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
    Lance · 03/31/2020
    Do you have any customer images of the solid espresso deck stain? Was looking at a few pictures and was going to go with the oak color. I'm afraid it won't be dark enough though.

    Thanks
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    Janice · 03/31/2020
    I applied samples of all the semi transparent stain colors to a piece of prepared wood (both for a deck and fence) There was virtually no difference in either piece between the Cedar and Light Walnut colors. I prefer more of a brown tint vs red/orange/yellow but just can't tell which one that would be from these small areas. What is your opinion? I have seen one or two pictures people have posted using these colors but would love to see more... especially on a pine fence. Do you know of any I might access? Also what is the shelf life of unopened containers of the semi transparent stain?
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    Greg Wakeman · 03/30/2020
    I forgot to add this photo
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    Greg Wakeman · 03/30/2020
    In your (solid stain) color chart, you show two tones for each color, "full sun" and "shade". what does that mean? How they look in sun or shade or are they different colors when purchased?


    We just purchased our home in November 2019. The floor and railing tops are new wood (approx. 6 months old) PT pine. The rest (underside, railing posts etc. are older wood stained with a solid redwood color. I don't know the brand etc. I cleaned with Behr deck cleaner and power washed the entire deck. I have removed all loose and peeling old finish but most of the old finish remains. That which remains is in

    good shape. After much research I have decided to use "Restore-A-Deck" products.

    I know I'll have to stick with solid over the old solid. I'm not sure if I want semi-solid or solid for the new wood. I read your statement that solid is difficult to remove. In case of future problems, I'm 71 and want to reduce as much future work as possible. What are my next steps as far as preparation and staining? The floor area is about 200 SF. 9 steps, 36" x 11".

    The deck is in Fredericksburg, VA, on the south side of the house with full sun, no shade.

    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/30/2020
      The appearance of any solid stain color will vary based on sunlight reflection. The chart just shows the difference between what it would look like in full sun or in the shade.

      It would be easiest to do all in the RAD solid stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Greg Wakeman · 03/30/2020
        Thankyou. Should I use your cleaner even though I used Behr. what about brightener?
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          RAD Products · 03/30/2020
          It looks fairly clean now. You should be okay to stain.
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    Dawn Logan · 03/29/2020
    What is your opinion on Spraying vs Brush/Rolling stain?
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      RAD Products · 03/29/2020
      if you spray you will have to back brush after to ensure it is applied evenly.
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    Dawn Logan · 03/29/2020
    This is what it looks like after we sanded the handrail.
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    Dawn Logan · 03/29/2020
    We have a deck that is approximately 10 Yrs old. I don’t believe it was ever stained before. We recently had a contractor stain it and I do not believe it was properly prepped prior to the staining. We chose Cabot Gold Mahogany Moonlight and would like to use that unless RAD has a stain similar in color? It typically requires two coats but he only put one on. I personally think it looks horrible. Not the color but the overall look and appearance of the wood and the application. We have decided to take off what was done and start over on our own.
    1) What steps do you recommend as far as sanding, stripping, cleaning, brightening? Do we need to sand at all? We did sand off what was applied on the handrails and we could not get it all out as we couldn’t sand out all the ripples and it looks as if a buildup was stained over as well? We believe all the soft wood has been washed away?
    2) What product/amount do you recommend we purchase? Deck, handrails and stairs are approximately 700 sq ft.
    3) There is green mold in some spots but mostly on the ends of the boards. What would you recommend we do to get rid of it?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    ;Dawn
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/29/2020
      You will have to strip this. Use the RAD Stripper Kits with both additives: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

      Brightener after. You may also need to sand as well to get it all off we done with the stripping as it is very hard to remove a newly applied stain. The prep should remove the green mold.

      BTW, it is not possible to get that look of Mahogany or Exotic hardwood when you have a pressure treated deck. it will never stain that rich or look that smooth.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Dawn Logan · 03/29/2020
        How much stripper and brightener will we need to purchase for 700 sq ft?
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    Kerri · 03/29/2020
    We have a deck constructed with cedar hand rails and posts and composite decking for the floor. We are needing to clean and seal the cedar. Will the Restore-a-deck cleaner or the brightener harm the composite deck boards? Thanks!
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    Ethan · 03/28/2020
    We recently purchased a cottage with a deck that looks to us like it has never been stained. It needs some work but we are trying to figure out the best way to restore the deck. The surface is a little rough, so I am planning on sanding. Is a floor sander the best way to do the decking, and a palm sander the best way to do the railing? What grit of sandpaper should I use? I presume that I should do the sanding before using your cleaner and brightener. I have a pressure washer but will I be more effective brushing than using the power washer? How would you recommend handling the underside of the deck? I can get at it, but it is pretty tight under there.

    It looks to me like sanding will probably be a whole day project with all of the railings, and then the washing and brightening should go pretty quickly. The weather is still pretty cool here, and it may be a few weeks before temps are consistently above 45 degrees. If I use one of your semi transparent stains, does it matter how long I wait to apply it? Can I perform the cleaning and brightening process now and then wait until its warmer to stain, or am I better off doing all of the cleaning, brightening, and staining all at once?

    Thanks so much in advance for all of your help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/28/2020
      Sanding is not needed and actually hinders a stain's ability to soak in. Best to just clean and brighten for the prep, You can lightly hand or pole sand when done to remove splinters but no need to power sanding. Use 80 grit paper.

      No need to stain the underside of a deck. Stain within 2 weeks of the prep is best.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ethan · 03/28/2020
        Thanks for the quick reply! It was indeed splinters we were worried about. It is a little rougher than it looks in the picture. So it is better to spot sand those than to do the whole deck? And that should be done after cleaning and not before? So I take it we should wait until within about 2 weeks of better temps to start the prep work? Thanks again!
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          RAD Products · 03/28/2020
          Yes, lightly hand sand to remove splinters is much better than power sanding. Do after the prep. Temps above 55-60 is best.
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    Meg · 03/28/2020
    We have a new construction barn, shiplap pine siding. Barn was completed in mid-November and is 52 x 48 feet. We ordered stain samples and selected coastal gray solid stain with white solid stain for the trim. We have a pressure washer. We are looking for advice regarding wood prep and application tools. As you can see from the photos, the lower portion of the siding has mud splatter from the rain (no gutters installed yet) so obviously we will need to use cleaner and brightener for this portion. But is it necessary to clean and brighten the entire barn? I'm assuming that using a pressure washer with both of these products is the way to go because it is a large structure. Will that be enough for the mud stained areas or will we also need a different application tool like a scrub brush? Can you also recommend what are the best application products for the solid stain? Just regular paint brushes and rollers? I noticed that many of the application products you sell say they only work with semi-solid stains, not solid. Thank you very much for any advice you can provide.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/28/2020
      Yes, you need to prep all to ensure proper adhesion for the stain. It should be relatively easy as most is clean. Just do a light wash and rinse down with the cleaner and the brightener on the areas that are not dirty. A pressure washer is all you need with the prep kits. Roller and brushes to apply the solid stain.
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    Steve · 03/27/2020
    I have a 2 level deck with railings and 3 steps. The deck is cedar and 20 years old and has never been treated other than water proofing. The cedar is now worn and very grey. What would RESTORE-A-DECK recommend? Do you ship to Canada and what would be the cost? Many thanks, Steve
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/27/2020
      Use the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kits for prep. Stain with the RAD Semi-Transparent stain. Yes, we ship to Canada. For the cost, you would need to add all products to cart then update the cart with your shipping info to see the total charges.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary · 03/27/2020
    Hi, I have a 600 sq foot mahogany deck, covered by a farmer's porch roof, that was coated probably 6 or more years ago with Behr solid color weather proofing stain in russet. It is a 100% solid color, not semi transparent (unfortunately). The high traffic areas show wear, and the steps and outer edges of the boards where the sun hits them are peeling. I plan to scrape/sand the peeling areas and then use RAD solid color stain to recoat the entire deck.

    I have four questions: 1) will two coats of desert taupe (which I am leaning towards) cover the darker russet color, or should I go with brown oak instead; also, the house is medium yellow. 2) Besides washing with soapy water, do I need to use any other RAD product to clean and prepare the entire deck or perhaps the sanded areas? 3) I may end up replacing boards on the steps. What would I need to do to prepare the brand new mahogany boards? 4) How many gallons of stain (and any other product you recommend for prep) should I purchase since 2 coats are needed.

    Thank you for your help!
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    Kari · 03/26/2020
    I am looking to decide what stain to buy for our porches. Our main focus is on our front porch that is mostly shaded and develops green slime on it. We have lived here for 4 years and haven't stained it yet! The wood is old and probably pine wood. It is definitely not in good shape. We are planning to clean it up using restore a deck and a pressure washer and then put a solid or semi solid stain on it. We live on the Eastern Shore of MD. I want to know which brand to choose between the three on this website. Restore A Deck, TWP, or Armstrong Clark? Thanks for your recommendation.
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    jonicont · 03/26/2020
    I have a pressure treated deck under a gazebo. I let the wood age for 8 months. I then treated with RAD cleaner and brightener and applied one coat of Armstrong semi-transparent stain. The deck is in excellent condition. Two years have passed. I want to apply another coat of stain. Should I use just the cleaner or also the brightener. Your products worked great BTW
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    Tim · 03/25/2020
    How long does it take to get product shipped to Michigan?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/26/2020
      We are in Michigan and normally it would take 1-2 business days to arrive. During the current issues at hand, we are delayed an extra day or two with shipping.
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    Craig · 03/24/2020
    I ordered and received the 5 color samples of your semi-transparent stain. I am going to do a test board to see how they look on the actual material (PT) I plan on staining; (a deck). I have staining cloth, terry cloth staining pads, and staining pad sponges w/terry cloth covers. Can I use any of these items or one in particular to apply the stain? Or none at all? I will not use this method to do the deck. I will use a brush. Will there be a marked difference between using a staining pad or cloth instead of the brush? I do not want to apply stain and clean a brush 5 times to apply the samples. I would like to avoid this if possible.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/25/2020
      Is this test board new? Has it been weathered and prepped like the deck wood? If not then this will be your biggest issue of getting a true representation of the color that will be on your deck. Paint supply stores sell "chip" brushes for less than a dollar each. Use those for applying the tests.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Craig · 03/25/2020
        The PT test board has been stored inside for a few years. It is a 2 X 4, not the 5/4 that is on the deck. So technically it is not truly weathered. I sanded it to lightly to eliminate surface material. A close match but not the exactly the same so I guess I will have to take that into consideration. I guess I will be getting a general look at what the stain will look like on PT realizing it could change slightly on the weathered deck surface. I installed the deck last August and have not cleaned or prepped it yet. Will or could the samples appear drastically different based on what I have just described? Thanks for the suggestion on the way to apply the stain.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 03/25/2020
          A weathered and properly prepped deck will be more porous than your test boards so the color will be slightly darker or richer on the deck.
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    Riggan · 03/24/2020
    We have a bit of a mess and are looking for recommendations on how to proceed. We bought a house 16 months ago. The deck in front (346 sq ft) was in OK shape, but the steps had to be completely replaced. The back deck (approx. 720 sq ft) also had to be completely replaced. That work was done right before we purchased the house. We believe they used pine, but do not know whether it was treated or not. We waited 5-6 months to stain the new wood, and did nothing with the original deck in front. All staining was done in late summer / early fall of 2019. The rail posts are metal and do not need staining. So now we have 3 situations:
    1. The original front deck, age unknown, but the house was built in 2003. No idea what stain was used on it, but it is now peeling completely off. Because of the opacity of it, we guessed that it was a solid stain. Color: Dark brown
    2. The new steps in the front. New pine (we think), seasoned for 5-6 months. We were trying to match the existing deck, so we used Valspar 1-Coat Solid Exterior Stain and Sealer. It looked nice to start, but is already peeling. Color: Dark brown
    3. The back deck. New pine (we think), seasoned for 5-6 months. We sanded and cleaned the wood prior to staining. We used Valspar 1-Coat Semi-Transparent Exterior Stain and Sealer on it. It looked terrible and blotchy from the day we first put it on (although the railings look OK). In a few spots, long lines of what looks (and feels) like sap emerged from the wood within the first month. The appearance has only gotten worse in the last 6 months. Color: Cedar

    We know we pretty much need to start over, but are not sure how. Especially in the front, since it was done with solid stain. What are your recommendations? Thank you!
    Riggan
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    Norm · 03/24/2020
    I have a PT wood deck with 2-3 coating of Cabot solid stain. Deck is 10 years old. I plan to use RAD stripper, brightener and stain. Can I use semi transparent stain or do I need to stay with solid color stain? Rails and spindles are also solid stain and I don't want to strip them. Can I use RAD solid white stain over top of existing stain without stripping? I like the 2 tone look
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/24/2020
      The deck stain stripper will not remove a solid stain fully so you can use the semi-transparent stain but it will prep correctly for applying the RAD Solid Stain. It would be best to prep all this way. You can then do a two-toned look with the white and any of the other solid stain colors.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Norm · 03/31/2020
        ready to order stripper, booster additive, thickening gel, brightener and solid stain. Do I pressure wash prior to stripping then pressure wash again? If sanding is needed, do I sand before or after brightener? Anything else needed?
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          RAD Products · 03/31/2020
          No need to pressure wash first. Only sand if needed. You can do that after the prep if suing the solid stain.
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    Jay · 03/22/2020
    If RAD was left unopened but froze over winter is it still usable? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/22/2020
      The stain? No, that would ruin it if it froze.
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    bob james · 03/21/2020
    can I get the Expresso stain in 5 gal buckets?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/22/2020
      Sorry but no, the RAD Solid Stain only comes in 1-gallon size.
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    Henry · 03/21/2020
    How do you apply the Semi Transparent Wood Stain? Brush? Spray? Pad? Nothing on the site gives that assistance.
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    Kerrie · 03/21/2020
    I'm building a fence using new construction-grade kiln-dried redwood (a mix of sapwood & heart, I think), faced with horizontal planks 3/4" thick by 4" high with 1/2" space between the planks. The fence will be faced 'double-sided' so that the back side of the planks on each side of the fence will hardly see any sunlight.

    1) Should I stain the planks on all sides?
    2) I'm not fond of the colors you offer. I would probably prefer to add a light reddish (maroon) tint to the semi-transparent stain. What tint product/brand do you suggest that would not alter the beneficial qualities of your product? Do you sell your semi-transparent product with a neutral base so that I can control the color I get when adding a tint? Thanks. - Kerrie
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    Akon · 03/20/2020
    I was thinking it looked thin to be Deckover but I’ve never used it before so wasn’t sure.
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    Akon · 03/20/2020
    Sq ft 1100, type of wood pressure treated southern pine, age of wood > 5 years, previous stain - Behr Deckover Acrylic, last stained - > 3 years, wood type to be stained - deck. Will any of your products strip the Behr Deckover? Also can I use the RAD solid stain over the Behr Deckover?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/20/2020
      No, it is not possible to strip Behr Deckover. The only way to remove and fix is to power sand it fully off. No stain can be applied over the Behr Deckover. It will fail if you do. Unfortunately, you have no choice but to sand it all off or replace the wood if you used Behe Deckover.

      Question, the pictures do not look like Behr Deckover but Behr Solid Stain. Are you sure you used the Deckover version?
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    Homer Webb · 03/17/2020
    I have an 1100 sq ft deck, can I Clean, Brighten and Stain in sections? I could split it up and do sections when the time is available? Or will the stain not match?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/17/2020
      You will have to prep all at once and stain all at once to ensure it looks even when done.
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    Mike Adkins · 03/15/2020
    Hello. I would greatly appreciate your professional advice here. I have included the details requested on your website. The floor of our Deck is approximately 375 square feet and has handrails covering about 90% of it as you can see in the attached photos. The decking material is pressure treated lumber that's approximately 15-18 years old. The deck has never been stained or sealed that we are aware of. We just moved in in February and want to do the best we can with what remains with the hopes of extending the life of the deck. The first question, is what sort of stain to use. We assume for best results we should probably go with a solid stain. That said, if given the condition of the deck semi-transparent would do a great job, that would be ideal. What would you recommend based upon the information and the included photos? Secondly, how much stain do we need? I'd rather order more and have an extra gallon versus getting into the project not having enough. Lastly, do you sell a combo kit that includes the cleaner, brightener, and the solid stain? Thank you so much for any insight you can provide. It is greatly appreciated.
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    Calos M · 03/14/2020
    A year ago I stained my pressure treated wood deck with TWP 200, and it is in great shape, just very dirty after the winter/snow. Can I safely use this cleaner? or will it remove/damage the stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/14/2020
      The RAD Cleaner should only be used for when you are planning on applying a new coat of stain. Deck cleaners should not be used to try and only remove dirt.
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    Susie G. · 03/13/2020
    It’s been 6 months since deck railing was completed. I’ve purchased the RAD cleaner and brightener. How careful do I have to be about not getting it on the glass inserts? Is it ok to let it run over the glass or should I cover up the glass with plastic before application of both the cleaner and brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/14/2020
      It does not harm glass but make sure to rinse well when done cleaning so the dirt and suds do not dry on the glass.
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    Kaely Mckee · 03/07/2020
    We are staining our deck and fence this spring.
    Deck is pressure treated pine-950 sq ft, aged 3 years, never stained/sealed.
    Fence is cedar, will be aged 1 year by the time we stain, never stained/sealed.
    1. How much stain will we need? Planning to use “cedar” color semi transparent for all of it.
    2. Will the deck and/or fence need one or two coats initially?
    3. Best application method for the cedar? Worried with how fuzzy it is, application seems less fool-proof than on the smooth pine.
    we have access to pressure washer for prep, or could use brush method.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/08/2020
      1. What is the total sq footage with the deck and both sides of the fence?
      2. Two coats applied wet on wet.
      3. Stain pad or brush.

      Use the RAD Deck Cleaner and Wood Brightener for prep while pressure washing.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kaely Mckee · 03/08/2020
        Oops, sorry, thought I’d included that in my comment. 950 sq ft is total for deck, 3125 for fence. So 4075 total sq feet.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 03/08/2020
          You would need about 35-40 gallons of stain for two coats applied wet on wet.
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    Craig · 03/03/2020
    I have used your cleaner, but as of yet not your stain. I just installed a new pressure treated deck last August 2019. I have been letting it weather over the winter. I want to seal/stain this spring. Will your natural stain retain the natural pine look of the deck material? Or do I need to use a clear sealer? Thanks for the help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/04/2020
      The Natural is tinted so yes it will enhance the grain of the wood and offer UV protection. A clear sealer will not offer UV protection.