Ok, actually, stripping my deck. I am a paint contractor, but I am also a homeowner. With a never ending “honey do” list. This one has been on the list for…well, a while. What better time to tackle it than when the truck is already loaded up from wood restoration projects all over Chittenden County this summer.
Whether you are a paint contractor, homeowner, or both, one of the biggest components to pulling off a weekend project efficiently is just literally gathering up all the gear required: pressure washer, proper tips, two pump sprayers, chemicals, supply and pressure hoses, safety gear, etc.
Mine is a rather old pressure treated deck that I last refinished three years ago. Like many that I work on professionally, it had a layer of grime over a worn out coating, with grease stains from the grill, bird dookey, scratches from shoveling in the winter, and a whole lot of slimey green mildew formation on the perimeter where water splashes off the roof onto it. I’d been considering replacement, but I am glad I didn’t because it cleaned up nicely.
Like many of the wood restoration posts on this blog, this project is a two step chemical process: stripper and neutralizer (or brightener). These chemicals are to be handled with care. Personal protection includes a respirator, rubber boots, gloves, eye protection and no exposed skin. This applies to the entire time frame during which you are dealing with the chemicals. Mixing and shaking in the pump sprayers, and rinsing with the pressure washer.
After the deck has been stripped (and rinsed) and neutralized (and rinsed), give it another rinse until you are seeing no more soapy residue in the water running off the deck. Then, it needs a bunch of dry time (at least 24 hours), at which point it can inspected for any final tweaking that may be required prior to stain application. A typical condition to look for is “furring” of the wood, referring to raised grain or loose wood fibers hanging around on the surface of the wood.
It is also important to keep the kids and dogs off the deck during this process. After stripping and neutralizing, the deck is wide open to receive wood stain, or any other kind of accidental stains. Have fun and wash safely.