how to remove solid stain from wood deck

How to Remove Solid Stain from Wood Deck: Definitive Guide

A stain is often used as a term "finish" for woods. They are used to not just color the wood but to also increase its natural appearance. There are different kinds of stains including oil-based and water-based stains.

However, some stains are more solid than others and therefore it is hard to remove them from a wooden deck. The reason includes multiple factors like moisture content outside, weather conditions, or your wood nature.

Stains also form a heavy coat on deck to prevent it from harsh weather conditions and this is another reason for a solid stain. Removing such types of stains is always a challenge.

Maybe you are so stressed seeing your deck stain getting chipped! Or you might be in struggle of changing the stain color with a new one.

Sometimes, regaining the strength and glow of your wooden deck is also needed as no one wants an old dull deck. For the sake of all the reasons, it is important to know how to remove solid stain form wood deck.

Why Need to Remove Old Stain from Wooden Deck?

If stain not removed on time, it will start damaging your deck. You might end up buying new wood and replacing the old one. The reason is that the spilled stain will create bubbles and blisters while completely covering your wood. Your wood will not be able to maintain its moisture content.

Also read: User guideline for a wood moisture meter

Although your wood will become stickier and more prone to mold or mildew. Even in the end, you cannot save yourself by just coating a layer of new stain. As old solid stain will not allow the new one to properly penetrate the wood. The stain will also prevent the coat from getting dry.

Sometimes stain can be removed instantly by simple tools and water. But hard and rough stains require more effort and different techniques. Let us discuss possible easy ways.

how to remove solid stain from wood deck In Different methods?

1. Power Washing

Power Washing

Power washing is an important step for regaining the lost charm of your wood. Using a pressure washer properly will assist you in removing the solid stain from that deck. However, if not used in the right way, it can ruin and completely damage your wooden deck.

A power washer is a strong tool that can even scratch brick but in professional hands, with accurate pressure, it can be kind enough to wash a deck.

It is important to get an appropriate pressure setting and spray tip before starting to clean.

Following are some of the useful tips for a power washer:

  • Try to use the lowest possible pressure.
  • If a wooden deck is made up of softwood like pine or cedar, use a pressure range of 500- 600 pounds per square inch (psi).
  • For hard wooden decks, try to use pressure with 1200 psi.
  • A rotating tip will help to wash the deck more effectively. Try a fan tip with a 40-60 degree stretch.
  • Always adjust the pressure according to its effectiveness on your wood.

For pressure washing a deck wood, start with the lowest pressure of 600 psi and increase it as needed to remove a stain. Hold the trigger in such a way that the wand tip will remain 12 inches away from the wood.

Starting using it in a sweeping motion. Work in the direction of the wood grain while moving your arm back and forth. For an even cleaning off a deck, it is recommended to maintain a consistent distance of the tip from the deck.

There are also multiple deck cleaners available in the market to reach maximum effectiveness while removing a solid stain from a deck.

2. Wood Stripper

Although sometimes a pressure wash will be able to remove stain from the deck. But for an old-chipped stain and old wood, cleaning with a wood stripper is the second step.

A stripper is a concentrated powdered form stain remover that helps in removing all the dirt, mildew, and hard stains from wood. Strippers mostly contain a solution of sodium hydroxide and other surfactants. They can be also used through a sprayer by mixing them with water.

These tips will help you to use stripper in the best possible way:

  • Clean the area and remove all the furniture.
  • Wear protective gloves and avoid direct contact with strippers.
  • Read the instruction of a deck stain stripper and follow every step.
  • Try to test it on a small area of a deck. The reason is all deck stains are different varying from soft to hard.
  • Apply it over 200-400 square feet at a time.
  • Before power washing, thoroughly check if the stain is slippery or not.
  • If possible, try to hand scrub stain before washing.
  • Repeat the process on the area from where the stain didn't come off.

Apply the stripper with a brush or a roller on all deck surfaces. While using a water-mixed stripper, use a sprayer. After applying wait for several minutes and let stripper settle properly into the surface.

More time will also allow the stripper to deeply penetrate and break strong bonding present in a stain.

A semi-transparent oil-based stain will take less time to break and a semi-solid stain will require more time. Harder stains like acrylic-based or silicon-based, leave the stripper for at least an hour.

Now after softening stain with a stripper, use a power washer again. This time pressure should be low or moderate.

3. Wood Deck Brightener

Wood Deck Brightener

If the wood deck is still rough and isn't smooth, don't worry. It because of pressure washing and stripper.

Yes! power washing and deck stripper help in removing the wood stain but it will also make your wood look old.

Any deck stripper will darken the deck while raising its PH. Restore wood to its original color by using a deck brightener.

Most brighteners contain oxygen-rich formula and oxalic acid. They are PH neutralizers and maintain the PH level of wood. A deck brightener will lower the PH level by reaching a more acidic level.

Here are some useful tips for applying a wood brightener:

Note: Make sure that the wood deck is wet and is clean from all dust particles through washing and stripper.

  • Apply wood brightener as soon as possible after a stripper.
  • Wear gloves and eye-wear.
  • Always follow the guidelines to prepare it for use.
  • A convenient way to apply is through a pump sprayer. Do not use over plants any aluminum siding.
  • Wait at least 10-20 minutes before rinsing it off. You should see a visible change in the wood color.

Apply a coat of brightener to the surface. It will open the pores of the wood and will also assist you to properly apply your new coat of stain. After applying and covering all the area, rinse your deck with water.

Before starting with a new stain, always allow a dry time of at least 48 hours to your deck. This is necessary because applying a new stain on your deck before 48 hours will not give your deck a smooth and even look.

How to prevent the wood deck from stain?

It is always a time a consuming process to remove a solid stain from the deck. It is easier to prevent solid stain on decks rather than removing stain and then applying a new coat.

Try these tips to keep your wood safe from solid stains:

  • It is important to always maintain your deck by proper cleaning. Remove any extra furniture or tables from your deck that isn't necessary. Take care of wood fungus by properly observing any growing mold.
  • If there is any debris in between the woods, remove it by using a putty knife. This will prevent your wood from rot.
  • Always keep your wood fresh and properly check if it requires any wood treatment. Treating your wood at proper times will leave the surface less sticky when exposed to solid stains.
  • While cleaning deck surfaces with pressure washers, try to avoid any harsh chemicals. Always maintain the pressure as it can also damage your wood surface.
  • While using a deck cleaner, use oxygen bleach instead of a chlorine bleach to avoid damaging your wood.

Taking care of wood is a vital part of the maintenance of a deck. It will also save you from the trouble of heavy cleaning to remove solid stain from the deck.


By following all the steps regarding how to remove old stain from the deck, you can achieve your target. With the proper use of pressure washing and stripping techniques, make your wood look elegant and beautiful for years.

Don't panic over the solid stain as you know now that with a little harder work, these stains can be cleaned entirely. Try to clean it as soon as possible.

Even if you didn't drop a can accidentally and just want to coat a new stain to your wood. Following the above methods will give you the best results by bringing a new life to your deck.


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