Note: The RAD stain can be applied to damp or dry wood but is best applied to damp wood. Easier and will avoid potential Hot Sun Application Issues.

Today we will outline some things you need to know about how to apply Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain to damp wood for best results. Recent advancements in wood stain technology have allowed for a number of benefits, including better UV protection against the sun’s rays, excellent penetration into the wood grain for long-lasting results, and the ability to apply the stain to damp wood the same day as completing the prep steps. Since staining damp wood may be a new concept to some of you, as it has not been a possibility before, we have some tips and things to take into account so you can achieve the best-finished product.

New Wood Note: New wood is not the same as "damp" wood and needs to weather and be prepped before staining. Restore-A-Deck Stain and New Wood

Before you start your wood stain project, ensure your temperature conditions are optimal for best results. The surface temperature should be between 45 degrees F and 90 degrees F. Check the weather forecast and do not start the staining process if the temperature is expected to drop below 45 degrees or if rain is a possibility in the next 12 hours.

If the weather is on your side, first, complete steps 1 and 2 of the Restore-a-Deck in a day process by applying either the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner or Restore-A-Deck Stripper depending on whether there is already stain on the wood surface, followed by the Restore-A-Deck Brightener. Allow the wood surface to dry for 2-4 hours before tackling the staining process.

Make sure you mix Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain well initially and periodically throughout the staining project. Protect all non-target surfaces with cardboard or drop cloths. For equipment, you can use the Restore-A-Deck Stain Brush (if using the RAD Semi-Transparent Stains), hand brushes, or staining pads to apply. Apply the stain to vertical surfaces such as railings or posts first, and protect the horizontal surfaces from the excess stain. Apply stain to the full length of the board, making sure to not break in the middle of the board. Apply 2 coats wet on wet for older wood and 1 coat only for newer wood.

Restore A Deck Stain Application Tips

And there you have it. We recommend allowing the surface to dry for 24 hours before walking or placing furniture on the surface.

Have you completed the Restore-A-Deck 3 step process in one day? Any tips we are missing? We want to hear your reviews. Be sure to comment with any photos and let us know how the project is holding up over time.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rich · 07/19/2019
    Closer pic after brightener
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    Rich · 07/19/2019
    I cleaned and brightened a 3yo deck (previously applied RAD after ~1 yr weathering) this morning. The deck looks good, but has some very rough spots that I didnt really notice until I was cleaning. Can I do some light maintenance sanding now before applying stain? I’m worried about splinters!

    Secondly, some boards showed different coloring marks around the knots (pics below)... why did this happen? Thanks!
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      RAD Products · 07/20/2019
      Yes, but do not sand finer than 80 grit. Brighten again after.
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    scott · 07/16/2019
    I used RAD cleaner and brightener on my four-year-old cedar deck that had been previously stained with Benjamin Moore arbor coat semi transparent stain. My original goal was to re-stain with the same product. When I was Lightly power washing after applying the cleaner I noticed most of the stain peeling up so I was committed to taking the stain off. I was surprised that 95% of the old stain came off without the stripper. After I used the brightener the deck looked great. I lightly sanded the fuzzies and some old stain. It has been almost 2 weeks since I did this. Now I want to re-stain with RAD semi transparent cedar stain since I was disappointed with Benjamin Moore which had been peeling shortly after it was applied. My question is should I use the stripper for small amounts of stain that remain? And should I use Brightener again before staining? Also my deck is large 45 x 20 but no rails. Should I use two coats and how much stain should I buy?
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    Chris · 07/16/2019
    Couple questions:

    1. Wood needs to dry 2-4 hours between brightening and staining? If I wait overnight, I should give the deck a light misting 1-2 hours before staining?

    2. Best to apply stain with a brush? I was hoping to spray it on with deck pump sprayer and follow up with a brush to spread stain and eliminate any puddling.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/16/2019
      1. You can lightly mist with water prior to staining.
      2. Use a stain pad or deck brush for applying. https://www.restore-a-deck.com/decktools.html
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        Chris · 07/16/2019
        Thanks. One last question...What's the shipping turnaround? I have a chance to do this project this weekend. If I order today, when can I expect deliver to the Chicago area?
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    Dallas · 07/14/2019
    Do you recommend using a deck sander with a buffing pad to eliminate wood fuzzies or would it be fine to stain over them?
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      RAD Products · 07/15/2019
      Either way is fine. Typically you will not see them when stained.
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    dianne · 07/12/2019
    is the deck surface slippery after using solid stain?
    We are in an area that gets frost and the deck needs a little traction.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2019
      It typically is not as it does not have a gloss to it but a flat shine.
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    Craig · 07/10/2019
    Can the stain be applied by an electric sprayer such as a Wagner? I would like to stain my picket fence solid white and a sprayer would make the process faster if it can be used with the RAD stain.
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      As long as the sprayer says it can spray solid stains, then yes.
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    Thomas Lofton · 07/05/2019
    When is a solid stain recommended
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      RAD Products · 07/06/2019
      Appearance preference or if you already have a solid stain on the wood.
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    Lori · 06/25/2019
    Also, I have the RAD brush for the floor - just dip in roller tray and brush it into the wood (back and forth?) or lay it on the wood to soak it? Could you be specific about the brushing technique? I have stained an indoor staircase but am not sure if it's the same.
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      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      Yes, correct. Dip and apply evenly. Not that hard.
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    Lori · 06/25/2019
    I cleaned my 2 1/2 year old untreated cedar deck with RAD, then I sanded all the posts and handrails and much of the flooring where it seemed to need it. I used a hand orbital sander and #60 sandpaper. Then I brightened with RAD and thoroughly rinsed for 25-30 minutes. And it rained today.

    The RAD Cedar stain container says to apply 1 coat on power sanded wood. Do I do 1 or 2 coats on the handrails and flooring?
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    Sherri · 05/27/2019
    I will strip, clean and brighten one day and plan to stain the next day. Since your stain appears to apply better on damp wood should I wet the deck down again the morning of staining day or will it still be damp enough from washing the previous day. The temps here will only be in the 70's and nights are around 45 and the majority of the deck is in the shade.
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      RAD Products · 05/27/2019
      Mist with water an hour or two before applying.
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    de Haan · 05/16/2019
    I have previously painted deck rails. Can I use RAD solid stain over this or will I just have to re-paint?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2019
      The RAD Solid stain can go over another solid stain brand but not a paint.
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    Kat · 04/25/2019
    Stain was applied in 60degree humid weather and then got rained on 3 hrs later.
    Can I put on another coat tomorrow at noon?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2019
      No. It will not take a second coat once the first coat has cured. You can do another coat late Fall or Spring of next year if needed.
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        Kat · 04/26/2019
        Ok, thanks. Didn't know how long it took to cure, the other question about this mentioned a time period of 2 weeks. I appreciate your quick reply.
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    lma · 04/22/2019
    how damp should wood be?

    best way to apply, brush or sprayer? same question for vertical surfaces? still two coats on verticals?

    [5y.o. pressure treated pine, 750sf deck with 14 steps (2 sets of 7steps) 3ft wide steps, approx. 120ft of 3ft high railing/spindles. Will be stripping off twp500 stain. Live in MA)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/22/2019
      Damp to touch, not soaking wet. Just one coat for verticals is correct. Use a brush for applying.
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    Thomas · 04/06/2019
    I ran out of stain about 2/3 the way through my deck. I had to wait a week until I got more stain. The problem is that I only did one coat on most of the deck before I ran out, so I couldn't do a wet-on-wet second coat. Is it ok to apply a second coat after the first coat has been dry for over a week?
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      RAD Products · 04/07/2019
      No, you cannot do that as the first coat has already cured. Best to just do the one coat this year and apply a light maintenance coat if needed in 1-2 years.
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    Tim · 11/05/2018
    I misjudged the weather. It rained for several hours about seven hours after I completed applying two coats of stain. What should I do? Is there a way to tell if the stain dried sufficiently before the rain?
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      RAD Products · 11/05/2018
      It should be fine as it should have dried in the 7 hours after applying and before the rain came.
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    stephanie · 10/22/2018
    I had my deck power washed Friday October 19th. When is the soonest I can apply stain? I live in Columbus Ohio
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      RAD Products · 10/22/2018
      You can stain now as long as the prep was done correctly.
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    Linda · 10/12/2018
    How long does the stain need to be on the wood before the temperature drops below 45?
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      RAD Products · 10/12/2018
      4-8 hours.
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        Linda · 10/13/2018
        What factors affect that time range? Temperature? wind? Sun? Shade? Clouds? If the fence is in the sun, does the stain cure faster? If there is a warm wind, does it cure faster? If it is a cloudy day, will it take longer to cure the stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/14/2018
          Temperature and sun. The warmer it is, the quicker it dries.
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            Linda · 10/14/2018
            Thank you so much. All your advice and website instructions are invaluable to me.

            I cleaned and brightened 100+ feet of my fence yesterday. It looks so nice. I am glad I decided to give the fence more than a Tom Sawyer effort.

            Blessings to all of you.
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    Justin · 10/03/2018
    I have spent weeks getting the deck ready but now, the weather is really not cooperating. I am concerned about getting the project done before the winter. The weather is clear today but it rained last night all night. Can I apply today? How long would I have to wait? Is it better to apply it shortly after rain than to not do it all?
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    Tom · 09/30/2018
    I used cleaner and brightener a couple days ago and now want to apply stain. Deck is mostly in shade. However, top of railing and deck boards are slightly damp from natural occurring dew/condensation. Can I apply stain to the slightly damp wood or do I have to wait until fully dry.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/30/2018
      You can apply the RAD Wood Stain to damp wood.
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    Adam · 09/28/2018
    Question regarding stain, I bought 12 gallons of natural wood semi-transparent from restore a deck. I've done my cleaning & brightening stage and am going to stain tomorrow. I am wondering do I need to mix the stains together like some products. Or will it all stain evenly without worrying of mixing the containers?
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      RAD Products · 09/29/2018
      You do not need to intermix the containers but make sure to shake or mix each container before using.
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    Darrin · 09/22/2018
    What suggestions would you have to fill knot holes where rain water can pool?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/23/2018
      Wood filler will not work with exterior wood (cracks out) and the RAD stain will not "stain" any wood filler so it blends.
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    B · 09/18/2018
    What will happen to the stained wood if you stained a fence, wet-on-wet, and it then rained less than 12-hours afterwards?
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    Della · 08/23/2018
    Trying to figure out which application tools that I need to order for staining floor. Speed mop, deck pad, or staining brush with bucket? Then do you spray stain on and brush or dip pad/mop into pail?

    Can a staining mitt be uses on rail slats?

    Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jennifer · 08/14/2018
    I am staining my deck with semi-transparent stain. The wood is pressure treated pine. I have a mixture of old and new boards, ~ 1/3 old and 2/3 new. Should I use 2 coats of stain on the old boards and one on the new boards or 2 coats on both? Or something else?! Thank you for your help.
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    Jason · 08/11/2018
    The instructions on the back of the bottle say to apply 2 wood thats dry to the touch but here it says I can apply it to damp wood. Can we get some clarification?
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    Ros · 07/29/2018
    How long does the brightener solution last once it has been mixed?
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    S Jones · 07/18/2018
    Am I doing something wrong? It has taken me almost 4 hours to clean 16 feet of railing and have used a little over 1 gal of cleaner. I spray railing and then SCRUB with a hand brush. Lots of small areas and all four sides of rails. At this rate I won't even finish the railings today. Is it ok to do the brightening tomorrow? And then the staining later. There is rain forcasted for tomorrow night
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2018
      Are you using a pressure washer? It will be much easier.
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        S Jones · 07/19/2018
        No pressure washer. All by hand
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    Fred · 07/18/2018
    Applied 2 coats of Restore-A-Deck neutral stain 2 days ago. It rained last night and the water did not bead on the old doards. Is it ok to apply a third coat tonight?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2018
      No, do not add a third coat as it will not soak in. The 2 coats is correct and the RAD stain is not designed to bead water but shed water.
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    K W · 06/15/2018
    I mean , will it adhere over old stain?
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      RAD Products · 06/16/2018
      No, you cannot apply the RAD Wood Stain over a different brand. It will adhere but it will not soak into the wood as it should and could fail prematurely.