Backstory: We purchased our house last summer and had to demo and rebuild part of the deck and pergola (the pergola is attached to and built onto the deck).
The remaining part of the old deck was painted with extremely durable exterior paint. We tried three different types of paint strippers on it, to no avail. Powerwashing didn't touch it. The only thing that worked was renting a commercial drum sander and sanding it off of the floorboards.
The good thing about this is that it preserved the wood beautifully, so on the deck floorboards, there's a lovely grain to nice wood (standard treated pine, but it's in beautiful shape).
The bad thing is that it's virtually impossible to get ALL the paint off of the floorboards (like in the crevices), and obviously since we couldn't sand posts or the pergola with the drum sander, we tried sanding it with belt sanders. We went through probably 50 belts and are on our third sander (blew out the other two with all the use). It's still far from being all sanded.
So we're going to cut our losses and try to work around having to sand down the remaining pain on the deck.
I see two options.
1. Use a solid stain on everything. This supposes that a solid stain will adhere to and cover the paint that remains. I find this hard to believe, but that's what everyone is telling us.
2. Use a solid stain on the pergola and posts (to cover the paint), and a matching semi-transparent for the rest of the deck that has that nice looking grain to it.
I greatly prefer #2. My husband votes #1. Can anyone give us pros or cons to either?