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Will Deck Stain Come Off Concrete?

Deck stain can come off concrete with the proper tools and technique. In this article, we will cover the basics of the equipment, supplies, and techniques required to remove water-based deck stain and the different techniques and supplies required for oil-based deck stain. 


Equipment and Supplies

To remove stubborn deck stain from concrete, a pressure washer will be the bare minimum for equipment. This pressure washer should ideally have over 2500 PSI and over 2.0 GPM ratings. If your pressure washer is below this threshold, you can still attempt removal but you will likely need the assistance of a professional or to rent a better pressure washer. Read our article here for more on Pressure Washer Rental.


For supplies, a basic degreaser should suffice for small spills that are relatively new. For older spills, muriatic acid should be purchased. For oil-based stain, which we will cover in-depth later in this article, a paint thinner (such as xylol or mineral spirits) should be purchased. 


surface cleaning
A surface cleaner on concrete in West Allis, WI

Techniques

For simple, water-based deck stain spills that are still wet, apply water liberally to the area with a hose to dilute the deck stain. If the stain has dried you can skip this step. 


After wetting the area, apply the degreaser to the area. This can be done with a pump sprayer if your pressure washer does not have a siphon tube or a chemical reservoir. If your pressure washer does have a siphon tube or a chemical reservoir, apply the chemical through the machine liberally and coat the area. The degreaser will help to dilute the stain further.


After the degreaser has been applied, pressure wash the area with slow, circular movements with a surface cleaner. If a surface cleaner is not available to you, pressure wash the area with the normal wand and a 40° nozzle to prevent damage. The wand should be a second choice as the concrete will look more uneven. If you are concerned about damage, read our article on if pressure washing can damage concrete.


Repeat these steps until the stain has been removed. If your deck stain was oil-based, read below.


Oil-Based Deck Stain Removal In Concrete

Oil-based deck stain is a real mess to clean up on concrete. If you happen to spill oil-based stain on concrete you must act incredibly quickly to clean the area to avoid lasting discoloration. At EcoWash, this usually occurs once every other year and we have an extremely effective technique to remove oil-based stains from concrete with our years of experience.


"When it comes to removing oil-based stain from concrete, you must know what to do and act quickly." - Andrew Pfaff, EcoWash CEO

For larger spills, remove as much oil-based deck stain as possible from the concrete with rags or paper towels to get excess oil-based deck stain off the concrete. Throw these towels away promptly in a closed trash bag and avoid evaporation (as oil-based deck stain can and will spontaneously combust if drying on a rag).


After dabbing the stain off the area with a rag, liberally apply mineral spirits (or another paint thinner) to the area and allow it to soak into the concrete. Mineral spirits should be on hand with an oil-based project anyway. Use a hard bristled broom to agitate the area and allow the mineral spirits to soak. Continue to dab the area dry with a paper towel after the mineral spirits sit for 3-5 minutes. 


Once the area has most of the surface-level oil-based deck stain removed, we will attack the soaked-in stain with an industrial degreaser (usually a purple-colored soap). This can either be applied by directly dumping from the jug onto the concrete or with a pump sprayer. Apply liberally. Do not allow this to get in contact with your skin as it is an irritant. Further agitate the area with a hard-bristled broom to let this soak in.


After 3-5 minutes of letting the degreaser get to work, pressure wash the area with large, circular motions and a surface cleaner. This should remove the last of the spill and leave your concrete looking brand new. 


If other methods are ineffective

For deck stain that has completely dried and cannot be removed by prior methods, use muriatic acid on the concrete to remove the stain. If you are a homeowner looking to DIY this process, please do not as it is quite dangerous. Reach out to a professional in the pressure washing or concrete industry for help.


Muriatic acid can be applied with a pump sprayer or a sprayer bottle and should go directly on the old, dried deck stain. Wear PPE to prevent damage to yourself. Muriatic Acid will eat at the stain and the stain can be removed further with pressure washing. This will also work with deck stain on bricks.


Pump sprayer
Pump Sprayer In Use

At EcoWash, we have an experienced team that has seen a thing or two and can help you with your pressure washing or wood staining needs. If you are a homeowner in the Upper Midwest looking for assistance with a project, please get in touch with EcoWash today.

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