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
    Hackett · 05/24/2022
    Will the cleaner or brightner harm metal ballusters?  What about the semi-transparent stain? Pic attached.
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      RAD Products · 05/24/2022
      They will not harm the metal spindles. Only use the prep products if you are restaining.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Hackett · 05/24/2022
        Using cleaner then brightner on deck that has never been sealed/stained (diff than pic which shows type of metal ballusters). Pressure treated wood  that is about 2 years old. Will the semi-transparent stain (natural color) harm the metal ballusters? 
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          RAD Products · 05/24/2022
          The stain will not harm the metal but it should be avoided to get on them so it does not look messy.
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    Pat · 05/24/2022
    Oh dear.. Don't know how to do that.  I will have to wait until kids or grandkids come one of which might be able to come tomorrow who is techhie. And do you recommend where to buy products and how long does it take for delivery?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/24/2022
      You can buy directly from our website. Delivery timing depends on where you live.
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    Pat · 05/24/2022
    Ok I'm ready to get serious about this.  My deck is 30 years old. Mainly in shade in summer from trees. In pretty good shape, so I want to restore it not tear down. In reading i gather that you recommend stripper and brightener for old decks. And 2 coats of stain. Now I'm confused about choice of stains; oil or water and color.  i don't want red which I gather is cedar; opaque or transluscent?  I'm wondering if I should clean and brighten first to see the color underneath.  Going to have sons help me so I don't want to tie them up too much. Would prefer to do it all in one day.  I would be happy with a brown or grey tint.  Just not that orange/red.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/24/2022
      Hi Pat,

      Please post some pics so we can offer prep and stain advice.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Schofield · 05/23/2022
    I stripped, brightened and refinished the deck last year. Unfortunately we had a short surprise rain before it was fully dried. There seem to be some "blotches" where the finish was not able to soak in. Do I need to re-prep the entire deck or should I apply the finish to those areas )or even the whole deck. The areas that did not seems to be affected appear to be fine. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/24/2022
      You cannot spot fix so you would have to prep and redo all.
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    Aaron LeClair · 05/23/2022
    What would you recommend on a 7 year old redwood deck as far as using a cleaner or stripper? I’m not sure if it’s been stained before. I just bought the house. Also I don’t want it any redder then it is naturally. Will you recommend just a semi transparent stain? The upper and lower deck is 550 sq feet not including the railings. How much of the cleaner or stripper and brighter and stain will I need? Thanks 
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    Craig · 05/23/2022
    I've used the RAD system for the past 2 years and have been thrilled with how easily a small deck can be finished in a single day.

    First year existing stain was stripped, brightened and stained. We ended up with some blotches after 8 months but nothing too concerning.

    Last year I cleaned, brightened and stained. It lasted extremely well for the first 7 months until the snows came. We had continued cold weather which included periods of heavy rain and snow for the next 3 months. There is a drip line on the deck where the stain has worn away where rain repeatedly froze. This drip line is where water from a short awning over part of the deck lands (DripLine photo).

    There is also one spot which has worn away from repeated overflow of a low spot on a gutter (PuddleBlotch photo))

    I'll be doing another cleaning/ stain application this year. Does this wearing away of stain indicate I should be doing something differently this year other than another cleaning/ staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/23/2022
      It looks over-applied. Best to strip it down this time and then brighten the wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Craig · 05/23/2022
        Thank you!
        Wow, over-applied? And I was concerned I was putting it on too lightly last year.
        I'll try the strip/bright/ stain approach this year and be even more conservative in application. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat · 05/23/2022
    I don't have a sprayer to apply Brightener and Booster . Can I apply with sponge type floor applicator  (squeagy-type) and bucket of water
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/23/2022
      It really needs to be sprayed for the best results. You can pick up a pump sprayer at any garden or home center.
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    Geoff C · 05/23/2022
    We have a large deck which was sealed with Thompsons water seal 3 years ago.  I used a hydrocarbon cleaner (from Earth Smart Solutions) and a power washer to remove the seal.  The deck still feels squeaky when we walk on it.  Part of the deck is covered and not exposed to the elements.  We live in Michigan.  I want to stain the deck with your stain but am not sure if I need to redo the removal of the Thompsons seal?  Also we have a bench which was stained and coated with polyurethane and it is peeling and some of the stain has worn off and needs to be redone.  Should I strip the bench? I have tried to sand the poly off but it seems like it would take a long time and much effort.  
    We also have a deck that was covered with a solid stain and peeled almost immediately after it was applied.  I have sanded some areas and power washed it but a large amount of stain remain of the wood.  Do I need to completely strip this deck to apply your stain?
    Thanks, Geoff  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/23/2022
      For the poly, you will have to sand that off. It can not be stripped. Same with the solid stain. It has to be sanded off if you want to use the RAD Semi-transparent stain. If you do not want to sand, then you can use the RAD Solid Sain over your old solid stain that is intact and not peeling. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 05/23/2022
        Strip and brighten the wood that had the Thompsons.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve Plantz · 05/23/2022
    How soon after putting a coat of your natural semi transparent stain on can I put a second coat?
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    Glen Feltner · 05/21/2022
    I put one coat of RAD semi transparent stain on my deck after stripping/sanding/brightening a different product.  It could use another coat.  How long do I need to wait to reapply since it is too late to apply a 2nd coat per the instructions 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/21/2022
      6-12 months and clean off any dirt prior to recoating.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Beth D · 05/20/2022
    Deck Info:
    - About 200 sq ft
    - Cedar deck
    - Built last May 2021
    - Hasn’t been stained yet
    - South facing/full exposure deck in the PNW (we live on a hill and get the full force of the weather all times of the year)
    - Planning on using the cleaner, brightener, and stain

    We’re having trouble deciding between Armstrong Clark or Restore-a-Deck. We prefer a more natural look. We originally decided on the AC Cedar Tone Transparent but worry it doesn’t offer enough sun protection. We left our AC sample boards out all year and have seen mixed results. Some showed wear and others just faded on both transparent and semi-transparent. After some more research we saw great reviews on RAD (just ordered samples today) and thought maybe it seemed like a good alternative. Is one better over the other for our location? (Full exposure to sun, wind, rain, snow)

    Also, will the stain stick to metal hardware on the railing? Is it something you just wipe off afterward or do we need to tape them off?

    Our deck is just now a year old and hasn't been stained - should we do 1 or 2 coats?

    Thank you!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/21/2022
      We would suggest the RAD Stain in either Cedar or Natural color. Proabbly two light coats applied wet on wet since the wood looks very dried out. Stain around the metal. Easier that way. if you get a few drips on it, then wipe right away.
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    Jeffrey Councilman · 05/18/2022
    Can I mix Outlast NBS30 insect repellent in restore-a-deck semi-transparent stain? They say it mixes with water base stains.
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    Sean S · 05/18/2022
    New house.  The deck has weathered 10 months now - pressure treated pine - definitely ready for stain.  roughly 1100 sq ft of deck with half under cover with a hot tub on it.  Also will need to stain the structure under the deck which is two stories tall. 

    Can I put two coats of stain on now, or do one now and one in a year?  Which one would work better?  Will use your cleaner and brightener to prep.  Semi-transparent stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/18/2022
      Just one coat on this deck.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sean S · 05/18/2022
        OK to apply with a sprayer and back brush with your brush head, or better to use the brush head itself?   Lot of deck to stain.....  I have read the information and watched the videos.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/18/2022
          Just apply th one coat with the yellow brush and stain pads.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    RayL · 05/17/2022
    The instructions for the stripper and brightener say to apply the brightner immediately after the stripper is removed.  If this is not possible because of circumstances, can we proceed with the brightener at a later date, e.g. 1 or 2 days by just wetting the stripped deck before applying the brightener.  In my case, I may have quite a bit of sanding to do before applying the brightener. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/17/2022
      If you need to sand, then do that first and brighten all when done.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RayL · 05/18/2022
        Thank you, my inquiry was more about how much time I have to apply the brightener once the stripping is completed assuming it can not be done immediately.  Or is that not a critical issue.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/18/2022
          If you cannot do it right away since you want to sand, then do it as soon as the sanding is done. A couple of weeks at most.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 05/16/2022
    Wondering what materials are needed here? Recently bought the house, looking to refinish this deck (500sf) which I’ve been told is mahogany but appears they used a solid stain over it. 1) what would be best to strip the old stain? 2) Should I apply solid stain or can I use semi-transparent? 3) any other helpful tips? 

    thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alex · 05/16/2022
    I am getting both Gel and Booster additives as I have vertical surfaces that still have, perhaps overapplied, Armstrong oil-based stain from a few years ago that look like new (but other areas are bare). I need help / instructions on how to use these. I am guessing that the booster I can simply add, and then use my sprayer but that I cannot do the same with the gel additive (i.e. it wouldn't spray). Searched online, didn't find.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Add both Gel and Booster into the RAD stripper after mixing that first with water. You can spray after all is mixed with a quality pump sprayer.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Alex · 05/16/2022
        Thanks! Will do that.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Darrell Nicholson · 05/16/2022
    Should I use cleaner or stripper over existing restore a deck semi transparent stain?  It was applied 3 years ago.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Post some pics of current shape of deck.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sonny · 05/16/2022
    Sorry, in the previous post I forgot to attach the pics.  Attaching here.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Hi, I was wondering what material I will need for this deck project? Will I need to strip the previous stain off or I can pressure wash and stain with RAD solid stain over previous stain?
    Info below on this deck project:
    - Total SF using the RAD calculator and including railing and stairs - 800 SF
    - 29 year old wood which I believe is cedar or pine (but not sure type of wood)
    - Last stained 5 years ago with solid stain Olympic Rescue It Max brand
    - Yes, I have access to a pressure washer

    If you can please let me know material needed for this project? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sonny · 05/16/2022
    Hi, I was wondering what material I will need for this deck project?  Will I need to strip the previous stain off or I can pressure wash and stain with RAD solid stain over previous stain?
    Info below on this deck project:
    - Total SF using the RAD calculator and including railing and stairs - 800 SF
    - 29 year old wood which I believe is cedar or pine (but not sure type of wood)
    - Last stained 5 years ago with solid stain Olympic Rescue It Max brand
    - Yes, I have access to a pressure washer

    If you can please let me know material needed for this project?  Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    CATHERINE JONES · 05/16/2022
    I had my deck stained and unfortunately it was the wrong color, please let me know what I need to do to get it back to natural wood so I can stain it the correct color
    Thank you so much
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    Bozz1972 · 05/16/2022
    Are any of your products available in Canada?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Online only and we can ship to Canada.
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    CATHY J · 05/16/2022
    I had my deck stained while I was at work...unfortunately it wasn't the color I chose. Please help as to what I need to strip so I can stain it the correct color. Thank you in advance
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      We would need to see pics and know the stain brand and type of stain that was used for help.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        CATHERINE JONES · 05/16/2022
        please see question under Catherine Jones....for some reason it didn't attach
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/16/2022
          We still need to know the stain brand and type of stain that was used.
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    Doug · 05/16/2022
    Hello, had my house power washed this weekend. It needed it. Used a local power washing company who I've used several times before. This time, for no extra charge he stripped about 80% of the stain off my PT yellow pine deck. The stain was only 2 years old and looked great. When I asked him why he did it he said that he just helped it and it was coming off. I didn't wish to argue and that is not why I am posting. Background as to what products I used in Sep 2020 and have on hand now: RAD Deck Stain Stripper followed by Citralic Brightener/Neutralizer. The stain is Armstrong-Clark Chestnut Semi-Transparent. Followed all directions and deck looked fantastic. So, what do I do now? Strip remaining stain off and start over? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Yes, strip and then brighen and then restain with same as prior.
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        Doug · 05/16/2022
        Thanks, I was afraid of that. If I use this company again, is there a way to avoid this? Even if he doesn't pressure wash the deck directly, what is applied to the vinyl house siding above will inevitably end up on my deck. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/16/2022
          No way to avoid this if he is using any chemicals that can harm the deck stain.
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    Ed · 05/16/2022
    Our deck is just under 2 years old. It had some cupping and a lot of weathering. I just sanded, cleaned and brightened it. It came out pretty clean and bright but there is some color variation where some looks like brand new wood and some is a little darker brown. It is particularly noticeable on edges where the cupping was sanded. I would like a nice even coloring when stained.  Would another round of brightener have any effect evening in out or will the stain alone even it out?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      No, the only way to even out the uneven sanding areas is to sand all the wood evenly with 60-80 grit.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ed · 05/16/2022
        Ok. If I sand again do I need to reapply the cleaner or just the brightener?
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    Kim · 05/15/2022
    Hi. I have a 30 year old deck that is 13 x 24 plus 15 stairs and two 4x4 landings. It most recently was stained with Behr deck over on the deck and solid stain on the spindles and hand rails. Due to peeling, we have now finally sanded down the deck boards to the wood (98%] and sanded the loose paint off the spindles. Our next plan is to clean and brighten. Then stain with a solid stain (we bought Flood solid stain)
    My concern and question is: it’s a big deck and I don’t have a full day or days to spend on it. I can probably consistently work for 3 hours each day. How do I do this? At what points can I stop and let it sit overnight? At what stages can the deck take rain?
    Can I do small sections? Should I do all the railing first (it’s a 2nd story deck so there is lots of it)? Or should to do sections of railing and decking together?
    I plan to obviously get the whole deck cleaned and brightened before staining. Can I clean over the course of a few days, then brighten over a few days then stain over a few days? I also plan to do two coats of stain. Do I stain the railings or deck first? That’s lots of questions so thanks for the guidance you can give.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Do all the prep on one day for the best results. Your deck size should allow this.

      As far as the stain application, you would have to contact Flood for advice as to if you can break it up into separate days.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kim · 05/16/2022
        If I can’t get the prep work all doe in one day, what is the best way to break it up?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/16/2022
          It should be easily done within one day since you already sanded the deck. No more than a few hours. Use a pressure washer while working to make it faster and more efficient.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Edward Vargas · 05/15/2022
    Stained new deck late summer last year with one coat. It came out uneven in places and sun is on the deck all day. Can I use deck cleaner, power wash, and add another coat?
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    Tony · 05/14/2022
    I will be restaining my cedar deck. How soon after using your cleaner can I use the brightener and how soon after the brightener can I stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Indigo · 05/14/2022
    I have a 30 year old deck that has been painted with Behr Solid Color Waterproofing Stain & Sealer in 2018. It’s held up until this year & now it’s peeling. Do I need to clean and brighten or just clean with a power washer?