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
    Judi M · 04/14/2021
    I have a 2 yr old large cedar deck that needs restaining. Part of the old translucent stain is still on (where the deck is covered) although it has faded a great deal. What would be the procedure from start to finish to do a good job? If I need to sand off the old stain (Sharkskin), can up please tell me what type of sander and sandpaper to use. It is beautiful wood and otherwise in great shape, and I really want to keep it that way. Thank you.
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    Peter B · 04/14/2021
    I purchased a home with an 18 year old deck. The prior owners stained and sealed the deck with an unknown product. I purchased your Stripper, Cleaner and Brightener products and Clear Transparent Stain. After Stripping with a sprayer and stiff brush and Brightening yesterday I am left with a left with a bad result, bare wood and partially stained deck (pictures attached). I guess I should have bought the booster. Should I rent a pressure washer to get the rest of the prior stain off (I am afraid to power sand it because of the deck screws)? Obviously the Clear Stain I bought won't cover all the imperfections.   I don't want to use a solid stain. Will a light walnut stain cover it after applying more stripper and pressure washing. 
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    Greg · 04/14/2021
    Many years ago, when I installed my ipe deck, I used your RAD product and Woodzotic to stain it. The results were fantastic and lasted many year. I'm ready to re-stain my deck, and plan on using the RAD Step 1/Step 2 to prep it, but it looks like Woodzotic no longer exists. Is there a product that is equal to it for ipe?  It was unbelievably good on my deck the first time, and the color was perfect. 
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    Sharon G · 04/13/2021
    Before finding RAD, I used a homemade solution (2 parts oxyclean, 1 part borax, squirt of dishwashing liquid) to clean my parents 3 year old, never been stained,  PT wheelchair ramp.  It is in full Florida sun, but will be under a carport in a week or two, so fully shaded then.  I then pressure washed and sanded it, but never used a brightener.  I stained the railings with an inferior product, then I found RAD.  I plan to use RAD products going forward.  I want to use the semitransparent on the ramp and steps.  Should I clean again before brightening and staining?  If so, how careful must I be to avoid getting the cleaner and brightener on the already stained vertical surfaces? Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/13/2021
      You have to remove the current stain first. How depends on the stain brand and type? Pictures would help.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sharon G · 04/13/2021
        There is no stain on the portion I plan to stain. Only the verticals surfaces are stained and I do not plan to redo those.  It’ll be a two tone. The horizontals have never been stained, PT. 
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          RAD Products · 04/13/2021
          Okay, clean and brighten then for the prep.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Sharon G · 04/13/2021
            Okay thanks. How careful must I be to avoid overspray of the cleaner and the brightener onto the already stained vertical parts that I do not wish to redo? Thanks again
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ted Eno · 04/12/2021
    I have a cabin the the NC mountains with 1200 sq ft of deck. 715 sq ft of the decking has had at least three coats of stain, some from Lowes, the latest job was professionally done with Arbor Guard by BM. The newest  section of 450 sq ft was done with only Arbor Guard. The stain is solid brown and the lumber is pressure treated. The decking is in good shape, all but 450 sq feet was first stained in 2008.The newest section has one coat of Arbor Guard which was done 2 years ago. I am not happy with the appearance and am looking to redo  it all. I checked your products out on your website. I hate to do it but I am thinking that I will have to strip all  the old stain off, pressure wash and sand to remove what is there and put some type of cleaner down  before I can restain. Am I correct that I have to go back to square one because of what is already there?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      You cannot strip off a solid stain. If you want to get back down to bare wood, you will need to sand it all off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Aaron · 04/12/2021
    Hello,
    We have a 22yr old PT lumber deck that was in decent condition before the previous owners used a “Deck Restore-type” product on it 2+ years ago. It is/was peeling thick layers of product in some places, rotting in others, and still perfect in others. We receive direct sun for 6+ hours in the summer. We replaced the rotting boards w/ new PT last year in June 2020 and have access to a pressure washer. 
    Questions:
    1) Can we use Restore-A-Deck solid over Mad Dog Deck Fix primer after removing as much of the old covering as possible? 
    2) Do you have another solution to the common “Deck-over” problems? 
    Thank you,
    Aaron
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      1. No, you cannot.2. Only way to fix it so sand off all the coating.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Aaron · 04/12/2021
        Thank you so much for your response! I really appreciate it! 
         I guess I will join the thousands of disappointed deck owners who have to deal with the unwelcome effects of these types of products... :-(
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    john · 04/12/2021
    can i buy walnut semi-transparent sample?
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    Annamaria · 04/12/2021
    HelloI used the RAD system last year on my cedar deck. System worked great, and the deck looked AMAZING! I live in Ontario Canada and the deck is showing signs of peeling in some areas (those that were exposed directly to the elements/snow). I have left over stain. Can I lightly sand and reapply stain to the damaged areas to get the deck looking pristine once again?
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    Wales · 04/12/2021
    hi. I just placed an order. I was expecting a standard place in the order processing process to confirm a preferred shipment mode and get visibility to a planned delivery date. That didn't happen and a delivery date wasn't confirmed on my order confirmation that came to my email. How do I find out when my order will be delivered?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      You will receive a UPS email with tracking. We only ship ground. 
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    Anthony Wales · 04/12/2021
    After many years I'm taking my redwood deck back to bare wood. I'd like to NOT to have to do this complete refurb again for many years. I am OK with the work and cost every every year or two to just power wash and restrain. Is that doable? Or will I always have to strip and restart, even if I stick with same colors? I have read on TV show websites that I can do this powerwash/restain if I use oil based stains, but if I use water based they will always have to be taken off entirely every time I want to refinish. If its relevant, I'm hoping to end up with a semi transparent finish in a darker color. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/12/2021
      You can clean and recoat with the RAD prep and stains as needed. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Wales · 04/12/2021
        Wales - To allow just clean (not strip) and recoat, does it matter if I use an oil or a water base stain? Can I use either or am I limited to one or other?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    phil · 04/11/2021
    Do you no longer support DEFY wood stain?  Reason for asking..........I ordered and received sample colors of DEFY and RAD last autumn and the ship doc's showed both coming from the same address.  It led me to believe that like Armstrong and TWP you sold DEFY along with all your RAD products.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mina · 04/11/2021
    My grandfather built this deck in the mid 1980s. He took very good care of it and stained it regularly back in the 80s and 90s. I inherited the house last year, and due to the lumber shortage and price hike, replacement is financially out of the question. I have had some work done on it. Last year it was pressure washed and some boards were replaced. This week is the final round of repairs, and more joists are being added underneath. (They were 40" apart instead of 16"!) After that work is complete, we will be staining it ourselves, and your products have won "best deck stain" pretty much everywhere on the internet.
    MY QUESTION FOR YOU:
    As you can see, the NEW boards stand out like sore thumbs. I was planning on using the opaque stain in the "Brown Oak" color. However, I really like/prefer the semi-transparent in the "Dark Walnut" color, because it shows the wood grain, and is more affordable for such large amounts that I need.If I use the Semi-Transparent, will there still be a ridiculous difference between the new boards and the old boards? Is there any way to know this without buying and trying? My PLAN was to do the railings and all outward facing boards in solid opaque white, but I am undecided on the main surface!

    -Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 12'x32' (One step down halfway through, bi-level deck.)
    -Type of wood if known: No idea. There is one piece of cedar in there.
    -Approximate Age of Wood: Most of it is about 35y, the top railings and the broken and rotten boards were replaced in spring 2020.
    -If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained: None in LIKELY 20 years, as far as I know.
    -Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.): Deck, including stairs, railings, and support beams.
    -Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 04/11/2021
    I have 1 year old treated green wood on roof top deck. Never been stained or touched yet. Can I just apply stain Restore a deck - or is it necessary to use the Cleaner  or the Brightener first? Which do you recommend Looking for semi transparent look when doneWood not grey had one Chicago winter of snow so far. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/11/2021
      Yes, you have to prep with the Cleaner and the Brightener. Any color that you like will work.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ed Kilgallon · 04/11/2021
    I have used the Armstrong Clark stain for many years with excellent results but interested in the water based Restore-a-deck stains.  Do the Restore-a-deck water based stains provide the same protection and performance results?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/11/2021
      Yes, you will need to strip and brighten for the prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ed Kilgallon · 04/11/2021
        Thank you.  I have a roughly 60 x 18 deck with railing.  How much stripper and brightener will I need, and how much RAD Cedar Semi-Transparent Stain will I need?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/11/2021
          Please use the calculator to the right of this page.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ray Orr · 04/09/2021
    I am going to re-stain my fence that I did with RAD stain in 2018, but I had to replace 8 foot of fence about 4-5 months ago. Should I use the cleaner or the stripper on the new 8 ft section?  I want to be sure the new and old fencing have the same color when done.

    Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/09/2021
      Clean and brighten but just an FYI, it is not possible to have the new and older wood match exactly. New wood is going to stain slightly lighter in color since it is less absorbent.
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    Lawrence Cooke · 04/09/2021
    I am working on a 25+-year-old, 18' x 18' deck.  It currently has weather-beaten redwood solid stain, that shows some wood and has been lightly sanded (not uniform color).  I plan on using the RAD Coastal Gray Solid Stain.  After using the stripper and brightener, how should I apply the solid stain?  Should I use a roller or the RAD Wood-Staining Brush?  Any other tips?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/09/2021
      Roller and hand brushes. The floor brush does not work with the solid stain.
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        Lawrence Cooke · 04/09/2021
        Will 2x coats be sufficient?  How many gallons do you suggest?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/09/2021
          Amount needed would depend on the total sq footage that includes all floors, rails, steps, etc. If you add that up we can let you know. You will need two coats.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Lawrence Cooke · 04/09/2021
            No railing as they were recently painted and only two steps from ground level to the deck (about 2 sq/ft each).  Deck is 18'x 18'.  I would appreciate your recommendation regarding the number of gallons I will need of the solid stain.  
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marcus Austenfeld · 04/09/2021
    I have a 1 year old deck that has Ipe horizontal surfaces, with white Trex railings and lattice. We used Deckwise Ipe Oil when we first stained the deck and it's faded--no surprise with the Ipe. I have a starter pack of R-A-D stripper, brightener and the semitransparent stain. I have two questions. Do I have to do the stripper on a deck this new, and are your products safe for the Trex? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/09/2021
      Yes, you will need to strip off the Ipe Oil and then brighten. It does not harm the Trex.
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    M Childs · 04/09/2021
    I have a 26' 14' 2 year old deck. I used Tompson water seal - greyed in the first year. I power washed the deck this year and got all of Tompson off. Looks good.The wood is pressure treated.
    What to i need to do to stain the deck properly with you product.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/09/2021
      Use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener Kit for prep and then stain. 
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    Eric · 04/07/2021
    These redwood posts were installed last year, rough sawn. I sanded them yesterday. Do I need to do anything before staining?

    Also, I'd like to keep as natural color as possible with a semi-transparent stain. What do you recommend?

    Square Footage of Area to be Restored:
    Two 6x6 posts, holding up a patio cover.

    Type of wood if known: Redwood

    Approximate Age of Wood: Installed a year ago.

    If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type (Examples of Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Solid Stain, Oil-Based, Water-Based): No previous stain

    Do you have access to a pressure washer: No
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Al · 04/07/2021
    Hello, Our daughter has a very large deck in NY (~1,800 sq ft excluding the rails). It currently is pressure treated wood (5/4 x 6) with solid Behr Premium Stain and Sealer (Brown).  The rails are in good shape (not a surprise being solid and vertical).  I was interested in refinishing the deck this summer with Restore-a-Deck and wanted to know the steps and specific products to use.  I will be replacing about 10-15 pressure treated deck boards.  Also, was thinking about renting a floor and deck orbital sander.  Would appreciate your feedback.  Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/07/2021
      You will need the RAD Solid stain. Best way to prep is to use the RAD Stripper and pressure washing. This will help to remove the peeling stain but it is not possible to strip all. Brighten after and then cover the rest of the solid stain with the RAD Solid Stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marshall · 04/07/2021
    HelloI have 2 projects that I would like your feedback on.
    Project 1 - DeckSee photo of existing 10+ year pressure treated wood with new wood installed June 2020. I have read and followed all your guidelines so far. The existing deck was cleaned and brightened in June 2020 with your product and made it better. The new wood is now weathered so now both existing and new are ready to apply a stain. I plan to clean and brighten again now before using your semi-transparent light walnut stain. The entire deck is 400 ft2. Questions: 1. How many coats and how many gallons of stain do you recommend?
    2. Is there anything I am missing to do or is needed?
    3. Is a stain brush or pad better for the deck?
    Project 2 - FenceSee photo of existing 10+ year fence with red semi transparent stain applied before I purchased the house 4 years ago so no additional info here. 700 ft2. I plan to use your stripper and additive before applying your semi transparent dark walnut (preferred) stain or solid stain (see question). I have read all your guidelines.Questions:1. Will the stripping process remove the existing stain enough to apply semi transparent dark walnut stain after?2. Should I see the results of the stripping process before deciding on semi transparent or solid stain?3. How many coats and how many gallons of stain (semi transparent or solid) do you recommend?4. Is there anything I am missing to do or is needed?

    Thank youMarshall
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    Char · 04/07/2021
    Hello, I’d like to ask if you could please look into Order SAGX036143. I’ve received my order last week, but it was missing 3 items and I’ve followed up through your Sales email 3x over the last week and I have yet to receive a confirmation on when the rest of my order can be shipped. We’re excited to do our deck and would really appreciate it if you could kindly send the missing items asap. Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/07/2021
      Hello, your 3 previous emails were in our spam folder. We will look into this and reply to your emails. Thanks
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    Karl · 04/06/2021
    I have a 3-yr-old 700 sq. ft. pool deck with 3 coats of Behr Transparent Golden Honey wood stain that was improperly applied by the builder.  The wood was not cleaned or brightened and I ended up with mildew under the stain.  I purchased the 5 gal. RAD stripping solution with booster and thickener.  The thickener was so thick that I had to dig it out of the bottle with a screw driver and it would not fully dissolve (about 1/4 remained undissolved).  I applied as shown in the videos with a Chapin pump sprayer and let sit 30 minutes.  When I pressure washed, hardly any stain came up.  It eventually worked but I had to use a 15 degree nozzle at about 3 inches above the deck to get to bare wood and I know this is not helping my wood.  It took me 8 hours to do twenty feet of deck and rail.  What am I doing wrong?  Should it be this hard to remove?  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/06/2021
      You are not doing anything wrong. The issue is that after three coats of Behr, you basically have a paint in consistency on top of the wood. Behr is so thick that it dries on the surface and is made worse with additional coats. It looks like a polyurethane in the one picture as it is extremely thick there. The stripper info does state it will not remove a coating in these conditions.
      At this point it will be best to continue and or sand to get it all off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Phil · 04/05/2021
    I used up all my stripper/brightener and additives but have a very small portion of deck......three steps and handrails.....to still strip.  FYI, these steps face out from the back of the house and are not very visible from either the deck itself or from our sunroom.  Is there a way to strip them reasonably well without having to invest in your whole package which I recall cost me $85?  I plan to use one of your water based stains over what was 101 Redwood before the deck was stripped.Should you advise there's not a good solution, would a clean/brighten and water based cedar or light walnut semi over the existing stain on the steps suffice if there's no pressing need to have it exactly match the rest of the deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/05/2021
      You cannot use the RAD Stain over the TWP 102 Redwood, so you will need to strip. The cost of the kit is $65. You do not need the additives to remove TWP.
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    Tom Zuffa · 04/05/2021
    The link you sent at 1:30 worked but it only had the "view it" option on it. That worked! Yay! Hope you have the problem solved. Thank you!
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    Melinda Regnerus · 04/05/2021
    I'm ordering from Canada. The check out screen doesn't state if the final total is in USD or CAD. Could you please confirm the currency used for Canadian shoppers? Thanks!
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    Tom Zuffa · 04/05/2021
    I get e-mails from you showing questions of other customers. That's great! I love it!  However, since about  a week ago, I cannot  open the "View It" or "View All" boxes? I was able to open only 1 of your e-mails. Anyone else having problems? Can this be corrected?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/05/2021
      We are working to fix this. Does this email work now when you click the link? Thanks
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    doug · 04/05/2021
    Last April 20 we applied your natural semi-transparent to new redwood that had wintered for seven months in brutal south-facing Colorado full sun, it is obviously ready (and possibly overdue?) for treatment. Do we need to do the whole clean and brightening process first? Should we do one or two coats?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/05/2021
      Just lightly clean and apply one coat.
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        Doug Lucks · 04/05/2021
        By light cleaning do you mean just wash off with water?
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          RAD Products · 04/05/2021
          Use the RAD Cleaner at 1/2 strength. Apply and lightly pressure wash off.
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    Steve · 04/04/2021
    Thank you for the information. Should I use Brightener on the sections that I am able to remove the peeling stain from?  
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    Steve · 04/04/2021
    I have a 400 sqft deck, about 12 years old, and the wood is in good shape. Last stained with Thompsons Water seal solid stain a year ago but it is already flaking. I want to use your solid stain product, and plan to use your strip and brighten products first. I dont have access to a pressure washer. The railings are not flaking and want to ask if I can use your solid stain without stripping them. That is, just apply over the existing stain. Please advise how much of each product I should order if I want to apply two coats. Any other advice? thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/04/2021
      You cannot strip off a solid stain fully. You can use the stripper to help remove the loose and peeling stain but you will need a pressure washer. You can cover any intact and not peeling stain with the RAD Solid stain. You would need about 4 gallons if you are covering 400 sq feet for two coats. Make sure to measure correctly and include railings, steps, and floors in your sq footage.