How do I clean a rust stain on my deck?

Cindy Rubin
by Cindy Rubin

I just stained my deck and am already having some rust bleed thru areas. i used a commercial cleaner as directed before hand... twice! help... i want to remove the rust before it rains!

  6 answers
  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Sep 19, 2019

    Is it rust from nails? If so the wrong nailed were used. Needed to use the rust proof kind. If you are referring to the sap showing thru the only way to stop that is to use a stain kill primer and repaint. Using an oil based product will help on coating the nails. Using a water based product over nails causes them to rust.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Sep 19, 2019

    You’ll need to buy a version of Kilz or Zinzer Primer that blocks the rust stains and then re-coat with your finish product. (Read the labels as there’s about 5 kinds of these specialty primers).

    Since the rust is a growing chemical “process”, I would try to tediously scrape the existing finish coat off the nail heads first.

    Nails & screws are supposed to be galvanized or factory coated for this reason: rust. Rust breaks down the structural integrity of the nails and when they “pop” pull them out & Replace them with coated deck screws.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Sep 19, 2019

    Hi Cindy,

    I agree with the others. You need a primer that will block the rust and anything else that will bleed through. It's too bad that stainless steel nails weren't used for the deck so that they didn't rust. We recently replaced some nails on the accents to our garage door for that exact reason. The old nails were rusty and looked horrible. We had to remove the accents to replace them with stainless steel nails. If you do have any nails come loose I'd recommend having some stainless steel nails ready for repairs. In the meantime. Cover them with a primer or something like shellac that should will also work. You should be able to dot each nail head and sightly around it with shellac then apply another coat of stain to the entire deck. Test it out first before doing the whole thing. I haven't used shellac for years because I've used primer and paint, not stain. However, I used to use shellac all the time to stop bleed through. I hope this helps. Wishing you the best.

  • William William on Sep 19, 2019

    I agree with everyone. The rust areas nails, screws or what ever need to be sealed. But I wouldn't use a primer since it's solid and you are using a stain. if you were painting then a primer would work. For stain you need to use something transparent. Bullseye seal coat is a clear dewaxed shellac that would work. Then touch up with the stain.

  • Lisha Heck-Smith Lisha Heck-Smith on Sep 19, 2019

    You did use the wrong nails. you can try sealing them, but if you want a quick fix use "Whink" rust remover and just a small squirt will remover the rust stain immediately. You will however still continue to have that problem unless you get those nails sealed or changed out.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Sep 19, 2019

    you need a primer to protect your deck from rust