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
    Phil · 07/13/2021
    I stripped/brightened my 800sf, 8 year old pressure treated pine deck last Nov., 2020 [it had TWP 100 redwood semi-oil base] let it sit "raw" thru the winter, cleaned/brightened last month [June, 2021] and immediately stained it with Defy extreme light walnut water base wet-on-wet.  It looks good but it seems to have lightened unevenly over the past 30 days.  Is this just a matter of different board grains/porous-ness or could I possibly improve overall color by cleaning/brightening/one coat staining late this Fall?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2021
      Yes, that is the wood grain but you can lightly clean and apply another coat in the Fall if you like.
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    Kay Doss · 07/13/2021
    How do I remove old restore to re-do?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2021
      Our Restore-A-Deck Stain or Rust-Oleum Deck Restore?
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    Linda Mileski · 07/13/2021
    My deck is large, needs to be stripped first.  Due to time to strip which i suspect will take a day, how soon must I put on brightener.  Same question on the brightener after it is put on, how long can i wait to stain. There is no way i can do this in one day. Per previous question, I was told to apply only one coat of stain.      
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/13/2021
      Brightener as soon as you are done stripping. Stain within 2 weeks of prep. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff · 07/12/2021
    I stained my deck with Sikkens semi translucent stain about 4 years ago. I'm going to redo it with your products. The sq ft area is around 900 sqft. Would I use stripper, brightener, and then stain for this type of previous stain? And also, will I need to buy two kits containing prep and stain? Thx.
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    Elissa · 07/12/2021
    I have a 21 year old 12 x 20 deck that has a Cabot solid stain applied 2 years ago - a 1/3 of the deck has peeling and bare spots where stain lifted. I’ve been sanding with a belt sander but not a whole lot of stain is sanding away and I continue to have small slivers of peeling. What process should I use to restore? 
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    Cheryl · 07/12/2021
    I have an 1100 sq ft deck that I will be cleaning with the stripper with booster and brightener. I am doing this myself, is it OK to do half the deck at a time if needed?  Any recommendations for staining with only one person? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/12/2021
      You can break up the stripping into half but brighen all when done. As for staining, you will need to do it all at once as breaking it in half could lead to overlap marks.
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    Anthony D · 07/11/2021
    Hello from Southern California. I've read great reviews about your products and think I want to give them a shot. 
    I've got an existing deck that I am going to soon be extending to meet a new room addition that we are building in our backyard. At the same time, I plan on replacing some of the more weathered and old boards on my existing deck with new boards. 
    The existing deck previously had DeckOver on it when I purchased the house. This was terrible and peeled and was an absolute nightmare to remove. Last year, I ended up sanding the entire deck down using rental from Home Depot and then made the mistake of applying their Behr Semi-Transparent deck stain, which hasn't held up too well in just over a year. It just looks really patchy and not nearly as nice as it did in the months just after application (see photos). 
    I'm considering either a semi-transparent stain or solid color stain and hoping that it will perform better than the Behr stain. 
    Here are my questions:
    1. Will your stripper product work for Behr semi-transparent stain? Booster? Would you recommend a different product for the removal of this stain? 2. One reason I was leaning toward a solid color stain was that I was concerned that there would be a noticeable difference between new and old boards. Would a semi-transparent stain look fairly consistent across new and old boards?3. After installing the new boards and replacing some of the old boards, do you think its really necessary to wait several months to apply a semi-transparent stain to the entire deck? What if using a brightener or is there another product that can be used to speed this up? 4. Should I wait until my new boards are weathered before stripping the Behr semi-transparent stain and then do all of the prep at once? Or, should I strip the old stain now and wait and then just do a cleaner or brightener before applying the stain in a few months?5. Do you feel that generally, a semi-transparent stain will hold up better and look better in 2-3 years time than a solid color stain? 6. In terms of touch ups and maintenance, can I re-apply semi-transparent stain 2 years later without fully having to strip the existing stain? What about for solid color stains? 
    Apologies for the number of questions, but after investing a lot of time in my deck over the past two years between the DeckOver and now this upcoming project, I just want to make sure I have the information to make the best decision on the best path forward. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/12/2021
      1. Behr can be difficult to remove, especially if custom tinted as it acts like a solid stain. Use the Stripper with both additives and pressure washing to remove as much as possible. If needed, spot sand to remove any stain that cannot be stripped. Brighten all when done.2. New wood will stain lighter in color compared to older wood when using the semi-transparent.3. Yes, new wood must weather and be prepped. https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html4. Yes.5. They will last about the same.6. Both can be cleaned and recoated as needed. 
      Note, if you use the solid stain, you do not have to remove the Behr fully. You can strip off what you can and then cover any intact stain with the solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Adam J · 07/11/2021
    Hello-
    I recently purchased the house so I can’t tell you very much about the care of the deck previously. After completing the stripping of the deck I have a residue that I cannot seem to get off that is almost dangerously slippery when wet. I did lightly sand the boards the day before to smoothen. Since something did not seem correct I did not proceed with applying the stain. Please let me know your thoughts
    Adam J
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      RAD Products · 07/12/2021
      Did you brighten the wood after to neutralize the stripper?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Adam J · 07/12/2021
        Yes I did use the brightener. This is how it looks when it dries. Should I just proceed with staining? I am just not sure how it is supposed to look before staining. Thank you for your help.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat C · 07/11/2021
    Hi! Your products have worked great transforming my nasty deck and front porch that were trashed unfortunately after my poor decision to use Behr and Olympic stains. After stripping cleaning brightening and your white and gray solid stains, they look better than they ever have! My question is, what’s your opinion regarding using polypropylene accent rugs made for outdoors on these freshly stained areas? Will it rub off the stain or actually help protect it even longer? The ones I’m looking at shed water and do not attract mold or mildew. Thanks so much! I included before and after pics.
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    Hope · 07/08/2021
    Your Cyprus Solid stain sounds great. No offense, but how long have you guys been around? If we need replacement product in the same color in 10 years, we'd like to think we could find you. ;)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2021
      We have been selling RAD products for over 20 years. Started with the prep products and added the stains, etc. through the years.
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    Daniel W Bigger · 07/06/2021
    Using cottage gray stain on pine soffits and cedar shingles.  I do not want to mask off painted trim to spray shingles and soffitts.  Can the stain be painted over using  a latex paint or should I wipe down the trim after staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/06/2021
      That would be more of a question for the paint you are using and if it can be applied over a deck stain.
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    Terry Manahan · 07/06/2021
    First off, thank you for all of your valuable information on here. I am getting ready to order some stuff from you, and I think I know what I'm supposed to order, but want to make sure:) Our 12x16 deck hasn't been stained in probably 10-12 years. It is screened in. We used (I think) a darker oil based semi transparent stain the last time we did it. By the looks of it, I'm going to need RAD stripper (and probably booster) and the brightner. I'm also looking at your stain colors and I like the darker stain that you have. My question is, we just replaced our steps and are going to need to replace a post or two and the door. If we use the darker stain on the old wood and new wood, will it be basically the same color? I have attached some pictures. Again, thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave · 07/06/2021
    In regards to new cedar decking. Is there a difference in fading over time between the Natural or Cedar Semi Transparent RAD stain.thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill W · 07/05/2021
    I live in Virginia and last August, I stripped, cleaned, brightened and stained with cedar semitransparent our deck which had been neglected for at least 15 years.  I did not sand.  It came out looking fairly good.  Now it has faded some and some white spots are leaching through.  I want to refresh the deck this summer and I'm hoping that I don't have to use the stripper again.  I'm thinking of cleaning and brightening before applying one coat of stain.  Is that the correct procedure?  Attached are a couple of pictures of the deck taken a few days ago.Thanks for your help.Bill W
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mark H · 07/05/2021
    Stained a deck a year ago using Behr plus solid color waterproofing stain. Deck is now peeling (see photos). With this Behr product do i need to sand or should I use your stripper? I don't want to take a chance with power washing though. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2021
      You cannot strip a solid stain so you will have to sand to remove. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Diana · 07/04/2021
    We got some stain on our siding which we missed when cleaning up. It will not come off with soap and water. Any suggestions how to remove. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2021
      A graffiti remover cleaner from your local paint store.
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    Kevin · 07/04/2021
    I am refinishing grey weathered boat tables. Can't tell if any stain or other finish is present. They are just a very weathered full on grey! Which prep product do you recommend prior to staining? There are plastic and metal parts on the table. If I can't remove them can I just carefully tape them prior to prep work and staining. I have used your products many times and they work great!! Best regards, Kevin G.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2021
      Prep with the RAD Cleaner and then Brightener. It should not harm the parts.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kim S. · 07/03/2021
    I have an older deck probably 30 years old made from Douglas fur.  The previous owners used behr deck over on the main decking which lasted one year before it started to peel.  We have started the long process of trying to strip and sand it all off.  We have been successful in most areas.  However there are some spots that we can’t get of all the stain. Honestly I think what is left is mostly the product that was on the wood before they applied the behr deckover.  We plan to stain it with Flood solid stain.   My question are:1. for prep, should we use stripper and brightener OR the cleaner and brightener?2.  How do you apply the RAD cleaner (or stripper) and brightener to the handrails and balusters?  (These were only ever stained with a solid stain and now we have sanded them). Thanks for any tips and answers.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/04/2021
      Use the stripper and the brightener. Apply with a pump sprayer and then pressure wash off.
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    Bobby G · 07/03/2021
    Quick question, have a 1 yr old deck. used the RAD cleaned and about to apply the brightened and stain. After rinsing the cleaner with pressure washer, many areas have a fuzz remaining. Do I need to sand this or is there another way to remove? Do this before or after applying the brightener?
    Thanks in advance. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/03/2021
      You can sand if needed. Do it prior to brightener.
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    DB · 07/02/2021
    Hello, I am preparing to clean and stain a building that has three types of wood and has never been stained. There is cedar siding on three sides and a rough cut 1x6 wood facade on the other. We do uotknow act type of wood the rough cut facade is, but it appears to be a soft wood. There are so two decks. Will Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain work well on all of these surfaces? Also, would prep generally be the same for all surfaces? (We have already ordered samples for testing and looking at colors.) Thanks for your input.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/02/2021
      Yes, the stain will work well on all surfaces. Prep would be the same.
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    Larry Elseman · 07/02/2021
    Two years ago we replaced our deck floor with Cedar. After cleaning/brightening in the fall (after the new deck had weathered for 3 months) I applied the Cedar stain using a pad when the deck was dry. Gotta say, the results were passable, but not great.  
    Yesterday I cleaned the deck with the Restore-A-Deck cleaner and before I went to bed I hosed down the deck. Got up this morning and the deck was just slightly damp. Applied the Cedar stain with the Restore-A-Deck staining brush and it went on like a dream and it looks great! I highly recommend applying stain to damp wood and the staining brush is a must!!
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    Jim · 07/02/2021
    I just cleaned and brightened my deck. I do not have time to stain today.  When I do stain next week using RAD stain should I spray my deck down prior to staining. And then wait 2-4 hrs for the deck to be damp when I stain?
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    Jim · 07/01/2021
    So I’m about to stain my deck after I have stripped, sanded, cleaned, and brightened. My question is the application of staining while the wood is damp. I have always waited for the wood to dry using oil based. I’m using RAD light walnut this time.Why is it better to stain while the wood is damp as opposed to it being dry? I’m having a hard time getting that concept.
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    kurt · 06/30/2021
    Bought 5 gallons of semi-transparent stain with a RESTORE A DECK WOOD DSTAINING BRUSH.  I can't really find a video for this brushes use.  Most are either hand brush, roller, or pad to apply the stain.  Did I buy this for nothing?  Should I apply using something different? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/01/2021
      It is very easy to use the floor brush. Just dip into the stain and apply evenly, making sure the stain soaks into the wood.
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        PJ · 07/01/2021
        From a user who just finished his 800sf deck with the brush and one who has used pads and rollers in the past, the brush is far and away better.  As RAD reply states, dip, apply, and be pleased with the ease of application.
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    Aren Coppoc · 06/29/2021
    Used the cleaner and brightener last Wednesday. Haven’t had the chance to stain yet due to rain every day. Yesterday, this black spot started to show up on the wood. Any idea what it is? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/30/2021
      Looks like rust in the wood. Something metal sitting there? Brightener should help to remove it.
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    teddy rasch · 06/28/2021
    Hey last summer I refinished our 10 yr old desk, I stripped and power washed, sanded, then cleaned and stained...it looked better than new
    A year later it faded, but their is a drip line from the rook that went to bare wood..
    What should I do this summer, I dont want to get it two toned raw to old stained if I re-stain it ..
    I am not sanding again for 5 years BURNT OUT..
    Do I clean and stain...
    Maine winters are tough on deck 
    PIX 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/29/2021
      Is that IPE or Mohonay wood? Hardwood decking will quire annual reapplication. Since you have that drip line going from the roof, it would probably be best to strip and brighten for another coat to ensure it is applied evenly.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        teddy rasch · 06/30/2021
        yes its a hardwood...so strip...clean....stain  ? 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/30/2021
          Strip, brighten, then stain. No cleaner is needed.
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    MJV · 06/28/2021
    I have several 2.5 year old redwood decks and A LOT of horizontal redwood railing that has not been treated or stained previously. I have read through your website forums over several days, and I’m still nervous. 
    Topic 1:Where to start? I think I should do the railings first, while protecting the decking. Then tackle the deck while protecting the railings. I believe the steps would be: clean, sand with 60 grit, brighten, then one coat of natural semi-transparent for UV protection because I sanded. Is that right?
    Topic 2:One deck has Torrey Pine sap -ughhhh… I think I’m supposed to gently scrape and clean with Murphy’s Oil Soap before I do my RAD cleaning. How does that sound? 
    Thanks so much!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/29/2021
      1. Clean and brighen all wood. Only light sand if needed to remove splinters, etc. You can do this between the steps. When staining, do the rails first and then the floors. If you are moving slow (which is okay), then tarp the floors from drips while doing the rails.2. Sap is a pain to remove but yes, this typically does work.
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    guest · 06/28/2021
    I have a new deck, which I let weather for one year. Now ready to use RAD cleaner, brightener and semi-transparent stain.  Next year do I just apply the stain only or do I complete the entire process again?
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    Tornado77 · 06/27/2021
    I have a two part question. First is for our deck and second is for our fence. I have included a lot of pictures to help you determine what is best.

    1. Our deck is made of Bangkirai wood. I'm not sure on the exact age but it is at least 10 years old. The majority of the deck is covered with an aluminum type of roof and that part of the stain is still in great condition as it does not get sun or other weather. The portions that do get the sun and weather are in need of re-staining. I believe the previous owners used a Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD stain (not 100% sure) and topped that with some kind of clearcoat (see railing picture for good visual of the clearcoat peeling) as it is very shiny and slippery when wet. There is no way for me to try and preserve the good area and only prep and stain the weathered areas so I will be doing the whole deck. It is kind of an odd shape as you can see by the picture (please ignore the renovating mess!). It's approximately 288 sq ft using your calculator. Will your stripper strip what is on this Bangkirai deck? I'm thinking if it will that I will purchase the boosters as well just to be sure. I hope it will because I do not want to use a belt sander on this deck! Will the brightener work on Bangkirai?

    2. Our fence is made of cedar. Again, not sure on the exact age but it is at least 10 years old. I am guessing that it has a semi translucent stain on it. I have sanded the majority of it already but the lattice areas (not sure if they are cedar as well) have staples that just eat up the sand paper so I was hoping to use stripper on them. It also has pergola type toppers along it that I have sanded the tops and flat fronts of but was hoping to use stripper on the rest of them as well otherwise I will have to dismantle them and sand them individually which will be painful! The fence is 30'x7' or approximately 210 sq ft plus the pergola toppers.  I will only be doing the one side as the other side has large lilac's. Will your stripper work on the lattice and pergola's? What can I do to protect the lilac's when using the stripper as it will be hard to tarp them.

    Thank you so much!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2021
      1. No, it is not possible to strip this. It will have to be power sanded. Clean and brighten after for final prep.2. This looks like a solid stain or semi-solid stain. Will not be an easy strip and probably will not come off completely when stripping. You would need both additives. If you cannot get it all off, then you will need the RAD Solid Stain to cover it.
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    Gramps Fish · 06/26/2021
    We have a 15 year-old 300 square foot deck that has never been stained or painted.  The wood is pressure treated pine, and I've ordered the suite of Restore-a-Deck products so I can restore the deck over the upcoming 4th of July weekend.
    Those of us who walk barefooted occasionally get splinters from the deck, so I'm planning to use a palm sander with 60 grit sandpaper on most of the deck.

    When in the refinishing process should I do the sanding?  First thing, before using any of the Restore-a-Deck products?  Or someplace else in the process?

    Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2021
      If you sand, do this after the cleaning and then brightener last.