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
    Jay Greene · 04/23/2021
    I am looking forward to giving this 15 years old deck new life.  I neglected it for the last 3 years. I used 30 second outdoor cleaner and power washed it which got most of the mildew and algae off.  I am going to use solid white on the rails and your semi transparent light walnut on the floors and wood above the railing.
    1.) Should I order your stripper and brightener?2.) I am working with about 600 square feet (rails and stairs included). How much of each stain should I order?3.) (Deck was never stained in a solid color) Do I need to strip the railings if I am going with a solid white? 4.) How many coats of white stain should I put on the rails and how many transparent coats on the floor?
    Thanks!
    (The last two pics is the look I'm going for)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/23/2021
      1. Strip and brighten all. 2. One prep kit will work. We would need to know the breakdown for each stain area for the amount to buy. About 100 Sq feet per gallon for two coats.3. Yes, it will help.4. Two coats.
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        Jay Greene · 04/23/2021
        Thanks for the quick response.  Do I need any additives for the stripping?
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    Jay · 04/23/2021
    Is it possible to two tone my deck with all semi transparent staining or is it better to go solid on the rails?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/23/2021
      You can do it with semi-transparent but it will stand out less depending on the colors.
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    Al J · 04/22/2021
    can I order just the gray semi-transparent sample
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    Cathy Lopez · 04/21/2021
    Yesterday we stripped and brightened our huge pool deck. Then, while I was staining the lower parts and stair rails, my husband stained the floor and upper level rails-using a pump sprayer......carelessly and copiously. He even went over areas I’d finished. Then ran out of stain before the floor was finished. I don’t know whether to scream, cry, or run away after selling the place as-is. Is there any remedy other than to start all over from square 1?  We will soon have afternoon temps of 90-100.
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    Tom · 04/20/2021
    I ran out of stain before completing the second coat. Any options when I get more stain?
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    dennis · 04/20/2021
    I am planning to stain my deck and fence this summer, the deck is about 350 sq feet, and the fence is 1560 sq feet. I got know that 100-200 sq feet for 1 gallon stain, my deck and fence was built 4 years ago, so what's your suggestion how much cleaner, brightener and stain I should buy?  The deck and fence seems not porous. Thanks.
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    AppleNH · 04/19/2021
    1. Removed some solid oil stain with Restore-A-Deck/Pressure wash.  Applying another lighter color Reatore-A-Deck SOLID stain. Do I need to remove ALL of the old stain if it’s not peeling?  
    2. Can you spray RAD solid stain with an airless sprayer and/or is brush/roller better?
    3. Is the coverage of the solid RAD stain 200-350sf per gallon at two coats? In other words, 1/2 gallon for 200-350sf single coat?
    4. Deck floor has a little more stain on it. Was harder to remove as I think the stain was thicker. Can I put DeckRevive right over it as is it should I strip and sand all the solid off?  Pressure washed and does not appear to be peeling anywhere after the pressure wash.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/19/2021
      1. No.2. Roll and brush is best but it can be sprayed with an airless sprayer as well.3. No, one coat for 200-350.4. It can go over it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Carolyn Wyckhuys · 04/18/2021
    I just finished our deck using your semitransparent light walnut stain. What do you recommend for keeping the deck clean now that it’s completed and dried?
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    Jeff C · 04/18/2021
    Two-tiered deck of different ages, finishes in Ontario, Canada.
    Top tier is at least 10yrs old and was stained by previous owners (I'm unsure of what was used).  Bottom tier was new PT added by us 6 summers ago and has been left completely untreated.  All is looking pretty bad.  Ideally, planning to clean and stain everything new & old the same colour - RAD semi-transparent Light Walnut.

    Back of the house faces south so most of the lower deck gets beat by the sun all day - no shade.  Only shade is under gazebo when it's up.

    Planning to use RAD Cleaner/Brightener on unfinished wood.  Hoping that the RAD Stripper with thickening gel and booster will remove the old stain.  Can you tell by the pictures if the RAD stripper would remove enough of the existing stain?
    For vertical boards should I apply stripper with garden pump sprayer then pressure wash off?  Or apply with sprayer then scrub with deck brush before pressure washer?
    For horizontal boards should I apply cleaner and let sit, then pressure wash off, or will it need to be scrubbed first?
    I have about 570sq ft of horizontal boards, 325sq ft of vertical stained and about the same amount of vertical unstained. Do you think I'm covered with 1 kit RAD Clean/Bright, 1 kit RAD Strip/Bright, 1 bottle each of thickening gel & booster?  I was figuring 10 gallons of semi-transparent stain, based on square footage.  Do you think this will be enough stain?  I plan to buy & use your yellow stain brush. 

    I've seen all kinds of great advice here on this site and also over on deckstainhelp.com - hoping to get a little guidance for my project so I can get product ordered from you and get rolling!  It's going to be a big job.
    Thanks in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/18/2021
      You should be able to remove this with the strippper, additives, and pressure washing. Apply and pressure wash off. What is the total sq footage of all wood added up?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jeff C · 04/18/2021
         
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        Jeff C · 04/18/2021
        Additional pics
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        Jeff C · 04/18/2021
        Additional pics
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jeff C · 04/18/2021
        Awesome, thanks for the reply.  Looking at a total of 1500sq ft (rounding up; 600 horizontal, 600 stained vertical, 250 unstained vertical and 50 for steps).  I want to make sure I order enough, or even a little extra of each product as I'm shipping to Canada.  Assuming I should apply 2 coats of stain (wet/wet).  I'm adding a few more pics that I couldn't upload earlier.  This deck leads to a chlorine pool, which I realize chlorine will prematurely ruin a finish.  This is one of the reasons I've left untreated thus far.  I'm planning to place order tonight if I know right amounts of everything. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/19/2021
          For two coats applied wet on wet, you will need about 12-15 gallons. For the Stripper, Brightener, and additives, you will need two of each.
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            Jeff C · 04/19/2021
            Thanks. I'll get product ordered this morning.  Do you see any concerns now that I've been able to upload the additional photos? 
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    Bill · 04/18/2021
    If I apply the cleaner and then the brightener.... and it rains a day or two later.... can I go ahead and stain when the wood dries out, or do I need to clean and brighten again?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff S · 04/15/2021
    I have used Restore-A-Deck semi-transparent Natural stain for 3 straight years now.  I was thinking of going a shade darker this season (using Restore-A-Deck semi-transparent in a slightly darker color).  Can I clean and then apply the darker color?  Or do I need to clean, brighten, (strip?) the existing Natural color?
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    Merwin · 04/15/2021
    20 x 15’ cedar deck. Used SICO translucent stain 3 years ago and it is starting to peel slightly in areas with spots of bare wood in other areas. Can I use the stripper and do I use the booster with it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Karl · 04/15/2021
    I've just completed stripping my deck but there are a few spots that the remaining stain will need to be sanded off.  The whole deck, however, will need sanding since I had to pressure wash pretty heavily to remove the Behr stain that was like latex paint.  Should I completely sand the deck before using the brightener or use the brightener and then sand? 
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    Ann · 04/14/2021
    Can you please advise on colour?  I am trying to decide between Cedar & Light Walnut semi-transparent stain, on a one year old pressure treated deck.  I don’t want it red or yellow.  I’d like it to be more brown in colour.  Because I live in Canada, I don’t have time to order the samples, and then order the product.  I have a limited window of opportunity, so am hoping you can advise.  Much appreciated! 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/15/2021
      Color is fully up to you and your preference and will also vary based on your wood type and age. Dark Walnut would be more brown.
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    Judi M · 04/14/2021
    I have a 2 yr old large cedar deck that needs restaining. Part of the old translucent stain is still on (where the deck is covered) although it has faded a great deal. What would be the procedure from start to finish to do a good job? If I need to sand off the old stain (Sharkskin), can up please tell me what type of sander and sandpaper to use. It is beautiful wood and otherwise in great shape, and I really want to keep it that way. Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Peter B · 04/14/2021
    I purchased a home with an 18 year old deck. The prior owners stained and sealed the deck with an unknown product. I purchased your Stripper, Cleaner and Brightener products and Clear Transparent Stain. After Stripping with a sprayer and stiff brush and Brightening yesterday I am left with a left with a bad result, bare wood and partially stained deck (pictures attached). I guess I should have bought the booster. Should I rent a pressure washer to get the rest of the prior stain off (I am afraid to power sand it because of the deck screws)? Obviously the Clear Stain I bought won't cover all the imperfections.   I don't want to use a solid stain. Will a light walnut stain cover it after applying more stripper and pressure washing. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 04/14/2021
    Many years ago, when I installed my ipe deck, I used your RAD product and Woodzotic to stain it. The results were fantastic and lasted many year. I'm ready to re-stain my deck, and plan on using the RAD Step 1/Step 2 to prep it, but it looks like Woodzotic no longer exists. Is there a product that is equal to it for ipe?  It was unbelievably good on my deck the first time, and the color was perfect. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sharon G · 04/13/2021
    Before finding RAD, I used a homemade solution (2 parts oxyclean, 1 part borax, squirt of dishwashing liquid) to clean my parents 3 year old, never been stained,  PT wheelchair ramp.  It is in full Florida sun, but will be under a carport in a week or two, so fully shaded then.  I then pressure washed and sanded it, but never used a brightener.  I stained the railings with an inferior product, then I found RAD.  I plan to use RAD products going forward.  I want to use the semitransparent on the ramp and steps.  Should I clean again before brightening and staining?  If so, how careful must I be to avoid getting the cleaner and brightener on the already stained vertical surfaces? Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/13/2021
      You have to remove the current stain first. How depends on the stain brand and type? Pictures would help.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sharon G · 04/13/2021
        There is no stain on the portion I plan to stain. Only the verticals surfaces are stained and I do not plan to redo those.  It’ll be a two tone. The horizontals have never been stained, PT. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/13/2021
          Okay, clean and brighten then for the prep.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Sharon G · 04/13/2021
            Okay thanks. How careful must I be to avoid overspray of the cleaner and the brightener onto the already stained vertical parts that I do not wish to redo? Thanks again
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ted Eno · 04/12/2021
    I have a cabin the the NC mountains with 1200 sq ft of deck. 715 sq ft of the decking has had at least three coats of stain, some from Lowes, the latest job was professionally done with Arbor Guard by BM. The newest  section of 450 sq ft was done with only Arbor Guard. The stain is solid brown and the lumber is pressure treated. The decking is in good shape, all but 450 sq feet was first stained in 2008.The newest section has one coat of Arbor Guard which was done 2 years ago. I am not happy with the appearance and am looking to redo  it all. I checked your products out on your website. I hate to do it but I am thinking that I will have to strip all  the old stain off, pressure wash and sand to remove what is there and put some type of cleaner down  before I can restain. Am I correct that I have to go back to square one because of what is already there?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      You cannot strip off a solid stain. If you want to get back down to bare wood, you will need to sand it all off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Aaron · 04/12/2021
    Hello,
    We have a 22yr old PT lumber deck that was in decent condition before the previous owners used a “Deck Restore-type” product on it 2+ years ago. It is/was peeling thick layers of product in some places, rotting in others, and still perfect in others. We receive direct sun for 6+ hours in the summer. We replaced the rotting boards w/ new PT last year in June 2020 and have access to a pressure washer. 
    Questions:
    1) Can we use Restore-A-Deck solid over Mad Dog Deck Fix primer after removing as much of the old covering as possible? 
    2) Do you have another solution to the common “Deck-over” problems? 
    Thank you,
    Aaron
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      1. No, you cannot.2. Only way to fix it so sand off all the coating.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Aaron · 04/12/2021
        Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it! 
         I guess I will join the thousands of disappointed deck owners who have to deal with the unwelcome effects of these types of products... :-(
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    john · 04/12/2021
    can i buy walnut semi-transparent sample?
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    Annamaria · 04/12/2021
    HelloI used the RAD system last year on my cedar deck. System worked great, and the deck looked AMAZING! I live in Ontario Canada and the deck is showing signs of peeling in some areas (those that were exposed directly to the elements/snow). I have left over stain. Can I lightly sand and reapply stain to the damaged areas to get the deck looking pristine once again?
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    Wales · 04/12/2021
    hi. I just placed an order. I was expecting a standard place in the order processing process to confirm a preferred shipment mode and get visibility to a planned delivery date. That didn't happen and a delivery date wasn't confirmed on my order confirmation that came to my email. How do I find out when my order will be delivered?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      You will receive a UPS email with tracking. We only ship ground. 
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    Anthony Wales · 04/12/2021
    After many years I'm taking my redwood deck back to bare wood. I'd like to NOT to have to do this complete refurb again for many years. I am OK with the work and cost every every year or two to just power wash and restrain. Is that doable? Or will I always have to strip and restart, even if I stick with same colors? I have read on TV show websites that I can do this powerwash/restain if I use oil based stains, but if I use water based they will always have to be taken off entirely every time I want to refinish. If its relevant, I'm hoping to end up with a semi transparent finish in a darker color. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      You can clean and recoat with the RAD prep and stains as needed. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Wales · 04/12/2021
        Wales - To allow just clean (not strip) and recoat, does it matter if I use an oil or a water base stain? Can I use either or am I limited to one or other?
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    phil · 04/11/2021
    Do you no longer support DEFY wood stain?  Reason for asking..........I ordered and received sample colors of DEFY and RAD last autumn and the ship doc's showed both coming from the same address.  It led me to believe that like Armstrong and TWP you sold DEFY along with all your RAD products.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mina · 04/11/2021
    My grandfather built this deck in the mid 1980s. He took very good care of it and stained it regularly back in the 80s and 90s. I inherited the house last year, and due to the lumber shortage and price hike, replacement is financially out of the question. I have had some work done on it. Last year it was pressure washed and some boards were replaced. This week is the final round of repairs, and more joists are being added underneath. (They were 40" apart instead of 16"!) After that work is complete, we will be staining it ourselves, and your products have won "best deck stain" pretty much everywhere on the internet.
    MY QUESTION FOR YOU:
    As you can see, the NEW boards stand out like sore thumbs. I was planning on using the opaque stain in the "Brown Oak" color. However, I really like/prefer the semi-transparent in the "Dark Walnut" color, because it shows the wood grain, and is more affordable for such large amounts that I need.If I use the Semi-Transparent, will there still be a ridiculous difference between the new boards and the old boards? Is there any way to know this without buying and trying? My PLAN was to do the railings and all outward facing boards in solid opaque white, but I am undecided on the main surface!

    -Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 12'x32' (One step down halfway through, bi-level deck.)
    -Type of wood if known: No idea. There is one piece of cedar in there.
    -Approximate Age of Wood: Most of it is about 35y, the top railings and the broken and rotten boards were replaced in spring 2020.
    -If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained: None in LIKELY 20 years, as far as I know.
    -Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.): Deck, including stairs, railings, and support beams.
    -Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 04/11/2021
    I have 1 year old treated green wood on roof top deck. Never been stained or touched yet. Can I just apply stain Restore a deck - or is it necessary to use the Cleaner  or the Brightener first? Which do you recommend Looking for semi transparent look when doneWood not grey had one Chicago winter of snow so far. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/11/2021
      Yes, you have to prep with the Cleaner and the Brightener. Any color that you like will work.
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    Ed Kilgallon · 04/11/2021
    I have used the Armstrong Clark stain for many years with excellent results but interested in the water based Restore-a-deck stains.  Do the Restore-a-deck water based stains provide the same protection and performance results?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/11/2021
      Yes, you will need to strip and brighten for the prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ed Kilgallon · 04/11/2021
        Thank you.  I have a roughly 60 x 18 deck with railing.  How much stripper and brightener will I need, and how much RAD Cedar Semi-Transparent Stain will I need?
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          RAD Products · 04/11/2021
          Please use the calculator to the right of this page.
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    Ray Orr · 04/09/2021
    I am going to re-stain my fence that I did with RAD stain in 2018, but I had to replace 8 foot of fence about 4-5 months ago. Should I use the cleaner or the stripper on the new 8 ft section?  I want to be sure the new and old fencing have the same color when done.

    Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/09/2021
      Clean and brighten but just an FYI, it is not possible to have the new and older wood match exactly. New wood is going to stain slightly lighter in color since it is less absorbent.