A reader wrote in with questions about here Pressure-treated deck.

Dear Mike,

I have a question about the new decking I’ve installed for my new deck. Before I go ahead and stain my pressure-treated deck, how do I remove the writing from the pressure-treated lumber? Please help!!!


Seattle, Washington

Dear Kathy,

Thank you for writing in with your concerns about your new deck, I hope that I can answer your question to your satisfaction. First off, let me explain to you the story behind the writing that we find on new pressure-treated decking, or any new type of wood you see in your local home center.

wood grade stamp

Lumber Grade Stamp

The writing you find on all types of wood decking, is called a “manufactures stamp.” Grade Stamp (lumber) – A grade stamp shows: (1) The species of the wood or species group; (2) the grade number; (3) the registered symbol of the certified agency; (4) the mill identification number; (5) the seasoned condition of the wood. In the illustration, this grade stamp states that the lumber is certified by the Western Wood Products Association, from Mill 12 (which can be found in the WWPA membership directory); is from a coniferous tree (also known as softwood – Spruce-Pine-Fir); was graded according to National Lumber Grades Authority rules; is kiln–dried and heat treated (19 percent or less moisture content); and is of standard grade. Have a look at the Illustration below for a better idea.

How do I remove the grade stamp?

Removing the manufactures grade stamp from pressure treated decking or any type of lumber, isn’t to difficult at all. Now, with the right tools you can tackle this simple task of removing the stamp.

Tools needed to complete the task:

1. Orbital sander

3. 80 grit sand paper

3. A little bit of elbow grease
Deck sanding tips:

Before you go ahead and start sanding, you need to know the correct procedures so you don’t end up with a bare, or light spot on your decking. I would hate for you to stain your deck and then always see that one spot shine through the stain, and look awkward!

1. The first thing you want to do before removing the stamp from your decking, is to practice on a scrap piece of decking. Grab a spare piece of decking 2-4′ feet in length and practice sanding before you tackle the final product.

2. Use these sanding techniques. You want to move in a back and fourth motion. For example, if the spot on your deck is roughly 4″ inches by 4″ inches, start in the center and move the sander gracefully 1′ foot past the center in both directions. The reason for sanding more than just the spot on your deck, is because you want to blend the spot you sand into the decking to avoid having a “bald-spot” on your decking. This way here, it blends in with the rest of your decking.

4. Once you have the spots removed, simply start sanding the entire deck. This way you’ll have an evenly sanded deck before you go ahead with the staining process.

5. You’re done! Kick back and enjoy your deck..

Kathy, I hope that I’ve answered all of your questions regarding your deck problem. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask away! And to others out there, if you feel this task isn’t something you can handle on your own — hire us to do the job for you!

Custom decks & porch contractors MA, RI

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