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
    Dan Sethner · 09/08/2020
    Ready to apply 2nd coat of RAD semi transparent stain. Applied 1st coat 12 months ago. How do I prep deck wood before applying stain. How many hours after applying can the deck have rain on it?
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    Isabelle · 09/08/2020
    What do you recommend for this deck. stripper and brightener? then I can stain? any sanding?
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    Robert M Souter · 09/07/2020
    What is shelf life for mixed stripper and brightner?
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    Lin · 09/07/2020
    I have a half gallon of your RAD solid stain. what is the shelf life of this? would I be able to use it in the spring?
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      RAD Products · 09/08/2020
      About 12 months as long as it is closed well and it does not freeze.
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    RAD130 · 09/07/2020
    After thoroughly cleaning my deck (260 sq. ft.) in May 2020 (power washing/sanding) I applied approximately 2 gallons of Restore A Deck (light walnut) wet on wet. Looked Great, but....after a hot full North Texas summer, deck began to fade and flake. Please advise. I was hoping I could repair the damaged areas without stripping the whole deck and doing a restart?
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    Ken · 09/07/2020
    Is there a shelf life for unopened stain?
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    Janice · 09/07/2020
    Please STOP sending me emails. Thank you!
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      RAD Products · 09/07/2020
      All you need to do is click unsubscribe in your emails.
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    noralb · 09/07/2020
    I was starting my deck project today and decided to start with mixing 2 1/2 gallons of cleaner. I weighed the package of cleaner so I could then divide by 2 for the correct ratio. I was surprised to find that the weight fell considerably short of the 2 lbs it was supposed to contain. I have three packages of each cleaner and brightener so I weighed the other packages. Here is what I found:

    Cleaner: 1#13.3oz, 1#14.4oz, 1#15.1oz.

    Brightener: 1#12.7oz, 1#9.9oz, 1#15.7oz.

    So, should I use the recommended mix ration (2#/5gal) and combine the packages to get the correct amount and hope I don't come up short? Or..??
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      RAD Products · 09/07/2020
      If you need another, let us know via your order email. BTW, it is by volume when you measure, not weaight. 6-8 oz per gallon for each.
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    Buzz · 09/07/2020
    We (in Northern Vermont) have a deck (400 Sq Ft; wood is spruce, fir, or maybe hemlock or something like that) that was treated with Sikkens about 4 years ago. The deck is about 10 years a old. We just used the RAD system: Stripper, then Brightener, then TWP stain (2 coats, wet on wet). Did not use pressure washer, used garden hose with nozzle. Read your directions, read many comments, and were aware to not apply in high temperatures; and also not to apply too much when doing second coat, wet on wet. Stripped and brightened on Saturday (temps Sat were in low 70s, mostly sunny, partly cloudy). Applied TWP stain on Sunday. Results after stripping and brightening looked fantastic. Temperatures on Sunday for application of TWP were in the low-mid ~60s F. Day was partly sunny for periods, partly cloudy. Misted deck before we applied TWP. Coverage seemed good with one coat, but your directions seemed to indicate a second coat should be applied. Second coat was applied wet on wet, and we tried to be conservative with it. Except for one unobserved puddle about 6 x 7 inches, there were no pools of stain visible after finishing. Application was by pad. Finished about 3:30 PM. It was a relatively cool late afternoon, and fairly dark here by ~7:15 PM. Deck was still fairly wet at 7:30 PM. This morning (Monday) deck is still not completely dry (at noon), moist / oily to touch, getting a little better by noon. Sections where it gets direct sun in AM seem to be better than sections where direct sun is blocked by gazebo on the deck until afternoon. Today (Monday)is again mid to low 60F, little sun, mostly cloudy, with brisk winds. Questions: Given the cool temps and lack of sun, is the slow drying normal? Will it dry and cure? When? How should we manage this if it fails to dry completely?
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      RAD Products · 09/07/2020
      You cannot mist the deck with water before applying TWP! Also, you need 48 hours after prep to let the wood dry before using the TWP. You applied to a wet deck and you cannot do this with an oil-based product like TWP. We are not sure it will cure it correctly. Hopefully, it does in a few days otherwise you will need to strip and remove all. Brighten after.
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    Tom · 09/07/2020
    Can I, or do I need to, put Thompson's Water Seal on my recently gorgeously restored deck ? Fantastic products, by the way, and I am thoroughly pleased........!!
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      RAD Products · 09/07/2020
      No, you can never top coat a deck stain with a sealer. It will ruin it.
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    Lisa T. · 09/06/2020
    See the answer to my question on the page now. Missed that somehow. Thanks!
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    Lisa T · 09/06/2020
    Love your customer service! The finished product
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    Barbara Lutterbein · 09/06/2020
    I applied one coat of solid stain yesterday morning. This morning it rained. Do I need to be concerned about the bubbles that formed when it rained. Please see picture. Is this because I didn’t rinse off brightener well enough? Please tell me I don’t need to start over.
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      RAD Products · 09/07/2020
      You should be okay but if needed, touch up those spots next year.
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    Rae · 09/06/2020
    I am restoring an entire 2.5 story house sided with cedar clapboards. I would like to avoid using an oxalic acid brightener such as RAD's brightener because I would get the acid all over myself and kill bugs and worms in the bordering areas. If I was restoring an easy to access deck, I might use it.
    My well water in New Hampshire is pH 5.0, which is much lower than most people's well water. A heavy rinse with the well water should bring the siding's PH down from the RAD stripper's (pH 13?). I am using RAD semi-transparent cedar toned stain. So, I am also not certain that I need to brighten with strong acid, when I am partly staining over my clapboards anyway.
    Questions: Without the RAD brightener will I be missing something in addition to pH adjustment that is critical? Could I use all Citric Acid instead? What are the properties of Oxalic Acid that causes it to be the choice for RAD brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/07/2020
      You do need to neutralize after using the Stripper as it will leave the wood in a high pH. Not using it could create an issue where the stripper if still in the wood could deteriorate the RAD Stain. The RAD brightener is a mix of both oxalic and citric acid resulting in a much less aggressive formula compared to straight oxalic acid.
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    Steve · 09/06/2020
    deck put in one year ago. looks good. I have all your products already and I am ready to go since its cooled down a little. Even though it looks pretty clean should I use both the cleaner and then the brightener too or just one of them? Also what is the best way to apply products(cleaner, brightener and stain to the posts in order to not get them on the non-wood posts.(metal posts are put in the wood sections on the top and bottom of the posts)also I am a little confused about making the deck damp first, please explain and finally what is the time frame for applying all 3 products(cleaner, brightener and stain) do you wait a day in between? I'm not sure how to send you a picture. Thanks for your help.
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    Lisa T. · 09/05/2020
    I just cleaned and brightened with RAD--a two year old deck, pressure treated pine, never stained. The cleaning process wasn't what I expected. Wondering if I did it wrong. We had lots of wood pulp come off. Like lots! I sprayed the whole deck (dry) with the cleaner, it of course dried in the sun, then I had to spend about 4 hours hand scrubbing every board. Rewetted throughout. But boy, seemed like all I did was remove wood pulp. Is that normal? Brightened. (It's amazing what that does!) But there are still green algae type spots (deep in the board) on some boards (largely under plants)--ground level deck (about 2 foot off ground). Can I go ahead and stain with RAD semi-transparent? Or do I need to spot clean again, now that all the grey is gone? (I'd have to reorder cleaner.) (Also the cleaner I used was about a year or more old--meant to do this last summer!--could that have meant less effective?)
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      RAD Products · 09/06/2020
      When you leave the wood untreated for two years the exposed wood fibers will get heavily oxidized from the UV and that is what you end up removing. You should be okay to stain now and not worry but the alage deep in the wood grain.
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        Lisa T · 09/06/2020
        Thanks, we stained, wood was still somewhat wet from day before, and I think it's looking good! Thanks for your quick reply and confirming the cleaning process went as expected (loving all this Q&A area--learned a ton), given condition of wood. I know 24 hrs till putting things on it. How soon till we can walk on it? Thanks again!
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    Carol · 09/05/2020
    Hi, I have three different fences I want to clean and put on solid stain. The first is new cedar put up 4 months ago, 1320 sq. ft. One side is rough and the other smooth. The second is 305 sq. ft. of 20-year-old cedar with several new cedar boards and a treated lumber board to repair it. The third is 187 sq. ft. of 20-year-old cedar including a lattice top. Both old fences had Columbia UV Clear Finish, oil based, put on when new. One side of the lattice fence is very worn, the other side still shows finish.
    Would it be best to get 2 cleaners, brighteners, and thickening gel for the new fence, and 1 stripper, brightener, booster, and thickening gel for the old fences, or would a different combination work better? Would I need 3 brighteners and thickening gel or would 2 do all three fences? Do I need to rinse any or all of the steps with a power washer or would a hose work? How many gallons of solid stain would you recommend? Would semi-transparent be the same? Thank you for your help. Carol
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      RAD Products · 09/06/2020
      Are you counting both sides of the fence in your sq. footage?
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        Carol · 09/07/2020
        Yes, that counts both sides.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/07/2020
          -2 Cleaner and 3 total brighteners
          -1 Stripper with a thickening gel.
          -You need a pressure washer for all.
          -About 15-20 gallons of stain for either Solid or Semi-transparent and that will cover two coats.
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    Caitlin Weiler · 09/05/2020
    Can I use this stain for an outdoor wooden planter box? Is it safe for plants?
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    Lora · 09/05/2020
    I'm about to do maintenance staining reapplying TWP Stain. Last year's stain is peeling in some places. I believe the problem was applying it during really hot, sunny weather. Should I use Stripper or Cleaner during prep?
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    Mike · 09/04/2020
    Will the stripper remove new wood sealer so we can apply and semi-transparent stain?
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    Mike · 09/04/2020
    Hello,
    I have a 6yr old ipe deck that has never been treated. I washed it with deck cleaner and TSP and it looks good with a few hazy spots and areas of white and gray. When I wet it, the color of the wood looks great. Your Restore-A-Deck Exotic Hardwood Stain Semi-Transparent Light Walnut was recommended. Is your Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain Light Walnut the same product, and do I need to use your cleaner and brightening products before application?
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      RAD Products · 09/05/2020
      Correct, clean and brighten all for prep and then use the RAD Semi-Transparent Stain in Light Walnut.
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    John from Mississaug · 09/03/2020
    Hi, I purchased a semi transparent RAD kit two months ago and is now in the process of preparing the deck. My question is the optimal wait time after the brightening step before staining: should I apply the semi transparent stain after 2-4 hours wait or 48 hours or somewhere in between as I saw different numbers from different posts and instruction steps. The deck is about 700 square ft. Can I do cleaning & brightening the first day then stain on the second day or everything has to be done in one day for best results? Do I need to mist the deck before staining if it looks dry? I am looking for optimal wait time and max elapsed wait time before staining for the RAD product, thank you.
    john
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      RAD Products · 09/03/2020
      You can apply the RAD Stains to damp wood or dry wood. Up to you.
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    jim · 09/03/2020
    Can you use the combo of thickening gel & booster additive with the stripper using the Chapin clean & stain sprayer or will the solution be too thick to use the sprayer effectively?

    Thanks!
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    Jack · 09/02/2020
    Can your solid stain be applied with an airless sprayer?
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    Laurie · 09/02/2020
    The products are great! We stripped w/ all the additives, sanded the whole deck, brightened, then used the solid stain-but now we’re getting a few bubble areas. What can we do about this? Deck is a combination of 20yr old cedar and pressure treated replacement. All new boards weathered for about a year. Pics of the bubbles, and before we stained.
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      RAD Products · 09/02/2020
      Spot sand those off and touch up. It is either air pockets or sap leeching from the wood.
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    Sanford · 09/01/2020
    Hi, I might have confused myself so I want to double check. I am in the process of sanding off tons of old paint and found redwood underneath. Two questions. (a) I will finish sanding soon, but can I hold off the cleaning, brightening and staining till the spring? (We have a long snowy winter here). And (b) about sanding. I took off the old paint with 60 grit which is rough. How fine should I sand?
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      RAD Products · 09/02/2020
      1. Yes.
      2. 60-80 grit is the finest you should go.
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    Jason · 09/01/2020
    And here is the part of the deck that's in full sun that's looking pretty worn.
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    Jason · 09/01/2020
    Hmm, not sure if all the pics posted, only looks like the doggy toenail damage pic posted. I'll try the other's in reply posts. This is the part of the deck that's in shade for part of the day. Gorgeous stain!
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    Jason · 09/01/2020
    Hi there! Stained my deck with Restore-a-Deck light walnut in September of last year and love your product! Gorgeous stain. Part of my deck gets full sun all day and looks like the stain is starting to wear pretty badly in that area. See pic. The rest of the deck is in shade in the later afternoon / evening and looks much better, although dog toenails have done some damage so I thought I'd just restain the whole thing. From what I remember, just need to apply the cleaner and restain, correct? Can you point me to the instruction for restaining using your product? Thanks! Love your product! Only lasted a year, but that's a heck of a lot better than the first stain I tried which started peeling in only a few weeks! The Northern Nevada high desert sun and cold winters are pretty harsh on wood and stuff, so we don't really expect the "typical" lifetime you might get in milder climates. First pic is the deck that's in afternoon shade. 2nd is the doggy toenail damage. Last pic is the part of the deck that's in full sun.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/01/2020
      Sorry but no deck stain will be immune to a dog toe nail damage. tt is actually good though until next Spring. Just use the RAD Cleaner and reapply one coat.
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        Jason Ashton · 09/02/2020
        Thanks for the reply. For some odd reason, the picture of the stain coming off the part of the deck that's in full sun all day simply refused to upload. Will try to upload this pic again in this reply. This is the primary reason I think we probably need to restain this fall. Peeling pretty badly in these areas.

        No need to use brightener after the cleaner? I only ask because the instructions on the cleaner specifically say to use the brightener after the cleaner to "neutralize and brighten the wood" and "any cleaner not neutralized and thoroughly rinsed will cause poor coating adhesion". Thanks!
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          RAD Products · 09/03/2020
          You can still do this in Spring, it will be fine. No need for a brightener in this case since it has a base coat but you can use it if you want.
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    CranMan · 09/01/2020
    We had a new cedar deck built in 2017 for our waterfront cottage on an island in the acadia region of Maine. In the summer of 2018, two of the three sides we stained (don’t ask) with in a solid gray from Behr. This was already peeling by the following spring and was subsequently power washed. Some stain remains only on edges and knotholes. It is almost invisible except when the deck is wet. Since then, our caretaker has been thinking about what to do, with the consequence that some boards on the west side of the deck have already rotted and had to be replaced. The deck wraps around three sides of the house: West, north, and East-facing. Only the east and west were previously stained. The deck is going to be cleaned with sodium percarbonate solution and power washed tomorrow. I am waiting on an oxalis acid brightener. But I’m not sure what stain to order—specifically whether I shd order a semi-transparent or opaque one. I have samples of both kinds from restore a deck. Should I try to sand off the remaining stain with my orbital sander so I can use a semi-transparent stain, or is that a fool’s errand? (The stain in the crevices can only be reached by hand if at all.) Please advise. I would like to order stain ASAP.
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      RAD Products · 09/01/2020
      You would have to fully remove the solid stain to be able to use a semi-transparent. Not sure how much work that will be, sot that would be up to you if you decide to sand it or go with the solid stain again.