Staining Previously Painted Deck

Deb asked 5 years ago

The previous owners of my house apparently used a latex paint on the deck. The deck is about 600 sq feet, maybe 70 feet of railing, including stairs, and 6′ off the ground. The floor is badly weathered; portions of the railing are peeling but some of the trim is in good shape (e.g. some of the balusters, the support beams and trim below the deck). The wood is in OK shape, but there is some cupping. I had planned to use a semi-solid stain on the floor and a solid on the trim.

I want to do a quality job, but I also need to get this done within the next 4 weeks! I’m power washing now which seems to be doing a good job on the floor, but not so much on the railings. I tried the Cabot stripper with mixed results (problem most likely in the execution, not the product, but regardless it’s expensive and the outer portion of the railing will be a bear). In the interest of expedience, do I need to remove all the paint on the railings before applying the solid stain? If so, what technique would you recommend? If I am able to leave the paint where it is in good condition, can I change the color? The paint is off-white.

It seems I will need to sand. What type of sander would you recommend I use for the floor and the railings? I’m a DIY novice; I don’t have a huge amount of upper body strength; and, of course, I’d like it to get it done quickly. 🙂 Unfortunately, I will not be hiring a contractor.

Any and all suggestions appreciated.

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