Best Deck Stripper for Your Home (Review and Guide)

best deck stripper

No one likes to look at the older, worn-out stained wooden deck. But you don’t have to change the whole floor just to get a new good-looking deck.

You can use the best deck stripper that helps you remove the old stains, dirt, and even paint scrubs from the wooden surface.

We have picked the top stripper products that you can use indoor and outdoor for all deck renovating needs. 

Quick Picks: Best Deck Stripper

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Premium

Defy Extreme Wood Stain Natural Pine

Defy wood stain stripper is effective in removing dirt, semi-transparent stains and sealers from the deck woods. It comes in a one-gallon container that is good for 100-150 sq ft coverage.

Best Overall

Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

Its fast-acting chemical compound removes tougher wooden stains and also eliminates most oil and latex-based older wood finishing. It's safe to use on all types of exterior wood surfaces. 

Best Value

Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping

Citristrip paint and varnish stripping gel comes with a citrus scent and does not produce any harsh fumes. This is effective in removing multiple layers of both latex and oil-based paint.

Top 5 Deck Stripper You Can Buy Today

Our Top Pick

 Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

Restore a deck wood stain stripper is our top pick. It comes in a 5-gallon pack that is enough for up to 1,000 sq ft area.

Its fast-acting chemical compound removes tougher wooden stains and also eliminates most oil and latex-based older wood finishing. It's safe to use on all types of exterior wood surfaces that provide you with more flexibility in use.

What is a Deck Stripper?

Deck stripper is a highly potent paint and dirt removing solution that is used to remove old stains, dirt, molds, and wood blemishes from the woods and makes deck brighter.

It contains a very reactive chemical called sodium hydroxide or either sodium meta-silicate that when applied bond with deck stain and breaks it down for easier removal.

To make it work effectively, you have to apply it on the wooden surface and then leave it for a couple of minutes for the chemical agents to react and then clean it off with water. It’s handy as it does not require much effort.

Let's find out some of the top wood strippers available in the market. 

1. Defy wood stain stripper

Best for solid deck stain

Defy Extreme Wood Stain Natural Pine

Product Specs

Description

Manufacturer

Defy

Color 

Natural Pine

Weight

1 Gallon

Where To Buy

Defy wood deck stain stripper is effective in removing dirt, semi-transparent stains and sealers from the deck woods. It comes in a one-gallon container that is good for 100-150 sq. ft coverage.

Effective in Removing

  • Semi-transparent deck stains
  • Clear wood finishes
  • Penetrating sealers
  • Varnishes

Not Effective in Removing

  • Paint
  • Solid color stains
  • Film-forming coatings

The application of stripper is quite straightforward, and you need a pump sprayer to apply it. Once sprayed, it takes 20 to 30 minutes to breakdown hard stains.

Keep the wood wet by applying additional stripper layer if it starts to get dry. For the best result, use high-pressure water to wash the deck as the stripper loosen the deck stain.

The stripper is safe to use in all kinds of woods and is easy and straightforward to use. It does not contain any harsh chemicals and provides effective cleaning results.

See More information on Defy Deck Stain Stripper

Things we like:

  • Effective on any type of woods
  • Safer to use and takes less time
  • Does not produce a stinky smell
  • Nontoxic and non-caustic

Things that can be improved:

  • Only one-gallon size available
  • Need a pressure washer for optimal results

2. Woodrich Wood Stripper and Cleaner

Best wood strippers with power washer

Heavy Duty Wood Stripper

Product Specs

Description

Manufacturer

Woodrich Brand

Color

No Color

Weight

2 pounds

Where To Buy

The Woodrich wood stripper is useful in cleaning outdoor decks from any dirt, stains, mold, and sealants. It’s a powdered solution in which you have to add water, and it produces roughly 5 gallons of deck stripping solution.

You can apply the solution directly to the deck and leave it there for 30 minutes. If it starts getting dry, put another spray coat. You can pressure wash it or use a hose from your garden to clean the solution.

This should remove most of the stains from the deck, but for any leftover deck stain, use a scrubber and gently rub it till it gets removed.

This wood stripper works well on oil stains and removes even tougher greasy stains. To make sure, it does not adversely affect the wood, use a small sample area to test the kit efficiency. You can use it to covers up to 750 sq. feet of deck area.

See More information on Woodrich Wood Stripper And Cleaner

Things we like:

  • Comes in compact powder form
  • Effective against tougher stains
  • Easy to use
  • Reasonably priced

Things that can be improved:

  • Sometimes need multiple applications
  • Time-consuming

3. Max Strip Paint and Varnish Stripper

Best for stripping paint and varnish

MAX Strip Paint & Varnish Stripper

Product Specs

Description

Manufacturer

Max Strip

Coverage

200 Square Feet Per Gallon

Weight

9 pounds

Where To Buy

Max Strip paint and varnish stripper is a professional grade stripper for residential and commercial use. It’s eco-friendly and doesn’t contain any toxic paint or varnish removing ingredients.

The solvent-free chemical ingredients make it safe to use both indoor and outdoor use and don’t need any special ventilation. This is because it contains a low composition of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) that makes it safe for indoor use.

It’s gentle on the skin that means you won’t have any burning sensation after use, and it can strip paints that are up to 8 layers thick.

This paint and varnish stripper are effective in removing multiple layers of latex and oil-based paints, varnish, lacquer from wood, metal, tile, glass, stone, and masonry surfaces.

Have you got your bathroom painted and have paint spots on the bathtubs?

Max Strip paint and varnish stripper can remove that too. You are not limited to removing paint from the wooden surfaces only. It's useful in removing paint from fiberglass doors, kitchen cabinets, and drawers.

See More information on Max Strip Paint And Varnish Stripper

Things we like:

  • Effective in removing paint and varnishes
  • Can be used on various surface types
  • No harmful toxic fumes
  • Removes multi-layer paint with ease

Things that can be improved:

  • A bit labor-intensive
  • Time-consuming

4. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

Best wood stripper and cleaner

Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

Product Specs

Description

Manufacturer

Restore-A-Deck

Coverage

500-1000 sq. feet

Weight

2 pounds (Makes 5 Pound Solution)

Where To Buy

Restore-A-Deck Wood stain stripper is an environmentally friendly biodegradable stripper. It comes in a pack of 5 gallons that is enough for 500 to 1000 sq. ft area. It’s useful in cleaning and removing tougher stains from the deck woods.

The specially formulated compound removes the worn finish from the wood with ease, including any dirt, mold, mildew, and mill glaze. It’s effective in removing most oil and latex-based wood finishing, including clear sealers, transparent stains, and semi-transparent stains.

The powdered formula is needed to be mixed with water, and it makes 5 gallons of deck stain stripping solution. If you need stronger stripping concentration, then you can reduce the water ratio that helps remove the tougher stains.

Let the solution sit on the stain for 30 to 60 minutes before you clean it off. Although this is effective in removing most stains, it won’t remove solid color stains, paints, polyurethanes, or excessively over applied acrylics. It’s safe to use on all types of exterior wood surfaces.

See More information on Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper

Things we like:

  • Powder form for easier storage
  • Effective in removing deck stains
  • Eco safe formula to made deck brighter
  • Safe to use on all types of wood

Things that can be improved:

  • Not effective in removing solid color stains
  • Need pressure wash for tougher stains

5. Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Best deck stripper for mahogany

Citristrip QCSG801 Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Product Specs

Description

Manufacturer

Citristrip

Coverage

Based on Usage

Weight

1 Quart

Where To Buy

Citristrip paint and varnish stripping gel comes with a citrus scent and does not produce any harsh fumes. This is effective in removing multiple layers of both latex and oil-based paint.

You can also use it to remove varnish, shellac, and epoxy with ease. The pleasing citrus scent makes it smell nice once applied and is biodegradable, which means safer on the environment.

It’s safe to use indoor so you can use it in the kitchen and bathroom counters. You are not restricted to remove paint from the wooden surface as its equally effective on metal and masonry surfaces.

Once applied, the gel stays wet and remains active for up to 24 hours. It's non-toxic and non-corrosive that works in as less as 30 minutes once used.

For optimum results, apply the gel in a bit warm weather when the temperature is between 65 F to 85 F and away from the stiff breeze and hot sun. Don't use it on fiberglass materials as it's not very effective and leaves sticky marks.

See More information on Citristrip Paint & Varnish Stripping Gel

Things we like:

  • Effective in removing paint and varnish
  • Easy to apply and clean
  • Provides good coverage
  • Environment-friendly and biodegradable

Things that can be improved:

  • Not effective on fiberglass
  • Need ventilation when using indoor

Why do you need a deck stripper?

Many people have decks and patio made from wood that is usually exposed to elements such as rain, snow, and heat. These woods are generally painted or coated with protective layers.

These protectives layers often do a good job, but after a while, it starts getting old and either start peeling off or get fade. Before you put a new layer, you have to remove the older layer for better results.

Here are some of the benefits of using it: 

Removes wood stains

Not all stains can be removed from general purpose cleaning solutions. To remove tougher stains, mold, algae, and dirt, you need a solution that is specially formulated for wood cleaning.

Deck strippers perform both cleaning and stripping functions. As you can clean and remove the paint from the wood to put a new coat on it. 

Strips paint, varnishes, sealers and stains

It removes existing paint and varnish from the wood and brings it back to its natural state. This helps if you want to change the current color and texture of the deck. It may not produce a good result if you simply attempt to paint on top of it or without cleaning it properly.

More Receptive to Paint

Wood, with pre-existing paint, has its pores sealed off. So, when you apply the new color, you may get the black spots or reflection of the older paint job that may not look good.

It goes deep inside the wooden pores and removes any paint or stains beyond the top layer. When you apply a new color, it spread more uniformly across the wooden board, and you get a much smoother and brighter deck. 

Improves home appearance

A beautiful home must have a clean and bright appearance. A dirty or stained looking deck brings down the appearance of the house. After all, a stained ridden and faded color deck looks like a sore thumb.

Using it, you can properly clean and maintain the deck, so you can have a beautiful looking home. 

What is the difference between deck stripper vs. deck cleaner?

If you go to the home hardware store, it often gets confusing to know the difference between a wide variety of cleaning products. In some way, stripper and cleaner do the same job but have different chemical composition.

The deck stripper performs the cleaning, as well as removing the hard to remove stains or sealers that may not be easily removed by the cleaner.

It may not be very effective in removing the complete paint layer on the wooden deck. If that’s what you need, then a paint remover will be the better choice.

The deck cleaners perform the general-purpose cleaning, although a bit better than what you may use to clean your kitchen countertop. It contains household bleach (sodium per-carbonate) for cleaning purposes.

So be careful when using it and don’t apply it on carpet or color fabrics; otherwise, it will result in discolouration. 

How to choose the right deck stripper

Finding the right deck stripper is essential to have your desired results. Consider these following factors when choosing one:

Removal type

You should first identify what you actually want to remove from the deck wood. Depending on the solid stains, varnishes, or dirt you want to remove, you may want to choose a deck stripper that is more active than the other.

It come with various cleaning range and knowing the item you want to remove will help you find the right deck stripper. 

Environment-friendly

If you have other plants and pots surrounding the deck, then you want strippers to be environment-friendly and not kill the plants and vegetations in your garden.

Environment-friendly and biodegradable deck stripper clean up the deck without impacting the safety of the environment or safety of family members or pets in your home. 

Usage

Before using a deck stripper, it’s usually advisable to clean the area with water properly. Some people recommend using a pressure washer on the decks. But not everyone has a pressure washer in their home.

Look for the application instruction provided by the manufacturer. Some deck strippers may require specific application methods such as pressure washing or using other tools for it to be effective.

Knowing beforehand what kind of tools or equipment you need to use helps you prepare better. 

Removing Paint or deck stripping

If your primary purpose is to remove the old paint from the deck, then you will be better off using a paint remover than deck stripper.

Deck stripper also removes the paint but not as good as a paint remover. Deck stripper works by emulsifying and dispersing the stains inside the wood. It results in a cleaner looking wooden deck.

But it won’t be as effective to remove the paint which paint remover is specially manufactured. 

Get the right quantity

You should have some estimate of the deck size you are planning to clean. This helps in buying the right quantity of material.

It may become frustrating to buy less amount than what you need, and then you have to make multiple trips to the home hardware store to get more supplies.

On the other hand, buying more than what you need will be a wastage of money as you will have excessive deck strippers left after use. 

How to use a deck stripper

Using a deck stripper is a straightforward process. Since you will be handling active chemicals, I recommend that you put proper safety gear such as eyeglasses and gloves. Don’t use any colorful clothes as the deck stripper may soil it. 

  • Before you open the can, read the mixing instruction provided by the manufacturer. You may have to clean the area first before you apply it. 
  • Remove any pots or other objects which may become obstructive when applying the deck stripper.
  • Test the smaller hidden deck area before you start applying deck stripper everywhere. This will give you some idea of how effective it is toward the stains and overall deck appearance
  • Give it 30 to 60 minutes to penetrate appropriately in the wood and do its cleaning action. Most of the stains should be gone in that time frame, but sometimes some stains may take longer than usual. Don't rush it and give it a proper time to clean
  • Usually, you don’t need to scrub the stains, but some tougher stains can be easily removed by light scrubbing. For a more significant size deck, you can pressure wash it that forcefully removes the stains
  • When you are done stripping, let the deck dry off completely before you start putting a new paint coat wood finish

Final Conclusion

Getting a beautiful and shiny looking deck is not a hard job. What you need is to have a deck stripper clean the floor from all the dirt and debris, and if you need a new layer of paint job after then go for it.

Just follow the proper manufacturer instruction when using the deck stripper for the best possible result.

Our Top Pick

 Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Stripper

Restore a deck wood stain stripper is our top pick for the best deck stripper. It comes in a 5-gallon pack that is enough for up to 1,000 sq ft area.

Its fast-acting chemical compound removes tougher wooden stains and also eliminates most oil and latex-based older wood finishing. It's safe to use on all types of exterior wood surfaces that provide you with more flexibility in use.

Have you used any of those deck strippers before? Share your views or questions in the comment below.

deck stripper reviews

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