Once you receive your DIY deck kit, you are ready to beautify your hard earned investment. These instructions will also be sent with your kit.
Here are the tools for the job: (available separately)
- Two Gallon Pump Up Sprayer
- Garden Hose With Pressure Spray Attachment
- Wraparound protective eyewear and gloves
- 5-gallon empty bucket
- Stirring stick
- Optional Equipment:
- A Second Pump Sprayer (not necessary if you choose to rinse properly between steps)
- Pressure Washer
You will receive two separate containers in your kit. One will be red labeled and marked Step 1 “Cleaner”. The other will be blue labeled and marked Step 2 “Brightener”. THESE TWO CONTAINERS ARE NOT TO BE MIXED
CLEANING / LIGHT STRIPPING
1) Put on your optional safety gear (protective eyewear, gloves, and mask) The chemicals in R-A-D are mild but can irritate those with sensitive skin. For liability reasons, we recommend always wearing safety gear.
2) Open the red labeled container marked “Professional Grade Cleaner”
3) Fill your 5-gallon bucket with warm water. Leave some space at the top to allow for foaming and stirring without spillage.
4) For aggressive cleaning or when mold growth is present, pour one red labeled container (Step-1) into the bucket and stir contents until dissolved. If you are going to reseal with the same sealer that is presently on the wood and there is no visible mold growth, you can use half of a container. This will yield milder cleaning action. On grayed wood always use full strength.
5) Prepare the area surrounding the deck by wetting all vegetation and soil generously. If you have landscaping directly under the deck, you may prefer to use plastic to cover. Though biodegradable and not harmful to soil Ph this cleaner may cause temporary browning of plant life. The plants regenerate in about four weeks but we understand this may not be desirable. Use your discretion. In our experience, keeping the vegetation wet with clean water prevents this from happening altogether.
6) Spray the entire surface to be cleaned with Restore-A-Deck cleaner. Apply generously.
Note: It is very important to keep the wood wet with solution. Work in small sections and go back and re-wet any sections that appear to be drying.
7) Let Restore-A-Deck dwell for 15 minutes (new construction or no previous sealer on wood) to 20 minutes (mold covered or previously sealed). Keep the solution wet by re-misting frequently. If the product dries, it is not working. You will see Restore-A-Deck cleaner’s foaming action pulling the dirt from the wood fibers.
Note: While the product is dwelling, it is a good time to re-wet surrounding vegetation.
Note: Depending on the level of care your deck needs, heavily grayed wood may need brushing especially if you are not using a pressure washer to rinse.
8) The rinsing process is critical. If you are comfortable using a pressure washer you may speed up your rinsing process by using one. Keep your tip at least 12 inches from the wood surface. If you are using a garden hose, set your hose attachment to the strongest setting and rinse slowly and thoroughly. Error on the side of caution. When you think you have rinsed the deck thoroughly, rinse it one last time.
9) As a final step rinse everything that has come in contact with the solution including siding, windows, or plant life. It may seem like overkill, but doing the job correctly should be your goal.
- Any leftover cleaner can be used to clean sidewalks, vinyl siding, or lawn furniture.-
The deck brightening stage is where the magic begins to happen.
Follow the same steps and mixing process as above using the blue labeled “Professional Grade Brightener” being sure the pump up sprayer you are using is clean. We recommend using two separate sprayers, one each for the cleaner and the brightener. You may use a single sprayer doing a triple rinse process making sure no cleaner remains in sprayer tank or hose.
You are now ready to apply the finish of your choice. We recommend using a high quality, semi-transparent stain for maximum durability.
Sorry if this has been asked before but I have a large deck, retaining wall, and two front stair cases. I plan on doing them in sections. Can I mix the 5 gallons of stripper and brightener and use it over three days or should I guess at how much I will use on each section and only mix that amount? Thanks
With the Stripper and Brightener, you can mix them all at once and use them as needed. They do not go bad. Only the Cleaner has a shelf life and once mixed, it should be used the same day.
I have an electric sprayer. Would you recommend using it, or should I opt to buy a cheap pump sprayer specifically for deck purposes?
You can use the electric sprayer for applying the stain.
I used RAD cleaner and brightener about 3 years ago and left the unused quantity in the spray jugs. Should I assume either, or both, are no longer viable for cleaning and/or brightening?
They are not good anymore.
Thanks. I appreciate you confirming my suspicions.
I have an original Trex deck (wood capped) Manufacturer says they can be cleaned and stained. Any recommendations regarding using your products on a composite deck. I like the idea of cleaning and immediately staining a damp deck. I see no comments about composite decking. Stains seem to absorb into the composite material.
You cannot apply our stain to a “damp” composite deck. It should work fine on a fully clean and dry composite deck. Just one coat.
After applying brightener, Do I need to rinse it off later or just let it dry? Thanks!
You must rinse for 30 minutes to fully remove all suds. Directions are on the packages.
I will be applying cleaner, brightener and semi-transparent stain the same day hopefully. Do I need to wait til the wood is dry (after brightener) before applying stain?
2nd question – If I can’t get everything done in one day. How long after brightening do U have to apply stain?
2. 2 weeks.
I have a couple of questions. My first question has gotten me a couple of different answers, but would like your opinion on filling cracks.
1. What should be used, if anything, for cracks that are several feet long and up to a 1/4″ wide? (see photo #1)
I will use the RAD Stripper and Brightener and then staining with Armstrong Clark Semi-Transparent. The folks at AC told me not to fill cracks. I seem to remember reading (on this thread possibly) that cracks and/or gouges should be filled with latex caulk. What say you?
I have used the stripper on my 1000sq ft 18 YO redwood deck previously stained with a semi-transparent product. I first wet the deck, sprayed with stripper, rinsed and after it was mostly dry re-applied stripper while keeping it wet with stripper for about 15 minutes, used a pressure washer to blast which created stain colored foam (which I assume is the stripper breaking down the stain) brushed with push broom and then started rinsing with pressure washer, and rinsing, and rinsing… It seems like I could rinse until next Thursday before I would get all the stain colored foam off. If I do a small section, I can eventually get the rinse water to be clear but will take A LOT of rinsing (and water) to do the entire deck. Finally my question:
2. Should I continue rinsing until all my water is clear?
I got some stripper onto the bottom rail and the lower portion of the balusters and it turned the bottom of the balusters really dark (see photo #2).
3. Should I spray the entire railing with stripper to even out the color or will the brightener fix that?
Thanks in advance.
1. Leave the cracks alone. They are normal. Never use a caulk unless you are using a solid stain.
2. Rinse to mist suds are gone and then brighen as that neutralizes the stripper.
3. Brigtener should fix that.
Can I wait several days between RAD Step 1 and Step 2?
Best to do it all the same day.
Did step 1 and couldn’t get to brightener step because of time and overnight rain. The deck dried and left white marks around most if the knots in the cedar. Will brightener fix this or do I need to do step 1 again. Thank you for your quick responses
That is oxidation/graying that did not come off fully during the prep. Might want to reclean to get more off. It is normal though for knots to be lighter in color somehwhat.
Can you let deck dry after rinsing cleaner and before doing brightener?
Best to apply the brighten as soon as possible after cleaning while wood is wet. if you cannot for some reason, you should still apply as soon as you are able.
I have a 1100 sq ft deck. Should I clean one section at a time to ensure it stays wet? Same question for the brightening.
Clean in sections of 200-300 sq feet at a time. Rinse well when all done, brighten all at once and rinse after.
Directions on container of RAD, step #1, say add 6 oz. to warm water. This site says 8 oz. Which is correct? But, container also says it makes 5 gallons and it contains 32 ounces of powder. Neither 6 nor 8 oz. will make exactly 5 gallons?.
6-8 oz per gallon will work and yes if you add all to 5 gallons of water, it will work great!
I have a 20 year old vertical cedar fence that is approximately 1850 sq. ft. in area. Naturally, it is weathered a dark gray with some lighter areas of sprinkler damage. I plan on using Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and brightner before applying Cabot Australian Timber Oil. How many kits will I need, and are two coats of cleaner required?
About 3 of each of the Cleaner and the Brightener. Only one application.
Got it! Thanks for the quick reply!
I have just finished applying the cleaner to a large deck followed by pressure washing. Out of nowhere a storm came by and I was not able to apply the brightener. Would I be ok waiting day and applying the brightener tomorrow?
Do you wet the deck first before applying brightener?
What are the proportions to use for mixing RAD cleaner/brightener if you don’t need 5 gallons?
8 oz per gallon of water.
Hello, I have Sikens stain on the railings and spindles.. will the cleaner and brightener strip the old stain off? I replaced the old decking and railing cap last summer, now I am going to stain the decking and railing cap. Please advise.
The cleaner is not a stripper so no, it will not remove.
So, should I use your stripper first to remove the old stain?
I ordered the stripper, cleaner and brightener… two of those bags came together sealed in a plastic outer bag and it appears that one inside bag is torn (there are about 2-3 tablespoons of loose granules inside the outer plastic bag). Do I need to worry about this throwing off the granules-to-water ratio or won’t that small amount make a difference?
Sorry about this, you can still use the spilled product. Ratios will be fine.
Hi we have a 17-year-old pressure-treated deck that was stained with Olympic oil-based clear sealer 2 years ago. The wood is super dry. Would we need the stripper or the cleaner?
Stripper and then Brightener.
We would need to see pictures.
Do you have to apply a sealer after applying restore a deck?
No, and you can never apply a sealer over a deck stain. It will peel.
I have a small spot that chipping restore a deck exterior stain product. I think a kid hit it with his toy. How should I fill it in?
Use an exterior wood filler or caulk.
I don’t think that answers it. Should I paint with restore a deck directly over the spot?
After you fill it, yes.
How long should I wait after I use the brighter before I apply a stain?
Depends on the stain brand you are using? If RAD Stains, you can apply to a damp or dry deck: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/how-to-restore-a-deck-stain-to-damp-wood.html
If any other brand, you should wait at least 48 hours.
Can I use it with a power washer that has a mixing bottle?
No, it will not work that way.
Does Cabot Timber oil contain any ingredient that may conflict with the brightner. I thought I read that you shouldn’t use a stain with a certain ingredient in it, in some of your information somewhere.
Used RAD stripper and Brightner on my porch floor. Results were perfect! Porch floor is about 8″ above the ground. Just looked under the floor for the first time and unfortunately there is a lot of runoff stains on the painted walls/etc. (I know, this wasn’t smart not to wash off immediately after stripping but I never thought of it.) Tried to remove with pressure washer then soapy water, then vinegar/soap and water with no effect. Sprayed bug and tar remover on a test site and with lots of elbow grease most came off; not a good solution because the area is rather large. Rater than continuing my experimenting I though I would ask the experts. So, what do you recommend.
Michael Stanko firstname.lastname@example.org
No easy way to remove it. It takes a lot of water and something to soften it but you have to not strip the paint. Sorry but no advice is 100% goof proof on this one. In theory, you can spray the strip on it and rinse well after 15 minutes but not sure what would happen to the paint.
Thanks for the response. While waiting to hear back I thought I would give trisodium phosphate a shot. It works like magic on mildew, general accumulated pollution grime etc, I thought I was wasting my time but mixed a gallon on the high end of the recommended TSP. Dipped a brush in the bucket and started scrubbing. lite stains came off immediately. Medium stains took a little more scrubbing. Heavy stains required some soaking and a second scrub. Finished with a power wash with just water. Took a few hours and I’d guess I got 99% off. Good enough for under a porch that is home to mostly spiders and canoe storage but can be seen and looked really ugly so something had to be done. Again I would like to repeat that the RAD and brightener worked perfectly. I will recommend it to anybody needing to strip a deck!
I just sanded my deck. Do I need to use the entire container for both cleaning and brightening on a 350 sq ft cedar deck? Or should I use half? Thanks
About 1/2 would be correct.
Will RAD cleaner/brightener damage or miscolor PVC trim boards? I’m preparing a new deck for staining which still has old lattice-work, and PVC trim boards on all sides and step kicks. Do I need to tape these off to prevent the RAD cleaner/brightener from coming in contact with them, or should I not worry? I’m worried with the amount of spraying and rinsing involved that it’ll be impossible to keep the solutions off of the PVC. Thanks for answering!
It should not harm PVC but always test spot first. Keep the stain off the PVC.
Here are some pictures.
I used this product 2 yrs ago and completely strip/cleaned, used brightener and applied two coats of semi transparent stain. Now the areas (top railing and some of the deck floor boards) have almost bare wood now showing due to extensive sun exposure. The areas closer to the house look like the day we stained. My question can I use a cleaner then the brightener all over the entire deck, stain just the deck floor boards and top railing to “touch up those areas”. I also want to put a sealer on it, Like Thompson’s Especially for the areas that get extreme sun exposure but not sure what kind of sealer to get or and if I can apply it once the stain has dried completely. Thank you
You cannot apply a sealer over a deck stain. Only used the prep products if you plan on recoating the wood so if you do not want to stain the spindles, then do not use the cleaner there.
Can I use the brightener bought for a wood deck in vinyl siding?
I will be using the cleaner and brightener on a deck that is right up against my steel siding. Will either of these products damage the factory paint on the siding. I don’t think it will be possible to keep the products from dripping down.
Also, I have an area that currently has peeling, solid stain on it. I plan to sand this off. So I still need to use cleaner or brightener on sanded wood?
No, it should not harm the siding. Yes on using the prep after sanding.
5-21-2020: Great site, with good direct answers.
I have an almost new 600-sq ft deck SURFACE of ground contact rated pressure treated southern yellow pine (SYP). It replaced an 8-yr old deck surface of pressure treated and kiln dried SYP (KDAT) that the builder said would last almost forever. Sadly, it didn’t. I had cleaned and sealed the KDAT with your products the fall before it started rotting. I do not believe the rotting had anything to do with your product, but instead with poor KDAT quality control. After a year of delays, the pressure treating company eventually paid for all the wood used on the deck surface, and several of the joists. We completed the resurfacing last October, but this time I used ground contact rated pressure treated SYP to indeed get a deck that should last forever. I decided to allow the deck to weather through the winter, then clean and seal it with your product. I’m now at the point that I’m ready to do the cleaning and sealing. (If you will check your records, you will find that I ordered the cleaning and brightening products and 10-gallons of your sealing stain, with the date on the 2nd 5-gallon of HONEYTONE TWP 115-5 shown on the pail as 1-25-17. I had planned to reseal the deck the next spring after the original sealing, hence the need for the 2nd 5-gal, but then the rotting started. The 2nd 5-gal had a dent in the bottom seal that was leaking upon receipt, so I stored it in my sunroom upside down. I have another bucket I can pour it in should it still leak when turned upright). I have just finished filling and sanding the hundreds of knot holes and wood imperfections earlier this week, before the continuous rain arrived. I’ve attached a photo of the deck, which is still wet from rain.
Here’s my questions:
1- I expected the deck to turn slightly gray during the winter, which I would strip off using your cleaner, but it’s still the same beautiful yellow tint it was when it was installed (see photo). I know I need to clean the original railing wood, which has mildewed, but I’m not sure about the deck surface. The 2×6 SYP boards have shrunk slightly since last October, as witnessed by the 1/8″ to 1/4″ gap between boards that were tight together last fall. Do I still need to clean the deck with your cleaner? How much will I need for deck, railings, etc?
2- I remember using your brightener on the old 2×6 deck surface, railings, etc after I cleaned it with your cleaner. I still have an unopened 2-pounds of RESTORE-A Brightener, but I do not have any cleaner. If I need to clean the new deck, what cleaner and how much do you recommend. Based on the label, I believe I should have enough brightener.
3- I have a cheap sprayer I bought to spray the sealer on the deck posts, rails and supports, then toss the sprayer if I can’t clean it. Just to be sure, can I use an airless sprayer with your sealer?
4- Finally, I’ve had the unopened 5-gal pail of TWP HONEYTONE 115-5 sealer stored indoors since it arrived in early 2017. If I open it and the contents appear to mix okay, is there any reason not to use it? As you can imagine, I hate to throw out an unopened 5 gal of your product.
Thanks for reading this epistle. I look forward to your response.
1. Yes. 1 bag.
You have enough brightener.
4. The TWP should be fine.
Hi – love this site! Two questions I couldn’t find answers to: 1 – our new deck (8 months old) has some stains from squirrels eating black walnuts on the new PT pine. Will cleaner/brightner/powerwashing be enough? 2 – we have vinyl railings. Do I need to tape/mask these off? If I get stain on them will that be a problem? THANKS!
It should be able to remove those stains from nuts. You cannot get the stain on the vinyl so mask or be very careful.
Do you apply Restore A Deck cleaner to a dry deck or do you recommend lightly prewetting it?
A damp deck is best.
Do you need to wait any amount of time between the stripper/cleaner step and the brightener step?
No. Brightener goes on as soon as you are down with the stripper or cleaner.
Two years ago I used your products to strip off old stain, clean and brighten, then added one coat of your semi transparent stain. I did absolutely nothing last year. I’m ready to work on my deck again. I have just your cleaner and your stain do I need to Brighten again? Overall it looks like a lot of the stain is gone and a few places are looking dirty and/green. Also can I use any brand of brightener?
Just use the cleaner this time for prep since you have a base coat.
What is the preferred method for applying the solid stain on railing and decking? Brush, roller or pad? If there are areas that can only be applied with a brush or pad and everything else is rolled will there be a difference in the final dry appearance ?
Brush and roller. Applies evenly after two coats.
I used RAD stain on my cedar deck last year. It looked good all summer- fall. It developed a lot of bare spots over the Vermont winter. What should I do this spring ? Thank you.
Love VT. We ere just there a few weeks ago skiing!
Prep with the RAD Cleaner and apply one coat of the stain.
Hi! I used RAD stain on a brand new deck last summer (just one coat, per the instructions). I plan to do a second cleaning and coat later this spring and was wondering, do I just do the one coat or two? Thanks!
Have cleaned 350 sq ft cedar deck 2x, extensively power washed & brightened; silver fuzzies remain at knotholes. OK to proceed with stain? If no, clean & power was again
That is oxidation that was not fully removed. Best to go over it one more time with the cleaner and pressure washing, getting slightly closer to the wood while using the pressure washer then you did with the first pass.
I’m in the process of sanding all my cedar decking and Douglas Fir porch prior to applying restore-a-deck cleaner and brightener and then a Weatherwood oxidizing treatment followed by TWP-1500 in clear. Our house has cedar shingles that have aged to a classic grey but I’m concerned that the cleaner and brightener may affect the shingles near the deck. Should I try to tape them off before applying the cleaner?
Yes as it will “clean” off some of the oxidized gray.
Thank you. How long should I wait for my decks to dry after using the brightener to apply TWP and how long should it take to dry before it can handle rain – there is some rain in the forecast around the time I may be applying the stain so I want to make sure I get it right.
You apply the brightener right after the cleaner while the wood is wet. Let dry for 48 hours to stain. No rain for 12-24 hours after application.
Thanks for the tips. Should I wait until I have a 60 hour window of dry weather before I use the cleaner or brightener or can I use it, let the deck get rained on and wait until dry weather shows up?
Use it, let the deck get rained on and wait until dry weather shows up.
I recently cleaned and brightened a 6 month old cedar deck to prep for staining. I’m left with a white residue on the floor boards particularly on the knots. Fence boards are fine. Did I do something wrong and how should I clean this up ( see photo)
That is the oxidation of the wood cells that was not fully removed. Best to gove over it with the cleaner again and light pressure washing.
I have a 17 year old deck, that I just sanded and used a striper where needed. I am at the stage of using the RAD brightener, it is Tuesday with good weather for the last two day, however tomorrow Wednesday a 60% chance of shattered showers around and I would like to stain the deck this weekend and it need two to three days to get the moister level under 20% (we live in the woods). It should take me maybe a day in a half to stain it (14×28 with two build in benches using Armstrong and Clark semi-solid expresso) Should I brighten it today Tuesday or wait until Thursday?
I’m worried about the cleaner and brightener damaging a planting bed on one side of my deck. Which of these products is more harmful to my plant foliage? I do not want my plants to turn brown. Can I prevent this by shielding/covering them with plastic during the process?
Cover plants while doing the work and you should be fine. They are Eco Friendly but you do not want a bunch of dirt, grime or soap residue stuck to the plants.
I installed a 6 foot high, 253 linear ft horizontal cedar about 5 months ago. The fence still looks pretty new. I plan on using Armstrong-Clark Cedar Semi-transparent stain. Two questions:
1). Do I need to use both step #1 and step #2 for cleaning the fence?
2.) Given the measurements — how much of your product would I need?
2. You have about 3000 sq feet for both sides. About 20-25 gallons for 2 coats applied wet on wet.
If I pressure wash the fence with 800-1500 psi first, do I still need to do both steps? And, what do you mean by two coats? Thank you!
Yes, you need the prep products while pressure washing. Apply two coats wet on wet with the AC. Second coat goes on within 20-60 minutes of the first coat.
What is the sign/reaction that tells me it’s ready for the 2nd coat? Furthermore, after the second coat, how long do I wait before pressure washing the second coat off the cedar?
Also, how long do I have to wait for the second step, or can I apply it on the same day?
Cleaned & Brightened last night and then had a light rain.. am I okay after a few hours to stain the damp wood with my restore a deck semi no problem?
Yes, you will be good.
I cleaned and brightened my 4 month old deck. I have finished applying the semi-transparent Armstrong/Clark stain to my banisters/spindles, but not the decking. Its been 3 1/2 weeks since brightner applied – is it OK to apply the stain to the decking? If not, will the cleaner &/or brightener affect the banistrs/spindles already stained?? Thanks, Lyle..
Lightly brighten the wood and pressure rinse (not wash). This will not harm the rails.
I plan to use RAD step 1, then step 2, through the cleaner dispenser on my power washer on my fence before staining with a different oil based product. Do I still dilute the powder 3/4 – 1 cup with 1 gallon of water, or should I make it more concentrated since the power washer will be mixing the cleaner with water coming in from the hose?
The RAD Step 1 cannot be injected through a pressure washer. Needs to be pump sprayed on. The Step 2 could be injected at 1 cup per gallon.
We live in Northest Ohio where you can see all 4 seasons in one day! We are getting ready to apply our stain..all RAD products we purchased through you…however we have about a 50% chance of rain tomorrow..should we hold off until we are sure to have 48 hours with no rain or is it okay to proceed? Thank you!
You are okay with the staining if rain is coming the next day.
Also, do not forget to enter our new contest: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-prep-wood-stain-contest-2018.html