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Here's a little prespective from a painter who has stained homes and deck's from Maine to the Rocky Mountain's. I take pride in my work and would much rather see something done right than done wrong or not even done at all, whether I get the contract or not.

Deck's: Stain your deck(s) 1 time, each year for 3 years, then it's ok to stain it every 3rd year. Alot of people believe that 1 application of deck stain will last for years...99% of the time it won't.
This is how I prepare and finish decks that have failing stain:

I like to use Sherwinn Williams Deckscapes stripper....on all horizontal surfaces, handrails and the flooring. I then take palm sanders and go over all areas that have been stripped to remove any existing finish that didnt come up and to smooth the wood.
An application of bleach ( Sherwinn Williams Deckscapes Revive ) is applied and then rinsed off. Allow proper drying time and then apply stain......BRUSH, BRUSH, BRUSH.....the more you work it in the better. I wont recommened a stain (unless you ask) but a semi transparent or semi solid stain is along the lines of my use. NOW..... what about all the vertical material? If your keeping a similar color than there should be no problem using a semi trans or semi solid, but if it is a color change, I like to do all the vertical material with a solid stain, it gives a contrast, 2 tone apperance and looks great. If you would like to spend the extra time (sanding each spindal and all vertical) and money (more stripper and bleach) to do all the vertical materials then feel free but this is extremley cost effective and a great looking way to refinnish your deck(s) the right way. Any question's feel free to get ahold of me.

I recommend the S.W. product for stripping and bleaching because they work great on any product that is on the deck to remove it.

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OK, I'll bite. What type of product do you use on your decks? As a dealer and builder, I've tried various types with limited success. Your method makes good sense, re-coating every three years for the first 3, as I've never had much success with stains lasting very long on decks.
I was using alot of Cabot semi solid decking stain, it's 1 application a year...if you try to do more than 1 application in a year it will repel itself and basically peel itself off with in a few weeks, I thought they were just kidding when I decided to apply a light 2nd coat to an area that had been dry to the touch for 15 mins....it peeled off and I learned! I DO NOT like to apply any product over any failed product....that's why I prefer to strip them down on all the horizontal surfaces. The product works great when it applied to bare surfaces and of course when applied over another stain the durability of the Cabot stain is only gonna last until the product under it fails. It may not seem cost effective the 1st 3 years....but it beats replacing decking after 5 years cause it rotted out!
I apply this product HEAVY and brush the day lights out of it. Give it a shot. Make sure the deck is prepped correctly!

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