Restore A Deck Prep and Staining Steps

We understand that everyone needs help with their wood/deck restoration and that not all projects are the same. Different species of wood, the age of wood, and types and brands of previous coatings make it difficult for homeowners to determine what is needed to restore their exterior wood or deck correctly.

We will ask some specific questions and reply to what you will need to do in your restoration process and the appropriate products and amounts to purchase, so it receives the proper prep and treatment required.

In the comment section below, you must include:

  • Square Footage of Area to be Restored:

-For Decks, use the calculator in the right column (scroll down) for desktop or below this article/comments on mobile

-Fences: Length x Height x 2 (for both sides) = Total square footage

-Homes: Do each side Lenght x Height, then add up all sides.

  • Type of wood if known:
  • Approximate Age of Wood:
  • If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type (Examples of Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Solid Stain, Oil-Based, Water-Based): 
  • If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained:
  • Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.):
  • Do you have access to a pressure washer:
  • Miscellaneous Info:
  • *Must Include 1-3 Photos of Restoration Project. There is a link to upload photos in the bottom right corner of the comment area.

Restore A Deck Stain Application Tips

 

 

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Eileen M Lucas · 11/06/2019
    We have powder coated aluminum balusters on our deck rails And we'll be using the stripper to remove the old stain on the rails. Will the stripper harm the powder coating on the balusters?
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    Terri Longworth · 11/06/2019
    We have been stripping and sanding our large deck and railings and it has taken 3 months due to heavily coated old peeling stain, weather and our time constraints. Now it is too cold to stain and we are not quite finished stripping and sanding. Is it necessary to use the brightener on the wood before winter or can we wait until spring when we will clean again and brighten before staining.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/06/2019
      Wait until Spring to clean and brighten is okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 11/04/2019
    Hello, It's getting a might chilly here in CT and while I'm waiting for my stain order to arrive I am replacing some rotted deck wood. Rather tedious work. It's cedar wood. What is the coldest I can apply the stain? If its around 50 or 55 say at 11 or noon, but then drops down to 35 at night would that still work? I'm not sure how many hours it takes to cure. That would also be the scenario for cleaning and brightening?
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    Carol Johnston · 11/04/2019
    I built a cedar bench to take to a Southern Florida condo complex on the beach. It will be used as a seat next to a faucet when washing feet and cleaning shells. There will be full sun and water exposure. Since we only go once a year, I want to stain it before going thus it won't have outside exposure before taking it down. Will one of your products still work?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Katy · 11/03/2019
    I bought the semi transparent stain in the spring but only got around to staining this weekend. I bought WAY too much stain. Am I correct in assuming I can’t return the remaining unopened ones since I bought them 5 months ago? The 2.5gallon containers have stickers that say 19 0120. Does this mean they expire in January 2020 or is there a way to know the expiry date (hoping to use it in future years if I can’t return it). Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/03/2019
      Hello,

      No, that is not an expiry date. Unopened and stored in a temperature-controlled room, the stain will last many years. Sorry but no, you cannot return at this point.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Fred · 11/01/2019
    Can you apply the semi transparent on wood that is dry or do i need to wet it first? (I cannot do the same day as stripper/brightener)
    if i apply the semi transparent during the day, is it ok if the temperature goes below freezing that night?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/01/2019
      The RAD stain can be applied to dry or damp wood. I cannot drop below freezing the first night after staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 10/31/2019
    Hello again... So sorry, my mistake. It was under shipping costs... I see that, I guess I misunderstood it... oops!

    I just bought a cheap sprayer for cleaning the deck (as I think it would work better than the mop and pail I used last time). Can one also use the sprayer to apply stain and then brush it out? I'm wondering if it would save time and come out as good that way?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/01/2019
      Better to use the brush for applying. Easy and will apply a more uniform coating.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 10/31/2019
    Thank you for the links... these decks look absolutely beautiful! I only hope my old one can be revived as well. I just ordered 5 gal. of the Light Walnut. I am glad they are only 2.5 gal each as I am 71 and doing this by myself after bilateral hip surgery six months ago. It feels amazing to be able to do these things again. I only hope the stain comes in time before the weather gets too cold.

    Oh...I didn't realize that you ship a staining brush free when 5 gallons are ordered and I already paid for one on my previous order of the cleaner and brightener. Is it possible to subtract the cost of the staining brush that I already paid for? I'm on SS and every little bit helps. Thank you for your consideration and I can't wait to try this stain.

    It's been many years since the deck's been done and I have some rotted wood to replace at many of the joints while I'm waiting for the stain to arrive. It is a cedar deck about 700 sq feet and about 28 years old and down to bare wood. I already power washed it a few weeks ago, and used the Behr cleaner on it, but want to use your cleaner and brightener after seeing all the reviews and reading much of your information. I was originally going to go with Behr until I started reading up on reviews on the deck help sites. I think this is a much better choice. This is a lot of work, but really exciting for me to be able to do it.... :)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/31/2019
      Hello,

      Staining brushes are not free but we will not charge shipping costs when RAD products are in the same cart. The shipping is free, not the brush.

      Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 10/30/2019
    I just received your cleaner and brightener and am waiting for the ongoing CT rain to let up in a couple days. I am trying to locate the area where you have pictures of decks that have been stained to help me decide on a color. Would you please provide me with a link. Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Len · 10/29/2019
    The forecast called for no rain for 24 hours, but we did get a light right about 3 to 4 hours after applying RAD stain. How will the rain affect the fresh stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/30/2019
      Hard to say until the rain dries off and if any visual deficiencies or not. More than likely it is okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike · 10/27/2019
    What is the shelf life of the semi-transparent stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/27/2019
      Unopened about 3 years. Opened about 12 months. It cannot freeze.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Patti Rivera · 10/26/2019
    10x14 deck floor. I think pine. BTW before I found this I used Valspar on the railings, steps, etc....it is darker than I like but I think I can make it look fab using natural on the floor. The calculator says 2 gal......did I do that right? (according to online comments Valspar Clear is yellow which sent me on the hunt for something else. Thankfully.) Wish I'd found this sooner. But I can still make lemonade.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/26/2019
      2 Gallons is correct. FYI, our Natural is tinted, not clear. Similar to a wet look.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeanene · 10/24/2019
    I used the RAD stripper on my deck yesterday but still have stain on the verticals. I plan on sanding and or trying to strip the verticals again. Is it okay to have days between using the stripper and brightener?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Leslie · 10/23/2019
    Can you suggest a color to mix with Dark Walnut to make it a little more like medium brown. My deck is cedar and tends to go more red naturally so I am avoiding the kight walnut.. Tks do you suggest the cedar or the natural for me to try. Tks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2019
      You could use the Cedar color and add a little bit of Dark Walnut if you want it to be slightly browner.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon Morris · 10/23/2019
    Here's another picture..
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon Morris · 10/23/2019
    This past weekend we stripped, brightened and stained deck with light walnut. It did rain a lot sooner(about 6-7hours) than what the forecast was anticipating. We love the results! But we noticed a few of the boards look like this and was wondering what could have happened. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2019
      Looks like the stain did not take there or was washed off from the rain before it cured. One thing of note, if you did not rinse the brightener thoroughly, you can get a reaction like this if the wood is too acidic. Try touching up thos spots and wiping the excess stain off right away.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill · 10/23/2019
    Screened porch is built and ready for cedar timbers and ceiling to have a product applied for protection. Is your Restore-a-Deck an appropriate choice? I want something that will last and may be applied over itself years later without stripping.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom McKeon · 10/21/2019
    Hi - I mixed brightener two weeks ago and used it on my deck. I'm back to a separate part of the deck. Can I use the extra two gallons of brightener that has been in the spray applicator? It's a simple spray applicator, not sealed to the atmosphere. I expect to use the rest in the next week. Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary · 10/21/2019
    I would appreciate your help as we are hiring a contractor to do our deck staining/painting in spring 2020 and would like to use the best product for the job.

    1. Can I tint your product to a custom colour? We like the pressure treated look (green) because it blends into the yard. The last semi-transparent stain we used 4 years ago (Home Hardware) did not do a good job staying on.
    2. Our deck covers a large area (too costly to replace)and is 25 years old (cedar) and in decent shape. Will your product rejuvenate the wood - please see attached photo's.
    3. We are in Ontario, Canada and experience cold winters (snow) and very sunny hot summers.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ray Mason · 10/21/2019
    Used cleaner and brightener on new wood after waiting 3 months. Results are very splotchy. Used 3/4 nap roller and brushed in Light Walnut stain immediately. Not sure what I did wrong. Any suggestions?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Ray · 10/30/2019
      Appreciate the response. What is the best application tool(s)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/21/2019
      It looks like uneven application. Rollers are not suggested as they do not apply very evenly. Best to wait until Spring to fix this. Lightly wash to remove dirt and apply a light coat then should even it out better.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    audrey · 10/20/2019
    We used a latex solid paint on the posts and rails of our deck more than 10 years ago. It has peeled and we want to recapture the look of wood with a transparent stain Would using Restore a Deck Cleaner achieve this goal?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/20/2019
      No. To remove a solid stain or paint you will have to power sand it all off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon Morris · 10/18/2019
    we are planning on staining our deck tomorrow(saturday). they are now calling for rain most of sunday starting in the morning. the temps will fall in the low 40's during the evening(60's during day). Will it be ok to do it tomorrow or should we wait. its starting to get colder & want to get it over with. thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heather · 10/16/2019
    I have a huge deck reno project started. I have no idea when it was last stained, maintained, but I've replaced a wall and some boards due to rotting. I believe it will measure between 1800-2000 sq. ft. What other prep would you recommend other than the stripping/cleaning/brightening? Also, I would really like to stain it gray, but you do not offer that option. Can I use your prep then another product to stain it? I'm attaching pictures of the entire deck plus cans of stain I found that were left by the prior owner of the property. I'm planning on buying a sprayer as this job is so big. Any advice as to preferred types also welcome. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2019
      Yes, strip, clean, and brighten for prep. For a gray option, try Armstrong Clark in Driftwood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Armstrong-Clark-Stain-5-Gallon.html
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Heather G · 11/02/2019
        So, while scrolling through your page to gather instructions on how to use your product I stumbled across the page that has RAD solid stains, and that you do have on in gray. I have already ordered and received the Armstrong clark driftwood stain, but as my deck is in the shade and always damp, the RAD solid stain would actually be the better option for my deck. I really wish this would have been recommended instead. How can I go about returning the unopened box with the gray armstrong stain and ordering the solid gray instead?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Heather · 10/16/2019
        Thanks for the recommendation!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lynne K · 10/15/2019
    Sorry, one more question.... the deck is actually 309 SqFt. I had measured the bench and the sides of the deck to be another 57 sq ft. I noticed your note in the Stain coverage and it seems that you have added enough to cover the edges, rails and bench. Does that mean if I want to do two coats, that I should get three gallons? I was looking at the kits you sell, thinking I would get the stripper/brightener and 2 stain gallons, then I would add an additonal gallon stain. Would that be enough?

    Thanks!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2019
      You will need about 3 gallons for two coats applied wet on wet.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lynne K · 10/23/2019
        I lied...a few More questions. I live in SW Michigan. Getting a warm day is gonna be tough, but I need to complete this project this fall. I just received my order (the whole stripping kit & stain) from you.

        1.Can I strip and brighten in one day and then wait another day, hopefully within a week, to go straight to the staining step? Will do two coats. Do I need to do anything to the deck right before I stain if I do it this way? Rinse/pressurewash/just sweep.....?

        2. I see there is a note in my box that says do not start staining if weather is expected to drop below 45. Our forecast looks like 50-57 as highs and at lows at night, down to 30-40s.
        Can I do the strip and brighten during day....assuming it will go down to 30-40 at nite, then go to the staining...again the daytime of mid 50s with it reaching low again at nite?

        3. I ordered your stain brush to apply stain. Can I use it on both coats? Will take the stain down into the gaps btwn the boards? If not, how do I best get those covered?

        I appreciate your help!

        Thanks
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/24/2019
          1. Yes, you can do this. Just blow it off first with a leaf blower.
          2. Yes, but cannot drop below freezing the first night after staining.
          3. You can use it for both coats. Not sure if it will get between the boards fully but usually will get down at least a 1/4 inch.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon Morris · 10/14/2019
    We were planning on using a airless sprayer to apply stain then immediately go over with brush to blend in evenly(or is that a waste of time?) Also do you all recommend to rub stain off with rags after 2nd coat
    to make sure no excess? if so, how long after 2nd coat is applied before you do that? Thank you for your time.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/14/2019
      You can spray and back brush. Only remove excess if does not soak in after an hour or so. Make sure to saturate all oily rags in water and lay flat to dry outside when done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dorothy · 10/13/2019
    We put in a deck with treated wood about a year ago. We power-washed it last week with Restore-a-Deck cleaner (worked great!) and today applied Restore-A-Deck Natural Semi-transparent stain/sealer. It looks gorgeous! But I under-shopped. We only had enough for one coat on half the deck. I need 3 more gallons to finish and to do 2nd coat. I would love to be able to do by Thursday of this week when the weather will still be perfect. I don't see an option to pay an upcharge to get it here by Wednesday. Might that be possible?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      You would have to call the office to do this. BTW, second coats need to be wet on wet, not wet on dry. Best to not do another coat now since it dried. Just finish the one coat. You can do another coat if needed next year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Curt · 10/12/2019
    Have a ~300 sq foot deck that probably hasn't been stained in 10 years and do not know the wood type. No access to power washer, see pictures for current condition of wood. Water does not bead in any spots. What do you recommend to weather-proof and make nice again? Any specific tools?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      Use the RAD Stripper/Brightener kit for the prep. Stain with the RAD semi-transparent stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lynne K · 10/12/2019
    I'm trying to redo my deck this fall, I live in SW Michigan. I need your guidance. Exact measurements added up to be 364 sq ft (to include bench, floor and side). I do not know how old or what kind of wood, or what is already on it. I could not find any stain stripper locally (won't use behr), so I used Olympic deck cleaner and pressure washed (I used too much pressure). Do I need stripper, brightner, then stain? Do I need to pressure wash again or sand? Do you have any other ideas? I also have a bottle of Defy Brightener that is unopened. Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      Strip and brighten this for prep. You can pick up products at our Bloomfield Hills location.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lynne K · 10/15/2019
        1. So I will need to order online, as I live over 2 hours away from that location. From the looks of this photo, do you expect I will need the additive and the gel added when I strip? Can you please help me figure out EXACTLY what to order from you guys? Again it is a total of about 364 sqft.

        2. Will I ever need to pressure wash again during this process, or will a hose with a light pressure attachment work? Will the regular RAD strip work, or do I need to get the RAD additive and gel?

        3. Can you please give me a step by step? with the look of those pics, do you expect I can just strip, brighten and immediately stain? Will there be any sanding involved for this restoration?


        Thank you so much for your help!!!! Your site is so informative and helpful.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/16/2019
          1. 1 RAD Stripper/Brightener Kit plus both additives.
          2. You need a pressure washer.
          3. No need to sand. Strip, brighten and the stain same day or next day.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Leslie · 10/12/2019
    15 yr. cedar deck in Atlanta, full afternoon sun. We have used SW deck cleaner and Revive brightener. Sanded last year, all previous finish removed. It was grey, so we cleaned and brightened. When the wood is wet it is the perfect color. Can we now use a RAD natural on it or do we have to use your cleaner/brightener? It is still pretty grey. Like other wood...will the light color just bring out the way it looks wet?
    love your site!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      You should prep with our products to be safe and make sure it is done correctly. The Natural color is similar to a wet look.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Leslie · 10/13/2019
        Thank you. One more (I hope) question.
        AFTER staining with semi transparent RAD what is the maintenance? I read that when first sign of grey appears you need to clean and reapply. Does that mean cleaner and brightener or just cleaner...no neutralizing?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/13/2019
          Clean and recoat as needed. Brightener as well to neutralize.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 10/10/2019
    We have a deck (pressure treated pine) installed in January 2019 - Athens, Texas area.
    The deck has never been stained. Do we need the cleaner and brightener prior to staining or just power wash prior to staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/10/2019
      Cleaner and brightener while pressure washing.