When to Use a Deck Stripper over a Cleaner

The benefits of regular wood deck maintenance are well worth the time and cost. Regularly cleaning and protecting your deck with a wood stain or sealer is one of the best things you can do to guarantee years of use.

The proper procedure for regular wood maintenance is to clean or prep the wood prior to applying a wood deck stain. The purpose of cleaning the wood it so the new deck stain will penetrate or adhere properly and perform as promised. To establish whether you will need to use RAD deck cleaner or RAD deck stripper you first have to determine what is on the wood surface that needs to be removed.

Deck Cleaners
Restore A Deck cleaners come in a powder form and contain sodium percarbonate along with other additives that boost the overall effectiveness dramatically. RAD deck cleaners will remove contaminants such as dirt, grime, graying, mold, mildew, algae, and mill glaze. They break down these unwanted soils making it easier to scrub or pressure wash the wood to a newly restored surface ready for stain.

RAD wood deck cleaners are designed to clean wood that is grayed and dirty and has little to no existing deck stain present. If you are unsure if your deck has old stain or sealer on it splash some water on the surface. If the water beads up there are some remnants of old sealer or stain, if it absorbs into the wood quickly there is little or no sealer.

Deck Stain Strippers
If it is obvious that a deck has an old failing stain or sealer on it, or if water beads up then it may be necessary to use a deck stain stripper as opposed to a deck cleaner. Restore-A-Deck strippers contain more aggressive caustics than deck cleaners. Unlike a cleaner, a wood stain stripper will emulsify and breakdown most water and oil based transparent, semi-transparent and semi-solid deck stains so they can be washed off more easily.

At the same time dirt, mold, mildew, and all other contaminants are also removed from the wood surface along with the failing deck stain. It isn't necessary to use both a deck stripper and a deck cleaner during the same washing process. Determine what is on the surface of your wood deck and then decide whether you need a deck cleaner or stripper.

Note that once the wood is cleaned or stripped you need to follow up with an application of the Restore-A-Deck wood brightener. This restores the wood's pH balance for better stain penetration and enhances the beauty of the wood. It is a necessary step after deck cleaning or stripping.

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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting guitargerber:
I used the cleaner and the brightener. Then, the weather turned cold, then wet, then cold, then wet again. It will have been 3 weeks since I brightened the deck - can I still use the Armstrong Clark transparent stain? Do I need to re-brighten first?

You should rebrighten since it has been 3 weeks since the prep was done.
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How long can I wait to stain?
I used the cleaner and the brightener. Then, the weather turned cold, then wet, then cold, then wet again. It will have been 3 weeks since I brightened the deck - can I still use the Armstrong Clark transparent stain? Do I need to re-brighten first?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting jcanfield13:
If you don't recommend your products for regular clean - only prep, do you have a product that you do recommend for regular maintenance cleaning?

We do not. You want something that is not too aggressive to the point that it will remove the coating.
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Deck Cleaning
If you don't recommend your products for regular clean - only prep, do you have a product that you do recommend for regular maintenance cleaning?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting jcanfield13:
I used RAD step 1 and 2 last year on my newly constructed pressure treated wood deck. I then stained with an Armstrong Clark semitransparent stain. This spring, I would like to clean the deck as there are some stains on it. Do I still use both step 1 and 2, or just step 1? Will the brightener hurt my existing stain?

Our cleaning products are prepping products for retaining. I would not suggest using them for just cleaning unless you want to reapply the AC. They will remove some of the stain.
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deck cleaning
I used RAD step 1 and 2 last year on my newly constructed pressure treated wood deck. I then stained with an Armstrong Clark semitransparent stain. This spring, I would like to clean the deck as there are some stains on it. Do I still use both step 1 and 2, or just step 1? Will the brightener hurt my existing stain?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting Annette Grant:
I have cleaned my deck with a pressure cleaner and it has left trail marks when I sprayed close to the deck and they are obvious. Could you please advise me of what do I do with this problem before I apply stain. I have scrubbed using deck cleaner with a scrubbing brush.
Thank you

You cannot fix the pressure washing marks with a cleaner, brightener or stain stripper. You would have to sand the entire floor "evenly" to remove them. Use 60 grit paper. After you should use the RAD kits for the final prep before staining.
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pressure cleaner marks
I have cleaned my deck with a pressure cleaner and it has left trail marks when I sprayed close to the deck and they are obvious. Could you please advise me of what do I do with this problem before I apply stain. I have scrubbed using deck cleaner with a scrubbing brush.
Thank you
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting Larry Joe:
It appears that RAD Stripper is not suitable for stripping solid oil-based stain from my (pressure treated pine) deck. The stain in some parts of the deck surface is mostly gone (appears black from dirt, mold, mildew) while other deck sections are just faded solid stain (and mold/mildew). What product is recommended?

No deck stain stripper will remove a solid stain easily or effectively.
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Stripping Solid Oil Based Stain
It appears that RAD Stripper is not suitable for stripping solid oil-based stain from my (pressure treated pine) deck. The stain in some parts of the deck surface is mostly gone (appears black from dirt, mold, mildew) while other deck sections are just faded solid stain (and mold/mildew). What product is recommended?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting Connie Reimer:
I will be using Armstrong semi-transparent oil based stain. Currently the desk has a semi-transparent stain. The deck is in good condition. It does have green/mold spots and sections where there is very little or no stain left. Will I just need to use Deck Stain Stripper?

That and the wood brightener to neutralize after.
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Cleaner and Stripper
I will be using Armstrong semi-transparen t oil based stain. Currently the desk has a semi-transparen t stain. The deck is in good condition. It does have green/mold spots and sections where there is very little or no stain left. Will I just need to use Deck Stain Stripper?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting Shelley Juergens:
Around the wood screws there is a dark bleeding on the cedar wood, Step 2 was applied about less than 5 days ago I am planning to reapply step 2 you can see different shades in the cedar. restoring the deck I can only work on it for about 3 hours physically. is there something different i should know about for the bleeding around the wood screws?

The is rust from your screws. The brightener may remove the black rust stains but it will come back once rain rusts your screws again.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Around the wood screws there is a dark bleeding on the cedar wood, Step 2 was applied about less than 5 days ago I am planning to reapply step 2 you can see different shades in the cedar. restoring the deck I can only work on it for about 3 hours physically. is there something different i should know about for the bleeding around the wood screws?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting koppernickel:
i have a 16 year old yellow pine wrap around mostly covered deck/porch with one on the west and north side of the house and one on the south side of the house. The west and north gets both hot sun and shade. I have cleaned and stained it 4-5 times with Olympus maximum semi transparent natural redwood over the years and it is now blotchy where it won't accept stain to the bare areas. I figure I need to strip, brighten, and restain it. Will restore a deck strip acrylic/oil based stain like the Olympus? Which stain do you recommend for refinishing in my situation? The south deck is mostly shaded. I have a little prob with mildew but not bad. 7 foot deep. 39 foot northside and 26 foot west side. 29x8 on south side. Thank you for any assistance you can give

The RAD does strip of oil based semi-transparen t stain but it may have an issue when trying to remove 4-5 layers that have been over applied through the years. You may need to strip a few times to get it all off and even sand some stubborn areas. Once removed you need to use the RAD brightener for the final prep. Either the 100 or 1500 Series.
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Homeowner and slave to it
i have a 16 year old yellow pine wrap around mostly covered deck/porch with one on the west and north side of the house and one on the south side of the house. The west and north gets both hot sun and shade. I have cleaned and stained it 4-5 times with Olympus maximum semi transparent natural redwood over the years and it is now blotchy where it won't accept stain to the bare areas. I figure I need to strip, brighten, and restain it. Will restore a deck strip acrylic/oil based stain like the Olympus? Which stain do you recommend for refinishing in my situation? The south deck is mostly shaded. I have a little prob with mildew but not bad. 7 foot deep. 39 foot northside and 26 foot west side. 29x8 on south side. Thank you for any assistance you can give
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting John Meinken:
Hi, Stripping my deck and Gazebo is going to be a multi-day project. Can I strip it entirely then go back later, re-wet and then use the brightener?
Regards,
John

You can but it is always best to brighten as soon as possible.
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Deck stripping question.
Hi, Stripping my deck and Gazebo is going to be a multi-day project. Can I strip it entirely then go back later, re-wet and then use the brightener?
Regards,
John
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting Rick Jensen:
I have a new Brazilian Redwood deck that was treated initially with a SSW Deckscapes stain. A matter of weeks later the surface looked gray and terrible. I've power washed the deck, but it hasn't made much of an impact, if any. I tried treating a small area with the RAD cleaner/brightener and it doesn't appear to have had any impact so I'm considering using a stripper/brightener, but I don't want to ruin the wood with harsh chemicals before putting on TWP. Is there a better path, such as just letting it weather for several months, or trying different methods?

Seems your options are either strip and brighten or sand it all off. It does not just weather away.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
I have a new Brazilian Redwood deck that was treated initially with a SSW Deckscapes stain. A matter of weeks later the surface looked gray and terrible. I've power washed the deck, but it hasn't made much of an impact, if any. I tried treating a small area with the RAD cleaner/brighte ner and it doesn't appear to have had any impact so I'm considering using a stripper/bright ener, but I don't want to ruin the wood with harsh chemicals before putting on TWP. Is there a better path, such as just letting it weather for several months, or trying different methods?
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Don't use it
I used BM arborteck last year on a brand new pt deck . Black mold
Is on top and underneath . Faded only repelled water
For two months . Now I have to sand and stripp. Going back with twp. Hope this is better.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting kyle brauner:
I accidently ordered the cleaner and brightener kit. I needed the stripper and brightner. How do I go about returning the cleaner for a refund? The cleaner has not been opened.

Kyle, you would have to return the whole kit as the stripper does not come in a kit. You cannot just exchange the cleaner of a stripper. Please call to discuss.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
I accidently ordered the cleaner and brightener kit. I needed the stripper and brightner. How do I go about returning the cleaner for a refund? The cleaner has not been opened.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting jmdllski:
We first power washed the deck which removed most of the deck stain on the surface however there is still quite a bit that needs to be removed from the sides. This is not a typical deck with post and spindles, This is a low deck with 2 steps. the sides are actually benches and there is decorative wood holding the benches. There are alot of crevices and angles that need to be stripped. After power washing, we got a sander (hand) using a 60 grit paper,This didn't remove anything. We haven't tried the belt sander but i'm concerned that it won't remove it either. Any other suggestions? I've been reading about strippers but I see there are mixed reviews. We want to put a semi stain on the deck.

Out stripper will not remove a solid stain. It may help some but it will not get it all off.
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removing solid deck stain
We first power washed the deck which removed most of the deck stain on the surface however there is still quite a bit that needs to be removed from the sides. This is not a typical deck with post and spindles, This is a low deck with 2 steps. the sides are actually benches and there is decorative wood holding the benches. There are alot of crevices and angles that need to be stripped. After power washing, we got a sander (hand) using a 60 grit paper,This didn't remove anything. We haven't tried the belt sander but i'm concerned that it won't remove it either. Any other suggestions? I've been reading about strippers but I see there are mixed reviews. We want to put a semi stain on the deck.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting jimmer:
My deck has paint on it that has peeled in many spots and I want to completely remove the paint. Will the RAD stripper work or do I need a different product?

No deck stripper will remove paint. You will need to sand it off.
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Stripping Deck
My deck has paint on it that has peeled in many spots and I want to completely remove the paint. Will the RAD stripper work or do I need a different product?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
Quoting Dealer:
Have 15year old pressure treated deck with deteriorated Sikkens stain on 50 percent of it. Have to restore it w/out useing Sikkens again. Should I strip it, brighten it or just clean it &brighteni it?what do u think if I use TWP cedar tone stain. Please give me some advice - I need it. Won't hold u responsible for it.Thanks, Bill.

Strip and brighten for the Sikkens removal. Yes the TWP would be a good choice after removal.
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Bill graham
Have 15year old pressure treated deck with deteriorated Sikkens stain on 50 percent of it. Have to restore it w/out useing Sikkens again. Should I strip it, brighten it or just clean it &brighteni it?what do u think if I use TWP cedar tone stain. Please give me some advice - I need it. Won't hold u responsible for it.Thanks, Bill.
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re: Can I use RAD blue step 2 in weather cooler than 75 degrees?
75 is ideal weather. It will work between 50 and 95 degrees with no issues.
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Can I use RAD blue step 2 in weather cooler than 75 degrees?
Can I use RAD blue step 2 in weather cooler than 75 degrees? The instructions look pretty clear that 3 days of sunny, 75 degree weather is important. That probably won't happen where I live. Does that mean I can only use RAD red step one?
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re: Stain removal in difficult spots?
Adam, try scoring the areas first with sanding so the stripper will be able to get through the stain and soften the bond.
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Stain removal in difficult spots?
I just used RAD stripper with power washing to remove old Sikkens SRD semi transparent stain on my mahogany deck. It seemed to work great in some spots, with the old stain coming right off. The trouble is, in other places there seemed to be either embedded stain or mold stains that would not come off without very direct power washing which I don't really want to do (to not damage the wood). tried a second application without success. I'm not really sure what else to do about this. My guess is it is more of an issue to do with how the deck was stained last time (prior owner), but otherwise the product worked well.
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
The Restore A Deck Stain Stripper does remove Sikkens SRD in the oil based formula. We do not have dealers in Canada.
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I want to reapply a Sikkens SRD stain which was an oil based product 5 years ago. Last year they changed the formula so it now the SRD is a "hybrid" product- part oil and part water base. Sikkens say you must remove the old stain completely before applying the new product. Will your product do the job? Secondly where is your nearest dealer to Vancover BC Canada?
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RE: Deck Cleaning vs. Deck Stripping
I would just strip and rinse the ground when done. never had any say there was an issue with their dogs.
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Pets and deck stripper
Hi, our dog is always sniffing around under our deck. If we use your wood stripper product, doesn't the old (oil based) stain wash off onto the ground where it could sit and get picked up by our dog's feet? We were going to lay down plastic drop cloths but they won't stand up to all of the water generated by pressure-washin g the stain/stripper off because there will be a lot of runoff. Any suggestions?
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I would use the cleaner on the floor. Durastain is a semi-solid and is fairly difficult to remove. You may need to strip more the once.
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The stain on the surface of my redwood deck floor is completely weathered away. However, the rail spindles have a fair amount of residual Wolmans durastain. I plan to apply RAD stripper to the spindles. Should I go ahead and use the stripper on the deck floor as well or use the cleaner on the floor? Thanks
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re: Time to dry
THANKS VERY MUCH! ;-)
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re: Time to dry
TWP wants you to wait 48 hours after prepping.
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Time to dry
We will be working with limited time, and will be stripping and brightening with RAD. Redwood deck is pretty dry, and weather will be in the low 90's with wind. Can we get by with 24hrs dry time before applying TWP100? How do you tell the wood is dry enough to apply the stain? We don't want to waste our time and materials, but we don't really have 3 days to wait between stipping and staining. Thanks!
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re: Stain Question
You can wait a week to stain.
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Stain Question
I just completed stripping the deck. After I brighten it.......how soon does it need to be stained? I know it needs to dry thoroughly..... .but can I wait a week or so to stain?
Thanks
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Lightly mist with water. No it will work in cold water as well.
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Do you apply the solution (cleaner or stripper) to dry wood or should you pre wet it? Does the water reallyneed to be warm?
Thanks
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The stripper softens the coatings. It is very difficult to scrub off the stain after applying the stripper. The use of a pressure washer makes it much easier.
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Olympic Semi-Transparen t
I am trying to strip Olympic Maximum semi-transparen t oil-based stain off of my deck? Will RAD stripper accomplish this? Will it work without a pressure washer? I am worried about damaging the wood with a pressure washer.
Thanks!
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