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
    Paul · 01/19/2020
    If ordering in winter months, is product damaged if in freezing temperatures, until can be brought inside?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/20/2020
      You cannot store the stain in freezing temps. Store in a temperature-controlled room for the stain.
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    Steve · 01/11/2020
    I had my roof low pressured washed with jomax and bleach. As the treatment came down off the roof it hit the ground and splashed back up on my mahogany deck causing streaking and spots. I tried pressure washing 2 years ago and applied pennifin but the streaking and spots came back after a month. Will RAD stripper prevent this from reoccurring. If it safe to use RAD on mahogany
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeremy C · 01/01/2020
    Installed new pressure treated fence pickets (pine wood) on existing/old fence posts and 2x4 cross beams (pine wood) in Nov 2019. So the pickets are new and the posts and cross beams are old. Used “30 second cleaner” on old cross beams and posts to clean off mold/mildew as well; they are just bare wood. I plan on using RAD semi stain in Spring 2020 on entire fence after the new pickets weather.

    1. What would be the process for prepping the new and old wood for my fence? Clean, brighten, and stain?
    2. Can the stain be applied with a stain/paint gun such as Wagner brand products?
    3. After 12-18 months and then 2-3 years, what is the process to add these maintenance coats of stain? Clean, brighten, and stain?
    4. Is the RAD stripping product just for fences/decks that already have been stained previously?
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    Dave A · 12/17/2019
    RAD cleaner, brightener, stain AND brush all worked great!

    Retry- thumbs up emoji in prior message displayed as question marks!

    pics from in-progress and completed project:
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom · 12/16/2019
    We have about 1600 sq ft of IPE decking that's probably 14 years old, on an island off of Florida. When we purchased the house six years ago, the IPE had not been treated for many years. Every two years we've cleaned it with Messmers cleaner and brightener, stained it with Messmers UV+ for hardwoods twice and Penofin once. Black mold is an issue in some areas. Since there are four decks separated by three sides and three levels, this year we would like to use different stains, Restore-a-Deck and Armstrong-Clark, to compare performance. Questions:
    1. If we use Restore-a-Deck (water base) but later decide we prefer an oil base such as Armstrong-Clark, could we easily change from RAD to AC in the future?
    2. You recommend brushing but we have always used stain pads to get under our railing (see picture). Is a pad effective or can you recommend a way to use your brush method and still get under the railing?
    3. Do we use the stripper or cleaner to remove the old Penofin for RAD and for AC?
    4. If we need to use RAD stripper, will it harm plants or pollute nearby water?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/16/2019
      1. Whenever you switch brands you will need to strip and brighten for the prep. Both the RAD and AC can be easily stripped.
      2. Stain pads or brushes work the best.
      3. Stripper and then the brightener.
      4. Cover plants so it does not burn them when applying. It does not pollute the water.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Corie · 11/25/2019
    We have installed a new 600 sq ft cedar deck which we immediately stained with Penofin oil-based stain. Next year, we would like to strip, brighten and stain with RAD (semi-transparent).

    1. Will waiting 12 or 18 months provide the need "weathering" for the cedar?
    2. Can we use RAD stripper, brighten and then stain?
    3. Should we use the RAD "additives" to the stripper? Or will the RAD stripper alone do the job?
    4. Do we need to power wash?

    We have ordered the transparent stain samples to test for which color will work going forward.
    Looking forward to using your product (recommended by deckstainhelp.com).
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/25/2019
      Hello,

      1. Yes.
      2. Yes, those are the correct steps.
      3. No need. Penofin is easy to strip so you will not need the additives.
      4. Yes.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jon · 11/23/2019
    I have a 2000 sq ft deck with a covered porch all around it. I have never stained deck but underhang, railing and ballusters were stained 5 years ago with Messmers UV plus. I definately need to strip railings, ballusters and cap including wrapped posts. They are all done in "Incense cedar". My question is, after stripping the areas needed, do i need to apply cleaner AND THEN brightener or just brightener after stripping?. Also how long after stripping can I apply cleaner and or brightener? Can I utilize stripper a second time if needed?. Thanks..Jon
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/23/2019
      Just the brightener after the stripping. You brighten as soon as you are done with the stripping on the same day. You can strip multiple times if needed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom McKeon · 11/22/2019
    Should stripper (small amount of unused stripper not worth saving) be disposed of as hazardous material?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/23/2019
      It is not considered a hazardous material unless over an extremely large quantity and only if being transported.
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    Doug · 11/13/2019
    Aside from convenience, is there some advantage to completing whole process in one day under your guidelines, or might it be slightly preferable to allow say 1 day for it to dry more completely. I am applying an Armstrong Clark semi-transparent stain. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/13/2019
      Armstrong Clark Stain cannot be applied the same day as prep, just the Restore A Deck Wood Stains can be applied the same day as the prep. The AC needs 48 hours after prep to dry before staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Eileen M Lucas · 11/06/2019
    We have powder coated aluminum balusters on our deck rails And we'll be using the stripper to remove the old stain on the rails. Will the stripper harm the powder coating on the balusters?
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    Terri Longworth · 11/06/2019
    We have been stripping and sanding our large deck and railings and it has taken 3 months due to heavily coated old peeling stain, weather and our time constraints. Now it is too cold to stain and we are not quite finished stripping and sanding. Is it necessary to use the brightener on the wood before winter or can we wait until spring when we will clean again and brighten before staining.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/06/2019
      Wait until Spring to clean and brighten is okay.
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    Martha Evarts · 11/04/2019
    Hello, It's getting a might chilly here in CT and while I'm waiting for my stain order to arrive I am replacing some rotted deck wood. Rather tedious work. It's cedar wood. What is the coldest I can apply the stain? If its around 50 or 55 say at 11 or noon, but then drops down to 35 at night would that still work? I'm not sure how many hours it takes to cure. That would also be the scenario for cleaning and brightening?
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    Carol Johnston · 11/04/2019
    I built a cedar bench to take to a Southern Florida condo complex on the beach. It will be used as a seat next to a faucet when washing feet and cleaning shells. There will be full sun and water exposure. Since we only go once a year, I want to stain it before going thus it won't have outside exposure before taking it down. Will one of your products still work?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Katy · 11/03/2019
    I bought the semi transparent stain in the spring but only got around to staining this weekend. I bought WAY too much stain. Am I correct in assuming I can’t return the remaining unopened ones since I bought them 5 months ago? The 2.5gallon containers have stickers that say 19 0120. Does this mean they expire in January 2020 or is there a way to know the expiry date (hoping to use it in future years if I can’t return it). Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/03/2019
      Hello,

      No, that is not an expiry date. Unopened and stored in a temperature-controlled room, the stain will last many years. Sorry but no, you cannot return at this point.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Fred · 11/01/2019
    Can you apply the semi transparent on wood that is dry or do i need to wet it first? (I cannot do the same day as stripper/brightener)
    if i apply the semi transparent during the day, is it ok if the temperature goes below freezing that night?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/01/2019
      The RAD stain can be applied to dry or damp wood. I cannot drop below freezing the first night after staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 10/31/2019
    Hello again... So sorry, my mistake. It was under shipping costs... I see that, I guess I misunderstood it... oops!

    I just bought a cheap sprayer for cleaning the deck (as I think it would work better than the mop and pail I used last time). Can one also use the sprayer to apply stain and then brush it out? I'm wondering if it would save time and come out as good that way?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/01/2019
      Better to use the brush for applying. Easy and will apply a more uniform coating.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 10/31/2019
    Thank you for the links... these decks look absolutely beautiful! I only hope my old one can be revived as well. I just ordered 5 gal. of the Light Walnut. I am glad they are only 2.5 gal each as I am 71 and doing this by myself after bilateral hip surgery six months ago. It feels amazing to be able to do these things again. I only hope the stain comes in time before the weather gets too cold.

    Oh...I didn't realize that you ship a staining brush free when 5 gallons are ordered and I already paid for one on my previous order of the cleaner and brightener. Is it possible to subtract the cost of the staining brush that I already paid for? I'm on SS and every little bit helps. Thank you for your consideration and I can't wait to try this stain.

    It's been many years since the deck's been done and I have some rotted wood to replace at many of the joints while I'm waiting for the stain to arrive. It is a cedar deck about 700 sq feet and about 28 years old and down to bare wood. I already power washed it a few weeks ago, and used the Behr cleaner on it, but want to use your cleaner and brightener after seeing all the reviews and reading much of your information. I was originally going to go with Behr until I started reading up on reviews on the deck help sites. I think this is a much better choice. This is a lot of work, but really exciting for me to be able to do it.... :)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/31/2019
      Hello,

      Staining brushes are not free but we will not charge shipping costs when RAD products are in the same cart. The shipping is free, not the brush.

      Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martha Evarts · 10/30/2019
    I just received your cleaner and brightener and am waiting for the ongoing CT rain to let up in a couple days. I am trying to locate the area where you have pictures of decks that have been stained to help me decide on a color. Would you please provide me with a link. Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Len · 10/29/2019
    The forecast called for no rain for 24 hours, but we did get a light right about 3 to 4 hours after applying RAD stain. How will the rain affect the fresh stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/30/2019
      Hard to say until the rain dries off and if any visual deficiencies or not. More than likely it is okay.
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    Mike · 10/27/2019
    What is the shelf life of the semi-transparent stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/27/2019
      Unopened about 3 years. Opened about 12 months. It cannot freeze.
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    Patti Rivera · 10/26/2019
    10x14 deck floor. I think pine. BTW before I found this I used Valspar on the railings, steps, etc....it is darker than I like but I think I can make it look fab using natural on the floor. The calculator says 2 gal......did I do that right? (according to online comments Valspar Clear is yellow which sent me on the hunt for something else. Thankfully.) Wish I'd found this sooner. But I can still make lemonade.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/26/2019
      2 Gallons is correct. FYI, our Natural is tinted, not clear. Similar to a wet look.
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    Jeanene · 10/24/2019
    I used the RAD stripper on my deck yesterday but still have stain on the verticals. I plan on sanding and or trying to strip the verticals again. Is it okay to have days between using the stripper and brightener?
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    Leslie · 10/23/2019
    Can you suggest a color to mix with Dark Walnut to make it a little more like medium brown. My deck is cedar and tends to go more red naturally so I am avoiding the kight walnut.. Tks do you suggest the cedar or the natural for me to try. Tks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2019
      You could use the Cedar color and add a little bit of Dark Walnut if you want it to be slightly browner.
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    Shannon Morris · 10/23/2019
    Here's another picture..
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    Shannon Morris · 10/23/2019
    This past weekend we stripped, brightened and stained deck with light walnut. It did rain a lot sooner(about 6-7hours) than what the forecast was anticipating. We love the results! But we noticed a few of the boards look like this and was wondering what could have happened. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2019
      Looks like the stain did not take there or was washed off from the rain before it cured. One thing of note, if you did not rinse the brightener thoroughly, you can get a reaction like this if the wood is too acidic. Try touching up thos spots and wiping the excess stain off right away.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill · 10/23/2019
    Screened porch is built and ready for cedar timbers and ceiling to have a product applied for protection. Is your Restore-a-Deck an appropriate choice? I want something that will last and may be applied over itself years later without stripping.
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    Tom McKeon · 10/21/2019
    Hi - I mixed brightener two weeks ago and used it on my deck. I'm back to a separate part of the deck. Can I use the extra two gallons of brightener that has been in the spray applicator? It's a simple spray applicator, not sealed to the atmosphere. I expect to use the rest in the next week. Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary · 10/21/2019
    I would appreciate your help as we are hiring a contractor to do our deck staining/painting in spring 2020 and would like to use the best product for the job.

    1. Can I tint your product to a custom colour? We like the pressure treated look (green) because it blends into the yard. The last semi-transparent stain we used 4 years ago (Home Hardware) did not do a good job staying on.
    2. Our deck covers a large area (too costly to replace)and is 25 years old (cedar) and in decent shape. Will your product rejuvenate the wood - please see attached photo's.
    3. We are in Ontario, Canada and experience cold winters (snow) and very sunny hot summers.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ray Mason · 10/21/2019
    Used cleaner and brightener on new wood after waiting 3 months. Results are very splotchy. Used 3/4 nap roller and brushed in Light Walnut stain immediately. Not sure what I did wrong. Any suggestions?
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      Ray · 10/30/2019
      Appreciate the response. What is the best application tool(s)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/21/2019
      It looks like uneven application. Rollers are not suggested as they do not apply very evenly. Best to wait until Spring to fix this. Lightly wash to remove dirt and apply a light coat then should even it out better.