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
    James R Peters · 07/22/2021
    I am part way through the final stage of staining my deck with your semi-transparent water based stain.  It looks great!  My question concerns cleanup.  Can I clean your deck brush and paint brush with soap and water?  Or do I need to use the nasty stuff????  Many thanks for a great product.
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    Jay Adams · 07/22/2021
    I stripped and brightened my deck. It is a couple of days later and looking at some of the posts I want to do another 20-30 minutes of rinsing with my power washer to make sure I get all of the brightener removed . Is it too late because I let it dry for a couple of days?
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    mike · 07/22/2021
    using restore a deck semi-transparent Dark Walnut. I applied 1 coat to top pool deck last night and applied 1 coat to bottom deck this morning.
    can I apply a SECOND coat after 1st coats dry?  or is it too late once dried and I should have applied 2nd coat while everything was still wet?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/22/2021
      No, second coats have to be applied wet on wet, not wet on dry. You can lightly clean and coat in 6-12 months if needed.
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    Cvjohnson · 07/21/2021
    Can this product be used on cedar posts?Also, is it sold in stores?
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    Annemarie · 07/21/2021
    We are currently working on our three year old deck (we did the full RAD process on it two years ago - one coat of semi-transparent stain on everything). The cleaning and brightening are done and we're ready to apply the semi-transparent stain. I feel like read somewhere that we only need to do one coat on the vertical slats of the railings, and two coats on the horizontal parts of the decks and railings, but I can't find that information anywhere now. Is that correct, or should we do two coats on everything? 
    We have another deck we still need to do; we have some cleaner, brightener, and stain leftover from two years ago, are we able to use them in case we run out of our most recent purchase? They have been stored in a garage in San Francisco - no exposure to extreme heat or cold.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2021
      If you have a base coat on all wood then just one coat for all wood. If the wood is down to the bare wood, then one coat for railings and two wet on wet on coats for the floors.
      The prep products in powder form should be fine to use again. The older stain has a shelf life of 12 months after being opened. It could very well still be okay but no way to know for sure until you open it up.
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    Myra Virostko · 07/20/2021
    Last spring 2020, I stripped, cleaned and brightened my redwood deck with rad. I then applied the armstrong clark stain. I have some peeling this year, not sure where I went wrong, I followed directions carefully. My question is "do I need to strip again this year or can I just clean and brighten. I will include some pictures.
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    Sheila · 07/20/2021
    Older redwood deck with addition of section that's 1 yr old, all surfaces cleaned, brightened and sanded. What color semi-transparent stain would be best? Want more of a red/brown not red.  Any photos?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/20/2021
      Try Dark Walnut or Light Walnut. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        PJ · 07/21/2021
        Sheila, here's a pic of light walnut on my deck. Everything I've read suggests a water base is as good as an oil base and it's so much easier from application to clean-up.
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          Sheila · 07/21/2021
          I don't see the picture, where do I find it.  Thanks much!
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            PJ · 07/21/2021
            I'll try one more time........don't know what happened........must have not allowed time for it to load.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Sheila · 07/21/2021
              I meant Light Walnut
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              Sheila · 07/21/2021
              That looks very nice, so that's the light oak on Redwood? Thanks so much for resending
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                PJ · 07/21/2021
                Sorry about the misunderstanding........No, mine is not redwood.........it's on pressure treated pine.  I'd assume application on redwood wood be less "light".......it would likely be darker because of the redwood.  My suggestion...find a spot on your deck that is not so visible and apply a test patch.
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  Sheila · 07/21/2021
                  Thanks much! I appreciate you taking the time to respond and send photos.  Yes you are probably right it would be darker.  Unfortunately I don't have time to do tests, need to get done asap. Thanks again
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Vinnie · 07/19/2021
    Does anyone have pictures of their deck with cottage grey railings and dark walnut floors on pressure treated?Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2021
      We do not of this combination. It would look great!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James R Peters · 07/19/2021
    I am about to use your stripper and brightener on my deck using your Chapin 2G sprayer.  The sprayer has three nozzles: fine, medium, and coarse.  Do you recommend one nozzle in particular?  (I know this is not exactly a profound question).  Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Suzanne Springate · 07/19/2021
    I used the 3 step process on my deck last spring (2020). I didn't expect too much because the deck was poorly constructed and had some old paint/stains that had weathered over many years of neglect.  After the three step process, it looked great.  However, after a harsh winter, it has faded quite a bit and I want to stain again.  What do I need to do for the prep?  All 3 steps again?
    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2021
      Clean lightly with the RAD Cleaner. You can mix at 2-3 oz of powder per gallon of water. Brightener to neutralize. One coat of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Terry Manahan · 07/19/2021
    I purchased the stripper (and booster) and brightner for our deck. We have some new wood that has been installed and some that will be installed later this fall. My question is, could I go ahead and strip and brighten the remainder of the deck and then stain all of it next spring? I would have to clean and brighten then, correct? I am just anxious to get what is out there stripped off (oil based stain). I know that the new wood has to have time to weather a bit. When it comes time to stain, would the RAD semi solid stain blend the old and new woods together fairly well or would I have to go with a solid stain? Thanks for your help!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2021
      You can strip and brighen now and then weather it all until Spring for the final clean and brighen step. New wood will stain lighter in color the first time applying when using the semi-transparent colors.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Terry Manahan · 07/22/2021
        Well, yesterday and today I stripped and brightened our screened in deck that hasn't been stained in at least 10 years. Holy cow. Your stuff is amazing!! It was very simple to do, although a bit time consuming because of all of our extra trim pieces for the screens on our deck. I do have one question. There are some spots of stain that I missed on some of the extra pieces of trim. I am not planning to stain until next spring/summer because we have some new wood that needs to weather first. Next spring, can I reapply some of the stripper to just the areas that didn't get stripped very well today and then continue with the brightening and staining? I know I will need to purchase cleaner next spring for the remainder of the deck. Thanks again for your help!
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    Gladys Rao · 07/18/2021
    We have an ipe deck that we want to return to its natural color and grey in the sun.  Half of the deck looks good because it is in the sun and is a uniform grey.  The other half that is in the shade has not faded and has water stains and old stain still on it.  Can we strip the shaded side and encourage it to fade? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/18/2021
      No, it is not possible to only prep half the deck.  You would have to prep all to remove the old stain and the graying to is is one even color and then start the natural graying process again. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Deb C · 07/18/2021
    Used the stripper, conditioner, all with power washer. Stained deck. Looked good. But didn’t have enough. Ordered 5 gallons of burnt hickory,  but needed 3 gallons more, put on the last gallon, and touched up a few spots that stain had soaked in. completely different color. Now my deck is a mess. What do I do??
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/18/2021
      You will need to strip it all off and then brighen to start over. Not sure what brand of stain you are using but it is not our brand.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Deb C · 07/18/2021
        I am so sorry, you are completely right, it was not your brand. Feel a little foolish but I can’t delete it. Believe me, I wish I would of went with your brand. If you can delete my comment, please do. My apologies.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/18/2021
          Well after you strip and brighten it you can use our stains going forward :)
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike W · 07/17/2021
    Hello, we are looking to restore out 500 Sq ft deck.Wood: unknown Approximate age: 15 years? Not actually surePrevious stain: looks like paintWe do have access to a pressure washer
    What products would you reccomend? I would also like to build a small privacy fence on one end of the deck that I would like to protect with a stain/oil.
    Below pics show some of the worst areas. We will be removing the ballisters and not treating them. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    ROBERT A. FLOUNDERS · 07/15/2021
    I have a new pressure treaded deck, it has cured for 14 months now. I want to stain it, but not sure of the amount of stain I need. The size is 1050 sq ft and the railings are to different sizes, one is 40 x 4 and the other is 64 x 6. when I used your calculator it said I need 17 gallons of stain and 4 kits of cleaner and brightener, for 2 coat, and then it said 2/3 for 1 coat. So that mean that I only need 4 kits of cleaner and brightener and 13 gallons of stain for one coat.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/16/2021
      What was the total sq footage of all wood added up?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mitch Huffield · 07/15/2021
    I used your RAD dark walnut stain on my dock last year after power washing cleaning and brightening using your products.  The dock still looks good and I want to keep it that way.  The dock sits on the water year around in northwest Montana so it is exposed to all four seasons including temperature extremes from 100F in summer to -40F in winter and obviously ice and deep snow covering the lake in winter.   I should add that this dock is 3 years old this year and I have only used RAD products since it was new,  However I stained the dock the first year prematurely and did not allow the new wood enough time to weather.  As a result I had to thoroughly power wash, clean and brighten all over again last year.  this is the first year the treatment has held up for the full year.     I would like to apply another coat this year to help preserve and extend the life of the stain going forward and I have a couple of questions:
    1. Do you recommend applying a new coat (or 2) over the wood already stained wit RAD a year ago that still looks good with minimal fading or bleached areas?
    2.  If you do recommend applying a new coat (2?) will I need to clean and brighten again before applying?
    3.  Will applying a new coat extend the life of the stain by doing this or am I better to wait until the dock starts to fade more and show signs of needing a new stain application?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2021
      1. You do not have to add a coat this year. You can if you want but waiting until next Spring is okay.2. Clean and brighten when you recoat is correct.3. No advantage to doing it now or next year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin Wike · 07/14/2021
    L-shaped deck: Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 550 SF
    1st area is open to weather: 290 SF (this wood is not in as good a shape as 2nd area)
    2nd area is covered by roof: 260 SF (this wood is like new never being exposed to snow/rain)

    Type of wood if known: pressure treated
    Approximate Age of Wood: 10+
    Previous Stain Brand Used and Type: semi transparent not sure of brand but possibly Behr
    When was the last time wood was stained: Not sure but believe 10+ years
    Wood Type to be Stained: Deck
    Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes
    Miscellaneous Info: 4 photos uploaded showing before and after(after photos show both areas after power washing and then sanding) Note: All sanding was done with 60 grit sandpaper.

    At this point should I order a Restore-A-Deck kit to clean and brighten before staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2021
      Yes, use the Cleaner and then the Brightener for prep. Stain with one coat of the RAD Stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lil · 07/14/2021
    We had a new deck built 2 years ago. We used the RAD semi transparent light Walnut stain, after a year of weathering, cleaning and brightening. We are 12-18 months out and are ready to do 2nd stain.  We have several questions. 1. Should we clean and brighten again before staining? 2. Can we apply the Cottage Gray stain over the Light Walnut if we want to tone it down.  The light Walnut came out too warm tone.  We don't expect it to look like the Cottage gray sample.  Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/14/2021
      1. Yes on the prep.2. You should strip and brighten if you want to switch to Cottage Gray.
      Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James R Peters · 07/13/2021
    My question has probably been answered previously, but I cannot find the answer.  I would like to strip my entire deck (about 450 square ft plus railing) before beginning to apply the brightener.   The stripping process may well take about 2-4 hours.  What is the maximum time I can wait, if necessary, to start the brightening process?  Thank you! 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/14/2021
      Just apply the brightener as soon as you are done with the stripping and rinsing.
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    Phil · 07/13/2021
    I stripped/brightened my 800sf, 8 year old pressure treated pine deck last Nov., 2020 [it had TWP 100 redwood semi-oil base] let it sit "raw" thru the winter, cleaned/brightened last month [June, 2021] and immediately stained it with Defy extreme light walnut water base wet-on-wet.  It looks good but it seems to have lightened unevenly over the past 30 days.  Is this just a matter of different board grains/porous-ness or could I possibly improve overall color by cleaning/brightening/one coat staining late this Fall?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2021
      Yes, that is the wood grain but you can lightly clean and apply another coat in the Fall if you like.
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    Kay Doss · 07/13/2021
    How do I remove old restore to re-do?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2021
      Our Restore-A-Deck Stain or Rust-Oleum Deck Restore?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Linda Mileski · 07/13/2021
    My deck is large, needs to be stripped first.  Due to time to strip which i suspect will take a day, how soon must I put on brightener.  Same question on the brightener after it is put on, how long can i wait to stain. There is no way i can do this in one day. Per previous question, I was told to apply only one coat of stain.      
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2021
      Brightener as soon as you are done stripping. Stain within 2 weeks of prep. 
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    Jeff · 07/12/2021
    I stained my deck with Sikkens semi translucent stain about 4 years ago. I'm going to redo it with your products. The sq ft area is around 900 sqft. Would I use stripper, brightener, and then stain for this type of previous stain? And also, will I need to buy two kits containing prep and stain? Thx.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Elissa · 07/12/2021
    I have a 21 year old 12 x 20 deck that has a Cabot solid stain applied 2 years ago - a 1/3 of the deck has peeling and bare spots where stain lifted. I’ve been sanding with a belt sander but not a whole lot of stain is sanding away and I continue to have small slivers of peeling. What process should I use to restore? 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Cheryl · 07/12/2021
    I have an 1100 sq ft deck that I will be cleaning with the stripper with booster and brightener. I am doing this myself, is it OK to do half the deck at a time if needed?  Any recommendations for staining with only one person? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/12/2021
      You can break up the stripping into half but brighen all when done. As for staining, you will need to do it all at once as breaking it in half could lead to overlap marks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anthony D · 07/11/2021
    Hello from Southern California. I've read great reviews about your products and think I want to give them a shot. 
    I've got an existing deck that I am going to soon be extending to meet a new room addition that we are building in our backyard. At the same time, I plan on replacing some of the more weathered and old boards on my existing deck with new boards. 
    The existing deck previously had DeckOver on it when I purchased the house. This was terrible and peeled and was an absolute nightmare to remove. Last year, I ended up sanding the entire deck down using rental from Home Depot and then made the mistake of applying their Behr Semi-Transparent deck stain, which hasn't held up too well in just over a year. It just looks really patchy and not nearly as nice as it did in the months just after application (see photos). 
    I'm considering either a semi-transparent stain or solid color stain and hoping that it will perform better than the Behr stain. 
    Here are my questions:
    1. Will your stripper product work for Behr semi-transparent stain? Booster? Would you recommend a different product for the removal of this stain? 2. One reason I was leaning toward a solid color stain was that I was concerned that there would be a noticeable difference between new and old boards. Would a semi-transparent stain look fairly consistent across new and old boards?3. After installing the new boards and replacing some of the old boards, do you think its really necessary to wait several months to apply a semi-transparent stain to the entire deck? What if using a brightener or is there another product that can be used to speed this up? 4. Should I wait until my new boards are weathered before stripping the Behr semi-transparent stain and then do all of the prep at once? Or, should I strip the old stain now and wait and then just do a cleaner or brightener before applying the stain in a few months?5. Do you feel that generally, a semi-transparent stain will hold up better and look better in 2-3 years time than a solid color stain? 6. In terms of touch ups and maintenance, can I re-apply semi-transparent stain 2 years later without fully having to strip the existing stain? What about for solid color stains? 
    Apologies for the number of questions, but after investing a lot of time in my deck over the past two years between the DeckOver and now this upcoming project, I just want to make sure I have the information to make the best decision on the best path forward. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/12/2021
      1. Behr can be difficult to remove, especially if custom tinted as it acts like a solid stain. Use the Stripper with both additives and pressure washing to remove as much as possible. If needed, spot sand to remove any stain that cannot be stripped. Brighten all when done.2. New wood will stain lighter in color compared to older wood when using the semi-transparent.3. Yes, new wood must weather and be prepped. https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html4. Yes.5. They will last about the same.6. Both can be cleaned and recoated as needed. 
      Note, if you use the solid stain, you do not have to remove the Behr fully. You can strip off what you can and then cover any intact stain with the solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Adam J · 07/11/2021
    Hello-
    I recently purchased the house so I can’t tell you very much about the care of the deck previously. After completing the stripping of the deck I have a residue that I cannot seem to get off that is almost dangerously slippery when wet. I did lightly sand the boards the day before to smoothen. Since something did not seem correct I did not proceed with applying the stain. Please let me know your thoughts
    Adam J
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      RAD Products · 07/12/2021
      Did you brighten the wood after to neutralize the stripper?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Adam J · 07/12/2021
        Yes I did use the brightener. This is how it looks when it dries. Should I just proceed with staining? I am just not sure how it is supposed to look before staining. Thank you for your help.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat C · 07/11/2021
    Hi! Your products have worked great transforming my nasty deck and front porch that were trashed unfortunately after my poor decision to use Behr and Olympic stains. After stripping cleaning brightening and your white and gray solid stains, they look better than they ever have! My question is, what’s your opinion regarding using polypropylene accent rugs made for outdoors on these freshly stained areas? Will it rub off the stain or actually help protect it even longer? The ones I’m looking at shed water and do not attract mold or mildew. Thanks so much! I included before and after pics.
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    Hope · 07/08/2021
    Your Cyprus Solid stain sounds great. No offense, but how long have you guys been around? If we need replacement product in the same color in 10 years, we'd like to think we could find you. ;)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2021
      We have been selling RAD products for over 20 years. Started with the prep products and added the stains, etc. through the years.