The TWP Stain Guide to Prepping a Deck

With wood decks maintenance is vital to the structural integrity of the wood. Cleaning, prepping and staining a deck are the 3 main keys to deck care. With any deck stain, including TWP the prep work is crucial. No matter how superior the deck stain is it will not perform properly or give you the results you expect if the wood is not prepped correctly. The following is a TWP guide to prepping a deck that has never been stained or currently has TWP stain already on the wood. If you have a stain of a different brand, you will need to remove it with a stain stripper. See this for more info Switching to TWP Stains.

Cleaning the Deck

Prior to staining with TWP the deck needs to be cleaned thoroughly to allow for proper stain penetration. Use a quality wood cleaner like the oxygenated cleaner Gemini Restore-A-Deck. These types of cleaners are safer on the wood than bleach based cleaners and will effectively remove dirt, mold, mildew and grayed wood fibers. It is important to get back down to clean bare wood. Apply the wood cleaner as suggested by the label instructions. Let the cleaner dwell and soften up the pollutants before using a scrub brush or performing a light pressure washing.

If an old failing stain is present it must be removed. A wore down semi-transparent stain may clean off with an oxygenated cleaner. If the old stain is stubborn then you might have to use a wood deck stain stripper instead of a cleaner. Once the pollutants and any remnants of old stain are gone the deck should look new again.

Using a Deck Brightener

A deck brightener, also called a neutralizer is the next step after cleaning. Because the cleaners and/or strippers are caustic in nature they need to be neutralized. Apply the deck brightener immediately after cleaning and according to the directions. Then allow it to dwell for several minutes before rinsing off with water. This will lower the pH level of the wood and make the wood grain “pop”. This acidic nature of the wood surface will allow TWP stain to dive deep into the wood and result in a more professional like finish.

Dry Time

After cleaning and brightening the deck it needs to dry prior to staining. With a moisture meter you want 15% or less moisture content before applying stain. If you do not have a meter, typically 1-2 days of dry weather is adequate time for the wood to dry completely. Now the deck is ready for TWP stain. Following this TWP guide to prepping a deck will ensure the stain lasts longer, enhances the appearance and performs as expected.

 

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30 Comments on "The TWP Stain Guide to Prepping a Deck"

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Michelle
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Michelle

Back in June of this year, I prepped and stained our two year old, never been stained deck (cedar supports & trim and pressure treated decking) according to instructions given on the website. It was in the mid-90s when I stained it, and I don’t think I did the wet-on-wet application properly, as it is already showing “dry” or very light looking spots. So I’d like to re-stain to protect it over the coming winter. There is minimal mold/mildew, mostly dirt and dust. What type of prep should I do? Do I need to start from scratch with the cleaner/brightener?

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jim
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jim

I have a pine deck that I have your 1500 cedar tone stain on and want to go back to a clear or natural look. I have pressure washed it and removed a lot of the stain. what do I need to do to prep the wood before going to a clear or natural stain? Part of the deck is covered and part of it is exposed.

solr
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solr
Powerwashed the deck ( about 8×30) last year, made of yellow pine pressure treated lumber about 7 years old now. But the guy who did it used some chlorine bleach in the mix with the power washer. He then stained it with 5 Gal of TWP 1500 cedartone which I purchased from you. All the vertical surface still have their color and look great, but all horizontal surfaces outside the soffets over the deck, and top rails have lost their color tone and look a dull dark brown to grey. Deck gets about 3 hrs sun per day. The areas… Read more »
Sean Gronemeier
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Sean Gronemeier
Hello, I started the proccess of staining my cedar deck today by using the restore a deck cleaner. I used it all and with using a powerfull tip on the hose it got alot of the dirt, mildew, and grey up but I noticed when I used a scrub brush more was coming up. It got too late and I wanted to redo the cleaning so I didnt use the brightener. Also, there is a white haze in spots. I rinsed well but I read elsewhere that this haze is like a fuzz of old wood fibers. They recommend renting… Read more »
Koko
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Koko

Hello, My question is in regards to colour. Living in Toronto Canada I want to try the TWP 200 stain. I want a natural cedar colour and looking at your chart I am thinking of the Cedar Gold. The Cedartone seems to be more on the brown side. The stain I am replacing is the Flood UV5 Cedar. Any recommendations?

Jeff S
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Jeff S

I followed all the steps last year and the deck looks great. I just want to do a cleaning this spring. What products & techniques do I need?

Mark Thompson
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Mark Thompson

I stained my deck 2 years ago using TWP 105 Cape Cod grey.
I want to re-apply the same. What prep work do I need to do?

David Latch
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David Latch

I have a partially stained covered deck. Some areas, like the underside of the roof were never stained so it’s just dirty. I also replaced a number of boards last summer (from your postings, I decided to give the wood a full year to dry out).
Here’s my question – it appears to strip and restain the deck will be a 3 step process. Please tell me if I’m right:

1. Strip deck using Step 1
2. Neutralize stripped area using Step 2
3. Go over entire deck (including originally unstained areas) with “Restore-A-Deck” to clean.

Nancy
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Nancy
My deck was built four summers ago, stained the following summer then re-stained last summer. This summer I need to sand the deck. It has some slightly warped boards and several sections with large splinters of wood out. Do I need to clean the deck with the Gemini cleaner after sanding or just get the sawdust out? I’ll be filling in some of the cracks with filler. Does your stain cover the filler OK? Lastly can I use your stain on deck furniture? I have a chair made with eucalyptus wood that needs re-staining.
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