New 2010 Deck
2011 Deck: mildew stains and discoloration.
Now according to the man at Miller Paint, refinishing your deck is about a yearly thing. I refuse to refinish the deck every year, and Mike refuses to let our deck weather gray. So we spent 5 solid days over two weekends working on this deck, with the intention that we're going to get it looking so good, and so protected, that we will NOT have to do this again next summer.
First step, remove old stain. We began by pressure-washing to see if that would work. It did, but took an agonizingly long time and really chewed up the wood. Then we tried a stain remover. This was applied with brushes, left to sit for 15 minutes and then THEORETICALLY rinsed off with the pressure washer. This worked about 70%. So after stain stripper and pressure washing, Mike and I proceeded to sand the entire deck.
Sitting for 15 minutes (we could only do about 6 boards at a time, so this took a realllly long time).
Following sanding we used a wood brightener to neutralize the wood pH balance before applying new stain.
Early morning brightened wood
Then it was two solid days of staining the deck (two coats) using those same small brushes. This time we went for a solid stain (maximum protection) made by Cabot. We agonized over using solid stain versus semi-solid. We really loved the look of our bright orangey deck and didn't want to lose the look of the wood. However the thought of doing this every year got me over that pretty quickly and we went for solid in "Mission Brown".
Hope this lasts...