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
    Ed · 08/25/2022
    Stained with TWP 100 last year. Want to do a light cleaning for maintenance this year and will plan on restraining next year. What should I do for this years light cleaning? Should I use a cleaner and brightens or just some dish soap and water? (Will use RAD cleaner and brightener next year before restraining.)
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      RAD Products · 08/26/2022
      The prep products should only be used when recoating. Try dish soap and water.
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        Ed · 08/26/2022
        Thank you!
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          RAD Products · 08/26/2022
          If needed, use a soft brush like the one you use to wash a car.
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    Betty D · 08/23/2022
    I have a ten year old deck, made with pressure treated wood, probably spruce, maybe pine. I used the cleaner and brightener and then we got two days of intermittent rain. Today looks clear. Can I stain once the deck is dry, or is there an issue due to the 2 day delay? 
    Thanks. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/23/2022
      That depends on what stain brand you are using?
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        Betty D · 08/23/2022
        Yours of course! cottage grey
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          Betty · 08/24/2022
          In the absence of a reply, I had to go ahead and stain while the conditions were good. This is me doing the first coat. I love the wide brush, the stain went on evenly and smoothly.
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    Justin · 08/23/2022
    I took a deck board to SW to have them tell me what's on it, they say it is a solid latex stain (I thought that was paint) and they recommended SuperDeck Deck and Dock. What, if anything, can I do to successfully apply your semi-solid stain? If nothing, will your solid stain go over it? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/23/2022
      You would have to sand off a solid stain if you want to use the semi-transparent. If you do not want to sand it all off then remove the peeling solid stain and cover the intact solid stain with the RAD Solid Stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James · 08/22/2022
    I've watched a lot of videos and researched your site. You say that on a continuous deck board to apply the stain without a break. My project is a porch rather than a deck.  About 6' wide but then has a handrail that is 4" off the surface then porch extends about 9" underneath and outside the handrail. No way to cover the board without a break.
    Can you spray the semi transparent stain with an airless
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/23/2022
      You can spray and yes you can continue with a wet edge under the rails and then all the way across. 
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    Kathy · 08/22/2022
    There is a rubber membrane roof under my porch deck. Will RAD stripper damage the membrane?
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    Tara Muscovich · 08/21/2022
    Returning customer with different deck.  3 month old pressure treated pine floor (painted rails) 12 x 21 ft.  (Calculator says 283 with steps.)  Happy with the products on my last deck and understand I must use cleaner and brightener before staining.  I have a gallon of cedar stain left from 2 or 3 years ago.  Can I use it?  How many coats of stain do I need on new wood?  Do you sell the 2.5 gal jugs (as my leftover is?). Thanks 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Forrest Lyons · 08/19/2022
    Here are some pictures of my deck I can’t send through Amazon.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/20/2022
      The issue you have is that what is on the deck is a solid/opaque stain, not semi-transparent. Behr, lies about its opacity, and when you look at your stain, it clearly shows no wood grain through the coating.

      Our stripper clearly states that it will not remove a solid/opaque stain as you have on your wood. You will have to sand to fully remove it.

      We would appreciate it if you removed your review on Amazon as it is incorrect to the product description. Let us know if you will be able to do this. Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Justin · 08/19/2022
    Do you sell the solid stains in a 5gal bucket?
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    JG · 08/18/2022
    I have a 12+ year old IPE deck in Florida that I stripped, cleaned, & brightened 3 years ago. I have cleaned/brightened each year since. This year I would like the wood finished so it has that beautiful red/mahogony finish. I was thinking I would clean and brighten again and then apply oil or stain. Is this the right approach, and what product do I finish the IPE with?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sandy Sterling · 08/17/2022
    Used the prep and sanded (60 grit) to remove some old stain to get down to the wood(cedar). Do I really need to clean and brighten again? Don’t you need to sand after using brightened?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/17/2022
      Yes, you should clean and brighten to open up the wood grain for the stain. Sanding closes the grain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ter · 09/03/2022
        I have also have a question about cedar deck.   I'm sanding removing sikkens oil based stain .   Do I need to use the cleaner after sanding or can I use RAD brightener to open up the wood grain before RAD stain ?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joe Bernardy · 08/15/2022
    I used the Brightener after cleaning the deck a couple times - once a couple weeks ago (no brightener used) and then cleaned again today withe the brightener used immediately after. 

    As the wood is drying it is drying an almost whiteish hue, not gray. The deck is pine and about 5 years old. This is the first time power washing-cleaning-then using brightener. 

    Is turning that whiteish hue normal as it dries?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Hugh · 08/15/2022
    What do you recommend for restoring the color of an Ipe deck,  I just cleaned it and it is a light gray color.  I am hoping for the original natural light brown color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ian · 08/14/2022
    Hello,

    I finished a new deck with Restore-a-Deck two years ago. The winters are harsh in Chicago, so I'm thinking it's time for a touch-up. I'm planning on using the same, semi-transparent natural color stain as last time. Do I need to use a stripper to remove the old stain first, or should I just clean, brighten and add another coat/touch-up?

    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brenda · 08/14/2022
    My deck has the Pittsburgh Paints restore solid color stain on it..hate it for obvious reasons...what prep do I need to do to apply your solid color stain over it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/14/2022
      Prep by removing all loose, peeling stain, dirt, and mildew. You can then cover the intact stain with a new coat of solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Fern · 08/12/2022
    My husband is replacing several uprights on our deck prior to re-staining. He's stained the new pieces with the old stain so they're close to matching the rest of the deck prior to restaining. (He didn't want the new stain to look different on the new vs. old wood.) We're planning to use the opaque cedar Restore-a-Deck stain (after stripping and brightening, of course). Should he not have stained the new wood? What should we do from here?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Colleen Bethurem · 08/12/2022
    I mixed my Restore-a-deck stripper this morning, then realized I needed to complete more prep work.  Will the mixed Stripper last for 24 hours after mixing, to apply?  Is it better to apply the stripper in the evening during a very hot day, or wait until morning.
    How long to I have to wait before applying Armstrong Stain, after brightening with Restore-a-deck Brightener?
    thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/12/2022
      The stripper will not go bad. Apply when 90 or less and mist with water to keep from drying out. Stain 48 hours after prep with the AC stains. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robyn · 08/09/2022
    Can I paint over Restore-A-Deck to get the color I want?  If so, what is the best kind of paint to use?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/10/2022
      We would never suggest using a paint on a deck as it will lead to peeling but yes, you could paint over it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike · 08/09/2022
    Can I mix two colors of RAD simi transparent stain? I'd like to warm up the cottage grey a bit.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    T111 · 08/08/2022
    I am updating (resuscitating?) a 25-30 year old deck (50 sf) and stairway (100 sf) on a California house.
    -    Both are probably redwood, but the stairway addition could be cedar.
    -    They are east and west facing respectively and both get a good deal of sun since the house is perched on a hill without shade/trees nearby.
    -    They show NO signs of stain or protection and have seen better days.
    -    I have carefully power washed, brightened, and reinforced the loose boards and they look remarkably better already. Now it’s time to protect them.
    -    I am planning to use a semi-transparent or more likely semi-solid (assuming I can find the right product/base and color combination).

    …I think you’ll recommend the Restore A Deck water based system, but am open to oil-based options and would appreciate your recommendations for both.

    Also, after reading (almost!) every Q&A and review on this site, most people seem happy with their newly stained decks shortly after the application, but do they have tangible feedback – actually, photos – after say, years 2 or 3? For RAD, there’s a photo from Alexandra after one year with dogs, but what does the average wear and tear look like? (I am a firm believer in doing it right the first time – and maintenance – but would like to know what’s really involved once you’ve made a product selection.) Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/09/2022
      Best would be the semi-transparent RAD Stain. As for the time to redo, it is normal to clean and brighen and then recoat a deck every 2-3 years. No stain will last longer than this on a deck floor.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        T111 · 08/19/2022
        Yes, RAD semi-transparent would be a good fit... I was thinking about using a semi-solid stain (for extra protection and coverage since the deck is showing age), but now realize there is no RAD product in semi-solid!).
        1) What bout Armstrong Clark in semi-solid? Would you recommend one over the other, if so, why?
        2) Your website sells TWP products, has anyone tried the TWP Water Series?

        Re: application and maintenance:
        I've used oil stains before and am ok with oil or water-based recommendations, as long as they perform (and are CA/VOC compliant).
        1) Which product(s) perform the best (based on deck/stairs above)?
        2) Which is the easiest to redo?
        3) Can you proactively redo in years 1 or 2 (light clean/recoat only, without "2nd coat issues") before a full redo is needed (deep clean/brighten/stain)?
        Thanks!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/19/2022
          1. AC has good semi-solids.
          2. We do not sell their water-based.

          -All we sell will perform the same
          -All can be cleaned and recoated as needed.
          -Prep is the same no matter what if 1 year or 3 years later.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            T111 · 08/19/2022
            Thanks, last one (I think). Will semi-transparent hold up (and protect) as well as semi-solid, or is that just a theory I heard at my local hardware shop? I do like the natural wood grain look of transparent and semi-transparent products, but am afraid this wood may be too old...
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/19/2022
              More pigment = better UV protection but you will still have to redo every 2-3 years on a deck for eithr/.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 08/08/2022
    As I mentioned below, I finished my deck a week ago. When can I go over the existing stain with another coat? I have stain left over. Also, in future, how long to wait before apply a new coat? Is there a recommened frequency for re staining? I dont want to have to strip again, so I want to keep up on the maintenance. Thanks! 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/08/2022
      You can lightly clean and recoat next Spring at the earliest. Prep and recoat every 2-3 years or as needed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brian · 08/07/2022
    I have a 32'x16' deck. I have replaced about half of the boards with MicroPro Sienna pressure treated 5/4 SPF boards. The remaining boards are about 15 years old and have a solid light grey stain that has pealed quite a bit in some areas but remains well adhered in other areas. I tried using BEHR Premium Wood Stain and Finish Stripper to remove the stain but found it wasn't very effective. I had to use a wire brush and a lot of elbow grease to remove the stain that was still adhering to the wood.

    Questions:

    1) What stain product would you recommend to finish the deck that would result in the lowest long-term maintenance effort? Semi-transparent or solid, water based or oil based?

    2) What preparation do you recommend for the product recommended?

    Thanks very much for your assistance!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary Szymanski · 08/06/2022
    Do I need to use the RAD stripper and brightner if my deck was stained two years ago with 1500 rustic and I want to use the same 1500 rustic now?   I plan to power wash deck before staining.  I live in upstate NY finger lakes region next to lake.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/07/2022
      If using the same color and stain as prior, use the Cleaner and Brightener for prep.
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    Zena · 08/03/2022
    What do I need to buy to stain our deck? Here is information and photos of my deck:
    1) Approximately 1151sf (this includes the benches and stair)
    2) Cedar
    3) Age of wood unknown 
    4) Deck installed one year ago; haven't stained it yet because I wanted to let it weather
    5) Will rent a pressure washer

    When I purchase the products, will there be instructions on what to do from start to finish? I'm not a DIY type of person, so this will be a big project for me.

    Do I need to sand the deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ryan · 08/02/2022
    2 Years ago I used RAD Stripper and Brightener and then stained with TWP 100 Cedartone.  I'm not thrilled with the performance of the TWP on the horizontal surfaces. I'm in Kansas so the deck suffers temps up to 100F degrees in the summer and below 0F in the winter.  I am thinking of trying the RAD semi transparent Cedar stain this time.  Do I need to use RAD Stripper to remove the existing TWP or just the RAD cleaner then brightener? Or would it just be best to stick with the TWP?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2022
      Strip and Brighten for prep. Try switching.
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    David · 08/01/2022
    Here are pics of the peeling stain....
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    David · 08/01/2022
    My deck has a (pealing) semi-transparent stain. To get the best results, from reading these posts, do I need to strip the deck of the previous stain prior to using the cleaner/brightener kit? I am ready to start this project ASAP. Will my kit work satisfactorily with a strip product that is not a RAD product? Recommendations of strip product I can purchase locally.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2022
      We need to know the brand you are stripping and see pics, to offer proper advice.
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    Kay Schulz · 07/31/2022
    I striped an oil based product off of my western red cedar greenhouse two years ago and used restore a deck stain.  Have been very pleased.  However the side of the greenhouse that takes most of the sun and rain needs to be resealed.  Do I have  to use stripper or can I use the cleaner and brightener that I used two years ago?  The cleaner was very effective at cleaning all of the old stain, mold and algae.  Your stain restored the natural beauty of the cedar. I will be using your stain again.  It did not grow mold or algae as the previous product did.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2022
      No need to strip. Clean and then brighten.
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    Ann Breard · 07/31/2022
    ok have started the stripping process,  today may be 1- week before getting back on project,  should i put the brightner on it now after stripping or closer to when staining,  and if i put it on now the wood is wet that is ok?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2022
      Right after stripping, while wood is wet is best.
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        Ann Breard · 08/01/2022
        ok did not have the time to get that done, now it is dry ,  can i wait and put the brightner on a week before i stain?
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    Joe · 07/31/2022
    Will the brightener work as well if applied after using a cleaner from a different manufacturer or is it very specific to be used only after using the RAD cleaner?

    This general cleaner I used, which was used earlier this summer for another job, said it would remove mold, moss and mildew.  After cleaning and when the floor boards were still wet you could still see green.  Now that the boards have dried out overnight they have turned a light gray and no color.  I am thinking that rather than put on the RAD brightener now to wait until Fall and clean the boards again then put on the brightener.  Thoughts?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2022
      No, just brighten, and then stain is all you have to do now. The green was internal and will go away. Brighten always has to be done after stripping and or cleaning the lower the pH balance. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Joe · 08/01/2022
        Thank you for your reply. I did the cleaning on this past Saturday. How many days do I have following the cleaning to apply the brightener?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/01/2022
          Brightener is supposed to be the same day as the cleaning or as soon as possible.
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    Daniel · 07/29/2022
    I’ve purchased the kit. What’s the best way to apply step 1 and 2 (strip and brighten)? Can I use a pump sprayer that will pressurize the solution? Or should it not be pressurized/depressurized? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/30/2022
      Apply with a pump sprayer and then pressure wash off.