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Deck Care Fast & Easy book
Glenn Haege’s Deck Care Fast & Easy explains what to do and what to buy for that four letter word that lives in your backyard; your deck! This book walks you though selecting between woods and man made decking, deck maintenance, brightening, stripping, sealing and staining. It’s free!
Be careful, even the most gentle deck strippers can be dangerous
Desk stripper contact numbers
* Behr Process No. 64 15-Minute Quik-Fix, (800) 854-0133
* Bio-Wash Stripex and Stripex-L, (800) 858-5011
* Coronado Maxum-Prep Deck & Wood Stripper, (800) 883-4193
* Flood Company Power Lift and StainStrip, (800) 321-3444
* OPW Decks Powersolve and DSI Powersolve Injectable, (248) 299-2512
* Performance Coatings Pro-Tech, (800) 736-6346
* Saver Systems Defy Exterior Stain Stripper,(800) 860-6327
* Wolman Products DeckStrip, (800) 556-7737
In a just world, a deck would be like a wall. If it got dirty, you’d washed it every four or five years. If you grew bored with the color, you just put on another coat. Paint on a wall almost never wears off. Walls almost never grow gray from the sun’s UV rays or split from countless freeze and thaw cycles.
Walls don’t. Decks do.
Last week, I discussed deck cleaning and brightening. This week’s subject is stripping.
The first thing you have to know about deck strippers is that even the most gentle is dangerous. You have to protect yourself, your family and your plants and animals when using these products. You cannot baby-sit junior and strip a deck at the same time. Dogs and cats will walk on the stripper and could get burned or poisoned. Kids and pets have to be kept indoors.
Your plants, lawn, trees and shrubs can’t go inside. They should be drenched with water, then protected by tarps. After stripping, wash the tarps and remove and water the greenery again.
You should wear shoes or boots, long-sleeved shirt and pants, goggles and rubber gloves. Some stripper manufacturers recommend wearing a respirator.
All strippers should be applied in the shade and in the cool of the morning if possible. Strippers should never be applied or even be expected to function in the direct sunlight or when the temperature is more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many people like to use pressure washers. A pressure washer is not really necessary and may make the project more dangerous. Most deck strippers are made so that they can be washed away with the water from a garden hose. Most people using pressure washers use too much power and injure the delicate wood fibers. If you must use a pressure washer, use a broad nozzle and keep the tip at least 12-inches from the wood. The pressure washer is supposed to push, not grind, the stain away.
Many deck strippers are based on sodium hydroxide. This makes an excellent stripper, but it is really strong stuff. It can cause severe burns to the skin and eyes.
Some of the strippers that include sodium hydroxide among their ingredients are Behr No. 64 15-Minutes Quik-Fix Deck Finish Remover & Wood Resurfacer; Bio-Wash Stripex and Stripex-L; Wolman DeckStrip; Flood StainStrip; Coronado Maxum-Prep Deck & Wood Stripper; Powersolve Deck Stripper; and Saver Systems Defy Exterior Wood Stain Stripper.
Although all of these strippers are rated to remove oil and latex-based stains, don’t imagine that they are all alike. Each has distinct strengths and weaknesses. For instance, Powersolve has a unique pressure washer grade product, DSI Powersolve Deck Stripper, that is very concentrated and can be injected through a pressure washer.
Flood PowerLift is a milder alkaline-based stripper. It is made for removing old clear finishes and sealers, but is not strong enough for the heavier oil and latex-based stains.
Penofin Pro-Tech is a brand new phosphoric acid-based deck stripper from Performance Coatings. The new stripper will remove latex and oil-based stains and sounds like it will be one of the most environmentally friendly strippers on the market.
No matter which stripper you choose, read the label and follow directions. Many strippers can be applied with a pump sprayer as long as it has no metal parts. Other strippers, like Behr No. 64 5-Minute Quik-Fix, Bio-Wash Stripex and Stripex-L, and Coronado Maxum-Prep Deck & Wood Stripper, should be applied with a roller or nylon brush.
The active stripping period can vary from less than 15 to more than 45 minutes depending on the product used. Since all strippers have to be kept moist during the time they are working, if you are using a product applied by a pump sprayer you have to keep applying the product to drying areas. On a warm day, this could double the amount of stripper used.
Most deck strippers cannot lift the new 100 percent acrylic deck stains. If you have to remove one of these stains, sand or use a stripper recommended by the stain manufacturer.
Conventional clear coats and oil and latex semitransparent stains can be removed with one or two applications of deck stripper. However, the professionals tell me that some solid and semisolid stains may not be not totally removed after seven applications. In all cases, sanding of the stripper is the last resort.
If you have a question, call Glenn Haege’s Handyman radio shows at (866) ASK GLENN. The shows run noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on WXDX-AM (1310) and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday on WDFN-AM (1130) and on 150 other stations nationwide. To suggest a question for his Thursday “Ask Glenn” column, write: Ask Glenn, Master Handyman Press, P.O. Box 1498, Royal Oak, MI 48068-1498 or e-mail: askglennmasterhandyman. com.
Note: This article was accurate at the date of publication. However, information contained in it may have changed. If you plan to use the information contained herein for any purpose, verification of its continued accuracy is your responsibility.