Feedback on Deck Restoration Process

This is not about deck cleaning - more wood restoration.

Ok, this deck is a small experimental deck on my buddy’s house. It is rough. It had two coats of deckover put on it. The first coat was a smooth coat, the second had grit in it. I shaved some off with a knife, pretty thick in spots. I don’t have my trailer built, so I used my harry the homeowner 2.7 gpm unit with a 40 tip.

Here was my process so far. Removed screws (a lot for christmas crap), bagged electrical under deck, pre wet siding,masked off around door, light, and siding, taking plastic below deck level. Temp was 50-57 degrees (13.8 C for non U.S.), and varied overcast to partly cloudy. Hit deck with hydroxide, agitated with a deck brush, let sit 15 minutes, and rinsed. Very little removal. Reapplied hydroxide a little stronger 12 this time instead of 8, agitated with brush, let sit 15 minutes (misted once because it was drying), rinsed. A little more came up. It is still tight in a lot of areas, especially end grain, places that don’t see sunlight, and knot holes. I figured I was going to get medieval on it, I mean mechanical, so I hit it with ox, let sit about 15 minutes, rinsed well, pulled up plastic.

I’m thinking I will play with the diamabrush some, and then all my regular sanders. It is getting painted again, so it really doesn’t have to be bare wood. In my painters time I wouldd have PW it, then sanded, then painted. I wanted to experiment with the chems.

Any suggestions to my process? Pics are odd but here they are. My iphone was set to live photo and not portrait so a lot of photos can’t be uploaded.

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I don’t strip decks but it sounds like your mix wasn’t strong enough (you didn’t tell us your mix and how you applied it) and your psi is likely too high.

@Dirtyboy screen shot your live photos of the wooden deck and upload those.

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@TexasPressureWashing this post could easily be mistaken for something else.

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:rofl: :joy: :rofl: edited

My mix was in a pump up, 8 oz a gal first time, 12 the second time. I kept the 40 tip away from the deck except for 2 location just to see what would happen. Not worried about damage, I can repair/replace wood. This deck doesn’t meet code anyway.

Was hoping some of the wood masters would give me some feedback before I go hit it with the sanders @MDA1775 @Historic Everything I read said that deck over is the worst to remove, I figure that this is the nighmare deck for stripping.

Edit: I would go sand it now, but it rained last night and I need it to at least surface dry before sanding. I don’t sand wet wood as it tends to tear. There are methods to sand wet wood, but this isn’t an emergency.

Boy you dove right in on this one. I refuse Deckover jobs, just too much aggravation and too much that can tie you up for far more time than you bid it on. Sounds like this is a learning experience though so… The Diamabrusch will make short work of it. If you haven’t used one, it makes a ton of dust etc. I would suggest getting the vacuum attachment. Follow that with the sander as needed, especially if you’re going back with a solid. You might want to look at Everett Abrams Deck Restoration Plus water based deck stains and products, they fade verses chip, crack, peel and can be lightly cleaned and restained. They act more like a penetrating oil based product than WB.


Thank you. The diamabrush is new to me, do I keep it flat, it looks like it would work that way, and an angle would dig too much/possibly break those blades. Any feedback on dwell times on hydroxide? Dwell longer agitate more often? In some areas the paint bubbled like a stripper should do and in other areas it didn’t crack it. I was thinking next time possibly rough it up with a sander first, then hit it with chems since the surface would be broken the hydroxide could get in and work better, not sure though.

This is an experimental deck, mainly for the chemical usage. If I was doing this for cash, I would likely have skipped the chems and went straight to a deck sander for the horizontals, used a smaller device for the verticals, feathered out chips (flaked out areas), then repainted with a solid. I really wanted to stain this deck with my sprayer, but my buddies wife doesn’t want to see the wood grain. Go figure. She picked out a color at sherwin williams in their superdeck - grey.

This deck was the experiment, the other deck is about 7 times as large and has a pool in the center. I figure experiment on the smaller one then tackle the big one. By the time the other deck is ready to be done my trailer should be ready. That deck is for his pool business, coated the same way two coats deckover, first smooth second one with grit.

Just as a discloure, this is being done for free because he is my friend and additionally for the marketing. He sells a lot of pools, partially in ground, and they all have decks around them. He spent a lot of time helping me at my house when I added my addition, he and his two boys. This is not even close in comparison to recompensating him.

I think I typed a novel now.

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Yes, keep the Diamabrush level. It takes a little getting used to but if you’ve used a sander not much of an issue and it makes short work of removing coatings. I practiced on a couple of boards and then went at it with no issues that an orbital sander didn’t smooth right out. The bigger challenge will be railings and spindles. Deckover is an elastomeric coating and it is very chem resistant so mechanical removal is often the best option.

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Ok, so today I go back and get a little medieval on that deck.

32 minutes into using the diamabrush it loses a blade, what the heck, I find the blade, but am missing some type of clip to hold it in place. Call sherwin williams where I bought it if they have replacement blades…nope. Call another sherwin williams farther away, wait on hold… nope. Go to amazon…10 dollars more for replacement blades than the whole brush?!? Well, seemed to working well for 32 minutes, that is over a dollar a minute to rent it.

So I went back to what I know, belt sander, random orbital, scrapers. It is now about 75% stripped to bare wood now. I’ll post pics. Wrote an email to diamabrush will let people know what they have to say.

Since I am experimenting on this job, I am going to hit it with chems again to see if a partial strip will let the rest melt off like butter, not crossing my fingers though. Here is a pic or two for your perusal.

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Looks good and I’m late to the party but Prosoco ‘Heavy Duty Paint Stripper’ or "Fast Acting Paint Stripper’ are my go-to’s. The heavy duty goes through something like 10 layers of paint but it takes time for reaction; 4 hours + of dwell time and it can’t dry onto the surface. Most distributors that carry the product have free samples they will give out so you can test and see what works best for your scenario.


Thank you for your feedback. I am starting to think that the traditional “PW” ways of stripping a deck are no good for this deck over, and I need to think like a painter. I am thinking thick gel/paste strippers are best, as water based will run off verticals and underneath areas. I will look into that prosoco. Do you know what it’s active ingredient is? sodium or potassium hydroxide? Nevermind SDS says potassium hydroxide. But it also says this Dipropylene glycol monomethyl ether, which I now have to look up. I am also wondering what chemical would help drive the hydroxide through the skin of deckover, maybe that it what this other chem does…

Both of those strippers are a gel/snot like consistency. They are really nasty but incredibly effective and expensive. I still have a very faint scar from a few years ago I was wearing shorts and some HD Paint Stripper got on my leg. I didn’t notice it until I got the “acid itch”. If you’ve gotten acid on your skin before, you know the feeling. I grabbed a rag and wiped off the drip on my leg and a few layers of skin came off with it.


Yeah, kinda did that one once. I have some marine grade stripper in my shop, I haven’t touched it since I was removing 7 layers of paint on top of varnish on solid wood doors I was salvaging. It melted that stuff, and it was gumming up belt sanding belts in no time. Maybe I will experiment on a piece to see.

Thanks again. I wore glasses, a mask, and gloves, when that diamabrush broke on me and the piece actually hit me in the face. If I ever use it again, I will be wearing a shield.

I am actually experimenting with using a variable speed grinder with sanding disks at lower speeds to see if I can get the fast action strip without burning the wood. THis deck is going to let me try out so many things. For his larger deck we are absolutely getting a deck sander, and I’m thinking 36 grit to tear through that crap, I’m almost tempted to get a drum sander, that deckover is utter crap, tight in some areas peels off like a banana peel in others.

Update today 3/16/20:

Diamabrush contacted me about their product losing a piece withing 32 minutes of use. They apologized and are sending me another unit with a dust shroud.

Can’t say enough about a company that will respond to a customer, and is willing to stand behind their product. I will see if the next one holds up, but I will be wearing a shield this time though. Who knows, maybe it was a fluke.

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Sorry that happened, not my experience. You have found out why I walk from Deckover jobs. It is crap product and you will lose your butt dealing with it.


Thanks. I can see why you would walk away from these jobs. Once I stripped his deck down I told him it wasn’t in that rough a shape to use that crap on it. We used to paint together, but he has no time for painting during pool season, non stop from now until around labor day 7 days a week, with long days.

I was running numbers in my head so far, it would be at least 600 just to strip it, and that was a small deck. Going through belt sander belts about every 5-7 minutes, and 50 grit disks last 4 minutes or less before a change, plus chem costs, scraper blades, and if I have to bring a generator or water for chems…it might be more cost effective to get a new deck.

@MDA1775 What would you say to a customer that had DeckOver but didn’t want it stripped off but rather wanted it painted? Can you paint it? What would you use?

I honestly don’t know. This is how I would approach it though, paint contracts as it cures so I’d clean a small section let it dry and paint it. Then wait a week got it to completely cure. Hit it with a garden hose using a spray nozzle on jet or whatever they call the pressure setting. If it doesn’t come up i.e. peel you should be good to go.

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After messing with that little deck, if they just wanted a paint over, I would do it like this.

Pressure wash, blow off all loose material. Come back hit all surfaces lightly with a sander (floor, belt, random, pole, hand) to scuff up existing paint (so that the next paint will adhere better). Blow it off with a backpack blower. Feather out any bad areas, blow or vaccuum that up. Paint, dry, recoat (depending on paint you pick).

That sounds like a lot, but it really isn’t, standard painting. I would write down, upfront, it won’t look great, but it would be serviceable and cleaner. I would also write down that the paint is likely to strip off again (they are choosing not to prepaare the surface properly). I am going to “help” a friend prepare his deck next week (if the weather complies) I am not allowed to work on decks now due to the gov shutting down construction in my state.

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