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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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mae · 07/04/2021
    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. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/04/2021
      You cannot apply a solid stain over a deck paint. Sory but our products will not work in this scenario.
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    L Wallgren · 06/12/2021
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/12/2021
      You can stain it when visibly damp, just not soaking wet with puddles.
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    Len · 06/06/2021
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/07/2021
      Post a picture in comment area.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Len · 06/07/2021
        Here are two photographs that show some of the splotches and darker areas.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/07/2021
          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
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Len · 06/07/2021
            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.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 06/07/2021
              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.
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                Len · 06/07/2021
                Okay.  Do I need to sand the problem spots first?  Do I need to re-strip the whole deck or just the problem areas?
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                  RAD Products · 06/07/2021
                  We would strip all. No need to sand.
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                    Len · 06/07/2021
                    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?
                    • We will reply to your comment shortly
                      RAD Products · 06/07/2021
                      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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kristi · 05/26/2021
    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!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/26/2021
      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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    nick · 05/25/2021
    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.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/25/2021
      Hello,
      You can never apply a sealer over a deck stain like the RAD, it will peel if you do. No need as well.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        nick · 05/25/2021
        Got it,, Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Carol · 05/14/2021
    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!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/14/2021
      You can apply the RAD Stain to dry or damp wood. Yes, on the wet on wet application.
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    SteveH · 05/13/2021
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lauren · 03/29/2021
    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? 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shelton · 10/17/2020
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heidi Scholl · 10/10/2020
    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
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heidi Scholl · 10/09/2020
    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
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/09/2020
      Are you using our stain? If so, 4-6 hours is good.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Heidi Scholl · 10/09/2020
        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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Phil · 10/08/2020
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/08/2020
      A stripped surface is not new. Use teh RAD Stains. Darker colors would blend better in most cases.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason M · 10/08/2020
    Sorry, I forgot to mention that I'd be using RAD Cedar Semi-Transparent stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason M · 10/08/2020
    Hello,

    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.

    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/08/2020
      It can take a rain about 4-6 hours after applying. Do no tarp.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    T Geoghagan · 09/23/2020
    I have a couple of areas that appear to have been overapplied (24 hours since application).

    What is the safest way to remove excess?

    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/23/2020
      You cannot spot remove the excess and not harm the rest of the stained board(s). It will not blend.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        John · 10/19/2020
        What is recommended method for spot removal?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sarah · 09/21/2020
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/21/2020
      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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marki · 09/21/2020
    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,
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    DJ DeYoung · 09/17/2020
    Hey,
    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?
    Thanks,
    DJ
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/17/2020
      The RAD is a breathable stain and is not designed to bead water but sheds water.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom Amato · 09/05/2020
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dan Hartsough · 09/01/2020
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad LaVictor · 08/11/2020
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Karen Tusa · 07/18/2020
    Solid stain can be applied after prep if wait 2-4 hours right? How long do i wait before applying second coat?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mitch · 06/30/2020
    We have had 2 days of steady rain (approximately 1,5") so our dock is pretty well soaked but forecast for the next 2 days is 42-63 on first day and 42-72-45 next day with slight chance of rain. My plan is to clean and brighten on day one then apply 2 coats RAD stain on day 2. The dock was stained with 2 coats of RAD last summer and definitely needs a new application this summer. A little disappointing but understandable I guess since this is a floating dock on the water and subject to harsh weather conditions year around. We are in western MT so year around temperatures can vary significantly with temps ranging from 95 in summer to -40 in winter with significant snow and a frozen lake. I have 2 questions:

    1 Is the dock to wet from the rain to clean and brighten or should I wait another day before starting this project?

    2. Do I need to go through the full process of cleaning, brightening, and applying 2 coats of RAD again this year? The stain and color is the same as what I applied last year.


    Thank you,

    Mitch Huffield

    mhuffield@msn.com
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/01/2020
      1. You can prep if the dock is wet or damp.
      2. Yes.
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    Shannon · 06/12/2020
    I pressure washed 5 coats of paint off of my wraparound porch during my Covid-cation (sadly gouging the wood to get the paint off, but I guess that is what it is at this point). I'm now down to the bare pressure treated pine. This is a covered porch so it doesn't have any of the damage that an open deck would. Do I need to do any of the prep steps, or can I just move forward with the semi-transparent stain? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Karen · 06/08/2020
    Hi - after cleaning our pergola we decided to sand it to completely remove stain & apply a different brand. Except that some stain was difficult to remove in the hard to reach areas so I hit it with a bit of the stripper & booster — problem is my helper put brush marks all over the 6x6 columns & it didn’t wash out. It remains dark in areas. What do I do now please?? We worked too hard to have it left like this.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/08/2020
      Did you brighten the wood after using the stripper? You have to.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Karen · 06/08/2020
        Yes I did just before sending question - It was doing nothing, hence the question, then when I went back outside to rinse it erased some of the areas like there was no stain, (miracle!) but in other spots it has left a yellow or green hue in the wood. Will this translate through to the stain? For future, was it the stripper or the booster that caused the darkening on sanded wood.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/08/2020
          All strippers darken the wood and raise the pH. That is why you neutralize with a Brightener. You should be fine to stain now.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Karen · 06/11/2020
            Thank you! After 48 hrs drying time we stained & there was no noticeable difference !! Btw love your products!!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Laura · 06/03/2020
    We cleaned and brightened our deck today...stain was scheduled to be delivered this afternoon. Just discovered there is going to be a one day delay...so deck will be dry by the time the stain arrives. Do we need to keep it damp until the stain gets here...Or just apply it on a dry deck...or dampen just before applying? This was a new deck...was installed last August.


    The deck had started to look really ratty...the cleaner and brightener really worked miracles! Want this next step to go well, though.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary Jannarone · 05/31/2020
    Can you use a spray gun for the railings with a semi-transparent stain?
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    Merland L. Clark · 05/28/2020
    You say to apply 2 coats, wet on wet, on old wood. How do you apply the second coat without walking on wet stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Paul · 05/27/2020
    I have 850sqft of deck and will therefore be using multiple 2.5 gal containers of semi-transparent stain. Do you recommend mixing the containers together, or is the stain color consistent enough to not to have to do that? Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Becky Swenson · 05/25/2020
    What do you recommend for an old deck that has had some boards replaced and various stains over the years. In other words, a patchwork of shades of woods/stains and we appreciate the “historical” look of the hodgepodge, but want to clean it up and seal it without an opaque look. Thinking semi-transparent? Strip or clean?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/26/2020
      You cannot use the semi-transparent stain over what you have and you also cannot strip off what you have as you already have a solid opaque stain on your deck in spots.