How to Re-paint a Deck With Semi-Transparent Stain?

I have just re-paint my deck in the last weekend. It turns out fine. But I am wondering if there is a better way; then I will do better next time when I need to re-paint the deck.
I have a deck that I painted in semi-transparent stain more than a couple years ago. Because many horizontal area had worn to bare wood, I needed to re-paint the deck with the same semi-transparent stain.
I have tried using a 1800 psi / 1.7 GPM electric pressure washer (bought from Home Depot) to try to use it to remove the stain. But it was WAY too slow to remove stain using that electric pressure washer.
I ended up using 4 bottles of deck-paint stripper chemical (and brush and elbow grease) to remove the stain. This worked. But this was just too much work (one full day just to strip the stain). Moreover, the stripper ran over the edge of the deck and created "runs" along the vertical surface of the deck where I didn't really need to re-paint -- and the semi-transparent stain couldn't hide the "runs" when I re-painted over the "runs". And I had to be careful not to put too much stripper in area where the deck meets the house siding in case the chemical may strip the paint off the siding -- But this also means that I could not completely remove the old stain from the deck near the wall siding, and the old stain marks show up after I have painted over them using semi-transparent stain because the old stain marks are darker in color. Seem like using chemical to strip the paint doesn't seem like a good idea.
I have thought of not stripping the paint. But the stain manufacturer (Behr) suggests us to strip the paint before applying the semi-transparent stain (this is odd because I am under the impression that one of the benefit of using semi-transparent stain is that we can apply stain over stained area).
What should I do next time when I need to re-paint the deck with the same semi-transparent stain?
- Should I rent a gas-powered pressure washer? How powerful should the pressure washer should be for the purpose of preparing the deck for re-staining? Tools rental store is renting out 3000 psi / 3.0 GPM pressure washer. Is it good enough?
- Should I use stripper chemical but use a pressure washer instead of using a brush to remove the weakened stain from the deck?
- Should I light sand the deck using a floor sander before staining the deck and hope that the light sanding can create a better mechanical bond between the existing layer of stain and the new layer?
- Should I simply clean the deck and then re-stain it? I doubt this because I did this once two years ago and the second coat didn't seem to hold up that well.
Any idea?
Jay Chan.
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