Deck Maintenance

Hello everyone. I just purchased a home with a small deck out back (15' x 15'). It was build with standard lumber around 1998 (just a guess). They originally put on an chocolatey brown opaque stain and that's it - I don't think anything was done to it since then. So, when I moved in it was mainly gray with maybe 25% still covered with the opaque stain.
I'm not a fan of the opaque stain, I just like something a little more natural looking. So I went down to my local Lowes and bought some Flood's Stain Stripper, Cleaner and semi-tranparent CWF. I tried stripping the dang thing with the Stain Stripper but could only get about half of the remaining stain off. I then broke out the pressure washer and got a little bit more off but had to quit since the washer was splintering the wood. I then had to lightly belt sand the whole thing so I wouldn't get a splinter in my foot every time I went outside.
At this point I was pretty tired and mad so I just used the deck cleaner on it to see what would happen. It really brightened up the wood, but the old stain is still very visible. I tested the CWF on a small area and it doesn't look very good. It tints the wood towards a slight cedar color but the remaining stain underneath looks horrible.
What should I do? Cut my losses, give in and buy an opaque stain? If so, what brand should I look at - I was considering Olympic. Is there some magical product out there that I haven't found yet? Anyone else have any similar experiences they would share with me, either good or bad? Thanks, in advance, for all the responses.
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chichikov wrote:

/snip/
You probably won't get the remaining stain out without sanding down the wood further, which would make for a pretty big (and not necessarily pretty) job. An opaque stain is probably the way to go at this point.
Consumers Reports has done at least two studies on the durabilty of deck stains. About five years ago they said the best performer was the Akzo Noble (Sikkens) Cetol SRD DEK product but in a later update (Aug 03) they top-rated Cabot Decking Stain (1480). The Cabot Solid Color (1880) was still holding up well after two years and they called it "promising" as well. HTH.
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No you don't, you like brand new looking. Wood naturally lookes grey, pitted, and splintery when you leave it outside.

I think you should paint the damn thing with a heavy-duty epoxy floor paint.
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your losses...............I was thinking maybe your throat.
>give in and buy an opaque stain? If

like Benjamin Moore
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