Our family is trying to repair our deck. Prior to any sort of staining, of course, it was necessary to clean it of first. Afterall, the entirety of the structure was gray, and now it actually looks like wood again.

However, we are concerned that the 6 h.p. powerwasher used was not good enough to allow the staining the longest possible life. A picture is here: enter image description here

The black bits seem to be present just at the location pictured, however, you'll notice there are still streaks of grey on the newly revealed wood color. What I'm worried about is that discoloration indicates places where the new sealant is more likely to fail than it should be due to dirtiness on application.

The service was done by a subcontractor, but the overall project was expensive enough I think we can have high standards for this. Should I be concerned at all about what I"m looking at if this is a done job? I'd appreciate any advice.

(Also, he appears to have forgotten an entire rail.)

  • Kind of hard to answer since we don't know what it looked like before. Did he use and cleaner or did he use a scrub brush before power washing? What was agreed upon for the cost vs. Work? – cano Jul 10 '17 at 22:44
  • Preparing a deck for staining – Mazura Jul 10 '17 at 22:56
  • If I were you, I'd also be concerned about how the deck was fastened to the house and the supports. You'd be shocked how many decks are shoddily constructed. – Machavity Jul 11 '17 at 1:20

I think it looks pretty good. If something was clearly missed you could call them back for those area. I once used a solid color stain on my deck, but I didn't like that once it peeled, it looked bad. I recommend a semi-transparent stain. The gray and black areas will add character. Try a small area and see how it looks before doing the whole deck. I would never paint it or even worse, use one of those "deck restore" products that goes on super thick. Once that stuff starts peeling, (and it will), you would have a huge mess on your hands. Fortunately, all you need is some stain with a good protectant in it.


Those railings need some angle brackets on them. If you're going to stain it, it should be sanded if you're concerned that it won't come out right.

If you call 'em back to do that rail, point out the spots you're concerned with and ask them to hit it again.

IMO it looks fabulous, and is ready for deck paint. Otherwise, now it needs sanding. Be aware though that those grey spots may disappear with another shot or some sanding, but those black spots will never come out. Whatever though, I like character marks like those, especially under stain / polyurethane.

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