Decks covered in paint stains can cause the landscape of your home to have a diminished appearance. If your deck looks stained and dirty, chances are your family or guests would not want to spend too much time there.
If you are wondering how you can remove paint from a deck before your start staining, then the answer is a simple one! Paint stripper is a great way to remove paint by leaving it on for 10 to 20 minutes. You can scrub it off as soon as it softens the paint.
Those who know anything about decks will be aware that each step is important, especially the preparation process. So there is a lot more that goes into it!
Let us find out more ways to effectively get paint off your deck before it stains and make it neat, tidy, and appealing again!
Figure Out The Kind Of Paint That Is On Your Deck
You can know how to go about the process of removing the paint if you know the nature of your paint. Is the paint latex-based or oil-based exterior paint? Latex-based paint usually stays on top of wooden tiles and is easier to remove than oil-based paint.
If you were not there when the paint was used or did not know what kind was being applied, here is a simple test that you can run yourself that will reveal the type of paint that you have to deal with.
You can put a little rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or an old rag and lightly dab it over the surface of the paint. If the paint rubs off onto the rag, it is latex-based. If this is the case, then you are definitely in luck!
Decide On The Method For Paint Removal.
There are two common ways through which paint is removed from deck surfaces; mechanical and chemical. Mechanical methods can be done through planning, sanding, power washing, or a combination of the three. You can learn more about planning and sanding here (insert link).
Chemical ways to remove paint include the usage of somewhat caustic chemicals that can be applied through rollers, brushes, and aerosol sprays. Chemicals themselves are available in either gel tubes or liquid thinner bottles.
Most of the time, gel-based strippers prove to be relatively more effective. However, they are a bit time-consuming and require thoroughly applying them with a roller or a brush. For vertical surfaces like box sills and rails, gel-based strippers work perfectly because they cling on and not get displaced by gravity.
Most professionals end up using a combination of power washing and chemical application. Whenever you use chemical strippers, be sure to put on protective gears like rubber gloves, goggles, and a dust mask as the caustic, salt-based nature can cause irritation or rashes if it lands on your skin or in your eyes.
Also Read: Why Decking is So Expensive
Applying Your Chosen Method
The best approach to applying your method is to divide your deck into ten ft by ten ft sections and then working section by section. If you’re using a chemical stripper, apply it to the designated area and allow it to work for the recommended time.
When done, a power washer will help clean up. Set your washer on a low-pressure setting and direct it towards the paint. The paint, now softened by the stripper, will slowly peel away. Then you can rinse off your sat-based stripper, so it does not settle.
Make sure that you rinse thoroughly, so the stripper does not leave a stain of its own. If the amount of paint you have to remove is minimal, then a thinner stripper would be more suitable for your needs. The same steps follow with a thinner stripper. Apply and wait for the recommended time.
Then wash off the chemical away. You must use cold water for your pressure washer. Hot water will damage your wood and make it flaky.
Latexes and oil-based paints that stick harder to the surface of decks will sometimes require additional mechanical ways for removal. If your paint does not come off by the process mentioned above, you can try sanding. Using a belt sander is recommended.
Try to work with as little of the wood surface as you can at one time. If it still does not remove the paint stains, planning is the final step. This process is much more lengthy and requires a lot more effort. You will be required to remove the boards on your deck and run them through a planer, one board at a time. Planing will most definitely decrease your boards’ dimensions and volume and should only be used in the most extreme cases.
Cleaning And Storing
When you are done removing paint from your deck, you will be ready to clean it and work further on staining and sealing processes if you wish. However, before doing this, you must wash away any stripper agent residue because it will continue to eat away your deck surfaces otherwise.
To ensure your deck is clean and free of stripper chemicals, give it one final wash. Lastly, you should clean all tools that you used and store them away in a manner that is approved by the EPA (insert link). Dispose of your rollers, brushes, and chemical containers in a proper sanitary way.
Here are some other simple ways to get paint off your deck before it makes a stain.
Soap And Water
You can mix a cup of laundry detergent or liquid dish soap in a bucket of lukewarm water. Mix thoroughly and pour the mixture onto the surface of your deck.
Let it soak for 10 minutes or so, and then scrub the paint off with a nylon brush with stiff bristles (insert link). Rinser with cold and clean water and repeat the process, if necessary.
Due to the nature of your paint, it is possible that soap and water might not remove it completely. In that case, ammonia is considered a stronger removing agent. In a bucket, add a gallon of water and pour a single, small cup of ammonia.
Wait for ten minutes for the mixture to form. Then apply it to the surface of your deck and scrub thoroughly.
Bleach is another good removing agent and often more accessible than ammonia. Instead of using regular chlorine bleach, you could look into an oxygen-based bleach which has numerous advantages.
It does not dry as quickly and proves to do a better job at lightening and removing paint and other stains. It also kills any residual mold or mildew that may have accumulated on the surface of your deck.
Lastly, oxygen-based bleach will also protect your scrubbing cloth and not wear out the fabric and its coloring. To use it, start by adding a cup of oxygen bleach into a bucket of a gallon of warm water. Apply the solution onto the paint and let it settle for ten minutes.
After that, scrub the surface off. It is possible that the paint has lightened but is still visible on the boards of your deck. To completely remove them, you will have to repeat the process or apply a more concentrated solution. To do this, add two cups of oxygen bleach into a gallon of water and scrub again.
Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP)
Trisodium phosphate is a very powerful yet safe cleaner used for many purposes. It is easily available at home centers and hardware stores near you.
To use it, add two parts of water in a bucket and one part of trisodium phosphate. Add a cup of oxygen and chlorine bleach. Mix the solution well and allow it to settle for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Scrub the surface and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. You might need to repeat the process if the paint is stronger and sticks to the surface of your deck.
Commercial Deck And Fence Cleaners
In case none of the methods mentioned above work for you, the last resort is to purchase a deck and fence cleaner from your local hardware store. Use the solution as recommended on its packaging by the manufacturer, and then scrub and rinse the surface.
Some cleaners might recommend using a pressure washer which is okay but be careful, so you do not ruin any decking. Stay at least fifteen inches away from the spray to avoid any bodily damages.
How To Avoid Paint Drip And Staining In The Future
Avoiding paint drops on your deck can be a very difficult task, but here are some solutions that you can use to ensure that no paint ends up spoiling your deck in the future.
While cheaper paint can get the job done, it is most of the time thin and watery, making it extremely prone to running and making drips. Higher quality paints will stick to your brush and your can, providing better coverage and lesser drips.
Allowing Coats To Dry Before Applying Others
To ensure proper coverage, you will need two coats of paint. However, putting them on hastily, one after the other, can create it to drip down and make a mess. To ensure this does not happen, allow your coats to settle for a few hours and dry off before you put the next one on.
Protect the surface of your deck by placing an old dustpan underneath the section you are working on. It will catch any spillage you make while painting and will help you prevent picking up any piece of dirt or debris on the brush you are using. You can also cover your dustpan with a piece of oilcloth to avoid splatters.
If you are painting the doors to your deck, avoid getting paint on any unwanted surfaces by coating your door’s other areas like the handles or hinges with a very light layer of petroleum jelly. This will help make it easy to protect the rounded corners of your door, and the petroleum jelly will come right off at the end.
Nails And Hammers
When painting the boards of your decks, trying to cover your hammered nails’ inner rims can sometimes cause splatters and drippage. To solve this problem, you can try using a smaller brush, normally used for arts and crafts, to really get those bothersome edges. Other than that, if the paint is dripping off of your can, you can make a few holes with nails and a hammer on the bottom of the upper rim of your can, which will allow the paint to drop back in instead of falling on to the surface of your deck.
To ensure you go drip and spillage-free on your next paint job on your deck, you can try sticking a small magnet inside of a metal can (make sure it is clean). When you are not using your paintbrush, you can keep it in the can and attach it to the magnet with its bristles face down until you use it again. This will help the paint fall into the can and not on your floor.
Rubber Band Tricks
If you want to use your paint can and the space that you are working in as clean as possible, you can try wrapping a small rubber band around the top of the open can. It will sit over the top of the can, and you can use it to dab your brush on it to drip back any access paint back in the can instead of the floor.
Styrofoam Drip Plate Catcher
If you are painting directly from your open can, it is impossible to avoid it dripping from the side. If the methods mentioned above do not work, you can try to attach a paper or a styrofoam single-use plate beneath the can with some duct tape or glue. You can tear the plate off and dispose of it after you are done, preventing any paint from falling on the floor.
Fixing With Aluminum Foil
To try and catch drips while you are busy painting, you can try to cover excess space like doorknobs, drawer handles, and other small objects with a bit of aluminum foil. Due to its molding properties, the foil will effectively take the shape of your objects, and any spillage will fall onto it instead of ruining your surfaces. After you are done, you can easily remove the foil and dispose of it.
Tennis Ball Drip Cup
Another way of catching drips is to try a makeshift cup. You can cut a tennis ball in half, and slice opens a thin opening in the lower half of the ball. You can then push your brush through the slot opening and stick the bristles out of the other end. This method effectively stops the dripping of minute paint particles from the bristles of your paintbrush.