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
    CATHERINE JONES · 05/16/2022
    I had my deck stained and unfortunately it was the wrong color, please let me know what I need to do to get it back to natural wood so I can stain it the correct color
    Thank you so much
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    Bozz1972 · 05/16/2022
    Are any of your products available in Canada?
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      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Online only and we can ship to Canada.
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    CATHY J · 05/16/2022
    I had my deck stained while I was at work...unfortunately it wasn't the color I chose. Please help as to what I need to strip so I can stain it the correct color. Thank you in advance
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      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      We would need to see pics and know the stain brand and type of stain that was used for help.
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        CATHERINE JONES · 05/16/2022
        please see question under Catherine Jones....for some reason it didn't attach
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          RAD Products · 05/16/2022
          We still need to know the stain brand and type of stain that was used.
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    Doug · 05/16/2022
    Hello, had my house power washed this weekend. It needed it. Used a local power washing company who I've used several times before. This time, for no extra charge he stripped about 80% of the stain off my PT yellow pine deck. The stain was only 2 years old and looked great. When I asked him why he did it he said that he just helped it and it was coming off. I didn't wish to argue and that is not why I am posting. Background as to what products I used in Sep 2020 and have on hand now: RAD Deck Stain Stripper followed by Citralic Brightener/Neutralizer. The stain is Armstrong-Clark Chestnut Semi-Transparent. Followed all directions and deck looked fantastic. So, what do I do now? Strip remaining stain off and start over? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Yes, strip and then brighen and then restain with same as prior.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Doug · 05/16/2022
        Thanks, I was afraid of that. If I use this company again, is there a way to avoid this? Even if he doesn't pressure wash the deck directly, what is applied to the vinyl house siding above will inevitably end up on my deck. 
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          RAD Products · 05/16/2022
          No way to avoid this if he is using any chemicals that can harm the deck stain.
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    Ed · 05/16/2022
    Our deck is just under 2 years old. It had some cupping and a lot of weathering. I just sanded, cleaned and brightened it. It came out pretty clean and bright but there is some color variation where some looks like brand new wood and some is a little darker brown. It is particularly noticeable on edges where the cupping was sanded. I would like a nice even coloring when stained.  Would another round of brightener have any effect evening in out or will the stain alone even it out?
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      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      No, the only way to even out the uneven sanding areas is to sand all the wood evenly with 60-80 grit.
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        Ed · 05/16/2022
        Ok. If I sand again do I need to reapply the cleaner or just the brightener?
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    Kim · 05/15/2022
    Hi. I have a 30 year old deck that is 13 x 24 plus 15 stairs and two 4x4 landings. It most recently was stained with Behr deck over on the deck and solid stain on the spindles and hand rails. Due to peeling, we have now finally sanded down the deck boards to the wood (98%] and sanded the loose paint off the spindles. Our next plan is to clean and brighten. Then stain with a solid stain (we bought Flood solid stain)
    My concern and question is: it’s a big deck and I don’t have a full day or days to spend on it. I can probably consistently work for 3 hours each day. How do I do this? At what points can I stop and let it sit overnight? At what stages can the deck take rain?
    Can I do small sections? Should I do all the railing first (it’s a 2nd story deck so there is lots of it)? Or should to do sections of railing and decking together?
    I plan to obviously get the whole deck cleaned and brightened before staining. Can I clean over the course of a few days, then brighten over a few days then stain over a few days? I also plan to do two coats of stain. Do I stain the railings or deck first? That’s lots of questions so thanks for the guidance you can give.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2022
      Do all the prep on one day for the best results. Your deck size should allow this.

      As far as the stain application, you would have to contact Flood for advice as to if you can break it up into separate days.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kim · 05/16/2022
        If I can’t get the prep work all doe in one day, what is the best way to break it up?
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          RAD Products · 05/16/2022
          It should be easily done within one day since you already sanded the deck. No more than a few hours. Use a pressure washer while working to make it faster and more efficient.
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    Edward Vargas · 05/15/2022
    Stained new deck late summer last year with one coat. It came out uneven in places and sun is on the deck all day. Can I use deck cleaner, power wash, and add another coat?
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    Tony · 05/14/2022
    I will be restaining my cedar deck. How soon after using your cleaner can I use the brightener and how soon after the brightener can I stain?
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    Indigo · 05/14/2022
    I have a 30 year old deck that has been painted with Behr Solid Color Waterproofing Stain & Sealer in 2018. It’s held up until this year & now it’s peeling. Do I need to clean and brighten or just clean with a power washer?
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    Aumfwd · 05/12/2022
    Hello, I need to restain my Ipe wood dock. Are the cleaner and brightner toxic to fish or to anything in a pond environment?

    thanks
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    Andrew Goodman · 05/12/2022
    Or should we prep with any type of oil first?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/12/2022
      You do not prep with an oil. You prep with a deck cleaner and then a wood Brightener. 
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    Matthew Svirida · 05/12/2022
    I used restore a deck and stained my deck last year (old wood). I just want to clean my deck this year. Can I use the cleaner and brightener again? I'm not staining again. Just annual maintenance.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/12/2022
      No, our prep products should only be used when reapplying. Try warm water with some dish soap.
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    Andrew Goodman · 05/11/2022
    500 square foot Mahogany deck. 15 years old. We’re going to have it sanded to raw wood. How much stain do you recommend for 3 coats?  Transparent vs Solid? Thanks 
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    James · 05/11/2022
    I have a covered front porch that's about 20 years old.  A couple or 3 years ago I put Thompsons's Waterproofer + Tinted Wood Stain on it which looks pretty bad at this point.  It appears to be a solid stain but I'm not sure.  I was hoping you could tell me which of your products I needed to redo this porch.

    Thanks for the help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/11/2022
      Prep with RAD Stripper and pressure washing to remove the loose and peeling stain that you have. Brightener after. You will not be able to remove all of your old solid stain but you can cover the intact solid stain after the prep with the RAD Solid Stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-solid-stain.html
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        James · 05/11/2022
        Sorry to be a nuisance but another question.  Should I stick with a brown toned solid stain (like cypress) or would I possibly be able to use the coastal gray?  Thanks. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/12/2022
          Any solid stain color will work. You will need two coats.
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        James · 05/11/2022
        Thanks for your help.  Really appreciated.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    fretfinger · 05/11/2022
    I use your semi transparent stain. I plan on applying a maintenance coat this year to my already stained deck. I dont plan on brightening the wood, but i do plan on cleaning it with the step 1 product. My question is, can i apply the stain the same day as i clean the deck with step 1? Or do i need to wait a day or two? If staining is acceptable the same day as cleaning the deck, how long should i wait to apply the stain after i clean it?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lydia · 05/10/2022
    Applied your Semi-Transparent stain a couple of years ago. Some areas still look great while the areas exposed to the most sun are in need of restaining.  How do I proceed since not all areas are in the same condition stain-wise?  Which products will I need?  Thanks for the help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/10/2022
      Can you post some pics in the comments?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lydia · 05/10/2022
        Here is a picture of the porch.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/11/2022
          For prep, best to strip and brighten all wood so you have a nice ven surface to stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/RAD-Kits-Best-Prices.html
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Lydia · 05/14/2022
            Another question - Our project is a covered front porch floor.  The vertical railing posts are stained white so I will need to avoid them when staining the floor with the dark walnut semi-transparent stain.  I was planning on ordering your yellow stain brush but that seems to be too bulky to stain around the white stained posts? Also, how do I stain in-between the boards?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 05/14/2022
              Use a stain pad or brush to edge out around the white-painted posts. The yellow brush will get done between the boards a little.
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                Lydia · 06/08/2022
                I'm ready to stain.  
                1)The porch has been drying for 2 days although it has been muggy due to rain (porch floor has stayed dry since it is covered). Can I go ahead and stain it or do I need to mist it.  
                2)You mentioned using a brush to use around the posts. Should this be a polyester brush or a natural bristle?
                3)While staining do I have to stain across the whole length of the board at once to avoid overlap marks?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Peggy · 05/10/2022
    I do not see any application tools that work with Solid Stain here.  What should I use?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/10/2022
      The RAD Solid Stain is applied with brushes and rollers. 1/2" to 5/8" rollers.
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    Jenny · 05/10/2022
    What nap do you recommend for the roller application of the solid stain?
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    Keith · 05/09/2022
    I have a 600 square foot IPE deck that I had applied RAD light walnut stain to two seasons ago. It came out beautiful. The deck gets full sun in Connecticut. After the two years the deck has areas that are visibly lighter where there is the most foot traffic. It almost looks like bare, greyish, weathered IPE. I applied a coat of the same stain today but the gray areas are still much lighter than everything else. Do you recommend a second coat to help get a more uniform look. Thanks.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/10/2022
      No, and you cannot apply a second coat once the first coat dries. Second coats have to be applied wet on wet. To get it even, next time you will have to strip and brighen for prep so you have a bare surface to apply the stain evenly too.
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        Keith · 05/10/2022
        Thanks for the info and thanks for a great product
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Hackett · 05/09/2022
    Used RAD semi-transparent to stain deck in 2020. I want to put coat of stain on just the stairs, top of rails and deck landing. How do I prep the existing surface - just cleaner or cleaner & brightner? I don't want to recoat any of the vertical surfaces (ballasters, stair risers). What is the best way to recoat the horizontal surfaces without harming the vertical surfaces? Pictures attached.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/09/2022
      Just eh cleaner should work since you have a base coat. Just one coat of the stain to the floors and horizontals. Use a stain pad and brush to get an even application while not affecting your verticals: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/decktools.html
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        Hackett · 05/09/2022
        Use a stain pad or brush to apply the cleaner to avoid cleaner spilling on to the vertical balasters and stair risers? Or the cleaner won't hurt the vertical if spill over or runs on parts - just need to hose off?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/09/2022
          It should not harm the verticals but you may need to touch up a few spots where the wood meets.
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            Hackett · 05/09/2022
            And just to confirm - use a pad or brush to apply the cleaner rather than a sprayer?
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              RAD Products · 05/09/2022
              You can spray it, just rinse lightly any over spray on the verticals right away.
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    Lisa Keough · 05/09/2022
    We installed marine pressure treated decking on our FLA full sun/salt water location dock 5 yrs ago. Dock is @1400 sq ft. 
    -applied first stain after waiting @2 -3mos : Sherwin Williams Super Deck semi-transparent 
    -2 yrs later, had mildew so cleaned w a diluted bleach solution (oops says hubby) 
    -reapplied same product w roller as before
    -now it is peeling/ pics are after handyman pressure washed -water only. 
    what do you recommend going forward? 
    we are not concerned about color consistency-just need it clean, splinter free and hopefully get a bit more time before having to re-stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/09/2022
      You need to restain now and to properly do it, all of the old coatings need to be removed by stripping and sanding. 
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        Lisa Keough · 05/09/2022
        So are you saying using the Rad stripper is not enough?….:
        Also have to manually sand entire deck? Yikes!  
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/09/2022
          What you have on the wood looks like the Super Deck Water Based Stain and it goes on like a solid opaque stain. These stain types typically cannot be fully stripped. strip off what you can using both stripper additives and then sand any stubborn areas after.
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    Rossi Lazarova · 05/08/2022
    Hello, using the calculator below, we came up with 1200 SQ feet of surface area. Type of wood is treated pine. Age is 4 years. Previously used product: Valspar water-based stain/paint, not sure which type. Maybe you could determine from the photos. We have access to a pressure washer. There are a lot of vertical surfaces as well as partial cover, which will need to be re-done as well. Do we need to send all surfaces before staining? And what would be the right products for us to stain with? Thank you!
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    pdb1963 · 05/07/2022
    I'm going to attempt to answer all your questions listed above first.
    Based on your calculator my 12 x 16 deck with steps and rails has 293 sq ft of surface area.
    Material is pressure treated pine.
    Guessing the age is approx 10 years but I do not know for sure.
    Guessing the finish is some type of paint / solid stain. (hoping you can tell from the pictures).
    Again not sure of the age of the current finish.
    Yes I have access to a pressure washer.

    The deck had some water damage that I have repaired. Primarily to the steps. You can see those repairs in the photos. I want to finish the deck in a gray color. Hoping you can help with how to prep and what products to use for prep and gray finish. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/07/2022
      You have a solid stain so you will need the RAD Solid Stain going forward: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-solid-stain.html

      For prep, use the RAD stripper with pressure washing to remove any peeling stain. You do not have to remove all. Cover the non-peeling stain with the RAD Solid Stain.
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        pdb1963 · 05/07/2022
        Thanks for the reply. Follow up question about quantities. From what I see 1 package of stripper should cover me. What about the solid stain? Product description says 200 to 350 sq ft. I have approx 300 x 2 coats. Can I get away with 2 gallons? Or 3?
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    Megan · 05/07/2022
    I am applying the second coat of RAD stain after 18 months or so from the first application on a horizontal picket fence (rough-sawn cedar). Do I just use the cleaner, then reapply?
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      RAD Products · 05/07/2022
      Correct.
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        Megan · 05/12/2022
        Just clarifying, no brightener needed?
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          RAD Products · 05/13/2022
          If you have a base coat, then you do not have to use it.
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    Sarah · 05/07/2022
    Total square footage: 600 
    (Verticals: 250 Horizontals: 350)
    Type of wood: unknown
    Age: (best guess) 20-30 years
    Looks like a semi solid or solid stain we’re last used.
    Last stained: (best guess) 5 years ago
    Wood type to be stained: deck and railings
    We do have access to a pressure washer. 

    Misc: Deck is in central Illinois on the North side of our home. Half of the deck is shaded all day, but the sunnier side has seen significant weather (see both close ups taken from each side of the deck). The original owner kept up with this kind of home maintenance but the owner before us lived there only a short time and let these things slip. There are several larger cracks were hoping to fill with a wood filler/putty product if you have one you recommend as well. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/07/2022
      Cracks are normal for wood decks and wood filler does not work on exterior wood well (fails and breaks up) and will not "stain" to blend so leave the cracks alone. 

      As for the prep, use the RAD Stripper with both additives: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

      Pressure wash off and then the RAD Brightener after. Stain with the RAD Semi-transparent stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    herb · 05/06/2022
    I installed RAD semi transparent stain on a new treated pine deck after I cleaned it with the RAD cleaner and brighter at the end of 2020. It has held up well but I would like to stain it again in the fall to keep the deck in good shape. My question is what do I need to do before I apply another coat of the RAD semi transparent stain? Can I just hose the deck down to get any loose dirt off, or do you recommend using the RAD cleaner and then apply a coat of the RAD semi transparent stain? In both cases I believe I need to let the deck dry for 2-4 hours before I apply the new coat of satin, is that correct? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2022
      Use the RAD Cleaner and then the Brigthenr for prep when recoating. Wood can be damp when applying but not soaking wet. 2-4 hours should be okay.
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    M · 05/06/2022
    Hi. Can the stripper and brightener be applied on a rainy day, or does it need to be dry weather? If it needs to be dry, how soon after application could the stripper take rain, and how soon could the brightener take rain?  Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2022
      It can be a slight rain when prepping but not a hard drizzle or downpour.
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        M · 05/06/2022
        Thanks! And how soon after prepping can the deck take rain?
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          RAD Products · 05/07/2022
          Rain does not matter with prepping. 4-6 hours after staining before it can take a rain.
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            M · 05/07/2022
            Thank you!
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    Kit · 05/04/2022
    What is the best material to use with a stain pad? I noticed there are several options from sponge like to lambswool.
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    Sandy Jones · 05/03/2022
    Please help!  Have used RAD several years.  This year: power washed; used cleaner; power rinsed; used brightened; power rinsed; when applied stain, some areas “gummed up’ - yikes!  What should I do next??
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/03/2022
      Sounds like you did not rinse the brightener off fully? No easy fix outside of removing and starting over. See pic.
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        Sandy Jones · 05/04/2022
        Thank you for getting back to me so quickly — I really appreciate your questions and responses section on-line.  Will try this again!  Rinse, rinse, rinse.
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    Jerry Miller · 05/02/2022
    I started the RAD stripping and brightening process on my 25 year old cedar fence over the weekend.
    1. It will be raining off and on for the next week. Can I apply the stripper to wet wood once I get a break in the rain?
    2. I expected the wood to be more of a natural color once I completed the strip/brightening; however, it is a pale white/gray. Is that what I should be expecting? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/02/2022
      1. Yes.
      2. Yes, the stain will restore the color.