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
    Alex · 10/24/2020
    It's late October here in northern Illinois so it's probably not a great time to stain due to the cooler temps, but I would still like to clean my deck. Should I use both the cleaner and brightener or just the cleaner. The plan will be to stain in the spring... will I go through the clean and brighten steps again then?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2020
      If you prep now you will have to prep again in the Spring.
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    Anne · 10/23/2020
    Tomorrow is my big day to stain! I was curious about weather. We have been warm (60-70s) here but have had VERY heavy fog for the last few days until the afternoons... this has left the deck "mist covered" for much of the day. Is that the type of condition that would be okay for doing the stain? We have no rain, but it's definitely been damp in for a while. And then, when it clears, the deck is fully exposed to sun all day, so I was thinking that early morning mist and clouds *might* be better than full sun that will dry things out quickly? Just wanted to check your opinion on that so I can plan how early to get to work. Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2020
      You cannot apply in a visible mist but you can apply to a damp deck and early am would be better before full sun.
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    Poe · 10/23/2020
    Hi,

    I'm about to spray paint my fence with RAD semi-transparent stain with Graco X5 airless sprayer.

    What kind of tip should I use? Can I use the one for paint? Any special instructions for airless sprayer use? Fence is 7 years old pressure treated pine so it will need two coats and I did buy the brush.

    Thanks a lot!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/23/2020
      We are not familiar with their tips. Just use a wide fan tip and then back brush your second coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Donna Fanshaw · 10/22/2020
    Hello. We hired a man to clean, brighten, and stain our deck using your semi-transparent natural stain. He used your cleaner and brightener. One or more of the products splashed on our front windows and the front of the home which has painted hardy board siding. The paint on the siding is acrylic latex paint. So we have spots all over the front of the home. I have been first trying to get the spots off the windows - household cleaners don't work, scrubby sponges and other scrubby tools that won't scratch don't work, and a razor blade doesn't work. Is there a particular solvent that would work to remove the spots? And, would that same solvent be safe to use on the painted siding surface? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/23/2020
      The prep products would not harm anything so I assume it is the stain. The only way to remove the stain from glass is with a graffiti remover cleaner. That would not work on the paint though. Best to touch up the paint with another coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Vince · 10/22/2020
    I stained a new/year old redwood deck 12 months ago with your cedar semi-transparent stain following cleaning and brightener procedures. As you can see from the attached pictures it has worn off in areas that are more heavily trafficked. I thought it would of held up better. Anyway I have an extra unopened 2 1/2 gallon of stain. Can I reapply another coat after using the cleaner or do I have to use the brightener also.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/22/2020
      Clean and brighten. Do in Spring.
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        Vince · 10/23/2020
        What about a maintenance coat, I live in northern California and the weather is still quite mild.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/23/2020
          Clean, brighten, and stain in the Spring would be best.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    fretfinger · 10/22/2020
    I stripped, brightened and applied the semi transparent stain in early spring. It turned out fantastic, but the winters here in Ohio are rough on outdoor furniture and decks. If i understand correctly, i can apply the cleaner product, lightly pressure wash and apply a maintenance coat. Is that correct? When i apply the maintenance coat, do i do 2 coats wet on wet like i originally did in the spring?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill · 10/22/2020
    I'll be staining my 600 square foot redwood deck tomorrow with your natural color semi-transparent stain after cleaning and brightening it today with your Restore-A-Deck products. The stain container states "do not apply in direct sunlight or if the boards feel hot to the touch". However, your website states "If applying the Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain in full sun we suggest that you apply to a damp deck. Either 1-2 hours after prep or if the wood is already dry, lightly mist the deck with water prior to applying". My other option is to wait for the deck to be in the shade and stain it while it's dry, although, I may only have a 1.5-2 hour window to do that. I live on the California coast and the temperature is forecast to be anywhere from 65-75 degrees throughout the day. What is my best option in light of the fact that your website also states that "the stain will be much easier to apply to damp wood as it will help avoid "flash" drying of the stain in full sun". Thank you and my apologies for the long-winded question!!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/22/2020
      Wet the deck down with water and apply about an hour later or when not soaking wet. It can be visibly damp.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Bill · 10/22/2020
        Thank you for your prompt reply - take care and stay safe!!!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John · 10/21/2020
    What is the best way to remove Thompson's WaterSeal Stain and Sealer? It was applied earlier this season by someone else and the client does not like the color (plus walked on it while wet) and would like it to go back the natural wood color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joel · 10/21/2020
    We have an Ipe deck at the house we bought last year. it appears that the previous owner just put red stain on it (most likely didn't prep, or use appropriate stain for Ipe). I can see where our flip flops have pulled the stain right off. I would like to remove that, and just let the Ipe patina, and be natural. I have access to a pressure washer. I do not know the type of stain they used. The deck was built in 2011, and I do not know what type of stain they used, and I would guess they did it about 18 months ago.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    clutz · 10/20/2020
    Area: 240 sq ft.
    Wood: Believe it's pine
    Approximate Age: Unknown (Probably <5 years)
    Previous Product: Thompson's WaterSeal (but do not know if it's semi-transparent or solid)
    Last Stained: Unknown
    Wood to be Stained: Deck
    Pressure Washer Access: Yes

    I used the stripper and the brightener. As you can see, the floor looks pretty good, but there are some areas of concern. I have a brush, but I just used the pressure washer everywhere. There are areas of the deck floor and spindles that proved more difficult to strip and brighten.


    Should I sand those areas? After sanding, do I need to strip and brighten, or just brighten, or nothing? I plan to use ReadySeal for my staining.

    Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/20/2020
      Sand off the spots and then brighten all wood again.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        clutz · 10/20/2020
        Yeehaw. Now that's RAD.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anne · 10/20/2020
    I'm looking forward in the forecast. I hope to get my deck stained this weekend; there is rain in the forecast for Monday. What is the recommended best drying/curing time to plan out for when I need to get this finished if it will rain Monday (semi-transparent stain, two coats)

    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James J Holleran · 10/20/2020
    i stained my deck in the summer i replaced railings with new wood didnt stain them at that time wanted to wait for the wood to dry out. I am ready to stain them if i clean the rails with the cleaner and brightener and it gets onto the already stained deck is that going to be an issue
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    B Calcote · 10/19/2020
    All pressure treated pine, south of Nashville, TN. We have a an upper deck that is about 14x16 and it's 8 years old. I am sure it has never had a stain on it, I cleaned it once earlier this year. I would clean it again as well. We just added on a bigger part (some of the wood has been outside over a month, the last pieces just a week or so and are still drying out), 6 steps down to join the 2 decks. It's about 26x10 plus turns a corner around the house for another 7x10 or so. Is the solid stain our best bet for these looking the same or should I clean/brighten first to see if the old part looks closer to the new? I'm thinking they will take the stain differently anyway even if both are clean. Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/20/2020
      See here about the new wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html

      As for blending, the solid stain would be best. Prep and stain in the Spring.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        B Calcote · 10/20/2020
        Is there any reason not to stain part of the old deck now (the support beams and outer frame, all parts below floor decking that are outward facing). It's a big job, just trying to piece it up a little. For the new part, if we get a warm week in November would I be saving time not having to clean as deeply as when spring comes and there might be some green spots from winter (north side of house)?

        Also, I already have some Behr all-in-one deck cleaner. It's acidic, I believe. Spray on, scrub, spray off. I'm open to the RAD products but if I have one that will do fine already I'll roll with it.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          B Calcote · 10/20/2020
          Sorry for the multi-post - I also meant to ask if you have a recommendation for protecting a deck with a smoker on it. I cook with real wood, average twice a week. The smoker will be on the deck. I have a grill pad that is decent at keeping hot coals off the wood and drips under control, but I still make a little mess. Have you come across any innovative ideas for putting under a smoker or maybe can RAD take a beating better than other stains for that type of thing?
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            RAD Products · 10/20/2020
            Outside of using a pad or rug, there is not much else you can do.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 10/20/2020
          The Behr prep may have a reaction with the RAD stains. Easier to stain it all at once. But if you want to stain the frame, there would be no issues.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    dan kitts · 10/19/2020
    Applied Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain on deck past spring. My dog has scratched away the stain in some areas where he jumps on deck and exits the patio door. How to I repair this?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kaitlin · 10/19/2020
    Just stained my deck using all of your products. I'm having trouble with the deck still feeling tacky after 48hrs. This was a new pine wood deck (weather for 4-5 months). I cleaned, brightened, then stained using the semi-transparent and your yellow bristled brush. I don't believe I used too much because on our 500sqft deck I didn't even use a complete 2.5 gallon. Is there a way to remedy this tackiness or should I just wait it out? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/19/2020
      It will cure on its own. Not a way to speed it up.
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    Anne · 10/19/2020
    If I have leftover stain, would I be able to use it to stain something like an outdoor wood table or picnic bench?
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    Anne · 10/19/2020
    What is the normal speed for shipping within the US? (5 gal of stain and deck finishing products) I have a fairly tight window of time for getting this done once I finish sanding, so I want to make sure I have everything I need ready to go. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/19/2020
      Depends on where you live. Normally 2-5 business days.
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    Anne · 10/19/2020
    shipping time
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    Belinda Kretzer · 10/18/2020
    I have a question concerning the shelf life of the stain we purchased, we have 10 gallons of semi transparent still in jugs unopened, we would like to know what is the shelf life of this product? we have heard so diffrent times on Google..thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/19/2020
      Our stain has a shelf life of about 3 years if unopened. Has to be stored where it cannot freeze.
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    Seth · 10/16/2020
    What is the lowest temperature that you can apply RAD?
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    Todd · 10/16/2020
    URGENT!

    I still want to strip and stain my deck but added a new section. I WAS going to just let it season for a year (winter is here in about 2-4 weeks) and then do the entire deck at once, but then a friend said he would definitely not let the deck sit that long because (other than the new part) the deck is already looking dry and we get a ton of snow in the NE.

    Two questions:

    1) Should I:
    A) strip the entire deck, stain the entire deck
    B) Strip the entire deck and stain only the seasoned part
    C) Strip and stain only the old/seasoned portion?

    2) Weather conditions below are not ideal and just barely on the boundary of their recommendations (45-90 degrees surface temperature, "do not apply when deaily low is below 45 degrees or when rain is expected within 12 hours"). Do you think I should:
    A) Strip, brighten and stain on Saturday
    B) Strip and brighten on Saturday, stain on Sunday at 9-10am as soon as it reaches 45?

    TODAY: Raining
    SAT: 55 HI, 40LOW 0% chance of rain, 50% humidity at 1pm increasing to 70% humidity over night
    SUN: 60 HI, 46LOW 0% chance rain until 8pm, then increasing from 5% at 8pm, then increasing slowly until 47% at 11pm. Humidity starts at 70% early sunday morning, dropping to 50% and staying around 50% until early Monday morning
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stacey · 10/15/2020
    Hello, upon moving into our home I cleaned and stained our weathered deck (apx 6 years old) with Olympic Semi-transparent stain and it has failed within two years. First, would this be a good fit for RAD? Second, would I start with the cleaner or stripper before the brightener? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2020
      Yes the RAD would work well. Strip and brighten for prep.
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    Jason · 10/15/2020
    I live in the hot, dry desert of Northern Nevada. Applied RAD last fall, and the wood started showing through in several spots over the summer so I thought it needed to be restained. I thought all I'd need to do is apply the cleaner scrub it with a deck brush and then restain, but the cleaner and the deck brush took off most (about 80%) of the stain completely off the wood, but left a lot of patches of stain behind. After consulting with you guys, you recommended cleaning with a pressure washer to remove the rest of the stain, brightening and then re-staining. Would it be ideal to clean / brighten, say, Friday afternoon and then stain early Saturday morning before the sun heats the deck up? I just don't want to have to deal with the whole "misting / damp deck" thing here in Nevada where everything dries so quickly so I'm hoping I can avoid all that by just staining early in the morning when the deck is cool and dry. Pic of my deck after the 1st round of cleaning attached.
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    Martin Kilmer · 10/15/2020
    I have two decks Eugene OR. 1. new cedar installed last year, 2. very old VG WR cedar. I bought the kit with semi transparent stain. Last week I cleaned, brightened, rinsed very well. This morning it was overcast I stained deck #1 which went well and looks good. I then started on #2 which also went well until the sun came out. I did not moisten the deck as a. it was cool b. there was dew on the deck when I started and as the temperature only got up to 50 by the time I finished the second deck I did not think it would be necessary. Non-the-less flash drying definitely became a problem and all attempts to keep the stain moist failed. I now have a deck with shoe prints, uneven areas and even sticky stain build up in places. I still have some days before the weather turns too wet and cold to redo. How can I fix this? And would it be better to just wait until spring?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/16/2020
      To fix you will need to strip and brighten. Much easier to do this in the Spring.
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    Amy · 10/15/2020
    Question on stain type and timing of staining for our fence. We have access to pressure washer. Already planning on cleaner and brightener. New cedar fence, rough cut, installed late July of this year. Live in MN. Not yet stained. ~125ft of fencing, with 95% of it at 4.5ft high (5 panels at 6ft). 3 gates. 2 arbors. I notice you have Armstrong Clark stain on this site as well. We are trying to decide for our new wood in MN: Restore A Deck stain (cedar) or Armstrong Clark stain (semi-cedar) - essentially is water based or oil based better for us? And with oil vs water, temperatures are starting to drop here. Can we stain our fence yet this fall if temperatures are in the low 40's? Thanks for your advice.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/15/2020
      You can stain as long as the application temp when applying is 50 or more.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 10/15/2020
        With either brand.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Amy · 10/15/2020
          Thanks! And any difference or benefit for using either water or oil based for my fence - new, cedar, harsh winters? Trying to figure out the deciding factor to choose, order, and stain ASAP.
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    Pam · 10/13/2020
    How long does it take once order is completed to arrive in USA state of Georgia?
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    RAD130 · 10/12/2020
    Just completed cleaning and staining deck using RAD cleaner and RAD Light Walnut stain. After staining and allowing to dry I noticed some areas that were lighter. Can I go over those areas again even if it has dried?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/12/2020
      Sorry but no, once dried and cured another coat will not be able to soak in. More than likely this will even out after a week anyhow.
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    Ryan · 10/12/2020
    I used RAD cleaner / brightener on an exterior cedar wall that is 1 year aged without any treatment prior. Wood was smooth to start, but after treating and pressure washing it now is rough and has blemishes. Should I sand or is this normal?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Cynthia Lancaster · 10/11/2020
    I recently ordered and received some of your stain. I thought I ordered black walnut, but as I look back at my order, it shows "natural", which is what I received and have put on the top horizontal portion of my deck. It is lighter that what we were really looking for, thought it is still pretty.
    My question is this...would I be able to put the darker stain over it now that there are two coats on?

    Also....we are using the solid stain for the rest of the vertical...spindles, etc. We ran out of time this weekend, and got the first coat on. Will it hurt to wait a week or two to put the second coat on? Time is just not on our side.

    Also...do you think it would look weird if we did the deck in a different semi-solid than the top of the rail that is done in natural now? Maybe not go as dark as black walnut? I just think the natural is a little orangy for the whole deck....it looks ok on the railing if I cant stain over it.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/12/2020
      You cannot add another coating at this point as it will not take. You can switch to it down the road as needed after proper prep.

      You are okay to add another coat of solid a week or so after but not with the semi-transparent.

      The only way to do another coat where the natural is is to remove it fully first.
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    Dene P Land · 10/11/2020
    It is acceptable/recommended to apply semi transparent and solid stain to damp wood if I understand correctly. Is application to dry wood unacceptable?