Restore A Deck Prep and Staining Steps

We understand that everyone needs help with their wood/deck restoration and that not all projects are the same. Different species of wood, the age of wood, and types and brands of previous coatings make it difficult for homeowners to determine what is needed to restore their exterior wood or deck correctly.

We will ask some specific questions and reply to what you will need to do in your restoration process and the appropriate products and amounts to purchase, so it receives the proper prep and treatment required.

In the comment section below, you must include:

  • Square Footage of Area to be Restored:

-For Decks, use the calculator in the right column (scroll down) for desktop or below this article/comments on mobile

-Fences: Length x Height x 2 (for both sides) = Total square footage

-Homes: Do each side Lenght x Height, then add up all sides.

  • Type of wood if known:
  • Approximate Age of Wood:
  • If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type (Examples of Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Solid Stain, Oil-Based, Water-Based): 
  • If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained:
  • Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.):
  • Do you have access to a pressure washer:
  • Miscellaneous Info:
  • *Must Include 1-3 Photos of Restoration Project. There is a link to upload photos in the bottom right corner of the comment area.

Restore A Deck Stain Application Tips

 

 

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robert Godfrey · 08/09/2020
    Can dogs walk on the deck after the semi-transparent stain is dry to the touch?
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    David Hofmann · 08/09/2020
    I am located in central Iowa and have a 780sf cedar deck that was rebuilt around 2013. Last treated in 2017 with Olympic Maximum semi-transparent stain. I have a power washer which I used to prep in 2017. Deck is low to the ground (8-18 inches above grade), with parts in damp shade and full sun. A few small spots are soft and will be replaced, and there are a few raw boards that have been patched in but not treated for about a year. I’m thinking it might be time for a solid stain in order to blend old and new boards, but am willing to try a semi-transparent stain again if I can get it prepped correctly. Any recommendations for prep and final product are appreciated.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/09/2020
      Use both stripper additives with the stripper and brightener kit. You should be able to then use the Semi-Transparent stain.
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    Chandra · 08/09/2020
    Is the Stain Stripper safe to use around pets?
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      RAD Products · 08/09/2020
      Not while using it. Once dry and neutralized with brightener it is fine n
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    sun · 08/09/2020
    I want to order RAD cedar (I received a sample of) however, I cannot find cedar in a larger size. Please advise.
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    Karine Benoit · 08/08/2020
    Hello,

    We have a 7 years deck with pressured treated wood. We are currently preparing the deck for staining. We want to change a few board that have been damaged. Wondering if we just do the steps for those board (cleaner, brighter and two coats of semi-transparent stain? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mark Day · 08/08/2020
    Got 20 year old deck, refinished it in 2016 with Behr semi-transparent weather proofing all in one stain and sealer. Not worried about seeing the woodgrain. Would like to use your solid color. Will your solid color work?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/08/2020
      Yes, but make sure to prep by pressure washing and removing any loose or peeling stain.
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    Laurie Hochberg · 08/08/2020
    we have a 25-year-old original cedar deck with various boards replaced with pressure-treated wood over time. It is 950 sq ft. It has peeling and lifting solid Sherwin Williams stain as it's the previous coating. We have Stripped it, power washed it, Brightened, and then sanded the whole deck. Approximately 12 hours ago we finished the second coat of solid Restore a Deck stain on the stairs. 3 Questions:
    1. from the picture you can see the previous color is bleeding through on the steps, can we do a 3rd coat? 2. the steps were brushed on - will this cover better if it is rolled on? and 3. With the solid Stain, it says to wait for it to dry completely before the next coat - is this 1-2 hour dry? Do we need to do the second coat BEFORE it fully cures? We are trying to complete this weekend as the weather is cooperating as a quick reply would be awesome!! Thank you so much in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/08/2020
      Yes, you can another coat as needed. Rolling might give better results. It typically dries in 1-2 hours for another coat.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Laurie Hochberg · 08/08/2020
        Thanks for the quick reply! Just to clarify - what’s the LONGEST period you can wait between an additional coat -1-2 days?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Victor · 08/04/2020
    I’ve prepared my deck for staining, using RAD stripper/brightener. How critical is it to ensure that all of the old semi-solid stain visible in between the deck boards (which have rounded/beveled edges) is removed before applying new semi-transparent (non-RAD) stain? Stripping/sanding the top surface of a large deck was tough enough - I’m a bit reticent to aggressively attack the cracks if failing to do so won’t result in failure of the new stain to adhere properly.
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    Deborah Krogan · 08/04/2020
    Sorry, here is the picture!!
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    Deborah Krogan · 08/04/2020
    Added a picture to comment below....the pergola is very simple....
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    Deborah Krogan · 08/04/2020
    Hi, we have built a 12' x 8' x 8' high pergola in June and plan to stain it in the Fall. We used eastern white cedar. I expect we will only need 1 gallon of semi transparent stain. My question is whether or not it is essential to do both the cleaning brightening process? We do not have access to a pressure washer. Thanks in advance!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Karen Ranney · 08/04/2020
    We have a 25+ Recycled material (composite?) deck floor. Will the RAD solid stain work?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      Sorry but it has not been tested for composite wood. In theory, it should work as long as it is porous.
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    Susan · 08/04/2020
    My order was shipped 7/25. Do you have have a tracking number since I still have not received it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      Do you have an order number or last name?
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        Susan · 08/04/2020
        1BE4032049 Susan Parker
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          RAD Products · 08/04/2020
          We replied to your order email with the tracking info. Arrives today.
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    Bradley J Banyai · 08/04/2020
    Our deck is 2 years old and made from IPE wood. I want to confirm that your cleaner and brightener products are safe for this wood. Also is your semi-transparent wood stain similar to an IPE oil? And is that what you would recommend for an IPE deck or do you have other suggestions that work better?

    Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jon · 08/04/2020
    I have 10+ year old composite wood deck that is losing its color. I tested a interior polyurethane on a scrap piece and it brought the color back. I know poly will not work in outdoor applications however. Do you have a product that work to bring the color back and withstand Minnesota climate? Thinking of trying your semi transparent natural stain. Thoughts?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      I am sorry but no, we do not have a stain for composite decks.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jon · 08/04/2020
        Okay thank you. Would there be negative
        affects on my decking if I did apply it to the composite boards?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/04/2020
          It may work fine and others have used it but we have not actually tested it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lyn · 08/03/2020
    for your solid RAD stain what type of roller should I get? the stores have so many to choose from. fabric, polyester/knit high or low density?

    nap size?

    thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      1/2" to 5/8' nap and any material will work as long as it says for latex coatings. We would not suggest a foam roller though.
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    Jill · 08/03/2020
    We have a 3 year old Cypress/yellow cedar deck. We live in Washington state and the deck faces west. First year we used a clear sealer, by the next summer I had to sand it because it was so grey. Then used a tinted sealer, same result. Does your product work with this kind of wood? and if so will it be grey again in a year?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      You can use our products on Cypress and Cedar. Strip and brighter for prep and then stain. Typically redo every 2-3 years.
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    Kevin · 08/03/2020
    I'd like to repaint my deck and am trying to figure out exactly what I need to do to prep it. There is mold/mildew on the decking and the boards are kind of rough. What exactly do I need to do to prepare it for painting? I'm thinking of using a RAD cleaner first. Do I need a brightener too if I'm just painting after? After the cleaner and brightener (if needed) I was planning on sanding with 80 grit paper to remove the roughness. Then I planned to prime and paint. Are there any other products I need or do I need to change the order of the steps? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      Use the Cleaner and pressure washer first and then you can sand after. No need for the brightener.
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    ilmiglione · 08/03/2020
    We have inherited a classic Maine “camp” built just after WWII and like other structures of its kind, it features open framing throughout the interior. The original knotty pine is much darkened and also shows areas of gray and water damage. I am wondering whether we might be able to bring it back to something like original condition using restore-a-deck cleaner and Brightener. Can they be used inside with ample ventilation? Will they work? I have already ordered stain samples to try on the deck, so I may be ordering these products anyhow.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      When using the prep products you also will need to pressure wash and that typically will not work indoors due to the large volume of water being used.
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    Dale · 08/03/2020
    What is the best method for staining a rough cedar fence with RAD semi-transparent? Can I use a pump sprayer and back brush?
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    John · 08/03/2020
    I'm trying to restore a 25 year old pressure treated deck with a railing. Approximately 500 square feet and stained with a solid stain 2-3 years ago. I'm replacing some boards (when pressure treated wood becomes available, there's a little flaking but mostly just a worn out color with old boards. Which of the cleaner/stripper combinations would work? I'm planning on restaining with a new solid color.
    Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sara · 08/02/2020
    I have tried pressure washing my deck (untreated cedar - and just using water) and it turns out I'm not great at doing it evenly. So, now the wood varies in color based on how evenly I cleaned it. If I use your cleaner and brightener on the whole deck before your semi- transparent stain, would I have a good chance of it evening out? Or, do I need to go back and ensure the pressure-wash job is perfectly even before proceeding? Or, would some light sanding work? Thanks!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      Post some pictures here.
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        Sara · 08/02/2020
        Ah, okay, this represents the most stark contrast - as bad as it gets. thanks!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/03/2020
          It would be best to go over this again with the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kits while pressure washing again.
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            Sara · 08/03/2020
            Okay, that's what I thought! I did make a couple of grooves in the wood (not too deep - you can kind of see it in the 2nd picture, top step). Should I: 1. Sand it down before the entire cleaning/brightening process? 2. Sand it down after cleaning but before brightening? 3. Not worry too much about it?
            I have read various pieces of advice about the "fuzzies." I don't really mind them too much... if I see them, could I leave them alone or do I need to sand? Final question about sanding: can I just sand in spots or do I need to sand the entire thing?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/04/2020
              3. Not worry about it as spot sanding could make it worse as it will take the stain lighter. You do not have to worry about the fuzzies.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dominic · 08/02/2020
    Hello,

    We just installed two ~170sqft decks on our home with pressure treated supports, Moso bamboo deck surfaces, and Ipe railings. We are planning on applying your dark walnut semi-transparent stain on all surfaces after 3-4 months of weathering. Any concerns with the stain application on the bamboo or pressure treated surfaces?

    Thanks,
    Dominic
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      The RAD stain will not work on bamboo. Sorry.
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        Dominic · 08/02/2020
        Thanks for the reply. Do you know if the Armstrong Clark stains will work on bamboo?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/03/2020
          No, they will not. No penetrating stain will work on bamboo as they cannot soak in.
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    Ray · 08/02/2020
    Do you sell a 5 gallon bucket solid stain (instead of buying five 1-gallon)? I can't see it offered in your product list.

    Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat · 08/02/2020
    I have a new 3 month old Ponderosa treated wood deck. Should I sand the deck first? 60 grit with orbital sander? If I use your cleaner do I still need to use brightener? It's 400 sq/ft so I assume I need 3 gal. gallons of sealer? Thx Pat
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    Holly Smit · 08/01/2020
    Our neighbor just stained their side of our shared fence with an oil-based stain. I want to use Restore-A-Deck on our side, but figure any cleaning/brightening we do will splatter onto their side and remove portions of their stain. What are the consequences of just sticking on a coat of water-based RAD on our side without the prep. Will it peel? Fence is UV damaged with a faded remnant of whatever stain was on there in the first place. We moved in 2 years ago, suspect oil-based was used prior. Just trying to be good neighbors while attending to the wood, and I hate the oil-based fumes and headache that goes with them.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      No prep could result in a very uneven appearance and you cannot apply the RAD over a different brand of stain.
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    Don · 08/01/2020
    A few years ago I used BEHR products to stain our deck. In the past winter the stain was lifting. In the spring I started to redo the deck I used the BEHR remover and the cleaner in while in progress I did a lot of searching "How To" and came across your product. I followed all the directions and "how tos" to get the deck to stainability. I sanded the deck 80 grit hand sander put down one coat of stain as recomended.
    I don't know if I uas too light on the amount I used or if the wood asorbed more but there are areas that seem to be too light like the stain didn't sink all the way. Question can I or should I put on a second coat??
    Thank You
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      It will not be able to take another coating right now as the first has cured. You can lightly clean in the Spring of next year and add a coat then.
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    Douglas · 08/01/2020
    I got the restore a deck natural stain and it’s too yellow for my liking on my redwood deck. . Can I put a second coat on of the cedar to even out the color?
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      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      No, not after the coating has dried and cured as it will not be able to soak in. You would have to strip it off and then brighten the wood.
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    Russ · 08/01/2020
    I am a bit confused. My back porch was done with Duck Back semi transparent oil stain. It looked good for about 6 months, after about a 1 1/2 it turned all black with mold...I used Mold Eraser and it did take most of it off...now 6 months later the surface in some spots is still a bit oily to the feel and a little black mold still is on a few areas. Would you suggest I sand with 60 to 80 grit sand paper to remove the oily areas and the left over black mold??? Please advise. Thank you.
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    Bob · 08/01/2020
    Can I use other brands of semi transparent stain after using your cleaner and brightened? We are looking for other color choices you offer in semi transparent stain. Thanks.