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
    Aumfwd · 08/04/2021
    I am putting brand new cedar siding on a garage. 6000 linear feet. What would you recommend as far as staining the new siding. Brand? Process? Thank you!
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    Janice · 08/04/2021
    My deck is treated with Australian Timber oil. How should I proceed? Some areas are gray where water has sat on it. Do these products serve as waterproofing? I live in a snowy area.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2021
      Use the RAD Stripper and then the Brightener for prep. Stain with the RAD Stains after to protect and seal the wood.
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    Roger W · 08/02/2021
    I did a maintenance coat last year on my cedar deck and am going to do the same this year.  It is in good shape but there are some areas where another maintenance coat is needed so I'm going to restain it again this year.  I will be using the same semi transparent RAD cedar stain.  Do I need to use the cleaner and brightner prior to the stain or can I just use the cleaner?
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    Greg · 08/02/2021
    I have 900 Sq Ft of deck downstairs and 450 sq ft upstairs. I have completely sanded old Behr stain off as stripping was not getting it using 80 grit paper? I am down to new wood. I am using RAD Dark Walnut Semi. Should I wait a while since I am down to new wood? Next steps recommended please? Clean and Brightener? How much product do I need? 1 coat of stain since sanded to new wood right? How many gallons of stain? Thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2021
      Wait a month or so and then clean and brighten for prep. 2 of each cleaner and brightener. One coat of stain. About 10 gallons for the one coat.
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    WILLIAM PRICE · 08/01/2021
    Three weeks ago I sprayed my 20+ year old deck with 10% vinegar and power washed to strip the (spruce) wood until it looked like new. I would like to stain it to look like my new brown/sienna pressure-treated deck (see photos- wood appears darker from recent rain). Is it necessary to use your deck cleaner before the brightener or can I go straight to the brightener before staining? Is the brightener washed off first or is the stain applied a few hours after applying the brightener without first washing off the brightener? Which colour of your semi-transparent stain would best match the Sienna brown?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2021
      Yes, use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep. You must wash off the brightener after. Look at Light Walnut or Cedar colors.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anil Rana · 07/31/2021
    Hello, I have a new deck weathering for a almost 2 months now. Planning to stain in next few days/weeks. Do I need to Clean -> Brighten -> Stain or just Brighten -> Stain.

    Square Footage  - 338
    Approximate Age of Wood: New Deck Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes
    Any other recommendations?
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    Gerald Laird · 07/30/2021
    used the cleaner and brightener 3 + weeks ago can I apply semi transparent now?
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    Scott Reitz · 07/28/2021
    I have a 4 year old handicapped Ramp. I initially used velsper stain but it did a lousy job and used RAD to strip, clean, brighten and stain 3 years ago. Each year since I clean and brighten the  Ramp but only restain deck and horizontal railings as stain on vertical posts is good. Is there a problem if only clean and brighten the Ramp or do I need to reapply stain each year?Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/28/2021
      The prep products should only be used if you plan on recoating, not for general cleaning of dirt, etc.
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    Kurt · 07/26/2021
    Finished staining my deck a couple of weeks ago with RAD semi-transparent stain. Looks good.  I noticed some stains on nearby concrete.  What is the best way to remove these stains?  Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/26/2021
      A graffiti remover cleaner and pressure washing.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob W · 07/24/2021
    Last year (Fall) I used your Process and Products (water based stain) to refinish my Mahogany Decks (2). The finished product looked great but by Spring the main Deck looked pretty bad, the smaller one didn’t look too bad. I live in the Northeast and the intervening winter was the usual. The Main Deck is on the East side of the house and is in the Sun from approximately 8:30 - 9:00 AM until 1:00 - 1:30 PM. While the Front Deck/Porch faces West and gets the Sun from approximately 2:00 PM until 4:00 - 4:30 PM, there are a lot of trees. Although the wood looks and feels dry the finish itself doesn’t look too bad. The East facing main Deck handles a majority of the house foot traffic while the West facing Deck/porch handles minimal traffic 
    You thoughts and suggestions please.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/24/2021
      Clean and brighen the wood and apply one light coat to all. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff · 07/24/2021
    Searching of a stain to put on my decks.
    Type of wood: pressure treated pine of outside decks
    Age of wood: 15 to 20 years or more
    Previous stain: Sherwin Williams Exterior Deck stain, semi-transparent, water-based
    Last time stained: 8+ years ago (believe any covering is completely gone and only the bare wood remains)
    Wood type to be stained: deck
    Do you have access to pressure washer: yes (have pressure washed the decks in preparation to staining)
    Misc info: interested in a solid stain for longevity (looking for the longest lasting coverage I can get)Location: southern PA --decks get a lot of direct sunlight
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James R Peters · 07/22/2021
    I am part way through the final stage of staining my deck with your semi-transparent water based stain.  It looks great!  My question concerns cleanup.  Can I clean your deck brush and paint brush with soap and water?  Or do I need to use the nasty stuff????  Many thanks for a great product.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jay Adams · 07/22/2021
    I stripped and brightened my deck. It is a couple of days later and looking at some of the posts I want to do another 20-30 minutes of rinsing with my power washer to make sure I get all of the brightener removed . Is it too late because I let it dry for a couple of days?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mike · 07/22/2021
    using restore a deck semi-transparent Dark Walnut. I applied 1 coat to top pool deck last night and applied 1 coat to bottom deck this morning.
    can I apply a SECOND coat after 1st coats dry?  or is it too late once dried and I should have applied 2nd coat while everything was still wet?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/22/2021
      No, second coats have to be applied wet on wet, not wet on dry. You can lightly clean and coat in 6-12 months if needed.
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    Cvjohnson · 07/21/2021
    Can this product be used on cedar posts?Also, is it sold in stores?
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    Annemarie · 07/21/2021
    We are currently working on our three year old deck (we did the full RAD process on it two years ago - one coat of semi-transparent stain on everything). The cleaning and brightening are done and we're ready to apply the semi-transparent stain. I feel like read somewhere that we only need to do one coat on the vertical slats of the railings, and two coats on the horizontal parts of the decks and railings, but I can't find that information anywhere now. Is that correct, or should we do two coats on everything? 
    We have another deck we still need to do; we have some cleaner, brightener, and stain leftover from two years ago, are we able to use them in case we run out of our most recent purchase? They have been stored in a garage in San Francisco - no exposure to extreme heat or cold.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2021
      If you have a base coat on all wood then just one coat for all wood. If the wood is down to the bare wood, then one coat for railings and two wet on wet on coats for the floors.
      The prep products in powder form should be fine to use again. The older stain has a shelf life of 12 months after being opened. It could very well still be okay but no way to know for sure until you open it up.
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    Myra Virostko · 07/20/2021
    Last spring 2020, I stripped, cleaned and brightened my redwood deck with rad. I then applied the armstrong clark stain. I have some peeling this year, not sure where I went wrong, I followed directions carefully. My question is "do I need to strip again this year or can I just clean and brighten. I will include some pictures.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sheila · 07/20/2021
    Older redwood deck with addition of section that's 1 yr old, all surfaces cleaned, brightened and sanded. What color semi-transparent stain would be best? Want more of a red/brown not red.  Any photos?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/20/2021
      Try Dark Walnut or Light Walnut. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        PJ · 07/21/2021
        Sheila, here's a pic of light walnut on my deck. Everything I've read suggests a water base is as good as an oil base and it's so much easier from application to clean-up.
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          Sheila · 07/21/2021
          I don't see the picture, where do I find it.  Thanks much!
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            PJ · 07/21/2021
            I'll try one more time........don't know what happened........must have not allowed time for it to load.
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              Sheila · 07/21/2021
              I meant Light Walnut
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              Sheila · 07/21/2021
              That looks very nice, so that's the light oak on Redwood? Thanks so much for resending
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                PJ · 07/21/2021
                Sorry about the misunderstanding........No, mine is not redwood.........it's on pressure treated pine.  I'd assume application on redwood wood be less "light".......it would likely be darker because of the redwood.  My suggestion...find a spot on your deck that is not so visible and apply a test patch.
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  Sheila · 07/21/2021
                  Thanks much! I appreciate you taking the time to respond and send photos.  Yes you are probably right it would be darker.  Unfortunately I don't have time to do tests, need to get done asap. Thanks again
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Vinnie · 07/19/2021
    Does anyone have pictures of their deck with cottage grey railings and dark walnut floors on pressure treated?Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2021
      We do not of this combination. It would look great!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James R Peters · 07/19/2021
    I am about to use your stripper and brightener on my deck using your Chapin 2G sprayer.  The sprayer has three nozzles: fine, medium, and coarse.  Do you recommend one nozzle in particular?  (I know this is not exactly a profound question).  Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Suzanne Springate · 07/19/2021
    I used the 3 step process on my deck last spring (2020). I didn't expect too much because the deck was poorly constructed and had some old paint/stains that had weathered over many years of neglect.  After the three step process, it looked great.  However, after a harsh winter, it has faded quite a bit and I want to stain again.  What do I need to do for the prep?  All 3 steps again?
    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2021
      Clean lightly with the RAD Cleaner. You can mix at 2-3 oz of powder per gallon of water. Brightener to neutralize. One coat of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Terry Manahan · 07/19/2021
    I purchased the stripper (and booster) and brightner for our deck. We have some new wood that has been installed and some that will be installed later this fall. My question is, could I go ahead and strip and brighten the remainder of the deck and then stain all of it next spring? I would have to clean and brighten then, correct? I am just anxious to get what is out there stripped off (oil based stain). I know that the new wood has to have time to weather a bit. When it comes time to stain, would the RAD semi solid stain blend the old and new woods together fairly well or would I have to go with a solid stain? Thanks for your help!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/19/2021
      You can strip and brighen now and then weather it all until Spring for the final clean and brighen step. New wood will stain lighter in color the first time applying when using the semi-transparent colors.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Terry Manahan · 07/22/2021
        Well, yesterday and today I stripped and brightened our screened in deck that hasn't been stained in at least 10 years. Holy cow. Your stuff is amazing!! It was very simple to do, although a bit time consuming because of all of our extra trim pieces for the screens on our deck. I do have one question. There are some spots of stain that I missed on some of the extra pieces of trim. I am not planning to stain until next spring/summer because we have some new wood that needs to weather first. Next spring, can I reapply some of the stripper to just the areas that didn't get stripped very well today and then continue with the brightening and staining? I know I will need to purchase cleaner next spring for the remainder of the deck. Thanks again for your help!
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    Gladys Rao · 07/18/2021
    We have an ipe deck that we want to return to its natural color and grey in the sun.  Half of the deck looks good because it is in the sun and is a uniform grey.  The other half that is in the shade has not faded and has water stains and old stain still on it.  Can we strip the shaded side and encourage it to fade? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/18/2021
      No, it is not possible to only prep half the deck.  You would have to prep all to remove the old stain and the graying to is is one even color and then start the natural graying process again. 
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    Deb C · 07/18/2021
    Used the stripper, conditioner, all with power washer. Stained deck. Looked good. But didn’t have enough. Ordered 5 gallons of burnt hickory,  but needed 3 gallons more, put on the last gallon, and touched up a few spots that stain had soaked in. completely different color. Now my deck is a mess. What do I do??
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/18/2021
      You will need to strip it all off and then brighen to start over. Not sure what brand of stain you are using but it is not our brand.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Deb C · 07/18/2021
        I am so sorry, you are completely right, it was not your brand. Feel a little foolish but I can’t delete it. Believe me, I wish I would of went with your brand. If you can delete my comment, please do. My apologies.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/18/2021
          Well after you strip and brighten it you can use our stains going forward :)
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    Mike W · 07/17/2021
    Hello, we are looking to restore out 500 Sq ft deck.Wood: unknown Approximate age: 15 years? Not actually surePrevious stain: looks like paintWe do have access to a pressure washer
    What products would you reccomend? I would also like to build a small privacy fence on one end of the deck that I would like to protect with a stain/oil.
    Below pics show some of the worst areas. We will be removing the ballisters and not treating them. 
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    ROBERT A. FLOUNDERS · 07/15/2021
    I have a new pressure treaded deck, it has cured for 14 months now. I want to stain it, but not sure of the amount of stain I need. The size is 1050 sq ft and the railings are to different sizes, one is 40 x 4 and the other is 64 x 6. when I used your calculator it said I need 17 gallons of stain and 4 kits of cleaner and brightener, for 2 coat, and then it said 2/3 for 1 coat. So that mean that I only need 4 kits of cleaner and brightener and 13 gallons of stain for one coat.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/16/2021
      What was the total sq footage of all wood added up?
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    Mitch Huffield · 07/15/2021
    I used your RAD dark walnut stain on my dock last year after power washing cleaning and brightening using your products.  The dock still looks good and I want to keep it that way.  The dock sits on the water year around in northwest Montana so it is exposed to all four seasons including temperature extremes from 100F in summer to -40F in winter and obviously ice and deep snow covering the lake in winter.   I should add that this dock is 3 years old this year and I have only used RAD products since it was new,  However I stained the dock the first year prematurely and did not allow the new wood enough time to weather.  As a result I had to thoroughly power wash, clean and brighten all over again last year.  this is the first year the treatment has held up for the full year.     I would like to apply another coat this year to help preserve and extend the life of the stain going forward and I have a couple of questions:
    1. Do you recommend applying a new coat (or 2) over the wood already stained wit RAD a year ago that still looks good with minimal fading or bleached areas?
    2.  If you do recommend applying a new coat (2?) will I need to clean and brighten again before applying?
    3.  Will applying a new coat extend the life of the stain by doing this or am I better to wait until the dock starts to fade more and show signs of needing a new stain application?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2021
      1. You do not have to add a coat this year. You can if you want but waiting until next Spring is okay.2. Clean and brighten when you recoat is correct.3. No advantage to doing it now or next year.
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    Kevin Wike · 07/14/2021
    L-shaped deck: Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 550 SF
    1st area is open to weather: 290 SF (this wood is not in as good a shape as 2nd area)
    2nd area is covered by roof: 260 SF (this wood is like new never being exposed to snow/rain)

    Type of wood if known: pressure treated
    Approximate Age of Wood: 10+
    Previous Stain Brand Used and Type: semi transparent not sure of brand but possibly Behr
    When was the last time wood was stained: Not sure but believe 10+ years
    Wood Type to be Stained: Deck
    Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes
    Miscellaneous Info: 4 photos uploaded showing before and after(after photos show both areas after power washing and then sanding) Note: All sanding was done with 60 grit sandpaper.

    At this point should I order a Restore-A-Deck kit to clean and brighten before staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2021
      Yes, use the Cleaner and then the Brightener for prep. Stain with one coat of the RAD Stain.
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    Lil · 07/14/2021
    We had a new deck built 2 years ago. We used the RAD semi transparent light Walnut stain, after a year of weathering, cleaning and brightening. We are 12-18 months out and are ready to do 2nd stain.  We have several questions. 1. Should we clean and brighten again before staining? 2. Can we apply the Cottage Gray stain over the Light Walnut if we want to tone it down.  The light Walnut came out too warm tone.  We don't expect it to look like the Cottage gray sample.  Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/14/2021
      1. Yes on the prep.2. You should strip and brighten if you want to switch to Cottage Gray.
      Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James R Peters · 07/13/2021
    My question has probably been answered previously, but I cannot find the answer.  I would like to strip my entire deck (about 450 square ft plus railing) before beginning to apply the brightener.   The stripping process may well take about 2-4 hours.  What is the maximum time I can wait, if necessary, to start the brightening process?  Thank you! 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/14/2021
      Just apply the brightener as soon as you are done with the stripping and rinsing.