Question: What type of wood is Restore-A-Deck used on?
Answer: Restore-A-Deck is safe for all wood types including pressure-treated pine, cedar, redwood, ipe, and mahogany.
Question: What is in Restore-A-Deck?
Answer: The majority ingredient in the cleaning formula is sodium percarbonate. This is the one recommended by the Western Red Cedar Lumber Association. There is also a blend of proprietary detergents that makes the cleaner work faster and more powerful than just straight sodium percarbonate cleaners. The Restore-A-Deck brightener is a blend of mild acids that is much less harsh on your wood than the straight oxalic acid. These formulas are the exact formulas we use professionally to clean and maintain decks every day. There is nothing comparable on the homeowner market.
Question: Is your product just for wood that has already been stained? My deck was just built.
Answer: Restore-A-Deck can be used for maintenance cleaning, mild stripping, or to prepare new wood for sealer. For general cleaning, you would not allow the product to sit (dwell) for a long time before rinsing. For a more aggressive action, you would let the product dwell for a longer period.
Question: How does the cost of your product compare to what I can get at my home center?
Answer: Here is the best part, it’s not only of much higher quality and more effective but in terms of time invested and harshness it’s cheaper. By focusing on product development, we are able to offer a product that works effectively and does not cause the long term damage of bleach and soap cleaners. We are not shy in saying our product is the best out there for the money. Our smallest kit makes 5 gallons of cleaner and another 5 gallons of brightener. Your cost is about 5 cents per square foot.
Question: Is your product safe for the environment? I don’t like the idea of chemicals on my deck or in my soil.
Answer: Restore-A-Deck is less abrasive to the wood than most of the products on the consumer market. Its primary ingredient is also found in OxyClean™. There are other proprietary chemicals in the formula, but all of them, once diluted with rinsing, meet all E.P.A standards for disposal and will safely drain into the soil without affecting the soil pH balance. As with the use of any type of detergent, please read the safety precautions page.
Question: Can’t I just use bleach and dish liquid on my deck?
Answer: We do not recommend you use bleach (sodium hypochlorite) on your deck. Bleach attacks the lignin in wood. Lignin is the glue that binds wood fibers together. Without enough lignin in place, wood begins to break down more quickly. In addition, bleach imparts an unnatural whitening to the wood. This shows up very prominently when you apply a pigmented sealer as blotchiness. Every lumber association recommends against the using of bleach yet 90% of cleaning products available at your local home center contain bleach.
Question: Why use any chemicals at all? Isn’t using a pressure washer by itself good enough to do the job?
Answer: In order for a pressure washer to adequately clean wood, you would need to use extreme pressure at the surface. This causes the wood to split and the grain to raise, both causing the surface to become unpleasant to walk upon. Using a proper detergent like Restore-A-Deck eliminates the need for highly pressurized water hitting the deck. You wouldn’t take a shower without using soap or shampoo, nor would you wash your dishes with just water. The detergent does the cleaning, the water acts as the rinse.
Question: Do I need to use a pressure washer if I’m using Restore-A-Deck?
Answer: While initially, we wanted a product that would not need the added scrubbing action of a pressure washer, we feel it is safer to recommend one be used but with proper technique. In many cases, Restore-A-Deck will work it’s magic and can be rinsed using some brushing and garden hose pressure. We have included a more detailed explanation page on proper pressure washer usage here.
Question: What is included in the kit. What additional tools do I need?
Answer: Your kit will include a container of the cleaning agent, a container of the brightening agent and detailed instructions. You will also need at least one pump up 3-gallon sprayer (we recommend two), safety goggles, and PVC gloves. Optional equipment may include a pressure washer and moisture meter.
Question: I used Restore-A-Deck, and it looks great! Now I want to protect the beauty and protect it from the elements. What do you recommend?
Answer: Use the Restore-A-Deck stain in a semi-transparent color for UV protection and to enhance the natural grain of the wood.
Question: I have leftover materials from your kit, should I throw them away?
Answer: No way. Restore-A-Deck’s cleaner is excellent for cleaning vinyl patio furniture, garage floors, house washing, you name it. The only time we recommend caution is around colorfast material. The brightener in your kit is also excellent for removing rust stains from concrete. Restore-A-Deck’s materials have a shelf life of one year if kept sealed and dry.
I have used your semi-transparent stain two times over the past five years on treated pine. It’s time to stain again. There is a modest amount of stain remaining. Do I need to remove this stain, or just clean and brighten? I live in the high desert of New Mexico, where the problem is not mildew but is intense UV.
Clean and brighten while pressure washing should be sufficient.
I just finished applying your natural semi-transparent stain to my deck, it looks great. Before I begin reusing the deck, I just wanted to make sure: Will this stain provide me sufficient protection from water penetration or should I apply a separate waterproofing sealer? Thanks.
You cannot apply a sealer over a deck stain as it would peel if you did. No need.
Hi, i just used the deck cleaner and brightener on my wood per the instructions on the packages. after the wood dried it seems like it has left a sort of grey film on the wood. its not furred, but the film is pretty stubborn to get off. any suggestions?
You did not remove the oxidation fully. Redo using the cleaner and pressure washing and then brighen after.
Do I need to use cleaner and brightener every time I ?
When recoating, yes.
I have a mix of new deck boards(never been stained) and old ones(several years of staining w/ROD). I plan to sand the entire surface and then proceed with the Cleaner and go from there. What is the maximum amount of time I should allow between sanding and applying the Cleaner? …and are there any other items I should consider?
See this for your new wood.
After the weathering, prep with a deck cleaner all the wood, and then the wood brightener. No need to sand but if you want, do it after the cleaner and before the brightner.
I did the full RAD 1-2-3 treatment on my 12×20 cedar deck in 2021, after it had weathered for a year. Now, 2 years later, I want to clean, brighten, and recoat it with the left over RAD materials from 2021. It’s been raining often for two weeks. Q1. Can I start the RAD 1-2-3. process as soon as the rain stops, or should I wait for the deck to dry out? Q2. See photo showing one board under the roof drip line where weathering was worse. The steps have similar wear. I suppose cleaning will have to be more aggressive there – correct?
I live in Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Let it dry out so it is not soaking wet. Prep all wood well and then recoat.
I waited a couple of days after the rain ended. Cleaned Saturday, brightened Sunday, stained railings Monday and floor on Wednesday when the weather warmed up again.
No, you need a full cleaning when recoating. Use the RAD Cleaner. You can mix it at 1/2 strength.
Will stripper hurt stamped concrete pergola sits on?
I have an older cedar deck 31 yrs. or so, recently painted 2019 with Kilz Over Armor textured, Redwood color. Is peeling off and needs to be re-stained. How do I go about getting the wood ready for this? Or should we start over with fresh wood?
You would have to sand this all off to fix.
Is this done after cleaning/brightening or before? Are the boards even worth saving? some are cracked and warped.
Sand it all off first or replace the wood is correct.
Can left over brightener be stored in the the sprayer? If so, for how long?
A couple of weeks.
I have a new pressure treated pine deck 16 x 8 under a roof and protected from the element with plastic curtains. It is 6 weeks old. Do I need to Clean and Brighten the deck before I use the semi-transparent stain?
See here about new wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html
Thank you for answering so quickly, but that doesn’t answer my question. I read that before I asked. It is new wood and will not be subjected to the elements because it is covered with a roof and plastic curtains. It is not dirty or stained and hasn’t been walked on so it doesn’t need cleaning or brightening. It has been drying in 85- 90 degree heat for 6 weeks. Will the stain absorb without doing step #1 or step #2?
Actually yes, it does answer the question. You have to wait for 3 months or more to weather and then prep, just like the article states. You cannot stain it after 6 weeks and yes you must prep. Does not matter if covered.
My 12-15 year old deck has a floor of Pressure Treated pine tongue and groove. Behr stain was used on it in 2008. I belt sanded it 2 days ago. Current photos attached. We want to use one of your solid stain products but need your advice on how to proceed to do this correctly.
Make sure all wood is clean and any peeling stain is removed. You can then apply the RAD Solid Stain over the Behr stain that is intact and not peeling.
Do we need to use your Stripper and/or Brightener (with or without additives) first?
If you have peeling stain that still needs to be removed then yes.
Two questions…I did a first coat last summer on new wood and would like to apply a second coat this year. I have leftover cedar stain from last year and will need to order additional stain. Is the stain from last year still good? Secondly, I will apply the deck wash beforehand, but do I need to do the wood brightner too? Thanks for your help…
Stain that is opened has a shelf life of about 12 months. Unopened for about 36 months. It cannot freeze.
Yes on the Brightener.
I finished staining our deck and we love the results. What cleaner or solvent do I use to remove the overspray I got on the tin roof when I sprayed the beams?
Try Goof Off.
I followed all the steps as you described, but after staining the flooring I would like it to be darker. Can I do a second coat a couple of days after I did the first coat.
No, it will not take now. Second coats have to be applied wet on wet: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-wet-on-wet-application.html
You can prep and redo in the Spring with a darker color.
I’m about to apply RAD semitransparent stain on an 18 month old Pressure Treated deck once I sand, clean and brighten. I did a few samples using a pre-stain conditioner and it looks great. My question is given the stain is water based should I use water based pre- stain conditioner or oil based? Seems oil pre-conditioner is recommended for exterior and water base for interior yet it is also recommended to use the same base for both pre-conditioner and stain.
You cannot use a preconditioner with our stain or any penetrating exterior deck stain.
Will that cause it to fail or not seal? It looks so good with the pre-conditioner.
It will not soak in and cure correctly, leading to premature failure.
Bummer, I guess it will have to be blotchy pine stain. Thanks for the tip before I apply it.
Is the coverage estimate for the semi-transparent stain (100-200sq/ft) for 1 coat or 2?
One coat. It averages about 100 Sq feet per gallon for the two coats applied wet on wet.
I cleaned, brightened (RAD) and stained (Armstrong-Clark semi tran cedar) 2 weeks ago. I did not do the spindles – on purpose, my wife doesn’t want me on a ladder. Now the spindles really look dirty with some clean areas on them. Question: Can I apply cleaner to spindles and power wash off without affecting the deck boards and handrails OR am I stuck with just power washing?
No, it may harm the stain now on the floors if you use the prep products.
Can I clean and brighten the deck one day and stain it the next day?
I stripped and brightened pressure-treated pine deck 1 yr ago and stained with RAD semi-transparent stain. Half of deck is covered and other half exposed to sun most of day. Exposed deck looks like it needs another coat of stain – covered area maybe okay but I would have to stain whole deck since there is no way to separate the areas. I have power washed deck and it looks clean (did not use cleaner). Do I still have to apply brightener or can I stain it without brightener. Assume I should apply only one coat of stain.
You do not need the brightener in this case. You can add one coat of the stain.
Resulted in blotchy white patches over entire deck. With it stain up ok?
We would need to see pictures.
We are in the rainiest county in the continental US and the 12 month old cypress unfinished deck was very mildewed. First We used Jomax because it cleans the house mildew well but it didn’t get the black stripes off. Then we used your cleaner and it was still full of black areas so we used a chlorine mix per can instructions and scrubber brush and rinsed very well….like 2 hours with the pressure washer to get the soapiness off, then the brightener and final rinse.There is some fuzziness and a lot of wood pulp came off but we had to get the blackness off.Any help appreciated. I just don’t want a blotchy finish. I think it was because it was unfinished wood sitting in the wettest year we’ve ever had…2020. Hopefully with some TWP sealer protection we can stay on top of the black mildew.
Might want to go over it one more time with the RAD Cleaner and the Brightener to remove some more of the white oxidation. This typically does not show when stained.
We are currently cleaning, brightening and staining our new deck round #2. The first time around (October 2020) we followed this process after letting our kiln-dried cedar weather for a month. We were pressed for time because nights were already getting down in the 30s. The stain did not hold up well. In round #2 the cleaner is removing the original stain. Is it supposed to? If not, what do you think happened?
Removing it is fine. This will allow the new coating to soak in deeper. Make sure to not over apply the stain.
It’s done now but I would like to figure out what happened for next time. My husband showed me where the cleaner was removing the old stain prior to hitting it with the pressure washer. Because of this he felt he needed to get really aggressive with the pressure washer, even though I told him not to, and really did a number on our brand new cedar. So we know next time, is the cleaner supposed to remove the original stain? Are you saying that it was peeling off with the cleaner because it was applied too heavy the first time?
It can remove the old stain if the older stain was over applied.
I have to laugh because he said I applied it too light this time yet apparently he over-applied it the first time. It does make me nervous to use the cleaner again. It was removing the old stain in strips and would have looked terrible if we didn’t remove it all. Not sure if we should used the stripper at that point.
I am in question as to what I need to do my deck. It has been previously done with Semi Transparent cedar natural tome Olympic fence snd deck treatment. I did not get it done last year. What kit would you recommend to use to strip,clean and stain with your product and additives if needed. The deck is 12 x 12 and six steps total. We are doing just the deck and steps not the railings. I would like to use your Semi Transparent Cedar Tone Natural. I am not sure what size kit to use. I will include pictures of my deck. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.
The RAD Stripper with both additives for prep and then the RAD Brightener. One of all 4 of these: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/RAD-Stain-Stripper.html
Hello, In reference to the FAQ above .. “I used Restore-A-Deck …..Now I want to seal in the beauty…what do you recommend?” The answer states “pick a quality sealer from a reputable dealer….we suggest Woodrich Timber Oil….” My questions: sealers and semi trans stains are two different things correct? I don’t see just a “Sealer” on Woodrich.. they do make mention of a page with stains and sealers… it seems to be the same thing , a stain and sealer. Isn’t Restore-A-Deck trans stain a stain and sealer? Bottom line while I did purchase a trans stain cedar color my preference is a “clear” product so I get nothing but the natural beauty of the wood. I do not see such a product “clear” on your site or Woodrich. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
All deck stains are sealers as well. Clear will not give UV protection. You must use a stain. We will update this part of the article.
I have a deck that has old semi transparent stains on parts of it, grey areas in other parts. I want to clean it up in the next week, but will not be able to put your semi transparent stain on it until possibly June.I am planning to use your stripper but am not sure if I use the brightener since it will be about 1-2 months before I can stain it.
You will have to redo the prep if you wait 1-2 months to stain with the cleaner and the brightener. Brightener after the stripping is done now.
Before I wash and strip my deck using your product, do I need to protect the pained metal railing? What about limestone around pool?
It should not harm either but always do a test spot first.
I used the restore a deck system (semi-transparent walnut latex) on my dock and front stairs in Central Florida about a year ago. PT Pine construction. I have green algae on some shaded parts of the dock decking and drip line of front steps. I need to safely clean algae and re-coat deck boards and horizontal steps from use. Please advise.
Prep with this and then apply one coat: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/RAD-Cleaner-Only.html
Since we have had unseasonably warm weather I made the mistake of getting eager and stripped and sealed the steps going up to my deck. They look great. I now realize there is going to be a big problem with ruining the stairs when I deal with the deck itself and have to rinse off the Restore-A-Deck. The obvious answer would be to cover everything with heavy plastic, but it still seems to me unlikely that I can avoid run-off on the steps. Is there any professional trick for this situation? (Probably not, since a professional wouldn’t be so dumb!) Thanks.
No tricks will work, sorry.
Close-up of droplets
Not sure what that is but it is not coming from the stain. There is nothing in the stain that would cause this to happen. Looks like something is leaching out of the wood? Does it wipe or scrub off?
On the upper deck I hosed it off which caused the stain to appear blotchy. I put a second coat on that deck and it looks fine. I started the lower deck (the photo with the blue droplets) yesterday and did not get to finish. This morning the droplets were on the lower deck but I just left them alone and they seem to have evaporated and the boards look fine. New question; can I put a second coat on if the stain has dried overnight?
No, once cured and dried you cannot apply a second coat as it will not take.
Again one did not post. This one shows some of the blotchy area.
Some of the photos did not post.
I have a question concerning the finished stained boards. The cedar boards on this top deck were put down in late April and May. They had been purchased two years prior but had been covered and protected. I used the RAD cleaner according to package directions using a sprayer and a stiff broom. Waited the appropriate time, then rinsed well. I applied the brightner according to the package directions, waiting approx. 15+ minutes. Rinsed until I no longer saw any bubbles. It was late in the day by then so I waited until the next day to stain. As you can see by the photos I have a lot of block wall along the deck so I chose to use a 3″ brush to stain with. Took about 3 hours but it went well. The next morning there was dew on the decks ( our days in the Portland, OR area have been mid-70’s & night mid-50’s ). The stained deck also had droplets of a blueish nature on portions of the deck. I rinsed the deck down but as you can see from the photos it has left patchy areas. I am now going to do the lower deck. Yesterday I cleaned, used brightner, and rinsed very well. This morning I rinsed the deck again very well. I am waiting about three hours until I start staining the damp deck. Any suggestions.
Here are photos of the blueish droplets.
It is Anne Again, The deck is so slick that you really cant walk on it without sliding. It is still wet.
I stripped and brightened the decking and cleaned and brightened the railings two weeks ago, but didn’t get to start the staining before leaving on a trip. Do I need to clean or brighten again or just rinse off and stain?
Just rinse off and then stain.
After I have scrubbed the cleaner and washed off the deck it still feels soapy. Will the brightener get the soapy feel off?
Power wash to rinse better and then apply the brightener.
When I get my solid deck stain it will be close to 3 weeks since I cleaned/brightened my deck. Do I need to do any additional steps? Would you recommend applying to a dry or wet deck? Thank you!
Lightly wash or rinse the wood with a pressure washer to remove any dirt. Damp or dry is fine. Cannot be visibly wet.
If I didn’t use a pressure washer, how would I go about cleaning and rinsing the deck? I am worried about having to possibly sand the wood down after pressure washing as well as the hassle of renting and and using it properly. This would be for a brand new deck with pressure treated pine.
See here about new wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html
You will need the pressure washer to help prep after the wait.
Thanks for the quick reply. I am curious though as to how these things were done before pressure washers existed. Was it just an extraordinary amount of elbow grease and scrubbing?
No one prepped and stained decks prior to pressure washers 🙂
I used RAD cleaner a few weeks ago on my deck. It took off the old stain but still had the grey coating. You recommended that I strip it and then brighten. I ordered the stripper but just recently got it in the mail. I’m planning to use stripper and brightener later this week… before finally staining. It’s been 3 weeks cleaned but without any brightener… do you think the wood is ok?? 🙁
Yes, it is fine.
I have just finished stripping and sanding an 800 sq ft deck, pressure treated pine, 18 years old. I never want to do this again. Can RAD be maintained/reapplied by simply cleaning and washing? Forever? (I am 70, forever is not that long:))
Yes, clean and recoat as needed.
how should I prep this deck to be restained the same color?
Use the Restore A Deck Cleaner: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/RAD-Cleaner-Only.html
Temp for application of solid stain says 70 degrees and i realize thats wood temp and not air temp. When doing wet on wer application does that keep the wood cooler and allow for higher air temp? If so how high or do i need to wait for fall to come in the great northeast?
70 is optimal but the range is 50-90 degrees. You do not do wet on wet application for the solid stain. The second coat is applied after the first coat fully dries.
I find that I did not order enough semi-transparent stain and have ordered more. The deck is ready, how long can I wait before staining?
I have a porch that was stained with oil based before . What do i need to do to prepare for your product?
Depends on the brand and type of stain? Pictures would help as well.
I used cabot semi-solid in a gray color. I’ll try and get some pictures of it this afternoon.
I used your solid stain costal gray on my deck today. We used the calculator but must have done something wrong because we didn’t have enough for a second coat on the horizontal part of deck or to do our stairs. I ordered more today. Will it be a problem to do a second coat when it arrives weather permitting without additional prep? Will I have to clean the stairs again since they didn’t get any stain?
Just clean off any dirt first and you will be okay.
I have 19 year old treated deck where I sanded, stripped & brightened as instructed. I applied one coat two days ago 105 cape cod gray. I was very pleased with the results, however day 3, the deck appears slight shades of rusty/yellowing tint. See attached. Could you explain why this transpired and would 2nd coat maybe next year correct this?
Looks like tannin bleed from inside the wood. This is something that cannot be prevented. Adding another coat should blend it better.
Thanks for your reply. I want to express my appreciation for all your support in directing me in the right direction for my Deck project. Your web site and comments was very helpful.
Keep up the good work!
You are welcome!
Can I apply a semi-transparent stain with a spray gun and compressor. Does it work well to use this and will the spray orifice become clogged?
You can spray it but you will need to back brush to ensure it is evenly applied.
I have vinyl irrigation tubing attached to my deck. Will the caustic nature of the Stain Stripper harm my tubing?
We are going to strip a deck and pergola that has a built in, painted stucco island. The pergola stripping will surely drop down onto the stucco structure. Will it damage the painted stucco??
It would help to cover this to be certain you do not have any issues.
Hi! I contacted you guys about removing solid stain and you were awesome in being honest and telling me the only real way to remove solid stain is to flip the boards and sand. SO we just finished flipping and sanding the boards today. The deck itself is 4 years old, the surface of the boards now facing up were never sealed. There is some discoloration but no signs of mold. What would you recommend we do next in terms of prepping and cleaning for the application of a semi transparent stain?
Treat the wood like new: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html
Wait a few months and then clean and brighten the wood for prep.
I stripped, brightened and stained my deck in December. It’s looking good, but I’d like to try to keep it as clean as possible for walking around barefoot. What’s the smartest way to keep it clean between now and the next time I apply stain, most likely in another year or so.
Just rinse with water as needed.