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
    Tim T · 10/18/2021
    I am planning on staining my new, cedar, deck and railing for the first time.  Can I clean/brighten one day and then stain within the next 3 days?  Or does it all need to be done in one day?  Thanks!
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      RAD Products · 10/18/2021
      Dry or damp wood is fine. It does not have to be done on the same day.
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        Tim T · 10/20/2021
        Thank you.  If I apply the stain in the morning and there is a chance of rain in the afternoon/evening, will that affect it?  Should I wait to apply if there is rain in the forecast?
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          RAD Products · 10/20/2021
          It cannot rain on newly applied stain for about 6-12 hours.
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    Dean Yuba · 10/17/2021
    Can this product be used on a old redwood deck? Sorry if this is a dumb question but I have never done this before.
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    Mary Braley · 10/17/2021
    Hi, we recently had our Douglas fir front porch sanded down to the original wood. It is about 25 years old and has only been sealed once, when it was built. It was not stained and I dont know what it was sealed with. The total square footage is 300, including the steps. We may be able to borrow a power washer. We want to keep it as natural looking as possible. Since it was just sanded do we have to wait to stain it? What products do you reccomend we use on it? I really want to protect it correctly. Thank you.
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    Danny Cheng · 10/17/2021
    Hello, I applied Ready Seal natural Cedar stain to my cedar fence 1 week ago, now the wife doesn't like the "orange" tint. Do I need the additives with the RAD stripper to remove this, and then the brightener?
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    Carissa Johnson · 10/17/2021
    Work!! But worth it!Before/after of cedar posts. Stained with light walnut. 
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    Carissa Johnson · 10/17/2021
    Finally got finished with our cedar posts!  It was work, but it worked, and it was worth it!!!
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    Frank · 10/16/2021
    I have a tree hanging over a play set I am planning to restrain. Would that be an issue with some leaves/acorns falling? Can I still get it done or do you recommend waiting? 
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    Eileen Filler · 10/16/2021
    can I stain today if it gets into the 40s tonight
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    Lora Weckenbrock Saylor · 10/16/2021
    We stained our new deck (wood was approximately 1yr old). Followed the recommended 3 step process; cleaner, brightener, semi-transparent stain. We had our first rain and I noticed the boards aren't beading. Is this normal? We were going to wait 6 months before putting the second application on. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2021
      It is not supposed to bead water. RAD stains are breathable and shed water, not bead water. 100% sealing your wood can create rot issues.
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    Walter Wilson · 10/15/2021
    I`m going to stain the handrails with dark walnut and the deck with light walnut Transparent stain. What would you recommend to apply the stain with? I was going to use a pump sprayer but I want to know what way would be best using for the first time. My deck is approx. 600sqft and new would 6 or 7 months old.
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    phil · 10/14/2021
    Want to lightly clean my deck before winter.  It was stripped [of TWP redwood oil based]/sanded/cleaned/brightened and stained with Defy water based light walnut this past summer......and looks great......It just needs a little TLC for pollen/dust/traffic, etc.Would a simple light pressure wash with diluted clorox do the job without having to go thru the entire normal process of RAD cleaner/brightener since I plan to do the whole process next Spring due to this year's conversion from oil to water base. 
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      RAD Products · 10/14/2021
      Just clean with water if trying to remove dirt, etc. Out prep products are only to be used when reapplying. Never use bleach.
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    Cicc · 10/14/2021
    Hi RAD - planning to restore my cedar swingset within the next 2 weeks and really need some guidance before I place an order (pictures attached). I am planning to use the stripper/brightener kit, spot sand extremely rough/splintered areas with 80 grit, and then follow up with 2 coats of your RAD or TWP semi-transparent stain using a FinishMax sprayer + back brush given so many vertical surfaces. Can you please confirm this is the right process and application approach for my needs based on the pictures? Any idea whether I would need 1 gallon or 5 gallons of stain? Would you recommend the RAD vs. TWP stain? I also have some damage from a woodpecker and would like any recommendation on how to fill these holes. This project seems quite overwhelming so really appreciate your input. Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/14/2021
      Wood filler will not work and will "stain" to blend. Leave as is or sand too smooth. Strip and brighten for prep. 2 coats of RAD stain applied wet on wet. 3-4 gallons should be more than enough.
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        Cicc · 10/14/2021
        Ok, great. Are the booster and gel additives also required for my application? I'm attaching 2 more pictures of the woodpecker holes and stain for reference. I can't tell if the existing stain is semitransparent or solid, but hoping it comes off! 
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          RAD Products · 10/14/2021
          Use a tinted caulk after staining that is close to the stain color so it blends to fill the holes. The booster and gell will aid in the stripping.
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            Cicc · 10/14/2021
            Thanks RAD! One more question - will the stripper and brightened impact any of the plastic and metal parts on my playset? 
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    Greg · 10/14/2021
    Please tell me process for second coat semi stain. Did first coat on sanded wood treating like new wood. How long to wait? Cleaner? Brightner? Or just apply. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/14/2021
      Wait 6+ months after the first coat and lightly prep with the RAD Cleaner and Brightener.
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    Theresa Osborne · 10/11/2021
    i have read on various sites that newly installed cedar should be stained and sealed right away as it begins to weather more quickly than other woods. If I want it to retain its new look, should I follow that advice, or wait months as you indicate on your site? I do not want it to grey, and I live in a fairly wet Mid Atlantic area. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/11/2021
      You cannot stain new cedar right away. It has to weather and be prepped so the stain can properly penetrate into the wood. 
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    Yvette · 10/11/2021
    Which oil stain (3rd step product name and color) should I use to bring out all the natural red and brown colors of my Tigerwood hardwood deck? Hoping to restore the vibrancy after cleaning and brightening old stain. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/11/2021
      Look at the Restore A Deck stain in Light Walnut color.
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    Sue · 10/10/2021
    I stained my steps and we had a hard rain. Is there anything I can do for the horizontal surfaces or do I need to wait til the spring?
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    John · 10/10/2021
    Will be using stripper product and then cleaner. Do I need to cover vinyl siding, composite decking, or windows?
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      RAD Products · 10/11/2021
      Typically no. Make sure to pre-wet and rinse any overspray as soon as you can.
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    Susan · 10/10/2021
    What is the shelf life of the gallons of solid stain as I have 2 leftover after my deck project.
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      RAD Products · 10/10/2021
      1-3 years. Store where it cannot freeze.
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    Ray · 10/10/2021
    Can the product be used in a sprayer?
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    Michael R Carter · 10/08/2021
    I am use RAD stripper and then RAD Cleaner/Neutralize on my screened in deck. Will either of these products damage the new Super Screen I just had re-done? Thanks
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      RAD Products · 10/10/2021
      It should not but always test first.
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    Ann J · 10/08/2021
    I want to purchase a hardwood deck stain for my ipe deck.  Your product is highly recommended, but I have spent twenty minutes trying to find a way to order it, without success. Do you still make Hardwood Deck Stain?  If so, why can't I find it on your website?
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    Jean Day · 10/08/2021
    In 1996, I used Sikkens Butternut Cetol 1 and Cetol 23-Plus on sanded cedar siding.  I never put another coat on since.  Now I must remove what's left of this one-time translucent stain.  The stain was designed to penetrate into the wood.  Will the RAD also penetrate and dissolve the stain in the wood so that i can stain anew with TWP?  Should I use TSP, bleach and water before using the RAD to kill any mold or mildew?  
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      RAD Products · 10/08/2021
      Post some pictures in the comments.
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        Jean Day · 10/08/2021
        Picture attached.
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          RAD Products · 10/08/2021
          Just strip and then brighten. It will come off. No need to clean first.
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            Jean Day · 10/12/2021
            For clarity, the Cetol 1 & 23 formed a film (alk. resins married cryst. polymers).  This question is in case I should (1) strip with a higher ratio of stripper? because (2) the shining sun on the Sikkens siding for 20 years metamorphosed the film to be removed, for better or worse, that I should've been maintaining?   I'd like to get it stripped in one step and avoid residual sanding if possible.  Picture and post above this one.      
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              RAD Products · 10/12/2021
              1, No but you can use both booster and gell to add with this: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html2. Maintain by cleaning and reapplying every 3-5 years.
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                If I boost and gel, would I be able to use the single-stream hose attachment instead of thousands of p.s.i power wash?  I'd rather rinse it over and over with the hose if that works.  (2) Also if the stripper boost & gel gets on my white siding, can I just rinse if off immediately and not have to cover the siding?  The siding is going is going to be painted next anyway.     
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                  RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                  Not sure what you mean. The stripper has to be applied with a pump sprayer. Not a hose attachment. 
                  Prewet and rinse siding right away and while washing is okay.
                  • We will reply to your comment shortly
                    Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                    Yes, pump-spray to apply, sorry.  I was only asking if rinsing over and over with the hose attachment to get the stripper & stuff off would work instead of power washing. Glad to know I can rinse off the siding, thank you.
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                      RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                      No, you need the pressure washer. 
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                        Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                        Would I need the pressure washer if I did not add the booster and gel to the stripper?    
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                          RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                          You need the pressure washer no matter what.
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                            Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                            What would be the lowest p.s.i. on the pressure washer to get the stripper, gel and booster off?  What would it be without the additives?  
                            • We will reply to your comment shortly
                              RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                              Same PSI with or without additves. About 1200-1600 PSI.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Susan · 10/08/2021
    i cleaned and did one coat yesterday of the solid stain on my deck. however it never dried as i finished late in the day and decided to wait until today to put on the 2nd coat. This morning because the humidity was high, 90+%, it was still quite wet. It continues to be wet to the touch this afternoon. There were even small piddles of water this morning, i suspect because of the high humidity? Do i need to wait until it is dry to the touch which may end up being tomorrow given our weather to put on a 2nd coat?
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      RAD Products · 10/08/2021
      Needs to be fully dry before applying another coat of the solid stain.
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    Marti · 10/08/2021
    I have some leftover deck stain and would like to use it for a couple boards for a plant shelf indoors, since it’s already waterproof. Is it safe? Will stain the boards outside and let them dry. Thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/08/2021
      As long as the wood is clan and free of any coatings, you can.
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    Jim B · 10/07/2021
    I recently strip my seven year old red cedar deck and will wait until the spring to apply to apply the cleaner, brightened and stain. I have noticed that when it rains the color of the unstained wood looks very appealing. Will the natural semi transparent stain have a similar look?
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    BettyD · 10/06/2021
    I bought the cleaner, brightener and stain and have gotten started. The deck is 8 yrs old, about 180 sq ft. I cleaned it twice, because it really needed it, it might even have needed a third time, but I scrubbed with a stiff brush on my hands and knees and I am a 66 year old woman so decided that was enough. Then I used the brightener and rinsed for half an hour. See picture. I left it overnight. It's still quite damp this morning. Temp is hovering around 16C/60F and it's overcast.I will start applying the stain soon. Question - just want to confirm that two coats will be needed, about 30 minutes apart? P. S. I bought the 14" brush - didn't have a big enough tray, bought a wallpaper tray, that should work. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/06/2021
      2 light coats applied wet on wet is correct. 
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        BettyD · 10/06/2021
        A pic after 2nd coat. 
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    Rob · 10/06/2021
    I posted a message yesterday about my Ipe deck along with three pictures but it is now gone. It was up for several hours. Do I need to repost it?
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    susAN PHILLIPS · 10/05/2021
    Can I apply the second coat of solid stain the following day if i don't have time to do both coats on the same day?
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    Rob · 10/05/2021
    I have an Ipe deck, which I just finished stripping, brightening, sanding and staining all with RAD products. Yesterday I finished staining the second half of the deck surface (I have to move furniture and do half at a time) and woke up this morning to what is pictured below. Looks like there was a light rain last night. What happened? Was it the rain that caused this? What should I do? I just sprayed it all down with a garden hose on the jet setting, and most but not all of the green washed off.   The stain surface is now pretty uneven along with the remaining green stuff. (This is the third picture.)
    I followed all the steps. I not only rinsed off both the stripper and the brightener for the better part of an hour using a garden hose and the power washer simultaneously, but there was a solid 1 1/2 inches of rain after this step. And I sanded the surface with a floor sander followed up by a hand held orbital sander, but with 80 grit. 
    Please advise. The half of the deck that I stained yesterday morning looks great. The half I stained at 5:00 PM is where this occured. What should I do now?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/06/2021
      It was not fully cured before the rain set in. You will have to redo the one side. Try give info a good pressure wash first with water only to see if that removes the discoloration. If not you will need to strip and redo. 
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    Charles H Babb Jr · 10/02/2021
    Really like the RAD products, its all I use on my deck. Now it is time to re-stain the deck, I have already purchased the cleaner, brighter and stain. The new stain is a darker color than the current stain. Of course over time the old stain has faded and washed away. Since I am using a darker stain will it be necessary to strip what is left of the existing stain? 
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      RAD Products · 10/03/2021
      So it blends best, you should strip and then brighten.