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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    lisa · 10/02/2021
    how long does it need to dry?  the restore-a-deck water-based stain?  i'm not finding this anywhere?!!?  surely i'm missing it?!  trying to stain today, but rain forecast for tomorrow. 
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    Michelle S. · 10/02/2021
    Hello, I have an approximately 8x9 foot treehouse to stain. The wood is pressure-treated pine and most of it is a year old. The vertical slats on the sides are two months old. None of the wood has never been stained before. What do I order? 
    Thank you!Michelle
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      RAD Products · 10/02/2021
      Use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep. Then stain with one coat of the semi transparent stain. 
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        Michelle S. · 10/02/2021
        Thanks! And is it okay to do it now, with most of the wood 12 months old and some of the wood 2 months old? Or should I wait until spring?
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      Michelle S. · 10/02/2021
      Oh, and it's really just a deck mounted up in a tree--it's not an enclosed house. Thank you!Michelle
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    Earl · 09/30/2021
    Hello....I purchased the combo Stripper and Brightener earlier this year.Starting the project I realized that the deck boards would need to be all removed and replaced.Deck-Over on the deck ruined the boards. It would not strip off nor sand off very easy.Would have taken all summer just to get it off the decking. A real mess it made.My deck is 16' x 24', Rail length is total of 31'; Rail Ht is 37.5"; 3 Steps at 6.5 ft wide; 64 balusters each 42" long made of 2x2.   I replaced all decking with Pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine.  It sat in my driveway as delivered for approx 1.5 months.  It is now all in place. I do have a pressure washer. Questions:1) Do I need to sand the new wood after it sets for a few months (if sitting is needed)2) Since I already have the product, can I use the Stripper vs buying Cleaner?3) Since wood sat for so long, do I need to leave it on deck for 2-3 months and then do the cleaning/staining?4) Going to use the Solid on railings and Semi Transparent on Deck, should we do the railings first, then the deck and then do each baluster prior to installing them? That seems to be logical from an overspray perspective. Thank you for such a great product and site!
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      RAD Products · 09/30/2021
      See here about new wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html
      You need the cleaner, not the stripper for prep. Does not matter if you do the rails or deck first. You will not be spraying your stains when doing a two toned deck. All handwork will be needed.
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        Earl · 10/03/2021
        Thanks for info.I didn't mention that all railings and balusters are not new. I sanded all of that to remove solid stain that was on them using handheld orbital sander with 60 grit.Question:Should I use the Stripper on those items and Cleaner just on new decking boards or just cleaner on all?We'd like to solid the railings and balusters now prior to winter (Rochester N.Y.) to preserve that wood and then clean/semi-transparent stain new decking boards in Spring.Does that plan sound right?Thank you so much!
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          RAD Products · 10/03/2021
          Cleaner on all. You can break it up.  
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    John · 09/30/2021
    I will be using your stripper product as well as sanding where needed on deck verticals with previous application of behr solid stain. Do I need to use your brightener product as well? Thanks
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    John · 09/30/2021
    Can I apply your solid stain over wood filler?
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    Greg · 09/29/2021
    Ok I used the cleaner and brightener on my pressure treated deck. Dark walnut semi transparent stain. I applied this section of the deck in the evening on damp wood. It looked good until morning. I noticed white beads from the morning dew on the deck. After the wood dried up from the morning dew it left white streaks as if the stain did not take. Could it have not been rinsed enough prior to staining. I used same procedure on another section and had no problems.  Looking for suggestions as to why and what I need to do to fix it. Also this area is were we get in and out of our pool all summer so it gets a lot of chlorine water on it. Thanks Greg  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/29/2021
      That happened due to not rinsing the brightener fully and this causes a reaction. Try recoating one board and see if that fixes before attempting to recoat all.
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    Rod · 09/29/2021
    Few questions:1. I am stripping the cedar in my entire outdoor living area (6 yrs old) - ceiling, railing, deck.  In reading your instructions, I assume I would put 1 coat on the railings and ceiling, and 2 coats on the deck. Is that correct? If so, will there be a coloration difference due to having differing numbers of coats of stain?  Or is 6 years considered "old wood" and it all should get 2 coats per your instructions?2. If some of the wood is damp from stripping/whitening when I apply the stain, will there be a difference in coloration between the wood that was damp compared to the wood that was dry?  3. Is the 100-200 ft coverage from a gallon assuming 1 coat? Or would 1 gallon enable 2 coats on 100-200 ft?4. Is it best to mist before staining even if the surface area is not in the sun, or is that for just when the surface area is in the sun?Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/29/2021
      1. You can do one coat on verticals/ceiling and two on floors and the color will all be the same. 2. No.3. Yes.4. Does not matter.
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        Rod · 09/29/2021
        Thank you for the quick reply!
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    Jay G · 09/25/2021
    Pictures related to my earlier question.
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    JT · 09/25/2021
    Hello.  I used pressure treated cedar pickets from Home Depot and posts, with the fence having been built last year - 11/15/2020. I did wash the fence with Oxiclean about a week ago.

     My funds are rather limited at this time, so I am wondering if I need to use the brightener, and if for this first application of RAD semi-transparent waterbase stain I can use just one coat? I've attached a photo of my fence...which is the one in the foreground.  I will stain it in October before it gets too cold.

    How long can I keep any leftover stain?  I hope to set up a savings plan for next spring and apply however many coats you think should be applied then.  I'll continue each spring.  Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/26/2021
      You can stain it now. One coat will work until you can get another coat on.
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    John · 09/25/2021
    Hello, I have a front and back porch (approx 200 sq ft total) made of an exotic hardwood. The previous owner thinks it is acacia, but not sure. I used a semitransparent stain from the hardware store that is not holding up well, likely bc it would not penetrate the hardwood.  The picture with two tones shows where the wood was covered by an outdoor rug.  In the front, which gets direct light in the am, there is cupping. My plan, in order, is to use the RAD stripper, brightener, sand lightly in the back and more the front (to reduce cupping), and then RAD semitransparent stain. Should I sand the deck lightly to improve absorption with 80 grit random orbital after brightener, and can I do that while it is still wet?  Should I only sand the front, to reduce cupping?  Do the darker stains provide better UV protection?  I have seen conflicting information about doing multiple coats. What do you recommend?  Thank you.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/26/2021
      Do not sand. Strip and brighten for prep. Just one coat for hardwoods. Most use Light Walnut for hardwoods.
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        John · 09/26/2021
        Thank you!  Do you find applicators or brushes are better for consistent application on exotic hardwoods?  I am prone to over apply. Thanks. 
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          RAD Products · 09/27/2021
          The yellow deck floor brush is the easiest.
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            J · 09/30/2021
            One coat of the semi transparent stain or two on e optic hardwoods? 
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    Jay G · 09/25/2021
    Yesterday I applied the stripper, rinsed thoroughly, applied the brightener, and rinsed again.  This morning my pine stairs are covered with white splotches.  They wipe off easily.  Temperature overnight got down to the low 40’s. What are the white splotches?  What is the best way to remove them?  Do I need to rinse again, or apply stripper or brightener again?
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      RAD Products · 09/26/2021
      Post a picture.
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        RAD Products · 09/26/2021
        That is oxidized wood fibers that you did not remove fully. Give it a good pressure wash for prep. If needed, lightly hand sand as well.
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    RJ · 09/25/2021
    RJ · 09/25/2021
    I’ve got a pretty large deck and will be working alone. It will take more than an hour to put the first coat on it I start and go across all of the deck. Can I do it in smaller sections and apply the second coat before moving to the next section? Will the sections match? Sorry if this is a repeat.   Thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2021
      It may not blend if you do it in sections. Best to do first coat all at once and then go back and do the second coat. 
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    Eddie · 09/24/2021
    Have a tigerwood deck to which I applied Messmers semi transparent oil stain more than 10 years ago. I am now trying to strip and restain. I applied Restore-A-Deck Stripper and scrubbed, but not all of the stain has been removed. Am ready to apply more Stripper, but wondered if there is more I should be doing? Would renting a floor polisher with a pad work? Do I need to sand? Would like advice before I spend more $. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2021
      Messmers is very easy to strip. Apply the stripper and then pressure wash off. Brighten the wood after.
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    rob · 09/24/2021
    I'm stripping and staining my Ipe deck using RAD products. Yesterday I used the stripper with both additives, scrubbed and then power washed. This morning I have some yellowing on the stairs and in some other spots. See pictures; Please advise: what can I do about this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2021
      You have pressure wash damage from getting too close to the wood. It left marks all over the wood and gauged it as well. You may need to sand to fix these marks. Also, you have to brightener the wood after stripping to neutralize.
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    KIPP KARAVANICH · 09/24/2021
    It has been a year since my first coat of Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain. What all do I need to do to prep for the second coat? Thanks. Any other special instructions for the second coat?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/24/2021
      Just clean and brighten for prep. 
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        KIPP KARAVANICH · 09/24/2021
        The deck is in pretty good shape. Do I need to use One Restore-A-Deck Step 1 Wood Cleaner, and One Restore-A-Deck Step 2 Wood Brightener, or just a general cleaning with water?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/25/2021
          Use both the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep.
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    Mike Carter · 09/23/2021
    I love your products. I used them last year and am very happy. I would like to recoat this fall. Should I just clean and brighten and recoat? I use your semi-transparent stain.
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    Steve · 09/23/2021
    Last year I used a transparent acrylic latex sealant on my cedar deck. I would like to remove it. Do I need to use a stripper or will the cleaner suffice?
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      RAD Products · 09/24/2021
      Please post some pictures here for prep help. 
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    Michael · 09/23/2021
    I'm going to be using RAD cleaner, brightner and semi transparent stain on a 100 foot PTP fence and want to know if the cleaner or brightner will harm or discolor the black gate hinges and handles?
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      RAD Products · 09/23/2021
      It should not but always test first. 
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    Jim B · 09/22/2021
    Hello. I am in the middle of power washing my cedar deck. The power washing alone is removing most of the RAD stain, which is three years old. My question is can I strip and brighten the deck this afternoon or should I wait for it to dry off. If so, how long? Thank you
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    Jim · 09/22/2021
    Hello. I am in the middle of power washing my cedar deck. The power washing alone is removing most of the RAD stain, which is three years old. My question is can I strip and brighten the deck this afternoon or should I wait for it to dry off. If so, how long? Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/22/2021
      You can strip and brighten now.
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        Jim B · 09/22/2021
        Thanks.  The cedar boards are stripped and look very clean.  Would it make sense to leave them as is, and do cleaning, brightening and staining in the spring?  The Chicago winters have been hard in the stain. If I wait, they will have a fresh start in the spring.
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    Laurie A Higgins · 09/21/2021
    Will RAD solid stain completely cover wood filler as if it wasnt there? We want to use the Espresso color. Our deck is quite old and needed wood filler to make the upper railing smooth again. I know we cant use semi-transparent stain.  Thank you!!
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    Joy · 09/21/2021
    My deck has been sanded but still has stain in the grooves and on the edges. We plan to use the stripper to get this remaining stain off the deck. However we have had solid rain for the past two days and now the sanded boards are full of moisture. The attached photo shows the uncovered portion of the deck that has had rain for two days and the covered area that gets no rain or direct sun. How will I know that the wood is ready for the stripper? We have already purchased stripper, brightener, and cedar tinted stain. We are looking forward to restoring our 20 year old deck with your product.
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    Kevin · 09/19/2021
    I just finished doing my entire deck and face boards with your products (Sanded, cleaner, brightener and semi transparent stain).  I must say it looks fabulous.   My question for you is:  our mountain house is in high country(almost 10,000 feet altitude on the western slope of Colorado).  It's not unusual to get over 200" of snow in the winter.  Half of my deck is unprotected, the other half is under roof. We close the house for the winter.    I'm thinking of putting down a vinyl tarp over the unprotected part of the deck to protect the deck from snow laying on the deck all winter.   Do you think this is a good idea?
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      RAD Products · 09/19/2021
      I doubt it would harm anything if you do. 
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    Lynn · 09/19/2021
    Have wood gazebo by river. Always damp. What products to use to clean mold off and what product to apply to preserve  Wood never dries out
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/19/2021
      RAD Cleaner and Brightener Kit and then the RAD Stains will work.
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    David · 09/18/2021
    How long after applying and removing the stripper can I wait before applying the brightener?
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    Robert Dorries · 09/17/2021
    What would be the directions/procedures to just clean my deck with Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and Brightner without removing any of the current TWP stain in order to apply a maintenance coat of the same stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/19/2021
      It does not work that way. Some of the TWP will come off during prep for recoating and that is okay and is what is intended. 
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    Betty · 09/16/2021
    I have a ten year old pressure-treated deck. I have stained it in the past and scrubbed it to get the pollen etc off. It's now looking worn and it's slippery when wet, so today I pressure washed it. I plan to sand it. I like the cottage grey stain and just want to know what other prep is needed after the pressure washing and sanding. 
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      RAD Products · 09/17/2021
      Post some pictures here so we can give proper prep advice.
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        Betty Dondertman · 09/17/2021
        Thank you for your quick response! The first picture is showing the washing in progress. The deck is north-facing and gets little sun this time of year, so when it gets wet, it stays wet a long time. It's about 300 sq ft altogether - it wraps around the cottage. The second pic shows the bare boards, after washing and before sanding. 
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          RAD Products · 09/17/2021
          You still have some dirt left in the wood. If you want to remove it so it does not show, then use the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kits.
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            Betty Dondertman · 09/17/2021
            OK, thanks! So, I would buy 5 gallons of stain and the cleaner/brightener products. We are on a lake - the land slopes down steeply from the cottage to the water. Are those products safe for the lake?  Also, we are in Ontario, north of Toronto. You ship to Canada, right? 
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              RAD Products · 09/17/2021
              We ship to Canada and are safe for the lake.
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                Betty Dondertman · 09/17/2021
                Thanks so much! One final question - if I use the cleaner and brightener, does that mean I won't need to sand as well, or should I sand before using those products? 
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                  RAD Products · 09/17/2021
                  You typically do not have to sand for prep.
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                    Betty D · 09/19/2021
                    How long does it typically take when shipping to Canada (Toronto, Ontario)?
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    Jeverett · 09/16/2021
    Hello! I love all Q/A and comments available on the site and we are completely in on using RAD. I've read as much as possible, but can't seem to come to a conclusion for our project. So here it goes:
    Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 530 sq ft
    Type of wood: unknown
    Approximate Age of Wood: unknown (estimate 7-10 years)
    Previous owners finished with what appears to be Behr advanced deckover paint - on top of another coat (different color) of Behr advanced deck over paint

    We do not have access to a pressure washer and attempted to stay away from harsh paint strippers. Prep work completed so far - Belt sanded each horizontal board down until we clear all old paint - medium grit beltOrbital sander used for railings and rough sand on spindlesScraped remaining loose paint that did not come off during sandingFilled holes and large board cracks with either Bondo wood filler or LOCTITE PL PremiumOld paint remains on spindles and areas of horizontal boards on the railingsApplied BEHR Premium 1 gal. All-In-One Wood and Deck Cleaner, left for 15 minutes, scrubbed with hard bristle brush and rinsed with a garden hoseWork completed on Monday (3-4 days ago) and one light rain since prep
    Based on other answers, it sounds like a RAD semi-transparent stain for the horizontal boards is best and we'll likely need to use another form of paint to recover the railings and spindles. 
    Questions.1. Given we've sanded the bottom horizontal boards down to clean wood and used the Behr all in one wood cleaner. Is the stripper, cleaner, or brightener still required?2. Since we could not get the spindles clear of paint. We cannot use a solid stain over it correct? We'd either have to remove the paint completely OR repaint over with a similar deck over product?3. Any concerns with using semi-transparent RAD stain based on the state of the wood or wood filler used?
    Before and current pictures attached.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/17/2021
      You could proabbly get away with using the RAD Solid stain on the rails based on the pictures.
      A wood filler should never be used with a semi-transparent stain. The filler will not stain to blend and will stand out looking very blotchy/white wherever used.
      It does not look like you removed all of the current coating from the floor so a semi-transparent color should not be used unless you can get all of the solid color off. You could use the solid stain here.
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        Jeverett · 09/17/2021
        Thank you very much for the quick reply! We can continue to remove the rest of the paint if we go the transparent route. We were concerned a solid stain on the bottom horizonal boards would peel faster. It is a roof top south facing deck that just gets hammered by the sun. We are planning on installing shade and rugs to help. Would you recommend solid stain for the bottom/horizontal boards rather than us trying to remove the balance of paint and use semi-transparent? We are more interested in longevity over aesthetics. Thanks again!
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          RAD Products · 09/17/2021
          A solid stain will last about the same as the semi-transparent. 2-3 years on a deck.
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    Rob · 09/16/2021
    Two questions for my IPE deck: 1) do you sell the 2 1/2 gallon stains individually? I only see them in packages of two on the site.2) Which color do you recommend for Ipe?
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      RAD Products · 09/16/2021
      1. We do not. You can buy 2 or 3 singles if needed.2. Light Walnut.
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        Rob · 09/16/2021
        Thanks, done. Hey what are shipping times to Nashville? 
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    Peter Tourin · 09/14/2021
    We have what appears to be a stain peneteration issue. This is a mahogany (Cambara) deck that was extended 2 years ago. The original deck is about 8 years old and was sealed with Pentafin. The 4ʻ extension is in the front of the photos, and most of the issue is on the new boards. The deck is about 550 sqft.
    Last year we sanded the deck with 60 and 80 grit, concentrating mostly on the old deck (it hadnʻt been maintained for 4-5 years, was weathered and a bit cupped). We then did cleaner/brightener/stain per your instructions. You can see that most of the coverage lasted well, but there are certain boards where it didnʻt. This may be because the newer decking came sealed one side, and the contractor may have installed some boards sealed side up and others sealed side down. 
    Your instructions for maintenance say that I should clean and stain, but Iʻm worried about those boards that are starting to gray out. From the photos, would you recommend sanding the entire deck again, concentrating on the "bad boards", or would you try a maintenance coat of cleaner/stain and see how it works out?
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      RAD Products · 09/16/2021
      Sorry, did not see the question. Clean and brighten for prep and then apply one coat.
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        RAD Products · 09/16/2021
        Your wood type being a hardwood will require annual maintenance.