Is Your Deck Stain Too Orange? Here’s What To Do


In many ways, your deck forms the first impression of your house as it is on the exterior. But as many homeowners select a stain and apply it towards the end of a project, their exhaustion and weariness can prevent them from testing the stain before covering the deck. If you do this, you may notice that the deck is too orange.

If your deck stain is too orange, you can fix it by using a stain remover, pressure washer, or a combination of the two to remove the wrong stain. If the stain allows it, you can even apply color over it to tone-down the orangeness.

In this article, you will learn how to:

  • Determine whether the stain can be painted over or needs to be removed.
  • Remove the stain with a pressure cleaner or a stain-remover.
  • paint over the stain if you have to.
  • Avoid facing the same problem in the future.

Find Out if You Should Paint Over or Remove the Previous Stain

The answer to this question is preference-based. That’s why you must ask yourself whether you’re willing to cover-up the wood in paint or you want the wood to be visible with the stain covering it only lightly. Generally speaking, if you’ve used semi-transparent stain, you’re more open to the idea of covering the deck wood. 

The type of wood you use can also inform this decision. For instance, if you’re using pressure-treated lumber, chances are you’d not be too bothered by opaque paint hiding the paint type.

For other homeowners, price and time are important factors in this decision. If you have plenty of time and would like to save money, you should go with stain removal and renewal, while those short on time can just buy the right primer and paint to color over the deck.

If you wish to paint over the stain, there are many resources on how to prime and paint your deck. This article is dedicated to the solution most homeowners will opt for in your situation: removing the orange stain and opting for the appropriate one.

Remove the Mistainted Stain Using a Pressure Cleaner

A pressure washer launches a stream of water with enough fineness and pressure to scrub away loose paint, semi-fresh stain, and other dust and dirt that may have accumulated on your deck’s surface. But before going to the closest home depot to buy one, there are a few things you must consider.

First of all, you must make sure that the deck is not too delicate for pressure washing. If the wood you’ve used is Cedar, for example, you can get away with pressure washing provided you do not use too high a setting and too close a distance.

Moreover, you may want to rent a pressure cleaner instead of buying one as it will bring down the cost of the project. Once you have the cleaner, stand far enough and gradually increase pressure while spraying the deck’s surface. You will notice the stain coming off at around 1220 psi. This setting can vary, and you mustn’t go above the pressure that works. Using more force than is necessary will damage the deck.

Use a Wood Stain Remover To Renew the Deck

If the pressure washing option does not work or does not have sturdy enough wood to withstand high-impact cleaning, you can opt for a quality wood stain stripper. This solution may be time-consuming as you are painting over the stain once with the stripper, then waiting for it to dissolve the stain, and then washing it with a lower pressure stream. After the wood is dry, you then have to apply a different stain.

It is worth noting that in most cases, you will still need a pressure washer. So before buying and applying a stain stripper, make sure you meet one of the following conditions:

  • The wood stain doesn’t come off despite washing over 1000 psi.
  • Wood stain comes off too slowly for it to be practical.
  • The wood is too delicate for over 1000 psi.

If any of the above apply, you should move forward with using a wood stain stripper. Evenly apply the stripper all over the deck. Let the solution work its magic for at least fifteen minutes. Use a plastic card to scrape-test how loose the stain is. You may need to let the stripper sit for another fifteen minutes. 

Upon finding out that the stain is dissolved and loose, use a pressure washer on a low setting, and remove the stripper-and-stain mixture. You may need to gradually increase this pressure till the deck is fresh.

Which Wood Stain Stripper Should I Use?

When you look for wood stain strippers online, you’ll notice that the market is populated by paint strippers. These are too harsh and can affect your deck’s health. To remove stain from your wooden deck, you have to use a product specialized for destaining.

You should use DEFY Exterior Wood Stain Stripper because of its effectiveness and value-for-money proposition. The product has over 160 reviews on Amazon, and many customer reviews include before and after photos of their destaining process with the product.

Make sure to scroll down and look at these photos to build reasonable expectations. If you have used multiple coats of semi-transparent stain and applied the layers without sufficient wait, any paint stripper will be effective at removing the stain.

Apply a Fresh Stain Over Your Wood

Now is the time to apply a fresh wood stain to the deck. Take the right wood stain and use a brush to apply a single layer over the deck. Make sure the wood is covered evenly and that no areas are left uncovered. 

While staining the deck, you must be careful not to step on a stained spot as that introduces unevenness, direct, and even shoe-marks. Once the deck is stained to desire, let the applied solution rest, and grow a stronger hold on the deck. This can take anywhere between 12 to 24 hours.

Make Sure This Doesn’t Happen Again

Do not proceed with the above steps without understanding the factors explained in this section. First of all, you must stain a sample of the deck wood and let it sit for 24 hours before concluding whether the stain is safe to apply all over the deck.

Secondly, you must use the same method of application on the deck as you did on the sample plant. Many homeowners will use a paintbrush to apply the stain to a plank. Assuming the results can be replicated to the deck with just any tool, they’ll use the easier method and opt for a roller. Needless to say, the roller-applied stain comes out in a different shade compared to a brush-stained plank.

Another issue that makes your stain look different on deck compared to the photos on the can is the waiting time between layers’ application. Especially if you’re using a semi-transparent stain, applying multiple layers without waiting 12 to 24 hours will turn the stain too opaque to let the wood’s color work with the stain. 

As a result, you’ll get an orange color. Finally, make sure that when you’re purchasing a stain, use amazon.com, and look at the pictures uploaded by customers. Unlike manufacturers’ pictures, these are unedited and give a complete picture.

Final Thoughts

Staining your deck is a great way to modify your home’s exterior to create a great first impression. However, since this happens towards the end of a project, you may have miscalculated the tint and now have a deck too orange. Here’s a recap of the post to help you fix the problem.

  • See whether you can remove the stain with just a pressure washer or need to use a stain-stripper.
  • Apply stain stripper if required.
  • Gradually increase pressure. Do not increase beyond necessary and avoid going over 1200 psi.
  • Apply new stain once the previous layers are removed.

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