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
    TCWatkins · 10/25/2022
    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.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/25/2022
      It will probably shoe the prints if stepping on unstained wood. Best to stain all floors and then reapply to apply floors.
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    Jeff Schultz · 09/28/2022
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/28/2022
      Should be fine as long as it has 12 hours of drying.
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        Jeff Schultz · 09/29/2022
        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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jon Green · 09/28/2022
     Will it work to use solid Restore-a-Deck stain over deck holes filled with Wood Expox or other exterior wood filler?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/28/2022
      The solid stain will cover the wood fillers if that is what you are asking.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    GlennK · 09/09/2022
    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!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/09/2022
      You can do either or. We think it spreads easier if wood is damp.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      GlennK · 09/09/2022
      Sorry, meant "deck".
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Earl · 08/16/2022
    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!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/16/2022
      You cannot add another coat now after the first coat has cured. You can lightly clean and add a coat next year.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Earl · 08/16/2022
        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!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/16/2022
          It will even out over the next month. Next year just lightly clean and add a coat if needed.
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    Geoff · 08/03/2022
    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. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/03/2022
      Just make sure it is clean. If needed lightly pressure wash rinse prior.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pam Comer · 07/30/2022
    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? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/30/2022
      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. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 07/05/2022
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    stefan · 07/02/2022
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/03/2022
      You can stain after to dry wood or mist the wood if you like first.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Roger Bloom · 07/02/2022
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/02/2022
      1. No need unless you sanded finer than 80 grit. 
      2. Yes. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    SteveH · 06/25/2022
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2022
      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. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        SteveH · 06/25/2022
        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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Julie · 06/21/2022
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rebecca Baker · 06/20/2022
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/20/2022
      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. 
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    Andrea Turner · 06/02/2022
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Melvin Jenkins · 05/16/2022
    Suggestions for applying a maintenance coat. Should I apply 2 coats? Prep work needed?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      RAD Cleaner and Brigtehern for prep. Typically just one coat if you have a base coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dallas · 05/02/2022
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/02/2022
      Just lightly wash with water should be okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marki · 11/01/2021
    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. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    William · 09/27/2021
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 08/18/2021
    My deck is 20x15 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.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/19/2021
      Roller and brushes for the solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    john kuder · 07/28/2021
    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
  • 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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 06/07/2021
                  We would strip all. No need to sand.
                  • We will reply to your comment shortly
                    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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
      RAD Products · 03/30/2021
      Stain within two weeks of prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lisa · 07/16/2021
        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? 
  • 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