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How to Repair Deck Stain Bubbles

Claudia Henning

Staining a deck is the perfect way to beautify the wood and protect it from sun and weather damage. However, speedy application, poor stain product, or applying it to dirty or wet wood can cause bubbling or blistering of the stain finish. Areas that are bubbled will need to have the stain stripped and reapplied. Rarely will it require a complete redo of the deck surface, but the affected area needs to be patiently redone. Overcast skies, dry weather and moderate temperatures will help complete the stain repair without additional problems. Most homeowners can complete stain repairs over the course of a weekend.

Removing the Damaged Stain

  1. Apply a layer of stain and sealant stripping chemical to the bubbled area. Use a scraper to peel the layer of stain from the wood. Wipe the surface with a wet rag.

  2. Spray on a wood brightening agent. This will bring back the natural wood coloring and prepare the surface to accept a new layer of stain.

  3. Rinse the area(s) well with clear water from a garden hose. Allow the wood deck 12 to 18 hours to completely dry.

Restaining the Area

  1. Lightly sand the areas on the deck that the brightening agent raises on the wood. Do not oversand, though, or the stain will have a hard time soaking into the wood.

  2. Mix the stain carefully. Avoid shaking the can, as it will create bubbles to form in the product.

  3. Use a small brush to apply the stain. Take plenty of time and go slowly during this step. Applying stain too quickly causes bubbles to appear on the surface.

  4. Wait a few minutes and apply a second layer for color matching, if needed. Give the deck 24 hours to dry before replacing any furniture or allowing foot traffic on it.