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drush

Need help on ugly deck...

Question

I've been reading the posts here for the past month or so & have done a few jobs for family, friends & of course cleaned my own 400 sq. ft deck. I have an opportunity to work on a deck that was built about 20 yrs. ago, had been painted white approx. 5 yrs ago & the (vacation) HO's want it to have curb appeal again. It is PT pine, approx. 1200 sq. ft ( i added the rails & steps too) w/ various mold & chipped paint on traffic areas. I told them if I could do it, I would... if not, i would refer them to someone who could.

Would like any advise on strippers, cleaners, etc..??? I gave an estimate at $1.55 sq/ft. to JUST clean it & $2.60 sq/ft. to strip & clean. Did not quote to seal/stain, but may throw in for an extra 25-30% if they are interested after the HARD work is done. what do you guys think..?? I really want this job to add to my porfolio & am sure there are plenty of HO's in this resort area that need work done also.. SOOOO many grey decks in this vacation/rental development. thanks for your input... david

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This is one of those decks you run away from - especially if the homeowner just wants to make it nice for selling purposes, definitely not the ideal customer that wants to spend money. I have heard $6/sq. foot for this kind of restoration isn't unreasonable, due to the intensity and cost of materials to lift that latex off the wood.

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Thanks P.P. this couple just bought this house 2 yrs. ago & the house rents very well during the year for them, 35 out of 52 weeks.... they don't want to sell, they (she) knows it looks bad & didn't bat an eye when she saw it could be at worse, a $2600 job. it's just me (& my wife helping p/t) doing this, i have time on my side as i'm just starting & waiting out the elements here in NW NCarolina.

As i mentioned, there should be another $800 ( I can sell them on sealing)when they see what it could look like.... Am willing to put in 5-12 days to get it done. I also told her that she will need to have it maintained at least every 2 yrs.. (repeat biz. here) Willing to work hard to get it done, cuz this resort area has LOTS of $$$ coming in every week, especially the spring/summer months. Thanks again for your input... david

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David,

As long as you manage her expectations (20 yr old painted wood could turn out reeealllly bad), you might be okay on your pricing for winter work Temps are something to keep in mind with your chemicals though and with that much paint, you're going to use a lot of some product or have to go with some really expensive stuff.

It is one helluva starter project! Paint removal is at the very top of our OH NO list :) What's on the other side of those benches - I've been to the houses up there...usually the other side of deck railings is a lot of AIR!

Celeste

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You said the "P" word!

Wash, sand as needed to even out areas that are flaking, peeling, etc., then PRIME and stain with a solid. This is not an easy job....and you can forget stripping it...you need a paint stripper and that is nasty even dangerous work. If you decide to do it, wear PPE.

Beth

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drush - your best option here might be to replace wood, rather than strip it. A drum sander will do a decent job of removing the paint from the decking - use a sanding belt cleaner often on it! - but removing paint from railings, balusters and anywhere two pieces of wood meet is truly labor intensive. If there are several different kinds of paint involved here (ie - polyurethane AND latex floor paints) then keep in mind that no one chemical stripper is truly effective at them all. An infrared stripper and lots of scrapers has proven to be much more effective in such cases for me. Whether you decide to strip paint, replace wood or do both, you will be spending a good chunk of that $2600 on materials and/or equipment!

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thanks all... CPW, she has been properly warned/managed & told there could be minor damage in some spots due to age... also, she said that if you can't see it from the front, don't worry about it. Thanks Tess, willing to some sanding, but that deck would probably cost her $20,000+ to replace & i'm willing to do it for the work it may bring (... it is a 3 sided wrap around deck w/ a lower, carpeted deck w/ jacuzzi.

celeste, actually the pic of the back deck is one she wants done next year because it doesn't have as much paint flaking...included front deck pic, but covered w/ some snow... other pics illustrate the condition of front deck area.... yes, BIG air from that deck & doesn't want the back side of bences done.... WHEW !!! she wants the front entrance deck, (left) side walkway & steps down done. Paint seems to be consistent... didn't quote job until march/april so may have opportunity to do it in stages... she's aware of weather here...

beth, thanks for your advise.. let's say i do the job, what kind of stripper/cleaners/ neutralizers/stain/sealers would you recommend..??? have used painted on "gel" type, but not crazy about them... would prefer something to spray, dwell & low pressure wash off. Any ideas or suggestions..?? I'm not opposed to making an investment in chem's that could be used for other jobs...this could lead to some other nice jobs ... tried to cover it all....thanks all, david

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If it is paint, you have a challenge to remove it. For the money, your best bet is to wash it thoroughly to remove as much paint as will readily come off. (this is mostly going to happen on the rails and steps not covered by the patio roof. Then, when dry, go and prime all the bare areas first and let dry. Apply a second primer coat and a first coat over the existing paint. When dry, apply a coat to all the primer only areas. Let dry and then do the whole deck. This will help to level the paint and give a better result. You cannot guarantee the work due to the lack of a complete strip. But this is a cheaper alternative than trying to strip the entire deck and less hazardous to the potential renters. This is not the best way to do it, but once paint has been applied to a deck, you can't go back to 100% clean. $2.60 will cover you on this option.

Using Eacochems products (Stripsol & Stripper Cream) you can get 98% stripped with the understanding that it may not get it out of the cracks and charge $3.20/sqft, apply a solid stain and still make some money on it. But I doubt they will want to part with the dough.

Rod!~

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I had the deck from hell 2 years ago. It was 400 sq. ft. of hell. it was a cedar deck with heavy duty grey marine paint on it(2 Coats). I had no idea what I was getting into. I used every kind of stripper on the market. Took hundereds of dollars in strippers and labor. And about 5 stripping attempts to get the paint off of the deck.Then a day of sanding. What a mess. Your picture reminds me of that deck. I would also pass. Latex on a deck can be tough to remove. And you will surely be sanding the whole floor. Not a money maker at all. Plus you have screening which would almost surely get damaged from sanding. Just leave it to someone else.

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hey celeste.... no, but there are plenty like it there.... this one is a property in Fleetwood Falls (near the New River) just on the Ashe Co. line...

thanks D.P. it's not cedar, but standard PT wood that she/they just want cleaned up... any options to the job without going extreme...?? would like to be able to offer alternatives & keep the job...?? she knows the situation of the deck & just wants it to "look better"..... this could be a good referral situation.... NOT to be painted again, just pert'ied up a bit at best.... am going back to take some better pic's tomorrow.... willing to learn... thanks, david

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What do you need to know about painted decks?

Hello David, welcome to the board. I will cut to the chase of what everyone has been subtly trying to tell you.

There is absolutely no way, in the reasonable realm of being a professional, that this job can be done for the money you are talking about. Wanna take that as a challenge? Three weeks after you start this project you will be about halfway done. You will have gone to Home Depot 20 times for differing chemicals, sandpaper, tools, scrapers etc and probably spent as many sleepless nights wondering how the hell you are going to finish this thing. You are going to be beyond frustrated, the homeowner is going to find you incompetant by that point and we will say, "whatever happened to that David Rush guy that posted about stripping paint?" In the meantime you will be at some desk job babbling about methylene chloride burn scars that just won't heal. When you get done the strip job from hell using every caustic known to man, you will have exposed a ton of rotted wood. If your skills allow and you haul a load of wood to replace floorboards and rails, you will then have to figure out how to remove the paint from the intersections of the spindles and top and bottom rails. Three days later when you are done sanding with a Dremmel and your back and feet are killing you from being suspended from a ladder, the deck might be ready for a semi-trans sealer. I say might because you are still going to have spots where you just cannot remove the paint. By this point, if you haven't fled for another state, there is a possibility you may still have to go with a solid stain (paint it again).

Think this is one for the portfolio and future work? Another pipe dream. The neighbors will have seen you coming and going from this jobsite 25 times. Trust me, that will not inspire anyone to hire you. Every wood pro out there has tried to tackle this type of job once in his/her career as a woodie. There are far better jobs (both paying and satisfying) out there that will help you build a portfolio. Even if the job came out perfect, a homeowner looking at a portfolio will not be able to appreciate what went into making it happen. What will you explain as a lead in to the picture? Here is a job that in my inexperience I took on and it took me over a month to complete and I lost my shirt on it, but look how nice it looks?

I know it may seem like I am slamming you or questioning your competance but you need to know what you are getting into. I would gladly supply you with some good pictures for your portfolio before I would suggest to you accepting this job.

STILL INTERESTED?

Okay, if you are still reading this and aren't scared away then you must be serious. There is a way to tackle this a bit more effectively and safer. Its still going to be a very long and difficult job but here is my advice for the safest and most efficient procedure on this type of job.

1) Get some of this stuff Franmar Chemical - Environmentally Friendly Cleaners and Removers at $260 per 5 gallon pail delivered. You'll need 15-20 gallons (allowing for areas you will have to treat twice)

2) Mask everything you can underneath the deck because you are going to have a mess.

3) Apply the stripper with an industrial airless (521 tip). You're looking for about 1/8" thick coating. Apply your stripper in the evening to allow for overnight dwell. If its real hot out or middday, you are going to have to cover the whole deck in plastic. I recommend a 12 hour dwell time. If you don't have access to the airless, factor in the time to hand paint every inch of this deck with gel.

3) Wash 1000 psi, cold water. Re-treat areas where paint is stubborn.

4) Return on day three to wash again and thoroughly remove any remaining paint and stripper gel. Clean up the mess. Take your measurements for any wood that needs to be replaced. I have found painted deck always have some degree of rot.

5) All to dry for 3-4 days.

6) Return with random orbital sanders (60 grit paper) but be prepared to spend a long time hand sanding rail system and spindles. Buy yourself a Dremmel (which is like using a water pic as opposed to a pressure washer, but remember.. portfolio pics, right?) Replace any wood that needs to be.

7) I would wash the whole deck again with sodium percarbonate. This will remove all remaining mold spores, ground in dirt and sawdust. It will also allow any new PTP from repairs to be chemically aged so it will accept the sealer a little better.I would then follow that with an acidic ph Balancing as oil sealers prefer slightly acidic pH balance.

8) Allow to dry again for 3-4 days until wood has gotten to 12% moisture content. Use a moisture meter to test.

9) Apply a parafinnic oil based sealer like Baker's Gray Away, Ready Seal or TWP 200 series. I'm guessing you will need three coats for maximum coverage and conditioning. The wood will probably take about 16-20 gallons.

There you have it. How we would do a full restoration. Allowing for the occasional rainy days, your inexperience, and lack of labor force you are probably looking at 2 weeks from start to finish. Material cost will be about $1300 (not counting lumber) on the high end.

Factoring in height and D-O-D, I would bid this job stripped and sealed at $8000 plus $6 per LF for repair work. It would take two guys 6 days.

One thing you are gonna learn in this business, David is to not count chickens before they are hatched. Even the best job with meticulous attention to detail could land you $0 in future work. You have to bid every job to make money or you will be out of business in no time.

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Wow Ken tell us how you really feel...:lgwave:

I wouldn't even touch that job and i've seen just about every kind of strip job there is in my 10 yrs of wood restoration.You just have to know when to fold em! I would much rather clean and seal 3 jobs for the time it will take me to strip that nightmare!

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RUN FORREST RUNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It's not worth the nightmares it will give you.

Ken you are wrong buddy...........I personally have never taken on a painted deck,I'm krazy not stupid.Heck,I won't even touch and unfinished deck anymore unless the HO has some really deep pockets.I do enjoy torturing the HO with the bids though.

I bid a deck yesterday that is 3 months old,970 sq ft total and the bid was $2.65 sq ft with a clean and stain.

The sweetest words I ever heard came out of the HO mouth."I'm sorry that is more than we want to spend,my painter said he could do it for $300."

I did get his house,roof and driveway though.

Drush print out Ken's response and slip it in the front cover of your Bible.It's wood restoration gospel.

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Howdy Mr. Fenner :cool:

I'll take my 2000 Lft of 8'5" cedar fence i'll stain in 2 days rather than spend 1 week to strip that beautiful deck!

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Leave it to Ken to take all the fun out of things. Drush - I made a posting of a door I refinished in this forum. And I stripped one side of one door to perfection and put two coats of spar varnish. At $40/hr - it was a $1200+ job! Your estimate for that whole decking would get both sides of that door restored. Ken mentioned about counting your chickens before they're hatched. I did an interior job where I cob-blasted 15+ doors and baseboards of their 10 coats of paint - interior mind you. Ripped down 3 ceilings and veneered plaster, stained, varnished, sandblasted radiators, Ended up being 525 hours of labor that I got paid $8200 including materials. You do the math - and 4 years later I haven't landed one job from it and I am still paying off a loan for equipment I had to buy to do that job. Equipment I haven't used since. Well at least I taught myself how to veneer plaster on that job - oh, yeah - haven't gotten any plastering jobs except for one bathroom and one kitchen and my own personal stuff. What does Kenny Rogers say...you gotta know when to fold 'em, know when to hold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run!

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Cover it with 3/4 tongue & groove plywood and fiberglass the entire deck, any color you want. Replace the rails and spindles with vinyl. In the end it will be cheaper and outlast anything else you do. We do them all the time on beach front houses.

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This is not one of those jobs to "cut your teeth on" as stated before many have been there done that.

If you have good carpentry skills, there is an opportunity to do some nice work on this, but charge accordlly. The wood work should be around $15 to 20 per sf (remove and replace wood). The rails and probally some of th floor.decking will need to be replaced. Then you add in stripping/removal of paint (MPITA) but can be done. Definitely looking at some major elbow grease, sanding and rework. Some of the stuff would be easier to remove and replace with new than to try to strip and clean. It can also be less expensive to all involved.

Lot of good advice in above posts, far more experience than I have...approach carefully and have a rock solid contract if you move forward.

Good luck

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What makes a paint like that so much different than a film forming sealer such as the Behr solid "stain"

I may be mistaken, but I thought I've read that many of y'all will strip the behr solid with some HD80 and get it all off. Would it not have the same effect on this white paint?

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Latex Paints and solid stains are two different animals and depending how long the coating had been applied they are both diffucult to remove.I never said it couldn't be done but you could lose your A$$ by how long it takes.

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