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Restoring A Cedar Deck From Start To Finish

Before After


The homeowners were very unhappy with the weathered and dirty look of their cedar deck. It had taken on an almost charcoal-gray color in appearance. Plain and simple, it was dirty and the original stain had deteriorated!

When the deck was new, a coat of Sikkens Translucent Stain was applied in a color I'm going to guess was 'cedar'. It's impossible to know for sure. It has that orange-ish color that Sikkens is famous for. While the rest of the deck was dirty and grey, there was still a spot under the upper deck that had retained it's original color because a plastic tool chest protected it against the elements. I'll drop a picture of this below because the difference was quite dramatic in appearance.

What happened to the deck to make it deteriorate so much?

Well, the homeowner said the only maintenance they did was  apply a coat of linseed oil on it every year or two.

While Linseed oil may have some good preservative peoperties it does not offer any UV protection against sun damage. It also gets dirty faster because of the raw,oil-based finish.

On the other hand, if they had maintained the deck with a fresh coat of the Sikkens Stain every year the deck would obviously not be in this poor condition. The Sikkens Stain  has  Linseed oil as a component but it also has other chemicals that fortify it with UV protecting qualities.

Think of the Sikkens Stain as a sunscreen with UV protection. The Linseed oil that was used previously is like putting baby oil on your skin and expecting not to get a sunburn.

Again, if you want the luxurious look of a Sikkens Translucent Stain, there should be an expectation of a yearly maintenance coat.


Products & Tools Required For the Job


The decision was made to use Sikkens  Proluxe: 'Cetol SRD RE Translucent Exterior Wood Finish'.The Homeowner chose the Sikkens "cedar" color which is similar to the original.

Sikkens Oil based stain will cover approximately 250 sq feet per gallon. The deck was about 450 sq feet so two (2) gallons was needed for the job. Only one coat is applied with this product.

The stripping process required three (3) Benjamin Moore products:

1) Clean
2) Restore
3) Brighten

To apply the chemicals a 3 Gallon garden sprayer was used with a flat tip. The mixture for each product was exactly  2/3 water and 1/3 chemical. That is a heavy concentration for this product. This was required because the deck was in really bad shape. You can dilute some of these products up to a 6/1 ratio of water to chemical. Drop cloths & plastic were used to protect the grass from the chemicals. You definitely want to use rubber gloves, rubber boots,eye protection, as well as hearing protection when doing this job. A good quality  dust mask is a must when sanding.

The 4th and final step of the prep work is sanding the deck. We used 1/4 sheet Porter Cable palm sanders. The sandpaper needed was 50 grit and 80 grit. The full 8x11 sheets were cut into 4 pieces. I'm guessing that 15 sheets of the 50 grit was used and about 8 sheets of the 80 grit sandpaper.

I purchased a Deck scrub brush from Home Depot at a cost of $18.00 CAD...This brush has a sturdy pole handle that is permanently attached at the base for stability. The brush bristles  were rugged and stayed firm. I highly recommend this scrub brush as it will last for many many years.

 The gas powered pressure washer used was a Storm model with a 'Giant' brand pump. It was set at 2,000 PSI and a green tip was used. The fan width was almost the size of the floor boards (4")

For the staining, I purchased a 6" wide stain brush manufactured by Wooster. One of the benefits of this brush is that the handle can be removed and you can insert a broom handle in it's place. I much prefer to stand up when staining a deck. For one thing it's easier on your knees and back and you also have a longer reach. You can back brush half the deck board in a matter of seconds.This also prevents uneven finishes.

A second paint brush was used to cut-in around the railings. It was a 2.5" (angled) sash natural bristle brush.

Finally a Leaf Blower was used to blow off the dust created by the sanding process. It's faster and does a much better job than a broom.

Step #1  Apply BM CLEAN

As you can see in the 'Before' picture above, this cedar deck was extremly dirty. This required an extra step in comparison to the typical deck stripping process. My paint rep at Benjamin Moore recommended a product called CLEAN. It comes in one gallon plastic containers and can be applied out of a plastic pail or with a garden sprayer. We used a Garden sprayer and chose a flat tip for application. The three gallon garden sprayer was filled with 2 gallons of water and one gallon of the CLEAN solution. This is a strong mixture and can be reduced to up to 6 parts water and one part of the Benjamin Moore CLEAN.

This approximately 22x20 deck had a board running perpindicular to the rest of the floor boards which divided it into 2 equal parts. Our method was to apply the solution to 3-4 of these 10' boards at a time. Allow it to set up for a few minutes and then scrub away with the deck brush. The agitation loosens up the dirt and grime and is then removed with a pressure washer a board a time. The flat tip on the pressure washer was almost the same width as the floor board. It is important to clean the sides of the board too because any remaining dirt or stain will be visible.

Benjamin Moore Deck Restoration products named Clean,Restore,brighten

Step #2  Apply BM RESTORE

The second step is exactly the same as the first step but with a different solution called Benjamin Moore RESTORE. The deck was dry before we started the 2nd step becuase it was baking hot outside. You use the same 2/1 mixture of water to chemical. This chemical will remove the stain still present in the deck floor. Make sure to rinse the garden sprayer clean before adding the restore solution. Unlike the BM CLEAN, the BM RESTORE has an orange-ish color in appearance. It did a fine job of removing most of the stain, but not 100% of it. There were a few areas that required a 3rd coat of restore but the process was quicker.


Step #3  Apply BM BRIGHTEN

The third step is exactly the same as the first two step but the chemical solution used was Benjamin Moore 'BRIGHTEN'. Again, the garden sprayer was cleaned and filled with 2 parts water and one part Brighten. The brightener not only lightens the wood but it also neutralizes the previous stripper solution. As stated before the Restore adds a bit of color and the Brighten will remove any traces of it. you still have to agitate the brightener with a scrub brush and either pressure wash it off or use a garden hose. We used the pressure washer for faster results. After it dries the wood look a lot brighter but we still found some spots of stain that had not come off.

Apply Sikkens Stain

As stated above the stain we used is called "Sikkens Proluxe" which is basically just a slight re-branding of the classic Sikkens Stain. The formula is exactly the same. In fact, the secondary name is still called 'Cetol' SRD RE. The color chosen was "CEDAR".

The weather was quite hot for a typical Calgary Spring day so we stained a 10' section of floor board at a time. The deck has a metal railing so the supporting feet had to be brushed in with a 2.5" natural bristle paint brush. for the rest of the job a 6" Wooster natural bristle deck brush was used. The handle was remove and a broom handle was inserted. The stain was stirred frequently and poured into a plastic Simms brand roller pan. Semi transparent Oil based stain has the consistency of water so you need to be careful not to spill any of it. When applying to a board you hit the sides first with the brush and then fillin the rest. Ten feet of floor board can be stain in a short period of time. it's important not to leave any streaks so it is adviseable to back-brush the entie length before moving on to the next board. The staining only took about 2.5 hours to complete. One coat is the manufacturers recommendation.

One last thing about Sikkens Stain. To maintain this beautiful look the deck should be re- coated once a year, preferably every spring. It's like applying sunscreen yearly to protect the wood against further damage. Two gallons was enough to cover this 450 sq foot deck.



Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD RE Stain image

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