re-staining or re-sealing?

Staining a previously stained deck

If your deck was previously coated with a solid stain, use a putty knife or sharp blade to lightly cut a small ‘X’ in several spots on your deck (in high- and low-traffic areas), but be careful to not cut into the wood. Then cover those ‘X’ marks with duct tape and rub down firmly. Quickly peel up the tape. If there are flakes of your stain on the tape, then you will need to strip your deck before restaining.

Staining with a semi-transparent stain

If your deck was previously coated with a semi-transparent stain or sealer, clean it well and let it air dry for at least four hours. Then, from a standing position pour a small amount of water on the decking in high-traffic areas as well as lesser-used areas. If the water beads up (breaks up into tiny drops) and just sits there, then too much sealer is present and you will need to strip it. If the water remains in a puddle and begins to absorb into the wood within 10 minutes, then the coating has worn off enough that you can restain or reseal.

Check your railings as well since coatings on vertical surfaces last much longer than those on your horizontal deck boards.

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Check your state and local codes before starting any project. Follow all safety precautions. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and safety of this information. Neither Westlake nor any contributor can be held responsible for damages or injuries resulting from the use of the information in this document.

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