Help! - New deck ruined?


Brand new PT deck I built myself. After much agonizing, I went with Wolmans Durastain semi (red cedar) and now wish I had not. Stuff is so thick and viscous, came out almost solid and I don't like the color at all. Wolmans says strip it or change color to different Durastain, but can't recommend using any other product because of adhesion.
Wolmans says stripping now is better than waiting. I have read horror stories about stripping these acrylic type stains. If I put on another (darker) Durastain, and I hate that too, I may never get it off. But is by far the easiest course, if I can live with the new color. I just applied yesterday, and it poured rain about 16 hours later. Also I only did deck and stairs, no rails or lattice etc, thank Jah. Wish now I had gone with the oil toner.
Please help. Advise and experiance about stripping Durastain (days old)? My labor of love, which was perfect, is now driving me nuts.
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pedro wrote:

SNIP
I think you are as they say "up against it". If yours is a good quality stain (I am unfamiliar with that brand), stripping will not take it off. And if you put a stripper on an acrylic product that has not fully polymerized (10 - 21 days) you will make nothing short of a disaster. Stripper will turn the stain into watery goop that is really hard to manage and hard to get off your deck.
Also, if you strip, you will have problems caused by the water content of your PT lumber. This is usually quite high, and it causes very uneven absorbtion of stain/resins by the wood. Before stripping, if your stain is thick and viscuous, you have the same problem, but the coating of stain lays on top of the boards while the wood underneath dries over a period of weeks into a solid coat. To test this, put some of your finsh on a scrap board and let it sit a few days, until really dry to the touch (remember it is still NOT cured, though). Strip off the stain with your stripper of choice and look at how blotchy the board surface is after you take off the stain.
I have found the only way to repair this and to keep the blotchy appearance from being a problem is to sand stuff like that completely off and expose fresh wood. Then you have no blotchiness, no adhesion problems, and you have a fresh surface to coat for consistent appearance. Depending on how much you put on in your coats, you may be surprised at how easily those high powered coating come right off. If you can wait until the surface is cured as hard as it will get, it may sand off easily. To resurface a deck I start with 60 grit (ONLY on YP treated, not cedar) then go to 100 - 120, and then apply the finish.
When I was building decks, my advice to my customers was to watch me apply non curing oil based tinted clear coats (available everywhere, any product by Thompson's) with a pump sprayer. I buy a $10 pump sprayer, and fill it with the clear oil based stuff (remember, the watery stuff) and spray down the wood. Wait until dry, then spray again. If I started in the morning, I can usually get another coat on before the day is out. Now they know the key to maintaining their deck. Repeated application of finish.
I have an older client that sweeps off his deck (washes as needed) and makes sure it is properly dry. Then he soaks it with Behr deck seal, or something like that. He does this every fall before his dinner party season starts, and before winter weather starts. Then at the end of winter, he sweeps off the deck again and soaks it before summer. With the little pump sprayer he can coat his deck, handrails and stairs (including cleanup) in about 30 minutes. And since the oil penetrates the wood and will build in itself, he never has high spots or problems with adhesion.
Back on staining, in South Texas the only way I have seen stained wood (which wears off the walking surfaces quickly) last on decks is repeated, heavy application. I don't like repeated applications of any stain or paint because you get a pretty good amount of buildup fairly quickly. That is why I like the non curing oils - they don't make seperate build layers of finish.
Good luck on your project. While starting over on this may be a pain, it won't be as bad as looking at something you hate for years.
Robert
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Did a sample strip; the product comes off easy enough, but leaves a clear, slimy residue behind and has a white powdery appearance when dry. Is this a bad thing? Don't you apply a 'revive' product on after stripping? Will this help me?
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Thanks Robert; Besides the color, the product is so viscous and gets tacky so fast, the end result was streaky, flashing, ka-ka. Like you are putting a plastic shell on your new wood. I called Wolman's, they said I could change color, but only more Durastain because of the alkyd/acrilic base. Nothing else will stick to it, or get thru it. They said strip it sooner will be easier than later, said nothing about goopy nightmares.
Did a test strip and it came up easy enough, but there is a slimy clear residue left over and a white powdery residue when it dries. Real delema. Should I try a different Durastain color and make stripping worse later, and have a product I don't really like? Strip now when pruduct is newer (only been on 3 days)? Will I damaged my new wood by stripping? What if I strip it now and let it sit a while or a year, could I just deck wash and sand later?One good part is I only did the deck and stairs. Might be best to strip now, then I could do the rails, lattice etc w/o having to strip when those are already done. Plants etc. not an issue now. I will use an straight oil toner if it all works out with stripping.
Please, any thoughts, advise, experiances, especially with Durastain. Bummin in Chitown
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pedro wrote:

No problemo.

They are thinking like chemists, and that is that their product should come up better at green cure than full cure. But with the solvents out of the coating after fully curing (21-30 days?), it makes it easier to strip because all you are dealing with is the dried resins and whatever they used as a colorant medium. The goo you are getting is at least partially uncured resins, and by adding strippers break the chemical bonds and don't allow it to fully cure after application, you are getting goo.

If you used a stripper on the deck (Bix, Kleenstrip, 3M, etc.) then the slick stuff as well as the powdery stuff is probably some kind of stearate (soap). This helps suspend the broken down finish (gunk) and allows to be removed. It also makes it easy to clean the surface after stripping off the old finish. You can probably clean this off with some TSP (check your hardware store), a water hose, and a stiff brush. If you wash with water, let the surface dry for a couple of days before you sand as the PT YP gets furry when wet or damp.

No. Don't put on any more finish you will be hate and probably be taking off in the future. Just more work for you.

I wouldn't strip it now since the product hasn't cured out. See above for goop and slime reference. And no, you deck will not be damaged by stripping unless you are using some kind of nasty edged tool to remove the old finish.

Let it sit with some coating on it for a few months and allow the wood to dry more slowly since it is sealed with the Durastain. Your work will look better since the slower the wood will dry the more stable it will be. The direct sunlight on that wet PT wood will warp, crack and face check it like crazy.
I would let it go until spring, then strip/wash/sand refinish with something else that is maintainable and renewable. There really isn't much of a point to going out there right now and fighting with it since all the chemicals,solvents, stearates and resins together from all the products can make a strange soup to deal with. Good finishing takes time and patience.
One more thing, when you sand (notice... not if) you should use non stearated papers. I tend to lean on the sander a little too much and the sterated papers made some of my lacquers a little blotchy since I was leaving the soap/lubricant behind when the pad and sandpaper get too hot, and I had to sand with garnet paper and then wash with thinner to remove the soap lubricant left behind from the Norton gold. Then the finish was fine.
Give us a heads up Pedro and let us know how you are doing on this.
Robert
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What you say makes more sense. >

famailiar with TSP and can get it.

Amen. Especially when results will be better later.

OK, good. I just have to put something over the test stripping I did. 9 planks with 1 foot test strips. Hate to buy more of same product (I am completely out). Since I will be stripping, does it matter if I coat bare spots with something else, just till spring?

Thats what I'm going to do. We plan to put a oil Toner, linseed base I think, from S-Williams. I will not mind yearly mainteance. Does this sound like a good product/idea?

Now I have only one question left for this year. I built the frame, deck and stairs last fall and they had almost a year on them when I put on Durastain. The rails were done by june and the lattice was done by july. I had deck washed and planed to do everything now. Thank goodness I only did the deck and stairs with Dura. But now the rails are ready to stain. We always planned to two tone, with rails and lattice different shade than deck, again with oil based natural toner. IYO, would I be better off staining rails, lattice, now and protect them when I srtip deck later, or let it all go, strip deck, sand, rewash and start from scratch in the spring? The rim joist overhangs lattice by 2 feet in almost all areas, there are no plant issues now, in the spring there will be more issues, but they are managable.
Give us a heads up Pedro and let us know how you are doing on this. Robert
I really am most grateful. I built this myself, took my time and put a lot into the details. It turned out great, and the finishing was going to be the big payoff. When I was unhappy with the results, I was very distressed. You have cleared my mind and given me direction. Heartfelt thanks.
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pedro wrote:

Ahhh... the difference between doing it for a living and doing it in a lab.

When you strip, make sure you wear some kind of mask that is fume rated. I think you have the wrong stripper for resin finish. That stuff is lye based, and while it will eat the finish, you want something that will break the bonds more easily. I would use something that is methyl chloride based, as it seems to chew through everything (OK, not epoxies, etc.) with ease. Here's the skinny on your stripping suff:
http://www.woodzone.com/articles/paint_stripper.htm
For you, I would use old reliable, BIX S3, the stuff in the black/white/orange can. It is available all over, HD, Lowe's, etc. A little more expensive, but the Kleenstrip pink is good, too.

IF it were me, I would get more of the same stuff, and put it on the same way you put on the other coats. ALL resin products are mixed, thinned, and controlled differently, and a different product will leave different color of resin and bonding agents behind. Even if you don't see it, trust me, it it different. A good test to prove the point: If you think you have gotten all the finish off of one of your test boards, splash it (not all over) with lacquer thinner. You will see blotches (embedded resins that leached up when the thinner evaporated) where the drops were.
If you go back with something that is transparent or translucent, you will see the blotches from different finishes underneath your new finish if you change in mid stream. Also, an opaque stain will protect from UV damage (fading, etc.) than an oil, so you would probably have fade spots in your deck as well. So sadly, more of the same Durastain is in order.

With yearly maintenance, it is great idea. Personally, since I put it on with a pump sprayer and it only takes a few minutes, I would go with the every six months depending on the season I mentioned above. I should last forever with that kind of maintenance. Try it out on one or two of your scraps, and if you buy a cheapo sprayer like I do ($10!) you may want to thin it about 10-20% with mineral spirits before spraying to make sure you get lots of product out of the sprayer. You should be thinking that you are going to put on about three coats when you first start, then hit and dry spots as needed.

Different times of application will yield different colors. As an extreme, the oil base that you put on the wood during a crisp fall day will not match the stuff you put on during a 100 degree summer day. When you separate that not only by weather but by time, you might wind up with two tone where you don't really want it. At this point, the only thing I would do to the deck is put some stain on the spots you stripped, and then put a coat of the SW stuff on the deck thinned to about 50%, so it is just about like water. Apply enough to get the get the bare deck parts wet.
The wash coat will help you keep from getting too much embedded dirt, will offer just a tiny bit of protection, but will hopefully help stabilize the wood a bit. Spray under the deck, under stairs, everywhere you can get the little plastic nozzle.
With the finish thinned to about 50% before application, you will have something that will go into the wood, but it will flash off (evaporate, or have the resins burn off) by the time you are ready to go. A good wash and it should be ready for more of the same with a lot less thinning.
So.... put the thinned stuff (thinning your product choice for next years oil finishing) on all the raw wood. Put back the Durastain on all areas that were previously finished with same.

I always enjoy helping someone that appreciates it. I am glad to help. As long as have been in the trades, I came to the conclusion long agao that you can't know everything. I wouldn't beat myself up over this project since you can fix it with some elbow grease - you didn't do anything permanent.
I would put the stain on, put the oil on, put the chairs out, and fire up the BBQ and say to hell with it until spring.
Good luck!
Robert
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That's the plan, man; as soon as rain stops and things dry up. I'll have a burger and beer waiting for ya. Keep ya posted. Pedro
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pedro wrote:

I know this is going to turn out sounding sarcastic, but I'm really finding it hard to believe that you didn't do some patch testing before doing the whole deck. Unless you've used any finishing product or procedure before, ALWAYS test on some scraps to see if you like the result. Now I wish I could give you some advice on how to correct the mess.
FoggyTown
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I had six or seven test colors and agonized for days. This red cedar Durastain turned out to be thick and not real workable. As a result,color was different than easily controlled 1 foot brush out. Much more solid than test.
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