Do You Have To Remove Old Stain Before Restaining?

Do you have to remove old stain before restaining? Absolutely yes.

While it is necessary for a boar to be covered against external damages, it can aggravate problems by putting a coat on a surface not washed.

The wood should be dirt free, mold-free, and do not have any old failing stains.

The new layer will be absorbed by a clean bare wood surface to protect and perform as expected.

A color pigment not only protects when added to a clean surface, but it also serves to increase the beauty of the wood providing an impressive finish.


Do You Have To Remove Old Stain Before Restaining?

Stain covers the wood from moisture and UV, rot and mildew. They are oil or water-based and translucent, semi-transparent, semi-solid, opaque, or solid.

The color, grain, and texture of wood reveal clear stains, while the grains and the colors hide strong marks but not the texture.

The transparent type will gray if tinted such that UV protection is provided, therefore select one tinted to match the perfect wood tone more closely.

It may seem like a casual move, but it has many advantages:

  • Remove dust particles
  • Certain strippers play a part in mold and mildew killing
  • Enhance adherence between wood and the color.

Stains penetrate and bond to the wood fibers.

If the water beads when dropped on the boards, the grain will not retain the fresh protection layer and will have to be replaced.

Some flecks may be removed, and some do not strap well and need to be removed by sanding.

If you know who is the manufacturer of the substance, follow their advice.

In fact, you do not have to remove the old stain before restaining a new coat. It is not necessary to remove the old coat by applying the same paint and brand to the board.

You should use a quality deck cleaner before reapplying the same type of pigment.

However, it should be assured that the formula has not changed by the manufacturer after the previous use, which could be a problem.

This is also true if the same manufacturer goes to a darker or opaque product.

Nevertheless,  you must clean and use a brightener to restore the pH before adding a new protection layer brand, even though this is the same color.

If you move to a deeper or opaque stain by another maker, you will still need to do the same.

A darker or opaque pigment is the most complicated method for brighter or semi-transparent paint to adhere to.

To clear the stain, you would need to sand and clean the wood before applying a new layer. That is a crucial step to remove old stain before restaining.

The following table shows a simple recoating reference based on the deck condition.

Deck condition Same color and manufacturer Same color but different manufacturer Darker color or opaque (same manufacturer) Darker color or opaque (different manufacturer)
Even wear Use the cleaner on decking and recoat. Strip the planking and stain. Use a cleaner and apply the new color. Strip, brighten, and apply a new layer.
Uneven wear Strip boards, brighten, and apply. Strip deck, brighten, and color. Apply a cleaner to the deck and then recoat. Apply a stripper to the deck, brightener, and then color.
Absorbs water and graying Use cleaner, brighten decking, and restain. Strip and brighten planking, and apply. Use a cleaner and color. Use a stripper, brightener, and then color.
Embedded dirt Use cleaner. If still dirty, strip and apply. Strip the deck and color. Use a cleaner and apply pigment. Use a stripper, brightener, and apply.
Peeling and flaking in traffic areas Strip peeling areas, cleaner whole deck, apply. Strip the boards and apply pigment. Remove peeling stain, use cleaner and reapply. Strip, brighten, color.
Faded or sun-bleached and absorbs water Use cleaner, brighten boards, and apply. Strip boards, brighten, and apply. Use a cleaner and apply color. Strip old off, brighten and apply a new coat.

Note: After washing or stripping, a light sanding with 60 to 80 grit can be required where the grain on the surface lifts or feels furry.

How Can I Know If My Board Needs Stripping Or Not?

1. The solid stain used previously

Use a sharp razor to mark a small light ‘X’ in many spots on high and low traffic regions of your board.

Avoid cutting the wood surface.

After that, use duct tape to cover and rub tightly. Peel the tape quickly.

If you see the flakes with the old layer on the tape, you will need to strip before restaining.

2. Semi-transparent deck stain used previously

Pour a small amount of water on both high and low traffic spots.

If the water bursts into tiny drops ten remain there, it means that it has a lot of pigments, you will need to strip it.

If the water remains in a puddle then absorb in 10 minutes or less, the stripping is not necessary.

What Is Causing The Peeling On Your Deck?

These are two main reasons why you need to remove old stain before restaining a deck.

Deck stains normally peel for two reasons: Application and poor adhesion.

1. Over Application

It is very easy to understand, too much strain on the surface.

Just apply as much substance as the board can consume is enough.

The moisture vapor of the board, which absorbs moisture from rain and snow, needs to pass through the stain when the sun comes out and dries out the wood then escapes.

It limits the moisture from evaporation if applying too much, thus peeling occurs.

This problem is often most apparent in the spring, after winter moisture when the decks begin to dry.

2. Poor Adhesion

This happens when the stain has not adhered sufficiently to the deck.

We can work with many factors that affect poor adhesiveness, but it almost always peels if the paint does not bond correctly to the deck.

How To Restain The Already Stained Deck?

Once the deck is cleaned or stripped and the wood is dry enough, It is time to stain.

Remember, time is the key factor.

Some preparations you may need to remove the old stain before restaining: Take time to read reviews on a quality product to get the best result.

Check the temperature range and drying time on guidelines carefully.

Also, remember to check the weather forecast to ensure the most stable condition.

There are three steps:

1. Cleaning

This is the first and most significant step towards flawless retention.

Allow your timber to dry for about 72 hours after you have finished.

Sweep it down for the final time as soon as it dries.

You will not stain over the particles of dust when you sweep.

Dust prevents proper adhesion between the retention and the wood surface.

2. Sanding & Stripping

If you inspect, you might notice some rough areas.

San these uneven surfaces.

Sandpaper or wood sanders can be used in this step.

Imperfections like peels need sanding as a coating over them would lead to further peeling off.

3. Staining

First of all, you need to know the name of the products you use since it will determine the number of coats you apply.

For example, a semi-transparent stain only requires one single coat using a quality roller, paint sprayer, or a brush.

For the case of solid colors, you will need two layers with the roller or paintbrush.

  • Tape on surfaces that you do not want to color.
  • Select the right brush. The brush is more recommended than the roller or sprayer since the color substance needs to get into the wood pores for a good connection.
  • Check the pigment before fully applying.
  • Apply along the full length at a time and avoid drips or cuts.
  • Brush or wipe off any excess not absorbing.
  • Clean up carefully your tools.
  • Take time for your work to dry before covering kinds of stuff again.

Check out this video on how to remove the old stain before restaining a deck:

Some Basic Rules To Follow When You Need To Remove Old Stain Before Restaining

1. Sometimes, More Is Not Better

This is one of the key concepts to consider when staining furniture.

Applying more and more layers will cause a mess, not a better finish.

The stain most definitely builds upon the surface of your board and forms a film.

The breathability of wood is lowered when that film is formed, which increases the chances of peeling.

Only use the right amount of substance as your board can absorb easily, no more.

2. Get Out Of The Direct Sunlight

Try not to do the coating in direct sunlight or the heat of the day.

This is easy to comprehend. The hotter the surface is, the faster the color dries.

If it dries too soon, you just will not have enough time to penetrate it, and leave it on the surface and make a film, then eventually peel.

Remember to apply the dye in the shade.

Do your project in the morning or late in the day, but stay away from the hot sun.

3. Always Use A Paintbrush

When adding a color layer, using a brush will make a huge difference in your results compared to other tools.

As its fiber work over, the surface tension is broken down and the help to force your color deep into the deck.

4. Buy A Premium Product

The chemicals inside that promote the different performance characteristics such as adhesion, penetration, mildew resistance, UV resistance, etc. all cost money, and almost all of them are very expensive.

Stay away from cheap products if you want a long-lasting protective coating.

Frequently Asked Questions On How To Remove Old Stain Before Restaining Furniture?

1. What Is The Moisture Level Required For Staining Or Restaining?

It is recommended a 12% moisture or less in all timber species and projects to be stained.

2. How Can I Know It Is Time To Restain My Furniture?

A water inspection is one way to test whether your furniture needs to be refurbished.

The surface is able to be painted again as the water soaks into it after several minutes.

You can keep it a little longer if you want to if the color still repels the wash.

3. How Many Coats Of Restaining Should I Apply?

The number of coats required depends on the type of stain you choose.

Transparent and semi-transparent types are 1 coat schemes. Solid pigment requires a 2 coats system.

4. What Will Happen If It Rained Shortly After I Stained?

The rain can make your coating become a gooey mess or turn the stained white (moisture under the film), depending on the time period between application and rainfall.

The color must be stripped off and restained if it turns out as a mess.

When the wood is exposed to the sun and dry out the surface, the white haze will usually go away.

It is helpful to speed up the drying with a leaf blower.

If the haze does not go away after 2 or 3 days of dry weather, then the layer is remaining on the surface should be removed and restained.

5. How Often Do I Have To Recoat?

This significantly depends on the exposure, but usually, pigment fades first (after 12 to 24 months depending upon stain pigment).

Water repellent and wood rot resistance still work, but the color is sacrificial and regular maintenance is required.

Ensure that the deck is clean, dry, and then reapply the color again.


The content above has answered your question on do you have to remove old stain before restaining. If you are trying to restain and give your furniture a new and fresh look, it is necessary to remove the layer of old stain from your deck. If you remove the oil stain layers, the formula should be easy to apply accurately to the wood surface, eliminate easy peeling and flaking.

Further Reading:

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