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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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    jimmer · 07/21/2014
    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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    RAD Products · 06/19/2014
    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 · 06/18/2014
    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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    RAD Products · 08/07/2013
    75 is ideal weather. It will work between 50 and 95 degrees with no issues.
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    Cameron Brister · 08/07/2013
    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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    RAD Products · 08/05/2013
    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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    Adam · 08/04/2013
    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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    RAD Products · 07/23/2013
    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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    Jon · 07/23/2013
    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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    RAD Products · 06/18/2013
    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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    Bill F · 06/18/2013
    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-washing the stain/stripper off because there will be a lot of runoff. Any suggestions?
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    RAD Products · 06/12/2013
    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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    George Moore · 06/12/2013
    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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    Kathryn · 06/03/2013
    THANKS VERY MUCH! ;-)
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    RAD Products · 06/03/2013
    TWP wants you to wait 48 hours after prepping.
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    Kathryn · 06/02/2013
    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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    RAD Products · 05/29/2013
    You can wait a week to stain.
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    Bruce Pierce · 05/29/2013
    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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    RAD Products · 05/16/2013
    Lightly mist with water. No it will work in cold water as well.
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    Bobby · 05/16/2013
    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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    RAD Products · 05/05/2013
    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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    Brett · 05/05/2013
    I am trying to strip Olympic Maximum semi-transparent 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!