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
    Gwen · 04/26/2021
    So used stripper, brightener and  followed the 2 coat direction for Cedar semi-transparent. Really pleased with overall results but have a few spots ( operator error ) that are overcoated ( slightly sticky ).Any remedy for this ??
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      RAD Products · 04/27/2021
      Sorry but no. It will dry but you cannot remove just overcoat without affecting all the stain.
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    deck2deck · 04/26/2021
    We have a two-story deck with no stair access.  I used the stripper and brightener yesterday and it took hours longer than I thought it would (the stripper just didn't want to rinse out... I think I spent a solid hour rinsing before I no longer saw white foam... the knots in the boards really seemed to hold the product in).  ANYWAY... I worked all the way until dark and ran out of time and energy and didn't do the staining yet.  I also did not do the uprights because there isn't any (good) way to reach them on the outside.  SO including before/after pix and wondering if I should go ahead with the stain today on the horizontal boards only, and do you think that will look okay when I'm done (or should I now repeat yesterday's process (strip/brighten) on the uprights and if so, what's your recommendation for the side we cannot see?  There are four planes to every single one of these posts and it will take potentially hours to do them all plus I can't see climbing a two-story ladder with a hose or powerwasher wand in my hand.  Ugh).  On the plus side, the horizontal boards look awesome.  What is recommendation about what to do at this point?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2021
      If you are asking about the railings, then yes, you need to strip and brighten them as well prior to staining.  
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    Austin · 04/26/2021
    Sept 2019 I re-stained my deck with this product. Did the cleaner & brightener followed by some semi-transparent stain.. The top image was the deck before and bottom was after. Loved how it turned out!

    But, today the stain is basically gone. Flaking off. Is this normal? And how do I go about re-staining it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2021
      It is normal to redo every 2-3 years. Use the RAD Cleaner and then the Brightener for prep.
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    Lisa · 04/26/2021
    how long does the cleaner and brightener last once opened (but not mixed)?  need to clean again this year and put on the second year one coat (did first double coat last year).  assume i should use the RAD cleaner again?  it's maybe 3 years old, opened a year ago. there are quite a few spots (smaller, mixed in) where the stain seems worn off this spring.  is that normal?  thanks!  love RAD
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      RAD Products · 04/26/2021
      Teh cleaner and the brightener are good for many years if in powder form. Normal to redo every 2-3 years.
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    casey · 04/26/2021
    What is the best way to mix/stir 5 gallons of RAD semi-transparent stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2021
      Just shake it for 30-60 seconds, it does not settle that much.
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    Paul · 04/26/2021
    Do any precautions need to be taken when my house is power washed?  I’m concerned about the area where the deck meets the siding.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2021
      Depends on what the house siding is? Pictures would help.
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        Paul · 04/26/2021
        Hardie Plank.
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          RAD Products · 04/26/2021
          Just pre wet and rinse when done and you will be okay.
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            Paul · 05/01/2021
            Is your deck brush an effective tool for applying stain where the end of the deck boards go under the hardie plank siding or should I use a stain pad or paint brush?  See photo above.
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              RAD Products · 05/02/2021
              Use a smaller brush or pad to edge out the house.
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    Sue C · 04/25/2021
    Do you need to stain right after using the brighter or can we wait four days?
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    Patricia Taylor · 04/24/2021
    We started restoring our deck in 2019.  We replaced several boards on our 10x20 deck. After that we pressure washed the entire deck, however that left the boards fuzzy. We sanded the entire deck and waited till summer of 2020 to prep with RAD stripper and brightener. We stained the deck with Dark Walnut semi transparent RAD stain. We were very pleased with the results.  Previously the deck was stained with Behr semi transparent stain about 10 years ago. Following the winter of 2020 our deck now has white spots on several boards. What should we do to remedy this problem? Also, we are now working on our lower deck. We have replaced all necessary boards, how should we proceed from here to avoid the problem with our first deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave · 04/24/2021
    I have areas of pressure treated decking where there is no remaining stain, and areas where the stain application overlapped and some coating material remains on the wood.  Can the stripper be used locally where needed or just on the boards that require stripping, or will there be enough of a difference that the entire deck will need to be treated with stripper?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2021
      Best to strip and brighten all to make sure it is even. 
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    Debi Sherrod · 04/24/2021
    We built a large pool deck about ten months ago out of pine from Menards.  We were told to wait until this spring to stain (we live in WI so really couldn't do anything before this time anyway).Last summer we had grandchildren get splinters in their feet.  I've read not to sand the new wood, just clean and brighten prior to staining, but will that help with the splintering problem?Any advice would be appreciated!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2021
      Clean and brighten first. If needed, you can lightly pole or hand sand after to remove splinters. 
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    Dave · 04/24/2021
    Are all of the products (cleaner, stripper or brightener) acceptable to get on adjoining glass surfaces? I have glass panels surrounded by pressure treated wood framing that has been coated in the past with semi-transparent stain.  I want to remove what's left of the the previous coating and treat the wood with the Restore A Deck products, but I don't want to etch, fog or affect the glass surfaces.  Will getting any of the products on the glass be a problem, or is there a way to deal with that happening?  Thanks. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2021
      We have never had any issues with etching glass. Make sure to rinse well when done to remove soap residue and grime. Easier to clean this way before it dries. 
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    Rory · 04/24/2021
    I have a question about the 2021 Deck Restoration Contest,,, I sanded my deck and am now going to use RAD solid stain. I do not need to use the RAS stripper or whitener. So,,, my question is: Am I eligible to enter the contest? Your rules star you must use the 3 step process, but I don’t need to strip or whiten
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Edward · 04/23/2021
    One last one.. not sure why it won't accept them all at once.  
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    Edward · 04/23/2021
    Here are a couple other pics that didn't make it...
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Edward · 04/23/2021
    Just bought a house with a deck and don't have really any information on it. I'm estimating based on your calculator that it's about 600 sq ft. I do have a pressure washer and just recently pressure washed the deck. I was hoping to be able to use a semi-transparent stain, but I'm thinking a solid stain may be best. Based on the pictures I've attached, what are my options for this deck? And what do you recommend I use for prepping and staining? Thank you!
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    Grf siles · 04/23/2021
    Our deck is made of redwood with Baer redwood colored semi-transparent stain.  I regret using redwood and definitely unhappy with the stain (which looks like paint).
    What color of RAD stain can we use to "neutralize" the redwood hue (after stripping, brightening etc) and tilt it toward more of a brown or tan?  Do you ever recommend painting a deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2021
      You cannot use paint on a deck but you can use a solid stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-solid-stain.html
      Or you can use the RAD in a semi-transparent color like Dark Walnut. BTW, you may not be able to fully strip off the Behr if it looks like a paint. Sanding may be needed to get it all off.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Grf siles · 04/24/2021
        I just saw you have a solid stain, great!  Would I have to strip the current stain to apply the RAD solid?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/24/2021
          Strip to remove as much as possible. Then cover the rest.
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            Gfr stiles · 04/24/2021
            Strip only or also use brighten product?
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              RAD Products · 04/24/2021
              Brightener to neutralize.
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                Grf siles · 04/24/2021
                Once we have applied the 2 coats of RAD solid stain, how long will it last typically (in the Pacific Northwest)? And when it comes time to redo, what is required:  stripping again? or just simple cleaning and re-staining with the RAD solid stain?
  • 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.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jay Greene · 04/23/2021
        Thanks for the quick response.  Do I need any additives for the stripping?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
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    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?
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        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
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        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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              RAD Products · 04/19/2021
              Not really.
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                Jeff C · 04/26/2021
                The package suggests to use the brightener right away after cleaner/stripper.  I'm doing the bulk of the work myself and will have to do in pieces.  Can't do everything in the same day.  Any harm in doing the clean/strip first, then in a few days when all of that is complete, then move onto the brightener stage?

                Also, do I need to mask-off vinyl siding when using stripper/booster right next to it?
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                  Jeff C · 04/27/2021
                  Good morning RAD... was hoping for feedback on this post.  Today is my "get-to-work" day.  Want to make sure I'm doing things right.
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                    RAD Products · 04/27/2021
                    You have to brighten the same day as the cleaner or stripper. Very easy to do. Just spray on and rinse after 20 minutes.
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                      Jeff C · 04/27/2021
                      I used cleaner on railing on Sunday and did not use brightener.  Should I re-apply cleaner, let sit and power wash off before using brightener?
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                        RAD Products · 04/27/2021
                        Rinse well with water and then apply the brightener. Using the cleaner again will not do anything. 
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                          Jeff C · 04/27/2021
                          I had to get a little aggressive with pressure washer to remove old graying etc.  This deck is pretty bad.  Wood burred up a little and should probably be hit with light pole sand.  I'm expecting the same in other areas as well.  In this case, do I let dry so that I can sand before brightener.  OR, do I hit with brightener today after stip/clean, let dry then lightly sand then rinse away dust with water before staining?  Sorry for all the questions.  I want to get this right.
                          • We will reply to your comment shortly
                            RAD Products · 04/27/2021
                            Sand first would be best and then the brightener. Rinse well after.
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                      RAD Products · 04/27/2021
                      No need to mask vinyl. Rinse well with water when done.
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                        Jeff C · 05/03/2021
                        Sanding is going well.  Hoping to finish this coming weekend (weather permitting) and use Brightener/rinse after sanding.  Can I still do 2 coats wet-on-wet of RAD semi-transparent stain?  I read on another newer post "only 1 coat after sanding". 
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                          RAD Products · 05/04/2021
                          Only one coat after sanding.
                          • We will reply to your comment shortly
                            Jeff C · 05/04/2021
                            Might I ask why only 1 coat after sanding?  Just need to understand.  Will it still look as nice when finished?  Bought enough stain to do 2 coats wet/wet.  Guess I save that for next year freshen-up?
                            • We will reply to your comment shortly
                              RAD Products · 05/04/2021
                              Sanding closes the pores of the wood, reducing how much stain can soak in and the RAD must fully soak into the wood grain for proper results.
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                                Jeff C · 05/04/2021
                                And now I know.  Thanks.
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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?
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    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.
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    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.