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
    Jerry · 11/08/2022
    My deck was stained with Flood SWF solid stain in redwood color. Can I clean it and apply RAD solid stain? Would 2 coats of white cover it or should I use a  darker color?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/09/2022
      With a solid stain, prep to remove all the loose stain, dirt, mildew, and then you can apply over it. When going from a dark color to a white color, you will need 2-3 coats to cover fully.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rhonda · 11/07/2022
    About 7 years ago we got a new wood deck but never stained it. Last summer I used deck cleaner and brightener on it and it looked great/ready for stain in July 2022. I bought RAD semi-transparent wood stain but didn't get it stained. Now (Nov 7, 2022) I want to stain it. Do I have to redo the prep (cleaner and brightener)? It still looks good so I'm hoping I can just rinse it off and stain it. Advice?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Eric · 11/05/2022
    Applied first coat of RAD light walnut semi-transparent stain on 11/4/22 after stripping and brightening. All wood has weathered at least 3-6 mos. Some older wood had been previously stained. How soon should I apply second coat and what prep is needed, if any?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/05/2022
      No. Only 1 coat for new wood and you cannot apply a second coat once the first has cured. It has to be wet on wet.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Diane Metcalf · 11/04/2022
    Im ready to order
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 11/04/2022
      You can order directly on our website.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    kelly · 10/29/2022
    Is there any harm if the brightener sits LONGER than the recommended time before starting the rinsing?  We are working up high on a pergola so that makes things a bit harder.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/30/2022
      It is easy to do the brightener so always best to do it right after cleaning. Not doing it right away can lead to potential furring issues.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    kelly · 10/28/2022
    How much lag can there be between cleaning and brightening? Must they be done the same day?  We are working on a very high pergola and any hints to make the process easier would be appreciated.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/28/2022
      Best to do the same day for optimal results. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Eric · 10/27/2022
    Getting ready to strip with booster additive, brighten and then stain. Because of my schedule and the weather, I may not be able to get it all done in 1-2 days. How long can I wait after stripping and brightening before I have  to start staining?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lynn · 10/21/2022
    I have a black painted aluminum gate in the fence I intend to stain.  Are any of the stripping/cleaning/brightening products corrosive or likely to affect the finish of the gate?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/21/2022
      They should not but always test spot first.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kelly · 10/21/2022
    Can a different brand of stain later be used over RAD semi-transparent without doing full sanding or stripping?  Hoping to stick with RAD but want to be aware of any future limitations.  Also, how long does the unused stain last (in case we want to order enough for a later coat)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/21/2022
      Does matter what brand of stain you have on the wood, it must be fully removed if switching to a different brand. All semi-transparent stains require this.

      Opened it lasts about 12 months. Unopened about 36 months. Cannot freeze.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kelly · 10/21/2022
        Thank you.  Is that also the case if you go from semi-transparent to solid?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/21/2022
          No, you do not have to fully strip if you switch to a solid stain. Just remove any loose/peeling stain and any dirt.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Kelly · 10/21/2022
            Great - that's good to know in case we later want to go solid.  Is there any problem if we used another solid stain other than RAD - not that we expect that to happen?  <g>
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tara · 10/14/2022
    If I ordered enough to do one coat on the railings with solid stain, and need to buy more, how long can you wait in between applications before having to clean and brighten again? 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    joy · 10/11/2022
    Should I use stripper or cleaner for my deck (app, 2 yrs old) that has had only a sealer put on at that time?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/11/2022
      Please post pics for proper advice in the comments.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dennis · 10/10/2022
    Restored a ~20 year old redwood deck. Just sanded the entire deck and railings to remove old paint and expose fresh wood and then applied 1 coat semi-transparent cedar to the whole deck. Overall, looks great and very satisfied!

    There are a handful of spots where the stain did not blend because the stain pad we used ran out of stain mid board (I don't think I'll ever use a stain pad again...) and another handful of spots where the stain splashed or splattered and left drip marks or the like. I'm not worried about them since that's the reality of DIY projects a lot of the time, but curious if I'll have to strip those spots in the future or whether after a year or so, a good cleaning and restaining will blend everything together?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/10/2022
      Just clean and recoat next year and you will be okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike · 10/09/2022
    Is there a possibility for the restore a deck stain to peel. Using mostly new kiln dried pine an 20 year old pine that had the horrible behr porch an patio paint. 98% removed. North Carolina hot an humid an some snow an ice. Or would you recommend oil based?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/09/2022
      The RAD stains do not peel when you follow the correct prep and application instructions.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    helpercrab · 10/09/2022
    I want to order 5 gallons of stain but I am going to mix colors.  Can I order one 2.5 gallon jug of cedar and one 2.5 gallon jug of dark walnut?  If so, how do I go about doing this?  If I have to buy gallon jugs instead it is going to cost me over $100 extra.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/09/2022
      No, we do not mix the colors for the 5-gallon price. Sorry. It would not be $100 extra to order 3 gallons of each.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        helpercrab · 10/09/2022
        OK, not the answer I was hoping for but good to know. I appreciate the info and your quick response. Also you are right I over estimated the additional cost of ordering 6 individual gallons, it is only about $66 extra. Thanks again for the answer, that was very helpful.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John · 10/06/2022
    Pressure treated pine deck built in Feb 18, cleaned, brightened and stained with Armstrong Clark semi-trans chestnut brown in Nov 18.  Vertical surfaces held up but floor faded very quickly.  Repeated the process of cleaning, brightening and staining in Nov 20 and same results.  If I clean and brighten can I use the Armstrong Clark semi-solid without stripping? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/06/2022
      You should strip and brighten for best results. No different then cleaning, just removes the old coatings fully.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    swopo82 · 10/05/2022
    I hope to get time and weather to work on my gazebo project this weekend.  However, temps are supposed to drop down to around 40F at night.  I see the label says not to apply when night time temperatures are expected to be below 45F.  What happenes below 45F?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/06/2022
      The main goal is to not drop below freezing the first night after staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joanne · 10/04/2022
    Two questions:
    1. I put too much AC stain on the first board of my red cedar deck, so it looks darker and ‘wet’. Is it possible to just strip one board? How do I go about doing that? IF I wait until next spring and restrain the whole deck in the same semi-transparent stain, will this first board turn out okay if I just used the RAD cleaner and brightener?

    2. We removed our face boards prior to staining so that we could treat both sides. However, I erred and did the back side and edges first. When I did the edges, stain got onto the front side of the face board and now those need to be stripped before completing.  What is the ratio of stripper:water to use? Brightener: water? I don’t want to waste the RAD.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    FJJ · 10/03/2022
    We're planning on using a Graco Magnum x5 sprayer to apply RAD semi transparent stain to both fence and deck (different colors though), back brushing as we go. What tip sizes and pressures would you recommend? Note: we're using the sprayer as we have three houses with large decks and fencing to do.

    From the Graco site, it looks like they're recommending a 411 or 413 which would give us an 8" fan which is the max they recommend for semi transparent stain. To keep down over-spray, I'm thinking the 413 with lower pressure would be best, but I'm not sure at all. We'd love your recommendation on this!

    https://www.graco.com/us/en/homeowner/how-to-buy/tipselector.html

    Thanks!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/03/2022
      Any fan tip will work well. 413 sounds correct.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        FJJ · 10/03/2022
        Ok, thanks for your help
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tara Buhr · 10/02/2022
    How long does the stripper last once its been mixed with water?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    SteveK · 09/28/2022
    Ok. Got my shipment today(Atlanta). Because of our hot summer, I’ve waited till fall to stain the new deck.

    Q: my pressure treated wood has aged now 11 months.  What’s the pitfall of doing 2 coats of stain (semi transparent RAD cottage grey) for my initial staining/sealing once I’ve cleaned and brightened?  I’ve read all the instructions and Q&A, and I don’t quite understand why you recommend 1 coat now and a maintenance coat next year.  ???
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/28/2022
      More is not better and if you over-apply, it will not be able to fully soak into the wood grain. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robb Rempel · 09/25/2022
    I ordered the 2.5 gallon stain containers. Can these just be shaken to mix?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 09/25/2022
    To whom it concern. 
     We spoke on the phone. Some deck board was replaced last summer. Deck over paint was used before and I used diamabrush to get rid off the deck over paint as much as I can. You recommend just used cleaner and brightener.  Then stain (we choose light walmut.) 6 gallons. The old deck wood 2 coat and new deck wood one coat. Enclosed are some photos. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2022
      You have to remove 100% of the old stain first. Once that is done, clean and brighten for prep before using the semi-transparent stain. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joanne · 09/22/2022
    We’re ready to use the RAD cleaner / brightener kit on our new red cedar deck. Two questions:
    1. Will the chemicals in the cleaner or brightener damage the Ozco black powder-coated deck clips that we used on the railing? We can uninstall them prior to beginning, but would rather not.

    2. Same question regarding the vinyl lattice skirt.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/22/2022
      1. It should not but test first.
      2. Same
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Terri Bousaab · 09/21/2022
    Your products are amazing!  Everything turned out beautiful.  Except we got the dark walnut stain on the white PVC railing. Not sure how to get it off. Tried mineral spirits. Did not work. Looking for advice or magic. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/22/2022
      Try goof off or a similar graffiti remover.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    jahunts · 09/20/2022
    I thought I read that if I purchase a sample of the solid stain and then later buy the full product that the sample purchase price can be applied to the full purchase.  I can't find it anywhere now, am I making this up or just looking in the wrong place?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2022
      Sorry but no, we do not offer sample credits on this website.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chris · 09/19/2022
    My pressure treated deck is 24 years old and I recently applied RAD and it looks fantastic.  Over the years I've used a clear deck sealer specifically to prevent against water damage. My question is can/should I apply a sealer on the deck after applying RAD?   
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2022
      You cannot apply a clear sealer over a deck stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tara Buhr · 09/17/2022
    I have behr deck over on my deck, which is very worn in place. My plan is to use stripper and brightener. and also sanding as needed. Do I strip, brighten and then sand? or can I strip, let dry, sand and then brighten?  Thank you 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Ter · 09/18/2022
      If you decide to sand your deck , sand the entire deck.  We sanded only spots on our deck where the dogs scratched it.  The finish will not be uniform.  Live and learn.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/18/2022
      Strip, let dry, sand and then brighten