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  #1  
Old 05-24-2007, 12:53 PM
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Default I hate solid-color decking stains!! (quite long rant)

Never go solid unless you absolutely have to! And then I still wouldn't use it!

Last spring one of my big projects was to refinish the deck. I used a power washer to remove as much as the old stain from the previous owners as I could. I also used quite a bit of the acid-based "stain remover" to get the rest (and suffered many acid burns from endless scrubbing). And in the end I couldn't get all the old stain off well enough to go with the clear or semi-transparent finish that I wanted to go with.

I reluctantly went with the solid stain - which is more like a paint, having a 'film' compared to a regular stain that stains the wood. I used Cabot's Solid Color Decking Stain. According to most everyone in the know, they say Cabot is the best stain. CR says so, but more importantly my FIL says so (he's probably more meticulous with things that CR!). So I went out and bought 5 cans of a brown stain (which I ended up not liking the color but we'll get back to that).

Fast forward thru last summer, fall, winter, and now Spring. I noticed some slight peeling here and there but no big deal, just figured it was because I had shoveled snow in some spots of the deck to get to my grill. But then a few weeks ago I went to hose off the deck and clean off all the winter dirt, large areas of stain started peeling off, just from a simple garden hose nozzle!!

I go back to Ace Hardware where I bought it, the guy instructed me to call Cabot. Cabot sends me this 'investigative packet', it was a 2-page questionare, they wanted me to send them sample areas of the peeling, take scotch tape and press down on the peeling and send that in. In short, this is a big deal to Cabot.

After doing all that I got a call from Cabot and the lady went thru all their findings and in short blamed it on the wood, saying it wasn't prepped properly (even though they tell you that you dont need to do anything but apply the stain). They said the wood probably has been worked-over too much and the filaments were coming off, therefore the stain came off too. Anyway, even though it's not exactly Cabot's fault, they are sending me 5 new gallons of stain!! I then go on to ask if I can get a different color since I didn't like the dark brown and she said "sure, just pick out a color and we'll send you 5 new gallons".

Not done yet - I call back the lady after I had a bright idea... since it's only the floor of the deck peeling and not the rails/balusters, I asked the lady if I could use their semi-transparent stain on the floor (in fear of more peeling since this stuff doesn't peel) and continue to use the new color solid-stain on the rails/balusters. She said "no problem" lots of people do that.

So then I get family power washer and start going to work on the floor of the deck again. And some more acid stain remover.... Well, it seems that the stain that wants to come off easily has come off and the areas that are adhering properly aren't coming off by any means. So there goes my idea of using a semi-transparents on the floor because I just cannot get it off enough. So looks like I'll use the new color solid stain on the whole deck. But now I need to go back and prep the wood where the stain is removed; light sanding, primer, etc..

In the end - Cabot's customer service has been impressive. And I'm not saying their stain isn't good, for some reason with the wood it just isn't adhering in spots on the floor. What's impressive is that where it's not coming off, it's really not coming off! So I'm kind of stuck in the middle right now!

Just dont ever use solid stains unless you really want to hide something but you're most likely going to battle peeling for the life of the structure.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:02 PM
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I put some solid stain on, it showed the grain just a little, on SW facing fence, we made the fence from crating lumber from Sweden, not sure the wood type, conifer, low grade. After going through the planer, the stain went on, 5years before the first peeling started. It was some middle of the road quality, oil-based.

I won't be doing it again either.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:08 PM
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Heck at least you got 5 years out of it. I think that's probably slightly longer than average.

I definitely think my problem lies with the wood and not the stain, which is why I'm impressed with Cabot's service for replacing it. I just dont like solid because once you put it on, you're stuck with it. and the peeling that goes along with it.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:14 PM
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I am tearing down the deck on my new house and putting in a patio. Wood decks are just not worth the constant hassle IMO.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:18 PM
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No they are not. My FIL is fed up with his and is going to put in that composite stuff this summer. My best bud's parents down the street put one in too. But theirs looks kinda cheap. I would definitely make sure you shop around and get some nice looking stuff.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:51 PM
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Now I know that I've come to the right place. My house's previous owners had a custom deck installed up against the back of the house. They did a piss poor job, but that's whole 'nother story. The pressing matter here is that every other year I have to strip and sand the deck because the paint chips up after every winter. Naturally, the wife gets on me because it's an eyesore (thus a "high priority project") but every year it's the same old thing.

I don't know if it's stain or paint but stripper doesn't work and it takes lots of sandpaper belts to even make a dent in it. Last time I borrowed my FIL's pressure washer and succeeded in only gouging away huge chunks of wood, so now I'm looking at getting new boards - which is DEFINITELY beyond my abilities but according to a bid I got it will cost me $2400.

BTW - I'm still not clear whether or not the original coat is paint or stain - but there was a layer of some sort of purple primer beneath it that bonded directlt to the wood.

*sigh* It doesn't matter now because I ended up using paint on top of it - which of course peels up even easier. #-o

Crap - where's that beer? drink:
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark B. View Post
I am tearing down the deck on my new house and putting in a patio. Wood decks are just not worth the constant hassle IMO.
Amen!!! our new house has two patios and we are thrilled to not have to worry about a deck!
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:12 PM
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We've got the second story deck thats all natural, doesn't look like its been finished EVER and there is a rotting board and nails sticking up and splinters galore. It'd be pointless for me to try staining it now since its already in such rough shape. I'll probably have to take out everything except the support structure and re-do it. Even the railings are pulling away from the deck. Ah the joys of homeownership, huh?
So, Cubby, I should use a solid stain, right? ;)
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:37 PM
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kwak - I'm right there with you now. Last year after I stripped this I was in better shape than I was now. Now I'm definitely stuck wtih this crap. I am pondering the sander idea, but I'm sure it would take lots of very course paper to get it all off. And I can't imagine the mess I would make.

I just dont know where to go with it right now. Very disappointed to say the least!

btw, kwak, you did come to the right place. there are number of handy dudes on this forum. Unfortunately my specialty is f*cking things up!

TT - yeah man, I think you should install an entire new deck and then coat that bastard in some solid color stain. Hey misery loves company!
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:40 PM
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What about using a sander from the rental store, they vacuum up the dust, you know, the kind for hardwood floor refinishing. Would do a great job, and have the bulk of the main surface done in a jiffy.
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