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
    john c · 06/12/2022
    is RAD  dark walnut solid stain available in 5 gal container?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/13/2022
      Sold stains only come in gallons sizes.
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    john c · 06/12/2022
    I have a 30yr old 20' x 30' deck. last yr I used Thompson solid color stain-this yr it is so faded it doesn 't look like I stained it. deck surface are 2" x 6" board. some boards have been replaced-rest of surface in solid shape. looking for a solid color stain and your product among best reviewed . any suggestions on prep-ie power washing?
    thx
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    AK · 06/11/2022
    Hello, I'm trying to figure out what product I need to use on my deck prior to staining. I have a 375sq deck (including railings, steps, and walls) that is four years old. It was stained once before, probably about three years ago.

    Do I need to use the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner or the Stripper (I will then use the RAD Brightener) before staining. I do have a power washer. Some photos are attached. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/12/2022
      Stripper and then brightener for the prep. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        AK · 06/12/2022
        Perfect. Thanks for the response!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Andy · 06/11/2022
    I’ve just built a small (65sqft) cedar deck for a playhouse in BC, Canada. Brand new cedar boards - presumed to be untreated currently. I’d like a sealer that will hold up well to moderate winters. Half the deck will be sheltered from rain and half will be exposed to sun and rain.
    1. How can I tell whether I can seal the cedar immediately or whether I need to wait? The lumber yard stored it out in the open with a little shelter from rain. No idea when it was originally processed though.
    2. Should I protect it from sun and rain until it can be sealed, or should I deliberately expose it to sun and rain before sealing?
    3. Can you advise on a hardwearing sealer for this? RAD?
    4. The boards are quite smooth. Will they require any prep prior to sealing? Any sanding etc? Presumably no stripping or brightening this first time round? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John Sollenberger · 06/10/2022
    We have a treated pine deck that's 11 years old. Pervious owners used semi transparent darker brown stain from Lowes I'm guessing. I pressure washed it before deciding what we wanted to do & products etc. After much research & reviews I came across your products and think this is the way to go. Deck & most the the rails & pickets washed up ok but some have stain on them & the 4x4 posts seem to be holding on to the old stain more than everything else. Would like to change color to gray if we can. What would you recommend products wise & can we go to gray? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/10/2022
      For prep, redo using the Restore A Deck Stripper and Brightener Kits. Once the old stain is fully removed, you can use the RAD Stain in the gray semi-transparent color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Garry Jackson · 06/10/2022
    I plan to use the solid white stain on previously painted pressure treated wood that has been sanded clean, except for a few areas where the paint has soaked into the wood to deep. Any additional prep work needed before staining and would two coats be recommended?  Also can an anti-slip additive be used on the steps, they will be the coastal gray stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/10/2022
      Prep should be okay as long as the wood is clean and free of peeling stain. Two coats. You cannot add anti-slip into a deck stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JW · 06/08/2022
    We have a 25-year-old 750sq ft deck that we plan on sanding off the peeling semi-transparent Behr stain that the prior owners applied who knows how long ago.  What would be the appropriate steps/products after sanding if we plan to apply your semi-transparent stain?  Rough guesstimate for how much stain we will need and if we should do one or two coats? Thanks so much!  Looking forward to bringing our deck back to life!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/08/2022
      Hi,

      After sanding with no finer than 60-80 grit, it is best to use the cleaner and the brighener to open up the wood grain. Only one coat for sanded wood.

      Does your 750 include all railings, steps, floors, etc?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Deborah N · 06/07/2022
    I'm a professional finisher in Vermont. I did these porch floors 3 years ago. The house was 5 years old at that time. I need to order products to redo them this year. I'll be using Natural semitransparent. The first photo is the floor that gets significant sun exposure. Last time, the posts were mildewed, and we also did some orbital sanding on them. I don't know what they were originally treated with. We stripped them, etc, before staining. They look better now, even after 3 years. I have 400 sq feet of flooring total. I could use help calculating quantity of products to order. Last time I brushed everything out with a stain brush by hand, but this time I'm thinking of using your stain brush and an extension pole. There is a total of 6 posts. How many coats should I do on the floors? I have to fend off 2 dogs, a cat, and chickens during this process. :) 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lauren Nelson · 06/06/2022
    Used Restore-a-Deck to stain a new deck in 2019.  It needs to be restained.  What kind of prep do I need before I restain it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/07/2022
      Use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Morgan Anderson · 06/05/2022
    How many gallons of semi-transparent natural stain for a new, 175 sq ft deck (no rails, steps included), treated pine, never been stained, drying for about a year in Colorado?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    RayL · 06/05/2022
    I used the RAD stripper to remove most of the Arborcoat but in order to remove the remainder I had to sand the entire deck with 60 grit sandpaper.  I have the RAD brightener but was wondering if I need to use a cleaner before the brighteneer because of all of the sanding. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/06/2022
      It would not hurt and can help the stain to soak in deeper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Darlene · 06/04/2022
    Last week your Coastal Gray stain was on sale for $40 a gal.  I was going to order it and now I dont see the sale.  Is it over??
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Andrew · 06/04/2022
    I was wondering - should I use the cleaner or the stripper for my deck (~700 sq ft, unknown wood, ~5 years old)? I stripped and put clear stain on about two years ago, but it has become apparent to me during cleaning that it did not sufficiently protect the deck from UV - lots of greying that's been coming up through power washing and detergent.
    I'm planning on restarting the prep at this point and switching over to RAD products - I just want to make sure I'm going to be using the right materials. I was hoping to get this done now, but with the extra prep and the seasons turning I'm wondering if I should wait until the fall.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/05/2022
      If you have a clear sealer on the wood then you should remove it and that would be the Stripper and Brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat Hilliard · 06/04/2022
    Photos did not post before
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/04/2022
      See the pics not. We do think you need the additives.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Pat Hilliard · 06/04/2022
        Calculator results: 1090 sq ft, 2 jars stripper, 2 jars brightener, 11 gal stain. I don’t see jars for sale.
        Should I order:
        2 kits with containers of stripper, brightener, 5 gal stain,
        1 additional gal stain
        2 ea booster
        2 ea thickener  
        How long can left overs be stored?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/05/2022
          Yes on products. Unopened and stored where it cannot freeze, they can last about 3 years.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat Hilliard · 06/04/2022
    My PTP deck is 10 years old. It was stained with Thompson Water Seal semi transparent about 3 years ago. the finish failed and there was a lot of green and black algae. It was a little overzealously power washed and treated with Wet and Forget last fall. Most but not all of the stain is off. The deck, stairs, skirting total 640 sq ft. I am not sure how to calculate for the 3.5 ft tall 100 ft railing with aluminum balusters. I have a pressure washer and am planning to use RADl stripper, brightener, semitransparent stain and additives if recommended. How much of each product do I need? I don’t want to run out. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/04/2022
      There is a calculator to the right on this page on desktop and the bottom on mobile. Use this to help determine the amount needed. 

      We would need to see pics to help determine if you need the additives.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joshua Harrison · 06/01/2022
    Hello,

    I plan on installing this IPE wood deck product on my 413 sqft roof deck.

    I would like to use the espresso solid stain to darken the wood significantly. I've already used a RAD sample to confirm the color on a piece of the IPE wood panelling. i have a few questions:

    1.) It looks like I should follow the new wood instructions? (https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html)
    2.) How many coats should I use?
    3.) How should I apply the stain? All the applicators I saw under application tools say they do not work for solid stains?

    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Smith · 06/01/2022
    I have a side deck that is 6 ft wide by 24 ft long. On one side there is a railing while on the other side is the wall of the house. I am applyiny RAD solid stain to the deck. Do I have to worry about overlapping stain lines like with semi transparent stain or can I start at one end put on 2 coats as I go? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2022
      With the solid stain, do it all at once, let fully dry, then recoat.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        David Smith · 06/01/2022
        From this response, do I assume that there is no issue with lap lines. Corrrect?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/01/2022
          Not if staining each coat all at once.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary · 06/01/2022
    Hello - restoring a deck in Massachusetts. Deck is about 450 sq. ft. and is about 8 years old. The deck is mostly PT Pine, but has a Mahogany ribbon around the outside. The PT Pine was stained with a semi-transparent PPG and the Mahogany with a transparent Thompson's water seal. I am not sure when the last time the wood was stained. I do have a pressure washer and plan to use the Restore-A-Deck stripper + brightener. 

    My questions are about the stain. Is there a reason to Armstrong-Clark stain? Seems like the Restore-A-Deck product will be easier. Also, would you advise on using two types of stain for the different wood? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2022
      No reason to use the AC unless you want a certain color. Use the same type of stain for both woods. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Gary · 06/01/2022
        Based on description + small pics, do I need the restore booster or additive? I do not have deck rails and the vertical face is limited to side of the deck/3 stairs in picture.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/01/2022
          Use both stripper additives as the old stain looks thick on the steps and stair landing.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Gary · 06/06/2022
            Realized that I will have to replace a few boards with new PT pine. Given status of deck, would prefer not to to wait to allow new boards to weather. Would I be able to tape/cover new board, complete the process on rest of deck, then come back to new board in 3-6 mo.?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kristina DeLeo · 05/31/2022
    I have a small covered deck - I think it's PT pine. After 2 short years, it is peeling & gray after using a big box brand all-in-one deck product (prior to that, I had 5 good years with what looked like just a clear sealant - the deck is 7 years old). That said - I purchased RAD stripper & the brightener and had planned to sand in between those applications to take care of any rough spots and/or stubborn remnants. Here are my questions:

    1) I plan to use a RAD stain - best choice, since I can apply damp & the PNW will not. stop. raining. IF I sand, do I use 1 or 2 coats? If I don't sand, 1 or 2 coats?

    2) The original stain was natural or clear - the current nonsense that is masquerading as a stain is like an opaque pecan aka "80s Southwest brown." I'd prefer to restore the deck to a natural wood look... is that possible on a 7yo deck or should I opt for a darker stain? I have dark walnut in my cart but would love something lighter without a red cast.

    3) Once I do all the steps this summer - strip, sand, brighten, stain - can I just clean & reapply annually or do I have to do all the steps every time? 

    THANK YOU!!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2022
      -One coat if you sand, two light coats applied wet on wet if you do not sand.
      -The stain has to be tinted for UV protection so you cannot get a "natural" wood look and prevent graying.
      -Clean and brighten in future when recoating.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary paul · 05/31/2022
    I have previously used SW superdeck deck c k and dock. It is no longer available. So wondering if I can use restore a deck as a substitute.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2022
      You have to remove the SuperDeck first. Reply back with some pics for help with this.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary · 05/30/2022
    I stained my deck about 3 years ago with solid RAD cypress solid stain.  Can I just clean and apply one layer of cypress solid stain? 
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    Randy H · 05/30/2022
    What's the shelf-life of an opened container of semi-transparent stain? Thank you. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robert Moran · 05/29/2022
    As seen in the attached image, I've halted after cleaning and brightening a few months ago. What should I do now? 
    Should I stain or start all over again? on the treated area?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joanne Downey · 05/29/2022
    is your product available in Canada?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/30/2022
      We sell online for shipping to Canada.
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    JM · 05/28/2022
    Do you have a photo of a deck with light walnut stain on pressure treated wood?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JM · 05/28/2022
    What is the easiest way to prep balusters and hard to reach areas?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/29/2022
      Apply prep products with a pump sprayer and then pressure wash off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mark · 05/28/2022
    HI! am looking for advice so I don't make time consuming and expensive mistakes.
    I want to stain the entire deck this summer.
    2 years ago I had the horizontal surfaces replaced with PT pine. I would like to keep the same color as the original verticals (which have not been cared for in years, I do not know what was used previously). I plan to use the stripper with additives on the verticals. 

    1) Would the stripper with additives damage the newer (2 yr old unstained pine?) Or should I just use the cleaner on this (then plan to sand all lightly and then brighten all)?
    2)What is the best color match in your opinion? I want it to be uniform color, as close in color to the verticals as possible. I am torn between cedar and light walnut. It seems like stain darkens with time, have no idea what was originally used.
    3)Should I use the RAD semitransparent stain on the verticals or are they covered with solid or semi-solid stain that needs solid only going forward?
    4) 1 coat or 2 on the horizontals (which are now 2 years old)? If 2, coats, plan to do wet on wet.
    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/29/2022
      1. Use the Cleaner for the floors., not the stripper.
      2. Try Cedar color.
      3. You should be able to use the semi-transparent on verticals after the prep.
      4. 2 light coats wet on wet.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Eric French · 05/28/2022
    I have an 840 sq ft deck (including steps) made of pine. The deck now consists of boards that were stained with Sherwin-Williams semi-transparent water-based stain in early 2017; older boards, un-stained, from repairs in 2021; and newer boards, also un-stained, from repairs this year. Now, I’m ready to strip, brighten and re-stain with RAD products. I’m hoping to use a semi-transparent stain.  Do I need the additive and thickener? (There are no vertical surfaces.) How much of each product do I need? Due to the uneven ages of the boards, will the appearance be uneven? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/29/2022
      The booster will help strip this, no need for the gel. You will need 1-2 of the RAD Stripper. 1 Brightener should work. 7-8 gallons of the RAD Stain for two coats applied wet on wet.

      the new wood will stain a little lighter in color since they are less absorbent.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    cAp · 05/27/2022
    Old deck was sanded last fall. Think previous finish was Cabot Simi Transparent, several years old. As can be seen in the photo, there are traces of old finish remaining. Understand that the wood is not in great condition, not going to be replaced. Plan to purchase a Simi-Transparent kit.

    Question is, do I need Stripper/Brightener or Cleaner/Brightener combo kit?
    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Skikt22 · 05/27/2022
    Hello,

    I have two decks both about 10 x 15 one over the other, 20 years old, cedar I think. They have been maintained every 4 to 5 years with restore deck cleaner and brightener and then a coat or two of TWP 1500 2 to 3 days later.In the past I have put plastic over the lower deck, the stucco, and the door and windows. I have only had partial success in keeping the plastic on while doing the upper deck.

    My question is if I do the upper deck cleaner and brightener, do not cover the lower deck, windows, and stucco but have my other half rinse them every 10 minutes or so with water as I am doing the upper deck is that sufficient to prevent any damage to the stucco and windows, and door. I would then do the lower deck immediately after sweeping standing water off of it. Does that sound reasonable?

    The second question regards the shelf life of unused cleaner and brightener. The product I have which is sufficient to do the deck is probably seven or eight years old at this point. Is it still usable or should I discard it and buy fresh product. This is a frequently asked question and it would really be nice to know if the product is really inert, or does it really degrade overtime?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/28/2022
      -Yes, that will work with the prep of upper deck.
      -The cleaner can degrade over the years and 8 years might be pushing it. Try mixing a small amount of the cleaner and see if it bubbles. If so, it should work. The Brightener will be okay.