If you don't already own one of the many commercially available pressure washers for a homeowner, you can rent one from your local home center. Seek out the highest GPM (gallons per minute) machine they have available. This will make the job go considerably faster. The pressure is not important as high pressure should not be used to clean wood. A simplified analogy is to think of cleaning a dirty dish with a spray bottle (higher pressure/lower flow) versus using the water from a faucet (lower pressure/higher flow)

A pressure washer is a serious tool. Damage to property and person can occur if you are careless.

Damage from using high pressure can vary from splinters and raised grain to visible lap marks in the wood (these show up more after sealing) Just using a pressure washer without a proper detergent like Restore-A-Deck can also yield unwanted results. The pictures below show examples of a homeowner using no cleaner and just high-pressure water to clean.

damage

After you have allowed the oxygenating power of Restore-A-Deck to work its magic, it's time to rinse. While you are at the home center renting your machine, try to have them give you a nozzle which will lower your effective pressure to 800 psi. If you do not have access to interchangeable nozzles, you will need to keep the tip of your gun at 12-18 inches from the surface.

Start the flow away from the wood surface and bring the gun slowly into the position to start rinsing. Start at one end of a board and walk your way to the opposite end keeping the nozzle the same distance from the surface the entire way. This will prevent lap marks. If for any reason you need to stop in the middle of a board, start the process from the beginning (at the end of the board) until you pick up where you left off. Take your time and always keep conscious of the distance between the spray tip and the wood. Be extra cautious on spindles.

walkin


When you are finished cleaning, apply your brightener and rinse. You may use the pressure washer again or a hose may be faster for you. No pressure is necessary during this final step.

Note: You may experience some small fuzzies that appear after the wood dries. This is normal to a small degree (especially on cedar). Often times these will dry up and fall away during subsequent rainfall. If you are planning on sealing as soon as is possible, these can be sanded away.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ratcliff · 09/30/2020
    do you need a power washer to do the stripper?
    can it all be done by hand?
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    Caitlin · 06/10/2020
    We moved into a house last year with new stairs but never stained/sealed them. We want to stain, but for prep should we use a cleaner and brightener or does it need to be stripped too?
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    Jeanene Mehrer · 06/09/2020
    Deck was previously stained with Thompson’s semi-transparent stain. I stripped and brightened deck last fall with RAD products but weather got too cold to stain. I want to put solid stain on rails and semi-transparent on floor. Can I just clean and brighten? Also, some boards are scratched due to dog’s nails. Should I sand?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/09/2020
      Yes, just clean and brighten the wood. No need to sand.
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    L. G. · 05/16/2020
    Can the cleaner and brightener be used in the soap injector on the pressure washer? If so, what ratio do I mix to concentrate it properly?
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    Joe · 05/09/2020
    I just power washed my deck today. I plan on ordering some stain. Should I get some brightener as well? Do I need to do anything if the ideal time to use the brightener was today?
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      RAD Products · 05/10/2020
      If you do not have any previous coating and the wood cleaned up okay then you should be good.
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    Dennis · 04/24/2020
    Hello, posted earlier but not finding any post...seeking guidance on feasibility of using RAD on a 6-ft white pine plank fence that is 10 year old and has been power washed and treated with boiled linseed oil for about 8 of the past 10 years.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2020
      Yes, you can use the RAD on this fence. Prep looks good.
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    Debbie · 04/24/2020
    Hello, I've been working on restaining my deck and came across your website. A sealer was put on part of the wood and it spotted. How would I remove this and what do you recommend going forward to brighten and stain. I'm interested in the one day method.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2020
      You will need to strip and brighten for the prep prior to applying the stain.
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    Scott Neal · 04/15/2020
    I have cedar timbers that have a little graying and sun damage from waiting to long to stain. What is the best thing to do
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    Lindsey · 04/02/2020
    I have purchased the stripper and brightener. How do I apply this?
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      RAD Products · 04/02/2020
      Apply with a pump sprayer and then pressure wash off.
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        Lindsey · 04/02/2020
        Okay got it! One more question. Is it okay if I clean the deck and strip it this weekend and then stain it next weekend?
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    Zak · 03/22/2020
    I just purchased the stripper. I understand it is a powder. What is the best way to dissolve the power? Cold or warm water? How long can I store any unused stripper once I've added the water?
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      RAD Products · 03/22/2020
      It does not matter if cold or warm water. Shelf life is about a year.
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    George · 12/01/2019
    We installed an L shaped grade level deck that is 70’x 12’ on the long end and 12’ x 16’ on the short end with a 20’ walkway that is 5’ wide. The wood came from two different suppliers so there is a visible difference in the PT wood color. Also, due to time issues and design changes I’m adding posts and railing in the fall now. What do you recommend I do in the spring to match/blend the wood to stain and protect the wood?
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    MT · 10/30/2019
    I have two new decks built in summer 2018 out of PT Pine - was told to wait a year before treating, but it very unfortunately escaped me until recently, and I'm hoping with Western NY weather I'm not too late...

    1. If we don't get another dry day over 45° before snow hits, will my deck be ruined from then going thru 2 winters unsealed or is that not out if ordinary? Can I safely push that 45° at all to get it done?

    2. Does it matter, application-wise, if one deck is for an above ground pool? (My neighbor saud they were told to seal every year vs. 2-3 due to chlorine?)

    3. The prep we did was as novices and after we cancelled a professional doing it with SWilliams/BMlore brands and before we learned of your brand/website so not sure if we have to clean again and brighten now?... it consisted of a different brand of deck wash followed by a power washing day almost 2 weeks ago. We obviously didn't do great at the power washing as there are still gray spots, but not sure if we have to now sand the missed gray spots off first? or if stain will cover it (thinking Cedar or Light Walnut). Sample photos attached.

    4. Does the deck/stain darken over time and how much? I'd really prefer a light colored deck but Natural color seems too yellow to me, wondering how these look after a few years and coats.

    5. Any other advice for this age of unfinished PT deck headed towards winter #2?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/30/2019
      1. You can wait until Spring.
      2. You have to redo every 203 years no matter if around a pool or not.
      3. You should redo the prep. Both cleaner and brightener.
      4. It does not darken over time.
      5. If you cannot do it this year just wait until spring to prep and stain. Not an issue.
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        MT · 10/30/2019
        You just saved me SO MUCH stress! Thank you very much! One more question I thought of afterwards, my father-in-law had already added some MinWax wood filler to some knots & big splinters so that they wouldn't collect water and I think I read on another thread here that RAD won't color wood filler? PLUS one random board that leaks sap... Will I need to replace all those boards or is there another way to fix them so the stain covers evenly?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/30/2019
          You would have to replace the boards. Best to do those now so they can weather over the Winter.
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    David · 09/13/2019
    How about for wood siding or logs? Will restore a deck just as well as it does on decks
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    Thomas · 07/09/2019
    Just received my RAD cleaner and brightener today. My 30 year old cedar deck is dirty and grey but cleans up nicely with pressure washing alone. I'm thinking of pressure washing first; applying RAD cleaner; and then pressure washing again after the cleaner sets. Brightener applied as recommended after the second pressure washing. My logic is that the cleaner will work all the better if I first remove the worst of the dirt.
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      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      You can do it this way but not really needed to pressure wash twice. It will clean up after the first pass of cleaner and pressure washing.
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    russ · 07/05/2019
    I have a 16 yo contractor's deck of 60 sq ft, horizontal surface painted 5 yrs ago, peeled badly, so repainted w/same product (?) 2 yrs ago and again has peeled. Deck used only to access bird feeders so not too concerned about looks. Some 'surface' rot at ends of 2 boards, plan to remove most paint and rot w/my 2400 max psi, pressure washer, fill rot with epoxy if necessary and opaque stain everything, using Restore-A-Deck and RAD stain. I want to avoid sanding even if it means leaving some splotchy areas of 'paint' behind. Am I likely to need more than one gallon RAD opaque without running out and having to start over or should I order 2 gallons to start? I'm trying to make the project as painless as possible as I have NO help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/06/2019
      One gallon should be enough for 2 coats and a 60 sq foot deck.
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    Liz · 07/05/2019
    I just cleaned and brightened a cypress fence and it was rough sawn, so it has a lot of fuzzies like cedar would. Will this impact staining? Any tips for application due to fuzzies? Sanding is not feasible because of the shear amount of fence pickets.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/06/2019
      You should be fine with staining. The stain will darken the fuzzies.
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    Ruth · 07/02/2019
    Is the cleaner and brightener safe for surrounding grass and plants?
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    Rick Kearney · 06/28/2019
    And it's old deck, not new wood, thus the 2nd coat. Already used stripper and brightener/neutralizer.
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    Rick Kearney · 06/28/2019
    I ran out of RAD stain while doing over 1000 sq ft of decks - one separate deck area just received a single coat (these deck soaked up 10 gallons like a sponge which is why I'm short...) I've just ordered more, will I be OK applying the second coat when it arrives in a few days? I know the instructions are to do the second coat 20-40 minutes after the first, but that's not possible...
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/28/2019
      No, it has to be applied wet on wet when doing two coats. The first coat has already cured. Best to wait until Fall or Spring of next year. Lightly wash deck first to just remove dirt and apply the one coat then.
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    Gerry · 05/28/2019
    I have a deck that has been coated with Behr Deckover. The Behr product is peeling in many places. How do I remove the Deckover and what product do you recommend to stain the deck? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/28/2019
      The only way to remove Behr Deckover is to sand it off. Once fully removed, you can then clean and brighten the wood for final prep before using the RAD Wood Stains.
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    Jim · 05/26/2019
    Will the stripper damage metal spindles.
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    Brian Dallyn · 04/23/2019
    My Deck is 300 sq. ft. including steps. I used Pressure Treated wood (spruce, pine, fir or SPF in Ontario) and it was installed in the summer of 2018. Left to over winter and not treated with anything as I wanted it to weather for a few months.
    What do you suggest for treatment now, and how much stain would I need? Is RAD acceptable in Ontario?
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    Dane Gray · 04/12/2019
    Any tips for an Ipe Deck? Need it to be cleaned first.
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    paul gesche · 11/12/2018
    Have a recently stained deck. Need to replace some boards. What is the staining procedure on the new boards?
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    Jim N · 09/23/2018
    I have a cedar fence that is new. Can I stain now or must I wait for fence to dry out for a while
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    Susan from Michigan · 07/11/2018
    I have a 25 year old red wood deck. I'm planning on using RAD Stripper to remove old stain. I'm concerned about using a power washer due to the age and type of wood. Do I have reason to be concerned about using a power washer?
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2018
      Not if you use the proper techniques.
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        Susan · 07/11/2018
        What would be the proper techniques with pressure washer to avoid splintering?
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          RAD Products · 07/11/2018
          That is in the article on this page.
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    ann · 03/14/2018
    Ours is a new (9 month old) 2x6 PT deck. We are planning on waiting until a full year is up to stain. The wood is not black or dark, so do we need to do the cleaner and brightner and pressure washer?
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      RAD Products · 03/14/2018
      Yes that is correct. You will need Step 1 Cleaner and the Step 2 Brightener while doing the pressure washing.