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
- Applying RAD Stain Wet on Wet Tips
- Restore-A-Deck Stain and New Wood
- Restore-A-Deck Stain Hot Sun Application
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.
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?
Use our prep products while pressure washing and then apply one coat since you will already have a base coat.
Thank you. We on wet technique still?
Do I apply the stain with the deck dry or damp? Not sure as it’s the second coat.
Either way works.
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?
We like damp wood for ease of application.
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?
Remove all the peeling solid stain and then you can cover the intact stain that is not peeling with the RAD solid stain.
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.
1/2″ to 5/8″ nap.
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!
Pads work best. If you spray, back brush to ensure an even application.
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?
You prep with wet odd and you can apply the stain to damp wood, not soaking wet wood.
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?
No need to do anting but if you want to remove the mildew, your could try this:
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?
You cannot spot strip. Best to strip all and then brighen all so it gets as even as possible before restaining.
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?
Hard to say as it depends if the stains has enough time to fully dry before it dips into the 40s. No way to say for certain it will be okay.
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?
It will probably shoe the prints if stepping on unstained wood. Best to stain all floors and then reapply to apply floors.
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?
Should be fine as long as it has 12 hours of drying.
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?
Use the brightener.
Will it work to use solid Restore-a-Deck stain over deck holes filled with Wood Expox or other exterior wood filler?
The solid stain will cover the wood fillers if that is what you are asking.
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!
Sorry, meant “deck”.
You can do either or. We think it spreads easier if wood is damp.
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!
You cannot add another coat now after the first coat has cured. You can lightly clean and add a coat next year.
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!
It will even out over the next month. Next year just lightly clean and add a coat if needed.
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.
Just make sure it is clean. If needed lightly pressure wash rinse prior.
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?
You cannot use a semi transparent stain unless you remove all of your old solid stain. Once all is removed you would need two coats.
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?
No, it will not take a third coat.
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?
You can stain after to dry wood or mist the wood if you like first.
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?
1. No need unless you sanded finer than 80 grit.
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?
You have to do two coats with the solid stains. Apply the second 2-4 hours after the first coat. You can do the second coat the next day as well.
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.
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?
You can do either way!
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?
Looks correct and it is normal for knots wot be lighter in color. The wood is much denser there.
We would not suggest another coat right now as it may not take.
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.
One coat since you sanded.
Suggestions for applying a maintenance coat. Should I apply 2 coats? Prep work needed?
RAD Cleaner and Brigtehern for prep. Typically just one coat if you have a base coat.
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?
Just lightly wash with water should be okay.
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.
RAD Stain can be applied to damp or dry wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/how-to-restore-a-deck-stain-to-damp-wood.html
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,
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?
12 months or less is new wood.
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.
Roller and brushes for the solid stain.
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
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.
You cannot apply a solid stain over a deck paint. Sory but our products will not work in this scenario.
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?
You can stain it when visibly damp, just not soaking wet with puddles.
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?
Post a picture in comment area.
Here are two photographs that show some of the splotches and darker areas.
That is old stain that was applied unevenly. Best to strip and then brighten for prep so the new coating applies evenly.https://www.restore-a-deck.com/RAD-Stain-Stripper.html
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.
Sorry, re-strip using both additives: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html
Make sure you are pressure washing off after applying the stripper.
Okay. Do I need to sand the problem spots first? Do I need to re-strip the whole deck or just the problem areas?
We would strip all. No need to sand.
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?
Opened stain only lasts 12 months. Unopened will last about 3 years as long as it has not frozen. You have enough for one coat, not two. One coat is enough this time.
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!
The RAD Solid stain will cover the old solid stain. Make sure that all peeling stain is removed first. We suggest using the RAD Stripper/Brightener to prep as best as possible for this deck.
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.
You can never apply a sealer over a deck stain like the RAD, it will peel if you do. No need as well.
Got it,, Thank you!
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!
You can apply the RAD Stain to dry or damp wood. Yes, on the wet on wet application.
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?
You can but do not have to.
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?
Stain within two weeks of prep.
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?
Sure just make sure the wood is clean and dry.
If I want to do the wet on wet, would I just spray the deck off and then apply?
Wet on wet is a two-coat application process, not the same as applying to damp wood.https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-wet-on-wet-application.html
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?
Correct. Wet with water and apply as on as the wood is not visibly soaking wet but damp.
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?
Send some pictures.
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.
Yes, you can stain.
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?
Are you using our stain? If so, 4-6 hours is good.
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?
As I read the questions and answers below researching on how best to prep and re-stain my 800 sf, pressure treated pine deck, 5 years old, shade, high-humid climate, TWP stained yearly, I have a question. I have stripped most of old stain but will strip again to remove it all. I will brighten and then stain. Must I wait three months since the surface will effectively be “new”?
Which semi would be best for the humid, shady area……….Defy Extreme or Restore-A Deck………reason being it will take multiple days of dry weather for the deck to completely dry. RAD seems to be the only recommended stain for damp application although I like the great reviews of Defy [quite honestly the TWP has not performed well].
If I use a darker color than has been applied, will minor areas not completely stripped be an issue since the darker color should cover the lighter?
A stripped surface is not new. Use teh RAD Stains. Darker colors would blend better in most cases.
Sorry, I forgot to mention that I’d be using RAD Cedar Semi-Transparent stain.
I just finished stripping and brightening my three-year-old cedar deck, and I may be able to start staining tomorrow afternoon.
The only challenge is in less than 24 hours from when I expect to finish staining, the weather forecast calls for a mix of showers and thunderstorms for the next five straight days, but the weather will be much sunnier and drier (upper 50s / low 60s) for about a week if I can put off the staining until then.
Could I stain now (I’d like to do two coats since I live in WA where it’s damp and rains often), or would it be better to wait for the better weather so the stain has more time to dry and I’m not rushing? I have plastic drop cloths that I can attach to the deck to at least keep it fairly dry until then, so the rain isn’t hitting untreated wood.
It can take a rain about 4-6 hours after applying. Do no tarp.
I have a couple of areas that appear to have been overapplied (24 hours since application).
What is the safest way to remove excess?
You cannot spot remove the excess and not harm the rest of the stained board(s). It will not blend.
What is recommended method for spot removal?
Solid Stain– Can I wait longer than the 2-4 hrs to apply 2nd coat? Like wait a few days between 1st and 2nd coats?
Best to do it the same day for best results and ease off application but you can do it 1-3 days after the first coat. Just make sure it is clean.
Should a regular pad painter (like Shur-Line) work for applying semi-transparent stain to a cedar railing?
I’m certainly glad you people are here to answer my questions so quickly. Thanks very much,
Shurline Stain pads will work.
I applied Cabot Australian Timber Oil to 2 sections of my never treated 12 year old fence a month ago. Water beads up and rolls off in rain.
I cleaned another 4 sections of fence with all in one cleaner, brightener from HD a month ago. (Powerwashed). This week used 2 step cleaner/ brightener from your site. Powerwashed clean, looked like brand new fence!
The weather was cloudy for cleaning day, 70’s temps, cloudy next day. Fence still felt slightly “damp” when I applied your natural, water based restore-a-deck stain on day 2. Soaked in well, repeated second coat 30 minutes later. Fence looks Super!
However, why does rain not bead up on this cured product 3 days later, but rather appear to soak in as usual with untreated wood?
The RAD is a breathable stain and is not designed to bead water but sheds water.
Hi. I have a deck with remnants of an oil stain on it that were under an outdoor carpet. I’ve ordered the stripper, brightener and RAD stain but should I sand the carpeted areas first before using any product?
Do you have a picture?
Hi I’d like to get solid stain shipped to me in Illinois by this weekend, 3 – 4 days. Any chance if I order now? Can’t get through by phone.
I stripped and refinished our deck last year but it didn’t seem to winter well so I will clean & brighten before Re-staining. On brightening instructions it says wait 48hrs before staining and elsewhere it says wait 4hrs then stain. What is recommended for best results?
Depends on the stain brand you are using?
Yours – semi-transparent
You can apply 4 hours after prep. Other brands of stain would need 48 hours.