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Primer Cedar Deck then Solid Stain

My deck is 2nd story and 90 feet long with varying widths. I replaced the CCA with Cedar 2 years ago. I solid stained it after waiting 6 months for the wood to dry and cure. The stain peeld wherever there is grain in the wood. The knots held the stain. It only happened on the horizontal surfaces. I sanded the boards by hand and reapplied stain and it peeled where the grain in the wood is again. After sanding could I prepare the cedar with a Solid Cedar stain to prevent peeling. My stain is flesh colored to match the trim on the house and the ballisters look good just the deck is plain cedar awaiting a color that will adhere and match. This is an ongoing problem and short of having a deck fire I am at a loss. I sanded because the chemicals that "treat" wood are too harsh and would cause damage to the lower windows walla and flower beds and lawn below. The sanding was suggested as to remove the milling film that did not come off in power washing.HELP!

Re: Primer Cedar Deck then Solid Stain

I don't think there is a primer for stain, I would not recommend a solid stain for a flat surface, pick a water based or oil stain that is made for flat surfaces. your local paint store should be able to help.

Re: Primer Cedar Deck then Solid Stain

I used an oil base solid stain manufactured for flat surfaces on all flat handrails and floors and stair treds, the verticals were all done with the same color recommended for vertical application, yet the stain peels along the grain in the wood.

Re: Primer Cedar Deck then Solid Stain


There are two reasons for peeling of paint/stain from wood - bad adhesion or moisture. In years past, a new deck would be allowed to sit unprotected for at least a year, allowing the rain and sun to open up the wood grain. Mill glazing prevents the paint or stain from penetrating deep into the grain. The deck will look fine, but fail within a year. Sanding, especially with a belt sander, can itself cause mill glaze as the heat and polishing of the belt seals the wood grain.

The construction of decks can not help but allow moisture to enter the wood. There are dozens of butt joints which cannot be sealed after the deck in built. There are thousands of face nailed or screwed fasteners. Screws are often over torked and form little craters in which water sits. The decking sits on joists which rarely get painted/sealed during construction. this allows water to pass up from the underside. Rarely are the manufacturers advice followed as to staining/painting the underside of the deck. Have I discouraged you yet? :)

Once moisture gets into the wood, during the heat of the summer, it forms vapor pressure (ja, steam!) and pops the poorly adhered stain or paint.

But to the point. What should you do now? I personally would again sand the deck to where it looks presentable and then let it weather for a full year. Thoroughly clean it in spring and then re-stain it, being aware that periodic maintenance will be a recurring thing. Cedar is one of those woods which is inherently rot resistant. If kept clean, it will last just about as long as when you conscienciously do all that staining or painting. Staining is largely a matter of esthetics in this case.

If it is any consolation, I live in the Pacific NorthWest where it rains almost daily and temperatures remain for the most part above freezing, followed by summers which are hot and dry - conditions which are terrible for exposed wood. When I moved to Oregon several years ago, I elected to pour decorative concrete rather than build a deck. I have worked on too many decks over the years to want that maintenance as I grow older!

Finally, I would consider an acrylic stain over an oil based. Acrylic is much less prone to fading and oxidation. It also breathes better than oil, allowing what moisture which has accumulated to pass on through the film without popping it.

Re: Primer Cedar Deck then Solid Stain

Finally someone that can explain my problem. Thank you sincerely for taking the time to set me on track. Of course I would not stain the deck if it was not for my wife wanting that matching color. I know what you mean about nobody painting under a deck, most decks are closer to the ground and virtually impossible to get to. I wonder if I was to seal the underside with stain and then wait for awhile before doing the topside if that would help? Really appreciate your help on this. Your weather is far wetter than ours but our cold weather following rains seem to do the most harm.

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