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
    Erich · 06/25/2019
    I stained my deck several years ago using TWP 1501-1 Cedartone. Will your Stripper remove that stain?
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    Stanley Cienava · 06/25/2019
    The directions on the package of RAD Cleaner say that the mixed solution must be used within 4 hours. Are these directions outdated? Also, how long can mixed solutions of the Brightener and Stripper be stored?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      No, not outdated. The cleaner has a shelf life once mixed with water. The active ingredient will dissipate its effectiveness after 4 hours.

      Stripper and brightener do not have a shelf life once mixed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad · 06/25/2019
    200 sqft deck plus about 20 sqft of stairs, about 50ft of 4ft railing spaced 5.5 inches
    Cedar wood - 32 years old (Yup - a "senior")
    Previous stain - Sikkens Cetol 1 Natural (078) semi-transparent oil stain applied every 2-3 years, last applied 3 years ago
    do NOT have a pressure washer, but could rent if needed

    Questions:
    1. With 10-15 stain applications over the years, will Restore A Deck stripper, perhaps with Booster Additive and Thickening Gel, work?
    2. Do you recommend sanding after stripping? Is Brightener applied after any sanding done?
    3. Rails are still in decent shape. Do you have suggestions on what to do, what not to do, with them?
    4. My plan at this time, after restoration, is to use Sikkens ProLuxe deck semi-transparent stain. Do you have any comments/concerns on this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      1, No, that is appearing to be a solid stain in appearance. The Booster and Gel additives with the stripper will remove much but you will need to sand as well.
      2. Yes to remove all. Brightener after.
      3. Not a fan of Sikkens since they changed the formula.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Diane · 06/25/2019
    HI, can I put the Restore A Deck brightener on a wet deck
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    John · 06/25/2019
    Does the Restore-a-deck cleaner strength decay once you open the packet? I am cleaning my never stained Ipe wood deck in sections, starting about a week ago. The very first section I cleaned and brightened (about 40 ft sq) looked beautiful. But since then, each section I have cleaned and brightened looks worse (darker overall with dark spots and song boards that are darker) than the one before. I'm mixing is small batches (1-3 quarts at a time) and not letting it sit more than 4 hours as recommended. I keep refining my technique and getting closer and closer to the ideal conditions described but each section comes out darker than the one before. The only thing I can figure is that the opened bag is decaying as it is exposed to air, but that doesn't make sense because the bag has a vent built into it. The only other variable I know of is delay between clean and brighten. I have been doing all of my cleaning for the day, then waiting a few hours to brighten, but still the same day. I the last two days I have brightened and rinsed late in the day so that it dries overnight.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      It does not decay but the cleaner will raise the pH balance, darkening the wood. That is why you need the brighter to neutralize it back and lighten the wood. Brighten as soon as you can to neutralize.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kate · 06/24/2019
    Will your stripper remove multiple layers including stain and paint?
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    JK · 06/24/2019
    I have an approximately 950 sq ft deck, don't know type or how old wood is and what it was finished with. I pressure washed all the old solid stain (maybe paint, I don't know) off as best I could. Previous owner did not paint spindles, but I pressured washed those as well. I then sanded using a combination of 60 and 40 grit using a belt sander, standing orbital for the floor and hand orbital for small areas. Was able to get a lot off but can still see old stain/paint in some spots.


    Do I have to use a cleaner and a brightener before applying your solid stain? I did not use any chemical stripper, so I assume I do not need a brightener. Would a wood deck cleaner be helpful before applying your stain? Do you have just a cleaner if not can you recommend? I used a blower to get rid of dust, should I lightly pressure wash again?


    Going to paint railings in white, but some spots are dark from previous stain but has been sanded. Will your white solid cover? Will be doing floor in your gray solid stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      Do a light pressure rinse for final prep to remove sand dust. The solid stain will cover the rest of the old stain. Post some pictures when done!
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        JK · 06/24/2019
        OK thanks, so no need for a cleaner or brightener? I guess I could use your cleaner and then pressure wash that off along with any dust? Is the cleaner overkill at this point? I am thinking 8 gallons of gray (floor area is around 950 sq ft and 1 gallon of white for railings. Going to do the flat top part of railing in the gray, then all vertical railing parts in white and of course the floor in gray.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/25/2019
          You can use the cleaner but you will not need the brightener since you are using the solid stain. Maybe 2-gallons of white but hard to say. I assume two coats of the gray? It will look great!
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            JK · 06/25/2019
            Thanks, I will post pics when done. Using solid stain because you can still see old finish even though I sanded. What is the best way to apply the solid stain? Wet on wet? Wet on dry or just dry on dry? I see the instructions for the semi is wet on wet but didn't notice the solid instructions.
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    Liz · 06/24/2019
    Should I apply 2 coats on a fence built in Feb 2018. Or is 1 enough?

    What tool do you recommend for applying semi-transparent stain to a fence?

    Want to order enough and correct supplies to be able to start job and finish it. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      Apply two coats wet on wet. The first coat can be sprayed on followed by a second coat 20-60 minutes later with a brush or stain pad.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Liz · 06/24/2019
        Sprayed on with what? Not brushed at all on first coat?

        I was going to purchase the Restore A Deck Wood Staining Brush with yellow bristles, is this the recommended one or something different?


        I have 200 LF of 6' tall fence. It has a top cap and bottom rails. Never been stained. Planned to purchase cleaner, brightener, and cedar semi-transparent stain. You recommended 2 coats. How much do I need?

        Thank you!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/24/2019
          Spray on with a pump sprayer or you can apply the first coat with a brush as well. The yellow brush should work well.

          Are you doing both sides of the fence? If so you have 2400 sq feet and that will require 20-25 gallons for two coats of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Erik · 06/24/2019
    ~705 sq ft

    unknown wood, unknown age, unknown stain
    have access to pressure washer

    plan is to sand the areas where stain still remains, strip, brighten and then stain with semi-transparent cedar.

    Do i need two coats of stain? Should I plan on doing the railings at the same time? Handrail needs minimal sanding, but the posts and balusters would need a lot of sanding/scraping. If I choose not to do them, what precautions should I take with the stripper to protect the railings?
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    Liz · 06/24/2019
    How long will it take to ship products? I want to order a sample kit then be able to receive the supplies I choose after that by 3rd of July. Located in Alabama.

    My fence was installed in Feb 2018. Will it need 2 coats or 1?

    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kate · 06/24/2019
    What are your thoughts on the Bug Juice additive to stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      It should work to help with bees, etc.
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        Kate · 06/24/2019
        Thank you. I was thinking mainly of ants. I like the bees ?!
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    Laura · 06/23/2019
    Can you help me with how much to order? Do you recommend 2 coats for this project? Was thinking of getting the 5 gallon combination kit with the cleaner/brightener.

    3 decks, each 4x26 ft
    2 decks, each 4x15 ft
    1 deck, 8x26 ft
    no railings

    Type of wood if known: pressure treated pine
    Approximate Age of Wood: installed Aug 2017 (almost 2 yrs) except the 8x26 deck which is new (will allow to weather before finishing)
    If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type (Examples of Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Solid Stain, Oil-Based, Water-Based): n/a
    If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained:n/a
    Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.):deck
    Do you have access to a pressure washer: yes
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      Added up you have about 650 feet. If doing one coat to all wood, the 5-gallon with prep kit should be enough. The 2-year-old wood may need 2 coats and that means you would need another 2 gallons or so.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill Vardoulis · 06/23/2019
    I live in Atlanta Ga and just built a new deck 48' X 12'. The deck is Pressure treated lumber from Lowe's with Pressure treated Railings but I installed black powder coated aluminum balusters. I will let the deck weather about 3 months. I was planning on using RAD wood cleaner followed by RAD wood brightener with Armstrong Clark as a stain. My question is will the RAD prep products (Cleaner and Brightener) harm the finish on the powder coated aluminum balusters?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      It should not but you should always test first. There are 100s of different types of metal spindles and they are not all manufactured the same way.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff · 06/23/2019
    Is it necessary to tape off areas where my deck meets the house when using the cleaner & brightener? Our exterior walls are covered with LP Smartside and I don't want chemicals to affect the color.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/23/2019
      You can tape but the cleaner and brightener should not have any effect.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James Calamis · 06/23/2019
    I have an old, 800 sq' deck. I originally ordered 6 gal of solid, and after contacting RSS, I ordered 2 more, being told 8 gal should cover 2 coats. We finished 3/4 of the deck, with only 1 coat. Hopefully I I can apply to the remainder of the deck next weekend, so I've ordered ANOTHER 4 gal. I know I will no longer be able to apply another coat until next spring. I just hope 1 coat will be enough, and that's there will not be a problem where the partly finished deck meets the new coating net week.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/23/2019
      Coverage varies based on wood age and porosity. Looks great so far and the 1 coat should be enough since it is covering well.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marissa · 06/23/2019
    Can this product be used in a paint sprayer? I have a lot of deck railing to paint and don't want to do it by hand with a brush!
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    E · 06/22/2019
    I will also complete the clean and brighten steps first. I am hesitant to use oil based because the stairs have heavy traffic.
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    Thomas Pongracz · 06/22/2019
    Can Valspar non slip be added to your solid stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/22/2019
      No, you cannot add a non-slip into a solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rich Brown · 06/21/2019
    I did the full strip, brighten, stain process (wet on wet) a year ago. The deck needs restaining now. Can I just pressure wash and stain or do I have to do it all over. The vertical services still look great. The horizontals are absorbing water. Part is in shade most of the day and part gets a lot of sun.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2019
      Use the RAD Cleaner while pressure washing for prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ross · 06/21/2019
    Looking at using a solid stain, covering ~705 sq. Ft. Estimating deck was stained 3 years ago with unknown brand of product. Can solid stain be applied with a roller? Also, what’s your estimate for quantity of stripper, brightener and stain to purchase? BTW, I have a pressure washer. Photos attached.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2019
      Yes, you roll on the solid stain. One Stripper, One Brightener, 4-5 gallons of the RAD Solid Stain.

      FYI, you do not have to remove all of the current stain when applying the RAD Solid Stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ross · 06/22/2019
        Thanks for the reply!
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    Tom · 06/21/2019
    Can Valspar anti-skid be added to the solid paint to make is less slippery?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2019
      RAD does not come in a paint. I anti-skid would not work well with a solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kate · 06/20/2019
    I will be sanding my 1000 sqft, two-tier deck this weekend and plan to clean, brighten and stain later this week. I plan to order the semi-transparent kit with cleaner, brightener and 5 gallons of stain. How much more stain should I order? I'm working with old wood, but I don't know how old. We've only owned the home about a year. Do I need two coats because it is old wood or one because I am sanding it down to fresh wood, cleaning and brightening? Please advise.
    Thanks!
    Kate
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2019
      You will need about 10 gallons for the 2 coats and 1000 sq feet. Most likely 2 cleaners and 2 brighteners as well.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kate · 06/21/2019
        Thank you. I’ll order two kits and a brush. I was looking at the speed mop kit. Can I use that instead of the brush or would you just stick with the brush?

        Thanks again!

        Kate
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    Ru · 06/20/2019
    extra picture
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    Ru · 06/20/2019
    Hi, I just bought my home in October, so I do not know much of the history of the deck. However, I did find these products in the previous owners shed.

    - Thompson's clear wood protector.
    - MinWax Polyurethane clear semi gloss
    - Olympic Maximum clear water proofing sealant.

    Deck and hot tub furniture is around 2500 square feet total. (My deck sits really high so I have to stain/clean underneath the deck)

    I own a pressure washer.

    How much stain, stripper, and brighter, would I need to complete my deck?

    What tools should I use and for what purpose?

    Do I need any other additive for effectiveness?

    Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2019
      FYI, doing the underneath is for appearance only. Does not have to be done.

      Top part assuming 1250 sq feet:
      -2 Stain Strippers and 2 Additives of each
      -2 Stain Brighteners
      -10-12 Gallons of stain for 2 coats.

      Underneath assuming 1250 sq feet:
      -2 Cleaners
      -2 Brighteners
      -Only need one coat of stain here. 7-8 gallons
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ru · 06/21/2019
        Here are more questions before I make my purchase:

        What tools do you recommend to apply the stain on deck, rails, etc.?

        What tools to use for stripper and brightener?

        What semi transparent stain would you recommend to keep the deck looking similar to what it looks now?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/22/2019
          Use the Yellow Brush and Stain Pads: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/decktools.html

          Use a pump sprayer and then pressure wash off.

          Any color you like and it has to be tinted (not clear) for UV protection. Natural is the lightest color and looks similar to a clean "wet" look.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Ru · 06/22/2019
            One last question; If I decide not to stain the bottom of the deck should I still clean and brighten it or leave it as is? Thank you.
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    Brenda · 06/20/2019
    Hi
    just wondering how many days shipping to Kingston , Ontario Canada would be?
    Thanks
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    Eileen · 06/19/2019
    Hello
    Have a Deck that is approx 3 years old ,has stain on it from another brand -that has all but come off -do you still recommend stripping deck or just cleaner.
    Also what tools do you recommend for the entire process-
    Bought,cleaner,stripper,brightener and Stain, sprayer -
    Thanks
    EG
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/20/2019
      Yes, all current stain needs to come off. Reply with a picture and when then help with the best way to do this.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill · 06/19/2019
    I have stained my deck with Sherwin Williams superdeck semi transparent stain and it keeps peeling off. I have had to spend hours each year removing peeling stain and restaining. How can I completely remove the stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/20/2019
      Reply with a picture of the current condition. Also, was the Super Deck the oil or water=based version?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ian G. · 06/19/2019
    I have a cedar deck which had a semi transparent oil based stain on it. I have sanded everything off. Do I need to use your brightener or can I just apply the stain to the sanded wood?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/19/2019
      Final prep with both the RAD Cleaner and the Brightener. This will open the wood grain after your sanding and allow the stain to soak in better.
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    DavidP · 06/18/2019
    Duration: I can find no info on a comparison re the expected life of the solid vs the semi stains. Can one be expected to last longer than the other, given the same weather conditions. Should the RAD coating look good 1 year? 2 years? More? Is there a material difference in this respect between the solid and semi stains. Will the solid typically out last the semi? Or are both about the same?

    Rejuvenation: There also seems to be little info on rejuvenation and a comparison between the two products. After the "duration" period (see above question), what exactly are the steps to rejuvenate a deck that has been covered with a RAD product? Totally back to raw wood? (ie pressure wash, maybe sand, Clean, Brighten, re-stain? - in other words, re-do the entire project every 2 or 3 years?). Or light Clean and light re-stain. Or what? Is there a material difference in this respect between the solid and semi stains. If so, pls describe. If I used the solid, and after say 1 year, the surface exhibits cracks in the wood, what should I do? Layer on solid stain over the cracks? Redo the entire project? Something in between? Thanks. We have a large commercial motel job and this info is critical.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/18/2019
      RAD solid stain will last about 2-3 years on a horizontal before recoating. The RAD Semi-trans will last about the same. Both can be cleaned and recoated as needed. Does not have to be stripped. Cracks are normal in exterior wood and would not require a touch-up or spot application for them.