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
My labor of love, which was perfect, is now driving me nuts.
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
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
I was testing with Wolman's stripper with sodium hydrozide. I am
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
Give us a heads up Pedro and let us know how you are doing on this.
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.
Ahhh... the difference between doing it for a living and doing it in a
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
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
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
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.
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
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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