How to Remove Solid Stain from Wood Deck- Simple Steps

Stained deck, know How to Remove Solid Stain from Wood DeckWooden decks make a tranquil, chill spot for every homeowner to relax with their families and friends. Imagine those breezy nights with a sky full of stars on a perfectly constructed and maintained deck; it gives you peace. Speaking of deck maintenance, you don’t want to have stray solid stains compromising the beauty of your structure; hence you should know how to remove solid stain from wood deck.

Tape over the nearby siding, wet and cover bushes, grass, flowers around the deck, then pour and spread a heavy coat of stain remover on the stained deck boards. Allow the stain remover about 15 to 30 minutes to soak and soften the stain; using a stiff brush, scrub off the old stain from the deck.

Solid stains do nothing other than making your beautiful deck “ugly.” You should always try your best to remove the solid patches during your maintenance practices and remove them to avoid the discord in the color of your deck.

Why Do You Need to Remove Solid Stain from Wood Deck?

Failure to remove stains on your deck on time can be catastrophic. The stain will start damaging your deck, which can be expensive in the long run, especially if you have to replace the deck boards.

Usually, the stain on your deck creates bubbles and blisters on the surface of the wood, which acts as gateways for water to enter your wood. The continued soaking of water into the wood will weaken the grain and eventually cause rotting and decay.

So, it is essential that you remove solid stains from your deck to help protect your deck and help improve its durability.

How to Remove Solid Stain from Wood Deck 

We already know that the more the stain stays on your deck, the more it is likely to cause damage to the surface of the deck. In this section, I will discuss three ways to remove solid stains from a wood deck.

  • Pressure Washing

A pressure washer in use but How Long After Pressure Washing to Stain Deck?Pressure washing of a deck has proven an effective way of removing solid and “difficult” stains from the surfaces of a wooden deck. As much as the pressure washer would do a decent job on the surface of your wood, you must proceed with caution. If you are not careful while handling your pressure washer, it can ruin your deck.

As the name suggests, a pressure washer, also a power washer, is a powerful tool with the capacity to scratch brick. Even so, in the right hands and with a correct pressure setting, it is effective in washing the wood deck.

Before you start cleaning your deck, you should get the right pressure setting and spray tip so that you will have an easy washing time without inflicting damage to the deck boards.

Here are some tips that you should have with you even as you look to pressure wash your wood deck.

  • Always ensure that you are working with the lowest pressure possible. If your deck is made using softwood like pine and cedar, then a pressure range of 500- 600 pounds per square inch (psi will do the job). In the case of hardwood decks, you can have a maximum pressure of 1200 psi. The obvious examples of hardwoods are Oak and Mahogany.
  • A rotating tip does a great job in the washing of a deck. A fan tip set to a 40-60 degree stretch works well in cleaning a wood deck.
  • Feel free to adjust the pressure of your washer as you see effective but also stay keen not to damage your structure in the process.
  • So, when you are power washing your deck, you should start at the lowest pressure level of 600 psi and give it a gradual pressure increase until you remove the stain from your surface. Ensure that you are holding it with the wand 12 inches away from the surface of the wood.
  • It would be best if you started using your washer in a sweeping motion. At this point, you should know and work in the direction of the wood grains. It would help if you observed a back and forth movement. Ensure that you are maintaining a consistent distance of the tip of the washer to get the very best results.

There are several pressure washers in the market that you can use to clean your wood deck. These tools are different as some use gas and others electric; choose the ones that will work best for your needs.

  • Wood Stripping

Well, pressure washing is effective in cleaning solid deck stains, no question. However, if you are working with old wood, you should consider using a wood stripper.

Usually, you will find a deck stripper in a concentrated powdery form. It is effective in stain removal; it can clean all dirt, molds, and mildews. Strippers, in most cases, have solutions of sodium hydroxide. The good thing about these strippers is that you can apply them by spraying in a mixture with water.

Below are some valuable tips for using strippers for the perfect stain removal on your wooden structure.

  • Remove all the furniture from the surface of your deck, then clean the area.
  • Put on your protective gear, especially gloves. Do not have any direct contact with strippers.
  • Please go through the manufacturers’ instructions regarding the use of the deck stain stripper and follow them to the letter.
  • Test this solution on a small section of the deck and see how it reacts with the wood. Decks are of different wood types, like soft and hard woods, so it would be best to test it out before continuing with the rest of the cleaning.
  • Apply the solution to 200-400 square feet at a time.
  • Before you start to power wash your deck, ensure that the stain is slippery.
  • You can scrub the solid stain using a hand scrub before you wash it away.
  • Go through the same process on the deck section that the stain failed to come out until you get your desired results.

You can apply the wood stripper to your deck using a brush or a roller on all the surfaces. If you choose to use a water-mixed stripper, it would be best if you used a sprayer. Following the application of the stripper to the wood, allow it a few minutes to settle and soak into the wood.

More time allows the stripper to penetrate deep into the wood to break the bond between the surface and the stain.

The time for the bond to break is also dependent on the stain that you are using. A semi-transparent oil-based stain takes less time to have the bond broken, while a semi-solid stain calls for a little more time. The case of tougher stains such as acrylic-based or silicon-based will require that you leave your stripper on the surface for at least one hour.

After the stripper softens the stain, you can wash with the power washer working with low to moderate pressure.

  • Using Wood Deck Brightener

Image of wood brightenerAfter pressure washing and using a stripper, you will likely see that the surface of your deck is not smooth. As much as pressure washing and stripping play a role in removing solid stains on the deck, the two leave your deck looking a little old.

If you might have already known, deck strippers come with darkening effects on the wood and raise the wood levels. You can restore the original color of the deck by the use of a deck brightener.

The major components of a good number of wood brighteners are oxygen-rich formula plus oxalic acid. These components act as PH neutralizers helping to maintain the PH level of wood. 

I have highlighted below some of the valuable tips you should know even as you look to apply a wood brightener:

  • Apply almost immediately after you strip it
  • Ensure that you have your glove and eyeglasses on before using a wood brightener.
  • Always read and follow the guidelines on the label before using the brightener.
  • For the best results, apply the brightener using a pump sprayer. Ensure that you are not spilling the formula to the nearby plants.
  • Give it about 10-20 minutes before you can rinse it off with clean water. After cleaning, you should have a glowing wood showing its original color.

When you apply the brightener to the wood, it opens the wood’s pores, which is excellent, especially when applying a new coat of stain. 

Once you have cleaned your deck, you should give it enough time before you carry out subsequent processes like staining. Usually, on perfect daily atmospheric conditions, it takes a washed deck about 48 hours to dry. Even so, it would be best to conduct a test to ensure that the deck has dried before you can stain.

One way to verify if your wood is dry is by using a wood moisture meterAlternatively, you can do the sprinkle test. Here, you sprinkle water on the wood; if it seeps through the wood within 10 minutes, the deck is ready for staining. If the water beads up, then you should allow it more time to dry.

Will Bleach Remove Deck Stain?

Yes, however, I strongly discourage the use of chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite) or any other product with chlorine bleach in the cleaning of your wood deck! Chlorine bleach is not an option because it blasts apart the lignin or glue that holds wood fibers together; it further removes the natural color of the wood.

Sodium chloride will kill all vegetation around its application area, and further erode the deck’s metal components, such as the deck screws.

Ways of Preventing the Wood Deck from Stain?

Removal of the solid deck stain from wood is not the easiest of tasks. It is time-consuming and expensive in the long run considering the chemicals and tools that you might require for the process. To avoid having to remove stains from your surface, it would help if you prevent the stains from coming in contact with your deck in the first place.

Here are some of the tips to help you attain that feat:

Ensure that you conduct a routine cleaning procedure on your deck; you should also consider removing extra furniture that you are not using from your deck. Observe any mold that might be growing on the surface of your deck and remove them.

Consider the use of mold killing primers before you can stain your wood. Such primers limit the chances of having molds growing on your wood deck.

Remove all debris that might be present between the deck boards with the help of a putty knife. This move will help prevent wood rot.

During your routine deck cleaning, especially with the help of a pressure washer, always ensure that you are not using any aggressive chemicals and maintain low pressure as well.

During the cleaning of your deck, you must use oxygen bleach and not chlorine bleach to damage your deck as a result.


Solid stains compromise the beauty of a wood deck. You don’t want that to happen to your deck, especially after a long, expensive, and tiring work from deck installation to finishing. The sad thing is that sometimes, you have no control over stains spilling onto your deck; it could be accidental or any other reason. Even so, you need to know how to remove solid stain from wood deck.

The best way is always to employ the use of stain remover and a pressure washer to clean and remove solid stains from the surface of your deck.

At this point, I hope you can take good care of your deck and remove all solid stains if any happens to appear on your wood deck. Do you have a question or suggestion that you wish to share with me? Please do so in the comment section below.

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Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.