Cleaning a wood deck prior to staining is the best chance of getting professional like results. Dirt, mold, mildew, wood graying and any remnants of old failing stain needs to be removed. Getting a deck back down to bare wood will help guarantee proper stain performance and help you get the most out of your deck care. Wood fibers are delicate and can be damaged easily. The most common way a deck is damaged is by excessive pressure from a pressure washer. This can leave lap marks, splinters, and raised grain (fuzzing).

Sometimes during the wash process wood takes a beating. Strong chemicals, strippers and high pressure can all take its toll. In order to remove an old failing stain you might have to use a strong mix of cleaner or stripper. Perhaps you got too close to the wood while washing and furred it up in some areas. If cleaner or stripper raises the grain of the wood and furs up the deck it is not the end of the world.

Light sanding the deck will rid it of the furred wood grain. Buy or rent a floor buffing machine and perform a light sanding with a "Sanding Pad" in the fuzzy areas. Once you knock the raised wood grain back down you should clean the debris off the deck prior to staining. A leaf blower or broom can be sufficient. If you did a lot of sanding and there is dust everywhere you may have to rinse the deck with water and let it dry again before applying stain.

To reduce the chances of raised wood grain try not to mix the cleaners stronger than necessary to do the job. Do not let the cleaners dry on the wood prior to rinsing. Be sure to brighten (step two of RAD kit) while the deck is still wet after washing. If the deck dries prior to brightening it could raise the wood grain creating this fuzzy appearance. Try to use 800 psi to wash the wood. If you do not have access to a nozzle that will put out 800 psi and have to wash with high pressure be sure to hold the tip of the gun at least 12-18” away from the wood while washing.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joe · 10/16/2021
    Won’t sanding using a buffer leave swirl marks? If not, what grit sanding disk do you recommend?
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      RAD Products · 10/16/2021
      Sanding with a floor buffing machine will not leave swirl marks. Use 60-80 grit.
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    Megan · 09/06/2021
    If after cleaning, but prior to brightening, you can tell there is furring, should you let the wood dry and sand prior to brightening?  Or would it be better to brighten, let dry, and then sand?
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    sam · 06/05/2020
    Painter pressure washed deck and applied semi transparent stain. Looks awful and noticed a lot of the bad parts are the fuzzing as you describe. Can I sand the fuzzy spots and restain those areas or will that look bad?
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      RAD Products · 06/05/2020
      You cannot spot fix, you would have to sand all.
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    Enes Lessway · 06/20/2019
    I used RAD stripper on my deck. It did absolutely nothing. My deck was stained with Sikkens semi transparent stain. The deck is stripping in sections. What do I do?
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      RAD Products · 06/20/2019

      The picture you sent previously showed a solid opaque stain, not a semi-transparent. The stripper will not remove an opaque stain as stated in the directions. This means it will have to be sanded. You could try both of the additives in the stripper to see if that help but you will still most likely need to sand to remove:
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        Enes Lessway · 06/21/2019
        The gallon of Sikkens stain says "semi transparant"
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          RAD Products · 06/21/2019
          The picture you sent was not semi-transparent.
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    E · 10/23/2017
    We have a black locust deck without any finish. It tend to get dirty with algae and mildow. We like the silver color aged finish but not the black spotting. Is there a product that will clean the black spots and leave the surface with its silver finish?
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      RAD Products · 10/23/2017
      No. If you clean you will remove the gray oxidation as well.