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

 

 

Ask a Question or Post a Picture...
You are guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • 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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    audrey · 10/20/2019
    We used a latex solid paint on the posts and rails of our deck more than 10 years ago. It has peeled and we want to recapture the look of wood with a transparent stain Would using Restore a Deck Cleaner achieve this goal?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/20/2019
      No. To remove a solid stain or paint you will have to power sand it all off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon Morris · 10/18/2019
    we are planning on staining our deck tomorrow(saturday). they are now calling for rain most of sunday starting in the morning. the temps will fall in the low 40's during the evening(60's during day). Will it be ok to do it tomorrow or should we wait. its starting to get colder & want to get it over with. thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heather · 10/16/2019
    I have a huge deck reno project started. I have no idea when it was last stained, maintained, but I've replaced a wall and some boards due to rotting. I believe it will measure between 1800-2000 sq. ft. What other prep would you recommend other than the stripping/cleaning/brightening? Also, I would really like to stain it gray, but you do not offer that option. Can I use your prep then another product to stain it? I'm attaching pictures of the entire deck plus cans of stain I found that were left by the prior owner of the property. I'm planning on buying a sprayer as this job is so big. Any advice as to preferred types also welcome. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2019
      Yes, strip, clean, and brighten for prep. For a gray option, try Armstrong Clark in Driftwood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Armstrong-Clark-Stain-5-Gallon.html
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Heather G · 11/02/2019
        So, while scrolling through your page to gather instructions on how to use your product I stumbled across the page that has RAD solid stains, and that you do have on in gray. I have already ordered and received the Armstrong clark driftwood stain, but as my deck is in the shade and always damp, the RAD solid stain would actually be the better option for my deck. I really wish this would have been recommended instead. How can I go about returning the unopened box with the gray armstrong stain and ordering the solid gray instead?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Heather · 10/16/2019
        Thanks for the recommendation!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lynne K · 10/15/2019
    Sorry, one more question.... the deck is actually 309 SqFt. I had measured the bench and the sides of the deck to be another 57 sq ft. I noticed your note in the Stain coverage and it seems that you have added enough to cover the edges, rails and bench. Does that mean if I want to do two coats, that I should get three gallons? I was looking at the kits you sell, thinking I would get the stripper/brightener and 2 stain gallons, then I would add an additonal gallon stain. Would that be enough?

    Thanks!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2019
      You will need about 3 gallons for two coats applied wet on wet.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lynne K · 10/23/2019
        I lied...a few More questions. I live in SW Michigan. Getting a warm day is gonna be tough, but I need to complete this project this fall. I just received my order (the whole stripping kit & stain) from you.

        1.Can I strip and brighten in one day and then wait another day, hopefully within a week, to go straight to the staining step? Will do two coats. Do I need to do anything to the deck right before I stain if I do it this way? Rinse/pressurewash/just sweep.....?

        2. I see there is a note in my box that says do not start staining if weather is expected to drop below 45. Our forecast looks like 50-57 as highs and at lows at night, down to 30-40s.
        Can I do the strip and brighten during day....assuming it will go down to 30-40 at nite, then go to the staining...again the daytime of mid 50s with it reaching low again at nite?

        3. I ordered your stain brush to apply stain. Can I use it on both coats? Will take the stain down into the gaps btwn the boards? If not, how do I best get those covered?

        I appreciate your help!

        Thanks
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/24/2019
          1. Yes, you can do this. Just blow it off first with a leaf blower.
          2. Yes, but cannot drop below freezing the first night after staining.
          3. You can use it for both coats. Not sure if it will get between the boards fully but usually will get down at least a 1/4 inch.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon Morris · 10/14/2019
    We were planning on using a airless sprayer to apply stain then immediately go over with brush to blend in evenly(or is that a waste of time?) Also do you all recommend to rub stain off with rags after 2nd coat
    to make sure no excess? if so, how long after 2nd coat is applied before you do that? Thank you for your time.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/14/2019
      You can spray and back brush. Only remove excess if does not soak in after an hour or so. Make sure to saturate all oily rags in water and lay flat to dry outside when done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dorothy · 10/13/2019
    We put in a deck with treated wood about a year ago. We power-washed it last week with Restore-a-Deck cleaner (worked great!) and today applied Restore-A-Deck Natural Semi-transparent stain/sealer. It looks gorgeous! But I under-shopped. We only had enough for one coat on half the deck. I need 3 more gallons to finish and to do 2nd coat. I would love to be able to do by Thursday of this week when the weather will still be perfect. I don't see an option to pay an upcharge to get it here by Wednesday. Might that be possible?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      You would have to call the office to do this. BTW, second coats need to be wet on wet, not wet on dry. Best to not do another coat now since it dried. Just finish the one coat. You can do another coat if needed next year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Curt · 10/12/2019
    Have a ~300 sq foot deck that probably hasn't been stained in 10 years and do not know the wood type. No access to power washer, see pictures for current condition of wood. Water does not bead in any spots. What do you recommend to weather-proof and make nice again? Any specific tools?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      Use the RAD Stripper/Brightener kit for the prep. Stain with the RAD semi-transparent stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lynne K · 10/12/2019
    I'm trying to redo my deck this fall, I live in SW Michigan. I need your guidance. Exact measurements added up to be 364 sq ft (to include bench, floor and side). I do not know how old or what kind of wood, or what is already on it. I could not find any stain stripper locally (won't use behr), so I used Olympic deck cleaner and pressure washed (I used too much pressure). Do I need stripper, brightner, then stain? Do I need to pressure wash again or sand? Do you have any other ideas? I also have a bottle of Defy Brightener that is unopened. Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      Strip and brighten this for prep. You can pick up products at our Bloomfield Hills location.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lynne K · 10/15/2019
        1. So I will need to order online, as I live over 2 hours away from that location. From the looks of this photo, do you expect I will need the additive and the gel added when I strip? Can you please help me figure out EXACTLY what to order from you guys? Again it is a total of about 364 sqft.

        2. Will I ever need to pressure wash again during this process, or will a hose with a light pressure attachment work? Will the regular RAD strip work, or do I need to get the RAD additive and gel?

        3. Can you please give me a step by step? with the look of those pics, do you expect I can just strip, brighten and immediately stain? Will there be any sanding involved for this restoration?


        Thank you so much for your help!!!! Your site is so informative and helpful.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/16/2019
          1. 1 RAD Stripper/Brightener Kit plus both additives.
          2. You need a pressure washer.
          3. No need to sand. Strip, brighten and the stain same day or next day.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Leslie · 10/12/2019
    15 yr. cedar deck in Atlanta, full afternoon sun. We have used SW deck cleaner and Revive brightener. Sanded last year, all previous finish removed. It was grey, so we cleaned and brightened. When the wood is wet it is the perfect color. Can we now use a RAD natural on it or do we have to use your cleaner/brightener? It is still pretty grey. Like other wood...will the light color just bring out the way it looks wet?
    love your site!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/13/2019
      You should prep with our products to be safe and make sure it is done correctly. The Natural color is similar to a wet look.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Leslie · 10/13/2019
        Thank you. One more (I hope) question.
        AFTER staining with semi transparent RAD what is the maintenance? I read that when first sign of grey appears you need to clean and reapply. Does that mean cleaner and brightener or just cleaner...no neutralizing?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/13/2019
          Clean and recoat as needed. Brightener as well to neutralize.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 10/10/2019
    We have a deck (pressure treated pine) installed in January 2019 - Athens, Texas area.
    The deck has never been stained. Do we need the cleaner and brightener prior to staining or just power wash prior to staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/10/2019
      Cleaner and brightener while pressure washing.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Luis · 10/07/2019
    I sanded my 8 year old redwood deck, used the RAD cleaner, brightener and light walnut semi-transparent stain. I am happy with the results. I will do a second coat next year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    D.Royer · 10/06/2019
    Hi I just finish installing a new Red Wood Cedar 300 sq.ft. Deck ( Sept.30th ). The cedar was kiln dry to less than 10% of humidity. I live in Quebec Canada so very rough winter climate.

    Q1 : For staining with RAD semi-transparent what should I do ?? Should I left the deck cure/weather during fall & winter and prep/stain it in May next year or Can I already do it in 2-3 weeks ? What would you recommend for best results knowing that winter here is very hard ?

    Q2 : Either way, does the Prep ( RAD Cleaber followed by Brightner ) is the same ?

    Thanks in advance
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marianne · 10/05/2019
    Addl pics
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marianne · 10/05/2019
    Help! Just finished staining half of our deck today... followed all the directions using stripper and brightened before staining. Dark Walnut. Wet on wet application. The deck is now dry to the touch but is very blotchy. Some places it did not adhere properly. Not new wood. 5 year old pine previously stained with I don’t know what...

    Did we apply too heavily with the sprayer? Waited about 45 minutes between coats.

    Should we wait till Spring to apply another coat of Semi Transparent or should we re-coat with your solid stain to even it out? Should we try to spot sand the places not adhering? Just read here today this stain will not stick to “stainable wood filler”... UGH...
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/05/2019
      It looks like you did not remove all of the previous stain fully. Can you send pictures of the unstained areas?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Marianne · 10/06/2019
        The one picture is of the next part of the deck we have not cleaned the old stain off yet. The other is of the stripped and brightened side we completed yesterday. I can assure you there was NO old stain left in this area...We are not tackling the front edges yet. BTW, we live in central Florida. I want to fix this as soon as possible. I am so frustrated, I just want to end it all with the solid stain... ??‍♀️
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/07/2019
          At this point, you could pressye wash to remove the stain the did not adhere due to the over application. Just the loose stuff. Applying a solid stain will cover it all and make it look eve,
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Marianne · 10/07/2019
            And how many coats?
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Marianne · 10/07/2019
            How soon could I cover with your solid stain?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 10/07/2019
              You can do now or in Spring.
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                Marianne · 10/07/2019
                Thank you for all the help... Just a couple more questions...

                1. Can I use my left over semi transparent stain over the solid in a couple of years when it is time to brighten? If so, what is the prep? Just clean, pressure wash then stain? (I hate to throw away 3.5 gallons of the Semi)


                2. I have 750 sq. ft. of decking. How much solid stain should I purchase?
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 10/07/2019
                  1. No, you cannot apply a semi-transparent over a solid stain.
                  2. Fro two coats about 5-7 gallons.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Adam · 10/04/2019
    Last week, before I found this site, I cleaned and power washed my 2-year-old, 400 SF, never stained cedar deck with Cabot Wood Cleaner. Here are some after cleaning pictures. Are the lighter/white areas furring? Do I need to sand the deck before staining, re-clean, brighten or am I OK to just go ahead and stain? Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave A · 10/04/2019
    Hi -

    - restoring cedar floor within screened-in porch
    - 340 sq ft
    - 35yr old
    - last stained 9yr ago with Cabot semi-transparent
    - have access to pressure washer
    - I assume use of RAD Stripper, Cleaner, &semi-transparent stain
    - concerned about avoiding discoloration to screen walls/ posts during the stripping & brightening process
    - special step to address wood filler to patch knot holes (pic)?


    recommendation on process / products?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Dave A · 12/17/2019
      Update: Very happy with results!
      1. Clean
      2. Brighten
      3. Stain - 2 coats semi-transparent

      Porch floor has never looked better in 30 years!

      My primary challenge was inability to rinse the cleaner as thoroughly as would have liked due to porch structure- tongue in grove & floor to ceiling screens reduced drainage effectiveness.

      Ended up using only 50% of the purchased stain. Extra 2.5gal available for sale.

      RAD products ???
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/04/2019
      -Strip and brighten is correct.
      -It will not harm the white paint.
      -Wood filler does not work for exterior wood. Do not use it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom R. · 10/04/2019
    Can color pigments be added to the deck stain product to make it darker, such as a dark gray?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Undy · 10/04/2019
    I had a new deck and applied 3 coats this spring. My deck is in full sun for spring and summer months. Half of my deck looks like it could use another application. I am wondering if I should power was and then apply or if I could just apply another coat of original application. I live in about an hour north of NYC
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom · 10/03/2019
    It rained quite a bit last night. Wood is still pretty wet. I know instruction say to mist deck before applying and keep it wet but should I wait a day or two before cleaning and brightening with RAD?
    Also, if it were to rain the day for a day or two after cleaning and brightening, could I still apply oil base stain after the deck dries out or do I have to clean and brighten again?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/03/2019
      No need to wait. You can prep now. Rain does not harm the prep. Just let it dry for 48 hours before staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 10/01/2019
    Hey,where do I find the Product Data Sheet or Safety Data Sheet,thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stephen · 09/30/2019
    We have a roughly 400 SF deck that has all new pressure-treated pine deck boards and railings. We have already ordered a RAD semi-transparent stain kit and will be applying it soon. The majority of the wood has been weathering for 4 months. The balusters we are using are pre-finished powder coated aluminum from Deckorators. (description: Powder-coated with AAMA2604-compliant material, which provides five times the outdoor exposure and twice the humidity exposure as AAMA2603). Yes, we have access to a pressure washer.

    Do we need to remove/ tape off these balusters prior to cleaning/ brightening/ staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/01/2019
      The prep should not harm them but always test first. You cannot get the stain on the metal balusters.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Frederic · 09/29/2019
    Can I use the semi-transparent stain on top of a wood hardener such as PC-Petrifier from PC-products - what about on top of a wood filler (and what is the best kind? latex or something else?)

    if none of the above is good - what do you suggest to harden the wood before applying the semi transparent sstain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/30/2019
      No, you cannot use it o top of a wood hardener and it will not work with wood filler. You cannot harden the wood first and then stain over it.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Charles · 09/30/2019
        Instead of semi-transparent, could you use a RAD solid-stain for this application, and would the tone show consistently between areas of wood vs wood filler?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Uncle Carl · 09/29/2019
    should I use a paint sprayer to apply the stain. Or what is the best way to apply the stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/30/2019
      You can spray, use a deck stain pad, or a brush when applying.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sharon · 09/28/2019
    We have 1-yr-old cedar tone pressure treated deck (950 sq feet) around semi buried swimming pool and hot tub. We used SW semi-transparent oil-based stain in redwood last May. Our contractors applied 2 coats and it never dried. They stripped it but a few places need more stripper. Will your solid stain product work on this and what kind of prep is needed? Also can an anti-slip additive be added to your solid stain product? The deck is very slick when wet.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/29/2019
      You can apply the solid stain over this as long as you remove any peeling stain. You cannot add an anti-slip grip.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Kranz · 09/28/2019
    Just posted a couple of pics. The lighter areas are just the sun—the deck itself is uniform color.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/29/2019
      You would need the stripper than the brightener. About 3 gallons of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Kranz · 09/28/2019
    I have a deck, 256 Sq Ft., last stained with semi-transparent oil-based stain 4 years ago. It has worn very evenly. I also have a power washer. Could I use the restore-a-deck cleaner and brightener, or do I need the stripper? Also, would 2.5 gallons of your semi-transparent natural stain be about right? Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Leslie · 09/28/2019
    We have a 15 year old cedar deck...some replaced boards so uneven color. It was stripped, sanded with power sander last year. Currently grey. We plan to clean and brighten then stain with semitransparent RAD. Can we mix colors? I’m afraid dark walnut will be too dark. Light walnut on pine looks great...but my cedar tends to go a little too red. Any suggestions for mixing? Will the natural make the wood turn grey again? Why do I need 2 coats? I’m afraid the cedar tone will be quite yellow. I’m looking for a color similar to light walnut but not red. It’s been in the high 90s here for weeks...can I stain when leaves start falling?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    steven Allbright · 09/27/2019
    I have a deck to do in the Adirondacks, the temps are getting down in the 40s at night now. my question is what are the temp specs for your products and would it be a better Idea to just wait for spring at this point?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/28/2019
      50-90 degrees is the temp range. Spring may be better.