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My deck was finished with a...peculiar color many years ago. The finish is peeling up and showing patches of bare wood.

Example of deck boards

What is this? Is this paint?

What can I safely use to refinish this deck, and what sort of prep work do I need to do on it? I want a darkish wood look if I can get it.

Any finishes I should avoid?

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That is paint. And that is paint with no primer applied.

That is good news for you as you don't like the color. It is bad news for your deck, as it has probably logged a lot of water.

The easiest way to remove this is roll on some paint stripper and get a power washer going. You are going to have to access how each board looks after you can see it better and replace anything showing signs of rotting.

Can you stain pressure treated wood (pine)? Yeah... but you are going to have to try some things out and make sure you are happy. The cheapo pressure treated big box lumber from experience does not hold stain great.

However you have an edge because you want it darker and a darker stain might hide the imperfections and hold better. You are going to have to try some sample of stain and just hit small parts of your deck - I would do the decking or tops of railings to test.

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  • I hadn't considered power washing + stripper. What about sanding? It's a pretty small deck but it's (as you might expect) right up against the house. The deck is at least 30 years old so I'm not sure what condition the boards are in beneath the paint. They have been painted at least twice over the years though. Mar 28 at 18:14
  • @supertanker13 - I wouldn't sand if you are staining. Because sanding will leave little strips of the paint pushed/embedded into the wood, meaning stain wouldn't take. If painting then do whatever you think is easiest... doubt sanding will be the easiest FYI.
    – DMoore
    Mar 28 at 23:21

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