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How to Restore-A-Deck Stain to Damp Wood

by RAD Products

Note: The RAD stain can be applied to damp or dry wood but is best applied to damp wood. Easier and will avoid potential Hot Sun Application Issues.

Today we will outline some things you need to know about how to apply Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain to damp wood for best results. Recent advancements in wood stain technology have allowed for a number of benefits, including better UV protection against the sun’s rays, excellent penetration into the wood grain for long-lasting results, and the ability to apply the stain to damp wood the same day as completing the prep steps. Since staining damp wood may be a new concept to some of you, as it has not been a possibility before, we have some tips and things to take into account so you can achieve the best-finished product.

New Wood Note: New wood is not the same as “damp” wood and needs to weather and be prepped before staining. Restore-A-Deck Stain and New Wood

Before you start your wood stain project, ensure your temperature conditions are optimal for best results. The surface temperature should be between 45 degrees F and 90 degrees F. Check the weather forecast and do not start the staining process if the temperature is expected to drop below 45 degrees or if rain is a possibility in the next 12 hours.

If the weather is on your side, first, complete steps 1 and 2 of the Restore-a-Deck in a day process by applying either the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner or Restore-A-Deck Stripper depending on whether there is already stain on the wood surface, followed by the Restore-A-Deck Brightener. Allow the wood surface to dry for 2-4 hours before tackling the staining process.

Make sure you mix Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain well initially and periodically throughout the staining project. Protect all non-target surfaces with cardboard or drop cloths. For equipment, you can use the Restore-A-Deck Stain Brush (if using the RAD Semi-Transparent Stains), hand brushes, or staining pads to apply. Apply the stain to vertical surfaces such as railings or posts first, and protect the horizontal surfaces from the excess stain. Apply stain to the full length of the board, making sure to not break in the middle of the board. Apply 2 coats wet on wet for older wood and 1 coat only for newer wood.

Restore A Deck Stain Application Tips

And there you have it. We recommend allowing the surface to dry for 24 hours before walking or placing furniture on the surface.

Have you completed the Restore-A-Deck 3 step process in one day? Any tips we are missing? We want to hear your reviews. Be sure to comment with any photos and let us know how the project is holding up over time.

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Anthony Engheta
Anthony Engheta
4 months ago

Hello – just finished pressure washing and sanding 700 sf of my cypress deck. It had been treated with oil based stain and was covered in mildew. I have purchased 4 gallons of your semitransparent RAD and brightener.

I need to know how to proceed…. After using the brightener, can I apply the stain while the deck is still damp , or should I wait a few days until the deck is dry? Also, do I need to apply a 2nd coat. If so how long should I wait before applying the 2nd coat?

Also to let you know, I used 60 grit sander this last time…. This deck is almost 15 years old and has been sanded and treated with oil based stain every 2-3 years. I would think it has weathered long enough!?! That said, since I sanded the deck, do I need to let it weather till spring before I do anything to it?? I am afraid without any stain the deck will be in worse shape if I wait until next spring.

Anthony
Anthony
4 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Thanks!

Tami
Tami
5 months ago

I just finished all three steps including semi transparent cedar stain.
within an hour had a pop up thunderstorm. I realize I have to strip /brighten
again Question is should I let it completely dry first and can I start stripping?

Bill
Bill
6 months ago

The weather in the northeast has been challenging for staining this summer, I live close to Lake Ontario and it’s been raining quite frequently. I have two projects I need to complete. I will be using semi transparent on both, first is a deck second is a new fence that was installed in April and has to be stained by late September or the installer won’t honor the warranty. What would be an acceptable moisture content level for both projects? I have a moisture meter, thank you

William
William
6 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

The deck is not new, been stained 2 times previously, last time failed within 5 months, bad product because it was properly prepped and stained in a nice dry spell. I realize I will have to strip the remaining stain in order to use Restore A Deck. The fence is brand new and rough cut.

Michele
Michele
7 months ago

I have a 20+ year old deck, and I believe it’s never been stained before. I would like to use a RAD semi-transparent stain on it. Please let me know if this is the correct sequence, thank you!

  1. RAD Cleaner (do I really need this?)
  2. RAD Stripper
  3. RAD Brightener
  4. While still damp after using Brightener, apply two coats of stain (wet on wet technique)
Deck 2.jpg
Deck.jpg
Michele
Michele
7 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Thanks! In your opinion, how many gallons of semi-transparent stain would I need to go over my 12×12′ deck twice?

Susan
Susan
7 months ago

I have one area of my deck that gets heavy traffic from my dogs. Would a solid stain hold up better in this area?

Matt
Matt
7 months ago

just checked my brightener instruction, it says “wait at least 48 hours before staining”, but RAD website says I can do it all in the same day. Which one is correct?

Matt
Matt
8 months ago

I used RAD semi about 4 years ago and will do it again. It’s in a shaded area and temperature around 60 degree. Is it still better to apply stain the same day?

Brenda
Brenda
8 months ago

I will be using stripper and brightner on one day and solid stain applied the next day. Should wood be re-moistened before applying stain? How long to wait between first and second coat of stain?

fred
fred
8 months ago

So if I use your stain irrespective of semi transparent or solid, how long will it last before having to do the prep n stain? Which stain has the highest UV protection?

fred
fred
8 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Based on reading your forum though frequently you state if we use a solid stain it won’t come off. I’m confused…what’s the difference between your solid stain product and others on the market? I don’t want to buy solid stain if I’m never going to be able to remove it…

fred
fred
8 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

OK. So why would you sell a solid stain product knowing it’s going to be harder on your customers to remove? From everything in your posts you advise against the solid stains.

fred
fred
8 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

OHHHH. OK thanks I knew I was intrinsically missing something lol. Appreciate the response, wasn’t trying to be snarky just made no sense logicallu!

Andrea Turner
Andrea Turner
8 months ago

I stripped, cleaned, sanded and stained my deck last year. I did one coat with advice that because I sanded the deck I should treat it like new wood. I need to apply another coat now-should I use wet on wet technique to reapply the second coat for the best adherence after pressure washing?

Andrea Turner
Andrea Turner
8 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Thank you. We on wet technique still?

Andrea
Andrea
8 months ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Do I apply the stain with the deck dry or damp? Not sure as it’s the second coat.

dana yergin
dana yergin
8 months ago

After reading the articles i have a clarification question .. new wood; weathered (8 months) and prepped ..

It is mentioned the stain is best applied to damp wood in this article; but another article says new wood either damp after cleaning or dry next day. Hot sun application mentions misting prior to staining..

What is the best method for the above?
thanks!
d

Charlie F
Charlie F
9 months ago

I’m looking to repaint my deck with a solid stain over an older solid stain that is cracking/peeling. I was looking over the prep steps and have a question on prepping the deck. Do I need to remove 100% of the older paint with RAD Paint & Solid Stain Stripper? Or can I remove most of the loose paint before I repaint the deck?

Carol Arnold
Carol Arnold
9 months ago

After reading through all of the advice on your website I see that for solid stain it should be applied with a hand brush, roller or airless sprayer.
If using a roller what nap should be used.
Thank you

Sara Lindsay
Sara Lindsay
9 months ago

Going to stain our deck this weekend with semi transparent stain. We have a stain sprayer- should I use this or a pad? What would be best for the railings? Thanks!

P.k.
P.k.
9 months ago

We got heavy rain last night, I’m planning on doing all 3 steps in one day to my fence. Obviously have no puddles since it’s all vertical surfaces. Can I do all 3 steps starting with a wet fence?

Karl Dauber
Karl Dauber
10 months ago

Is there any need to do anything to the underside of the deck and stairs? It doesn’t get any sun obviously and it would be very difficult to get under there and work. However, there is some mold/mildew. Maybe just use some hot soapy water and a scrub brush on a pole once in a while to clean?

Nicolas A
Nicolas A
11 months ago

My 2019 Ipe deck had an area with deeper shades of the original stain (Ipe oil). That area was under an umbrella base.

I applied the stripper + brightener on that area, with the hope that it would align the wood color with the rest. It kind of worked (the color of the area is now aligned with the rest)…but when I applied the stripper+brightener, I overflowed a bit to surrounding areas…which have then become too bright!

Any recommendations for next steps? I was thinking of stripping + brightening the whole deck now, in the hope of getting the “bright” color everywhere. Or should I avoid re-stripping + brightening the area that is already bright, to avoid damaging it?

JW
JW
1 year ago

My only available weather window will have a daytime high around 50°F but will dip closer to 40°F overnight. I know the recommended temp range is not below 45°F within 12 hrs, but is there any acceptable variance in that at all? 

Avatar photo
1 year ago

We are restraining our deck with Restore a Deck 3 part system.We previously used RAD when deck was about 8 months old. We are staining with Restore a Deck Semitransparent stain wet on wet application, 2 coats.
I understand being able to walk on first damp coat and not on second coat. If stain is tracked by shoes onto unstained portion of deck after walking on first damp coat, would that not leave shoe print stains?
Or, would they be covered up by stain when applied?
Thank you.

Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz
1 year ago

I am looking to stain my deck the day before we are scheduled to get rain for a couple of days.  Would that present a problem?

Jeff Schultz
Jeff Schultz
1 year ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Okay – I appreciate the answer.

So, my plans have changed and it looks like I won’t be able to stain until after we get rid of several days of rain.  Assuming I am done with the sanding, after a quick pressure wash do I still need to use the brightener or can I go right to staining?

Jon Green
Jon Green
1 year ago

 Will it work to use solid Restore-a-Deck stain over deck holes filled with Wood Expox or other exterior wood filler?

Avatar photo
1 year ago

Finished prep yesterday and ready to stain new deck. Weather has been clear. For best results with RAD semi-transparent stain, do you recommend I mist the desk before staining or leave dry. Thanks!

Avatar photo
1 year ago
Reply to 

Sorry, meant “deck”.

Earl
Earl
1 year ago

Hello…….
Our deck railings and balusters (63!) were all sanded last fall to remove old unknown brand solid stain.
I replaced all decking last year with new wood during late Summer/early Fall.
We let the deck and railings set unstained for approx 10 months. The deck and all railing remained untreated until now.
This past weekend we used RAD cleaner and brightener on the complete deck and railing.
Unbelievable how fantastic it all looked…so clean and bright! 
We used RAD Solid Stain on all the railing and balusters – Classic white….two coats and it looks great.
We used the RAD Semi-Transparent Cottage Gray on the deck.
The color is perfect but it is a bit blotchy looking.
Some areas are darker than others.
I am so tempted to put a 2nd coat on the deck…….is that something I can do now or do I have to wait for maintenance coating next year?
Please let me know the best approach to this.
Thank you so much for your assistance….you all have a fantastic customer service business!

Earl
Earl
1 year ago
Reply to  RAD Products

OK…..thank you.
Will doing the cleaning and adding one coat next year make the decking look uniform in stain color? If  not, please let me know how to proceed to get a uniform looking stain.
Images attached as to how it looks now after one day of dry time.
Thank you….really appreciate your time and knowledge!

Geoff
Geoff
1 year ago

If I cannot start staining until two weeks after I apply stripper and brightener, will that be ok, or would additional prep work be needed? 
the deck is 15 yr old green (not any more) cedar, with a number of brand new boards patched in to replace old rotten ones. 

Pam Comer
Pam Comer
1 year ago

My deck has been stripped and sanded.  A little solid stain is still on the deck.  If I use the Dark Walnut semi transparent stain will I need 1, 2 or 3 coats? 

Jason
Jason
1 year ago

Finished staining 2 coats on my old wood deck yesterday night and noticed I missed a few spots. It’s going to rain soon today, so I can’t stain today, but is it ok if I do a third coat a few days later after the stain has taken rain?

stefan
stefan
1 year ago

if i strip and brightened today but cannot wait the mandatory 2 hours, is it ok to stain tomorrow?
should I mist the deck before staining? will this make the process easier?

Roger Bloom
Roger Bloom
1 year ago

I have completed sanding off all of the solid stain that was on my 850sf deck.  

1) Should I let it weather at all before cleaning and brightening?  Will be applying the RAD light oak semi when process is complete.

2) Since it has been sanded down to the bare wood it sounds like I should only need one coat, correct?

Avatar photo
1 year ago

Pressure-treated pine about 1 1/2 years ago. I used the cleaner and brightener yesterday.  All pressure washed and ready to go.  I lightly dampened it, and started to use RAD Solid White.   It looks like whitewash.  Interestingly, a test on non-dampened wood about the same.  And those darn spindles take forever as everyone knows.  It is hot today, humidity near 55%

If I do get it finished, what’s my cutoff date to do another coat?

SteveH
SteveH
1 year ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Just the darned railings and spindles.  I finished maybe half with one coat, thunderstorms tomorrow night into Monday.  So the 2-4 hours is out.

Julie
Julie
1 year ago

Do you have to do all steps in the same day?  Is it ok to strip and brighten one day and stain the next?  Or is it best to do it all in one day?

Avatar photo
1 year ago

My deck is about 14 months old, the main portion covered, but an attached grilling deck and stairs are uncovered.  We bought the stripper/brightener/semi-transparent stain kit and used it correctly last weekend, but had to wait until this weekend to do the staining.  Since it looked great last night when it was completely in shade, I decided to go with only one coat, but with the sun shining on it this morning, I see it’s very splotchy around the knotholes.  Can we do a second coat this week?  If so, do we need to mist it first?

Avatar photo
1 year ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Thank you.

Avatar photo
1 year ago

Hi.  I’m new to this entire process…I stripped with RAD stripper, power washed and got most of stain off then lightly sanded with 220 grit as not to destroy the floor boards.  That removed almost all stain and removed fuzzies.  I’ve brightened and am ready to stain.  It’s about a 5 year old deck, wood looks great and am wondering if 1 or 2 coats for longest protection.

Avatar photo
1 year ago

Suggestions for applying a maintenance coat. Should I apply 2 coats? Prep work needed?

Dallas
Dallas
1 year ago

We ran out of stain after our first coat of solid stain.  Had to order more, so will be 5-6 days (hopefully) between coats.  Should we use the cleaner again or just spray off the deck?

Marki
Marki
2 years ago

I managed to get my entire deck cleaned and brightened, and stained one half of it before we entered a rainy period here in Oregon. From your answers to other questions, it looks like I have two weeks to get the other half stained. Assuming it stops raining soon, how many dry days should I allow before staining the second half of the deck?  Thanks. 

Marki
Marki
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

it looks like the Oregon weather may not give me a chance to finish staining within the two-week time period after cleaning and brightening. If it goes beyond the two weeks, what do I have to do to the wood before I can stain it. thanks, 

William
William
2 years ago

When you state “apply 2 coats to older wood and one coat only for newer wood;” what exactly is newer wood? Is two year old stained pine decking that has been stripped and brightened with no signs of aging and appears newer?

Bob
Bob
2 years ago

My deck is 20×15 and I’ll be using solid stain expresso, what’s your recommended method of application?  I noticed the brush was recommended only for the semi-transparent.  Thanks.  

john kuder
john kuder
2 years ago

my deck is 30 years old and last painted with Behr over coat, which must be removed completely by sanding and using a paint removal tool. once it is down to the bare pressure treated wood, can I then begin prep. thanksjohn

Mae
Mae
2 years ago

Deck is 10×16 pressure treated wood, 50 years old, central NY (snow & ice to 90’s & humid). Old deck paint is still mostly intact under deep eaves, but the sunny area is peeled off to about 2/3 bare wood with some splintering. The paint has some sort of non-slip grit. I scrubbed the deck until it glowed (sort of) with a stiff brush and deck cleaner w/bleach-smelling mildew remover. No pressure washer on hand, so I used the garden hose. A search for a reliable topcoat led me to this site. It appears RAD solid stain will cover the motley surface uniformly, but do I still need to pressure wash as prep? Wouldn’t that further rough up the aging wood surface? Do I need some sort of filler for cracks deeper than 1/4″, or replacement boards? Thanks. 

L Wallgren
L Wallgren
2 years ago

What is considered damp wood? We sanded deck down to bare wood, it had Home Depots Deckover on it, will never use that again! It rained all night, no puddles but wood is wet.Should we wait until it dries more?

Len
Len
2 years ago

We just used the Restore-A-Deck stripper and brightener on our three-year old deck.  (We applied the Restore-A-Deck cleaner, brightener, and stain six-months after the deck was installed.)  Most of the deck looks great and ready to be re-stained.  But there are some splotches and some areas that are darker than the rest of the deck.  Can we apply the stain or do we need to take some action to eliminate the splotches and the dark areas first?

Len
Len
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Here are two photographs that show some of the splotches and darker areas.

Len
Len
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

The photographs that I sent to you show the deck after it was stripped and brightened.  That’s why I’m wondering if I need to take any further steps.  Thanks for your help.

Len
Len
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Okay.  Do I need to sand the problem spots first?  Do I need to re-strip the whole deck or just the problem areas?

Len
Len
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Thanks for your help.  One final question:  We have approximately 3.5 gallons of the original stain.  (Only one container was opened when we applied the stain two years ago.)  Do we have enough stain to put down two coats on a 480 square foot deck?

Kristi
Kristi
2 years ago

Used a fast acting deck cleaner from HD to clean our old deck.  I believe the previous owners applied a solid stain to the deck, which is now patchy. 1. If I use a RAD solid stain that is darker than the original solid stain, will the result be patchy or will it blend?2. Do I need to use RAD stripper and brightener if I use your solid stain?It’s my first time restoring a deck so need advice on best plan of action!

nick
nick
2 years ago

I’m a complete newbie at this – my deck is 10+ years old, I plan to use the cleaner and brightener on it, followed by the semi-transparent stain. But I’m a little confused if the stain provides sufficient moisture protection for the wood, or if I should be following it up with an additional sealant for water protectection? I life in a region with high humidity and rainfall in the spring and fall.

nick
nick
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Got it,, Thank you!

Carol
Carol
2 years ago

Question – after brightening, you say to wait 2-4 hours to apply the stain. What if the surface of the wood has completely dried by then? Are you supposed to mist it immediately before applying the stain? Also… just to confirm, if it only takes 20 minutes to stain the whole deck, can you put down the second coat as soon as you finish the first? Thanks so much!

SteveH
SteveH
2 years ago

Just used the stripper and brightener on an old fence, worked very well.  Then I noted that waiting 2-4 hours before staining.  Too bad it’s almost 3 here.   Should I lightly wet the surface in the morning before applying RAD solid stain?

Lauren
Lauren
2 years ago

How long after conditioning can I wait to use your semi-transparent stain? I see that it says to allow 2-4 hours for it to dry but can we wait longer? 

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

This weekend will be 2 weeks since I cleaned and brightened my deck, but it is supposed to rain.  Can I wait a few days past 2 weeks to stain with the semi transparent Neutral color? 

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

If I want to do the wet on wet, would I just spray the deck off and then apply?

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

so if I want to apply to damp wood would I just spray the deck off and then wait a few hours and then apply because I already did the prep 2 weeks ago?

Shelton
Shelton
3 years ago

I applied the stain and it rained 9-10 hours later. All the stain washed off and left a white residue. Pressure washed again and some of the residue remained. Can this be stained or do I need to do a complete clean again?

Heidi Scholl
Heidi Scholl
3 years ago

We have cleaned and brightened the deck twice with the RAD cleaner and brightener scrubbing and power washing and still when you scrape the deck with your finger nail we still bring up green goo.
The deck is in the shade the majority of the day. Is it alright to go ahead with the stain? this is probably the last week we have a chance of getting it done before its to cold.
Thanks Heidi

Heidi Scholl
Heidi Scholl
3 years ago

We live in northern ohio, 2 year old yellow pine deck. Planning on staining with clear semi transparent stain this evening before rain comes in tomorrow afternoon. It will be going down in the 60s tonight and may become dewey tonight. What would you recommend? Is 4 to 6 hours of drying time enough if we wait till tomorrow?
Thank you
Heidi

Heidi Scholl
Heidi Scholl
3 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

We are using restore a deck natural semi transparent stain. I just didn’t know if the dew in the middle of the night would effect the drying process?

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