How to Remove Paint from a Deck Before Staining

A deck adds functionality, beauty, and resale value to a home. Decks are wonderful for backyard parties and relaxing on pleasant evenings. Unfortunately, over time, decks wear down. Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause decks to fade. Moisture and pests cause them to decay, crack, and warp. To remain beautiful for years, a deck needs a great stain or paint to protect it.

Thus, if you want your deck to last for the duration of your homeownership, you need to regularly restain or repaint the deck. A good stain or coat of paint is the first line of defense your deck has against the elements. Although the length of time between reapplication varies according to the stain or paint applied, be sure not to wait too long. If you do, you may find yourself with a rotting, damaged, and unsightly wood deck.

Is your deck in need of some maintenance work? If your deck has been painted in the past, unfortunately, you’re going to need to remove the paint before you can stain the deck. Stripping the deck of paint requires a significant amount of work; however, when finished, your deck will look nearly as good as new.

Keep reading to get our best step-by-step tips on how to remove paint from a deck before staining.

How to remove paint from a deck before staining

  • Remove any furniture or any items from the deck. Chemical strippers can damage furniture. Plus, a deck clear of obstacles allows you to work as quickly as possible
  • Cover any nearby areas that could be damaged by the paint stripper. Use plastic sheets and tape to cover nearby windows and walls. Cover any nearby delicate vegetation like flowers or shrubs
  • Scrape and clean the surface of the deck. Use a paint scraper to knock off any loose paint. Then, use a push broom to thoroughly clean all dirt and debris from the surface of the deck
  • Take all appropriate safety precautions. Be sure to take any safety precautions appropriate to the paint stripper. You can find these safety precautions on the back of the product you choose. You can expect to need safety glasses, rubber gloves, and a mask. Cover exposed areas of skin
  • Test a small area. Before embarking on the task of stripping the entire deck, you want to be certain that the product you have selected will get the job done for your particular deck. Begin by testing a small area to ensure that you have chosen the right product for your deck
  • Apply stripper. Using a roller or a large brush, cover an area you can work in fifteen minutes. Once you have applied the stripper, wait between ten to fifteen minutes (although some strippers can work more slowly or quickly). The stripper will bubble or lift the paint. Begin scraping after the paint lifts or bubbles, but before the stripper dries. Reapply stripper to keep the surface wet as needed
  • Scrape the paint. Using a stiff-bristle brush or a paint scraper, remove the paint. Work in the direction of the wood grain to prevent the grain from raising
  • Continue until the entire deck, including railing, has been stripped of paint
  • Rinse the deck with water. Using a garden hose, rinse the deck. This will remove any remaining paint and stripper. Although you can use a pressure washer for this step, be very careful. Pressure washers can severely damage old wood. Set the pressure washer no higher than 500-1200 PSI, and keep the nozzle at least nine inches from the deck surface
  • Wait for the deck to dry, then begin preparations for a new stain. Wait at least twenty-four hours for the deck to dry. Once that’s done, lightly sand the deck using 120- or 150-grit sandpaper. The goal is to remove any remaining specks of paint and to smooth out the wood before staining. When finished, sweep away the dust. Deal with any raised nails, fill any holes, and repair any damaged or rotted areas. When you finish, you are ready to apply a fresh stain to your deck!

Making your deck as good as new

Removing old, failing paint and replacing it with a fresh stain can make your deck look new again. We hope our best tips for removing paint from a deck have helped you feel confident to tackle this project.

We know that all this scraping, stripping, and restaining can be a lot of work. Our team of painting professionals stands ready to help you with all of your painting needs. If you are trying to determine whether or not to tackle this project for yourself, give us a call. We can provide you with a free, zero-obligation estimate. Each deck is unique, and our professionals have spent years building up the experience and knowledge needed to quickly and effectively tackle any situation. 

We want to help your deck look as beautiful as possible for years to come, so don’t hesitate to reach out if we can help you!

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