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My brother bought a house with a deck earlier this year.

Recently, he noted that it doesn't appear to have been treated with any kind of sealer in quite some time, if ever.

He decided to pressure wash it, then apply stain and a sealant.

After he pressure washed one section, he noticed that the wood underneath the old stain had begun to rot. He doesn't want to apply new stain and sealer over soft/decaying wood, so he's now sanding it down, inch by inch.

At this rate, I figure he'll be done sometime next year (tongue in cheek).

He's getting somewhat frustrated, but doesn't seem to see any other solution.

Do any of you have any other suggestions?

Thanks, mg
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If the wood is old and gray, he might try bleaching it with oxygen bleach. That will restore the new wood color, they say. That could make it easier to match if he finds he needs to replace some pieces.

The best known deck sealer is probably Thompson's Water Seal, but it is reportedly not a very good coating. It does not last long. So retreatment every few years is necessary.

There probably are better sealers out there. There certainly is better wood protection technology.
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After he pressure washed one section, he noticed that the wood underneath the old stain had begun to rot. He doesn't want to apply new stain and sealer over soft/decaying wood, so he's now sanding it down, inch by inch.

I would walk away from it until Spring then plan on tearing off the old boards, check the framing for soundness and then lay down new decking.

Scott
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I would walk away from it until Spring then plan on tearing off the old boards, check the framing for soundness and then lay down new decking.

That's what I did a few years ago, but the guy before me bought himself a few years (just enough for me to buy the house) by replacing about 5 pieces of board and sugarcoating the rest. I'm sorry, staining and sealing the rest.

It may be that you have a couple of bad boards because they cupped the wrong way, held rainwater and rotted out, while the rest are fine. Otherwise you're probably looking at a whole bunch of boards which have not been well tended for the past 20 years, and some are showing their age a little earlier than others. Within a few years you may be in for a complete overhaul, which is what I did (and what Scott is saying.)

Thompson's (to jump back to an earlier post in this thread), I am told by those who supposedly know, lasts about 3 months; it is a "top coat" of paraffin which wears away due to rain, snow, sleet, heat, or just time. There are better ways to treat your lumber.

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Much also depends on what kind of wood you have.

I replaced a wooden stairs a few years ago. It was abt 15 years old, made of treated lumber.

Closer inspection revealed the lumber was fine. But it was held together with screws that had corroded away.

Redwood or cedar must last a long time too. But if made of soft wood, five years might be about as much as you can expect. Even if not in contact with the ground, dry rot gets 'em.
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I suspect, as it sounds like you do, that your brother is wasting his time sanding the wood. I agree with the poster who said wait until spring and then replace the deck boards, after checking to make sure the ledger, joists and fascia are solid -- because he might have to rebuild the deck. How is the deck supported? Cement posts or wood? Those supports should be checked as well.

But if he's really lucky, he might be able to get away with replacing the deck boards. I've used Thompsonized 5 1/4 deck boards that have been treated all the way through the wood. If he uses deck boards like that, he'll need to leave them exposed to the elements to cure before applying a sealer, at least 30 to 60 days. So spring (after the rains) would be the best time to do that.

elizabeth
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I didn't mean to be so short in my last post. I was taking a break from mucking out my road ditches. (one of my all time favorite things to do)

The problem with old decking is the boards tend to rot first on the underside where they come in contact with the framing and the penetrations from the fasteners just speeds up the process. So if the top side is showing rot there is a real good chance that it's a whole lot worse underneath.

Untreated decking has a shelf life no matter what you do to the top and eventually it has to be replaced. I think your brother is trying to run up a rope here and all his hard work is just going to disappoint him.

Scott

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Note also that pressure treated wood is typically warrantied - they will pay the replacement cost if it rots. IIRC, the warranty is about 20 years.
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Note also that pressure treated wood is typically warrantied - they will pay the replacement cost if it rots. IIRC, the warranty is about 20 years.

Who is they?

IF
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Note also that pressure treated wood is typically warrantied - they will pay the replacement cost if it rots. IIRC, the warranty is about 20 years.

Who is they?


The manufacturer of the pressure treated wood.

Here is a link to an example warranty:
http://www.naturalselect.com/warranty.htm
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The manufacturer of the pressure treated wood.

What I really wanted to say is you probably don't know who the manufacturer is unless you built the deck yourself. If you bought a previously owned home, you wouldn't have the paperwork for the pressure-treated wood. If you hired a contractor to install it, you likely don't have any receipts showing the wood manufacturer. You may be able to get it from the contractor but if the contractor used several suppliers, s(he) may not have any documentation when any problems crop up several years after installation.

IF

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I replaced our front porch decking with Weatherbest brand composite decking boards. It was a bit more expensive than pressure treated, but really great to work with - no warping, etc. You can't use it for structural support posts and beams though. As decking however, we have been very pleased with the result.

With regards to sealing pressure treated, we used a Cabot opaque stain on our rear pressure treated deck - if you can get used to a solid color rather than "seeing" the grain and natural wood, it is also a wonderful product. The key was though, we literally scrubbed the entire deck by hand so as not to damage it with the pressure washer.
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so he's now sanding it down, inch by inch.

Nothing wrong with doing this. Either it will work out OK (and extend the life of the desk a few years) and be a nice multi-weekend project -- or -- it will be an utter waste of time and the experience will last a long time.

BUT. Speaking of decks and pressure treated wood. I heard about a change in the formulation of the treatment being allowed for residential use. The new chemicals, are now "safer" for humans but corrosive to some fasteners.

Here's a link to some info...

http://www.stainless-fasteners.com/pressure_treated_ACQ.htm

Mike
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After he pressure washed one section, he noticed that the wood underneath the old stain had begun to rot. He doesn't want to apply new stain and sealer over soft/decaying wood, so he's now sanding it down, inch by inch.

I hope he is using some sort of respiratory protection. The arsenic-laced dust can not be good for your health.

IF
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The manufacturer of the pressure treated wood.

What I really wanted to say is you probably don't know who the manufacturer is unless you built the deck yourself.


The wood is usually tagged on the end with a plastic tag. Some of these will get cut off and discarded, but it's likely that one or more tags will remain on the wood that ends up in the deck. To make a warranty claim, you need to send some tags and a receipt for the replacement wood.

If you read the Wolmanized warranty, though, it says that only consumer purchased wood is warranted, to the original purchaser only. So, if you didn't buy the wood yourself, there is likely no warranty. Other manufacturers seem to be a bit more liberal.
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