This home is located in Oakland, New Jersey. The deck faces south west, with little sunlight due to tall trees. The deck was constructed over 15 years ago and I must say it was well constructed. We found no loose or warped decking, all railings and balusters were solid and the rail caps were flat and level. During the construction only round headed nails were used. The contractor who build this deck paid attention to detail and performed quality work.
From the first two photos you can easily see the dark color and stains. The dark color comes from a build up of alkyd based clear coat. Over the years the deck was washed and more clear coat applied. Outdoor conditions caused the clear coat to darken, so with each coat the finish continues to darken. Also, some of the dark color is mold. Alkyd based clear coat promotes mold growth if not cleaned often. There are organic compounds in alkyd based products which mold will thrive on. When finishing a deck, use a clear coat that have UV protection and mildew inhibitors.
The above photo shows how the clear coat darkened on this structure. This is not what the owners intended. The lattice is furring strips, typically very light in color.
(above) The first step was to clean the deck, balusters and steps. The cleaner removed the dirt and mold. The product we used was Benjamin Moore CLEAN (318). This process took two people one work day.
(above) After cleaning, the stripping process began. This took most of the color off the structure. The product is water soluble and safe around plants. We used Benjamin Moore REMOVE (315). This took three people two days.
(above) This photo shows an area which has been sanded. Sanding involved, belt sanders, palm sanders and an oscillating sander, triangle tip, for tight spaces. Notice the difference in color of the wood. This step took five people 2 1/2 days. We used 40, 60 and 80 grit paper.
The railing and balustrade are finished with the clear coat. We used Benjamin Moore Translucent Stain (623) color: Natural. Notice the difference between the rails and deck boards. The Natural color gives a honey tone to the wood.
The entire job took 6 1/2 days. Each day there was 3-5 people working. This type of deck renovation is not cheap. But, the end product is a deck which looks like new. The finish will not build up and yearly maintenance is relatively easy. The owners were completely satisfied.