So I bought this house about 2.5 years ago. The first summer I was in
it, the red oak deck was fading a bit and clearly needed some stain.
The owner had left the oil based stain used previously in the garage,
so I used that to apply a new coat (after using deck cleaner and
allowing drying time).
The next year, it was already starting to peel and flake off. I
didn't get a chance to address it last summer, and now it looks
absolutely awful. Because of the large amount of peeling going on, I
assume I need to start from scratch here. Some suggestions I've
gotten are to use stain stripper (specifically Cabot's oil based stain
stripper) followed by the wood brightener product. I would then start
from scratch with whatever stain I want.
Realistically, I tested it, and it didn't exactly strip all the stain
off. In fact, I tried it on a portion of the wood that was in fairly
good shape, and I really can't see a difference in the area where the
stripper was used. It possibly looks a little lighter, but clearly
still stained. And this makes sense to me, because I don't see how
the stripper could strip off anything other than the top layer without
actually stripping off the wood itself. Is this really what a strain
stripper is meant to do?
Assuming I am on the right path, does it still make sense to use the
deck stripper and follow it up by a coat of the same (or darker) oil
based stain? My concern is that the spots that retained more stain
will end up being darker than those that did not. The only other
solution I can think of would be to sand it down, but that will be
quite a challenge with all the vertical slats on the handrail, not to
mention the fact that all the screws would then be sticking up a bit.
Any advice on how to proceed would be appreciated!