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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    Richard Robbins · 07/28/2022
    20 year old cedar that has not been treated in many years if ever.  I pressure washed it.  There is approximately 1600 square ft of deck, no railings.  I do not care for solid stains and would like it as natural cedar as can be
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ursu · 07/27/2022
    We are embarking on the process of finishing two different treated pine decks, neither one ever stained. First (back) was built 3 years ago, the second (front) last fall (9 months old).
    We got the semi-transparent stain samples and tried on a few ends with no prep, briefly wetting the surface (to mimic wet application), using sponge brushes and applying twice, about 10-15 min apart. Pictures are provided for the light walnut and the dark walnut semi-transparent samples obtained, against the newer deck.
    Questions:
    -    Given the sample application described and the pics, would you say that the resulting samples are likely accurate or lighter than what we will obtain after full preparation? (They seem lighter than advertised to me, so I am unsure whether to rely upon my result or the site pictures). Would you recommend another coat (~10 days later) JUST for the samples, and JUST for color testing purposes? We’re still trying to decide on color.
    -    Do you have other pictures of applications on pine that you can share?
    -    Is it ok to apply the same treatment (i.e. 2 coats) to both decks, given the respective ages, or should the front deck stay with only one coat?
    -    Initial discussions with the painters was that spraying is ok (before we decided on stain). In some material on the site I see spraying given as an ok option, in most the stain brush is mentioned. Can you clarify if spraying is ok or not, and if both are ok what are the advantages of doing one over the other (in term of results, I assume the painter understands the application pros/cons). Please comment also on the best method to use to apply to a vertical lattice underneath.
    -    The decks are 300-400 sqft each. Would you expect 1 person to be able to apply one coat in less than one hour, to be able to start second court in time, or would 2 people be needed (I am assuming each deck done on a different day).
    -    Of course everyone tries to apply stains as evenly as possible, but should there be uneven application should we expect to have to go back and wipe off excess, or…? How soon after applying should a check for uneven distribution be done?
    -    Assuming we are going with Light Walnut, and we want to go darker when is time to re-apply in a couple of years: Is application for Dark Walnut at the time the same as for light, or would something else/additional be needed to go darker?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/27/2022
      -The final color varies based on the age of the wood, prep, and application. You cannot apply another coat 10 days later. It has to be wet on wet if doing two coats.

      -You can see pics in our contests: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-prep-stain-contest-2022.html

      -One coat for wood that is less than 12 months.

      -You can spray but most do it by hand or brush for better control and appearance.

      -One deck can be done in an hour or two.

      -Apply evenly by hand with brush is the best way so no back wiping is needed.

      -Same
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ursu · 08/02/2022
        Thanks for the reply.

        I would appreciate more details about what to expect if painters insist on spraying rather than brush: just the need for back wiping, or additional issues?

        For vertical lattice, is brushing still best?

        Finally, the website specifies in some places 2 coats for wood older than 6 months, you mention 1 if less than 12. We would be just under 12. Is that still 1 coat? 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/02/2022
          If you spray, just back wipe as needed to ensure an even application or to catch any drips or puddles. Same with verticals. One coat. 
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            Ursu · 08/06/2022
            Thank you for the previous answers, one more question:
            How important is to get the brighening done the same day as the cleaning? If two days are needed, can cleaning be done in day 1, with brigtening and staining on day 2, i.e. brigtening be done pontentially after the clean wood dries overnight? 
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/07/2022
              Brightening the same day is always best but if you cannot, do it as soon as possible. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve C · 07/26/2022
    In April 2019 I rebuilt my deck with new kiln dried clear cedar and used RAD Cedar semi-transparent stain. The first picture shows results. The second picture is now. I have an ample supply of stain, but what should my prep steps be to get a good long lasting finish? The area is approx 250 sqft.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/27/2022
      Use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alexandra · 07/26/2022
    Need advice. Used your products on our deck last year. Unfortunately our dogs love to use the deck as a playground, so we need to re-stain again. Do we need to use cleaner and brightener before staining or quick sanding and staining right after will suffice? Or sanding, cleaner and brightener? Thank you in advance 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/27/2022
      Stripper and brightener and then restain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mr. Beamon · 07/25/2022
    I used the RAD steps 1 and 2 about 2 weeks ago on my deck in preparation to stain it. The weather took a turn and it has rained twice.  Do I need repeats steps 1 and 2 again prior to applying the stain or can I just power wash, let dry, and then stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Patrick Devoy · 07/25/2022
    Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 700 sq ft

    Type of wood if known: tight knot cedar

    Approximate Age of Wood: 6 years

    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:
    cabot semi transparment oil based stain. last restained was 2 years ago by me.

    Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.): Deck

    Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes

    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. attached

    please list the recomended products i need to do this job. i want to use solid stain. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/26/2022
      Strip and then brighten for prep prior to using the solid stain. Two coats of the RAD solid stain. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Les Wilhelm · 07/25/2022
    I messaged last week asking what cleaner to use to remove overspray on my metal roof panels. The recommended solvent "goof off" works with a lot of effort. I have a lot more overspray than I realized so this will require hours of work. My question, will paint stick to the stain and if so what is the best paint for great adhesion?
    Your response was very timely and I greatly appreciate that!
    Thanks in advance, Les
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2022
      You can paint over the stain but not sure what kind of paint will work on metal. 
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    Steven · 07/25/2022
    I ordered your sample pack and applied all four colors to freshly stripped and cleaned deck boards and railings, and am leaning towards either the Cedar or Light Walnut. They look remarkably similar to me, so I feel like I can't go wrong with either, but I'm wondering what qualities should theoretically distinguish them apart? We want to avoid too much red or orange tone in the stain, which of the two has more of that (if any)?

    Also, for the sample I followed the wet on wet directions and applied the stain about 2.5 hours after completing the cleaning. The resulting finish looks remarkably darker than the image on your website, is it possible I applied too much stain or is this more likely just the variation possible based on my wood (not sure what type it is or how old)? Any tips for a finish truer to the images on your website?

    In the images attached, the stains go Natural, Cedar, Light Walnut, Dark Walnut (bottom to top/left to right).
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2022
      Light walnut has a little more red. 

      Stain colors vary based on wood type, age of wood, and application. This is normal. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Steven · 07/29/2022
        Thanks - I have pretty much completed all the stripping and cleaning for the deck, but now our area has been hit with really heavy rain over the last few days. I see that the semi-transparent stain is recommended to be applied to damp wood but is it possible to be too saturated with water? (I know the puddles need to be gone)
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/30/2022
          The wood cannot be soaking wet. Damp to touch is okay.
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    Geoff · 07/24/2022
    I have removed some rotted boards from my deck. I was planning to replace them with new wood (green cedar-not kiln dried), then strip finish off remaining boards. Will the stripper damage the new boards? What steps would you take? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2022
      No, it will not damage the new wood.
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    Lee · 07/24/2022
    I have tried all recommended linseed stains(twp, AC, flood, sikkens) and ALL have oxidized and turned mottled gray during the drying process and definitely worse in the 6 months following application.  My deck never had such problems the previous 15 years with high voc Olympic formulas in the pre restriction years.  My question since this will be first water based stain usage...how to clean the RAD product when on the deck without it fading (ie dawn soap or other).  What soaps have you used and confirmed no stain removal or fading/bleaching?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2022
      Warm water with a dash of dish soap.
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    David J Griffiths · 07/23/2022
    I have just purchased RAD stripper and brightener with clear cedar stain for my deck; Can I use the stripper and brightener on my teak outdoor furniture? I would then use a Teak oil finish on the furniture.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 07/23/2022
    Its suggested to apply your stain to damp wood. What does that mean? Can I dampen it myself and how much should I do it? Thanks. 
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    Caroline · 07/22/2022
    I have two spaces to do in the house we bought. It was built in 2018.
    #1 (pic 90-91)    8 feet x 12 feet landing with a railing of  16 feet x 8 feet  (128 square feet) 
    #2 (pic 63-67)    12 feet x  22 feet with railing of 12 feet x 3'5 feet (square feet)
    I have never done this before and am not a very 'hands-on' person. I will have to rent the equipment. What do you suggest in terms of steps/equipment and how much time do you think if would take? My friends suggested your products because they were really impressed by the results (and it survived our harsh canadian winter!)        
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Zane Baker · 07/21/2022
    I'm going to stain my pine fence with the RAD Cedar semi-transparent stain. A few questions:
    1. RAD Cleaner: I don't currently have a power washer. Any recommended specs for a new purchase on the flow and max pressure? Any recommended tip and pressure setting for the rinse process?
    2. RAD Stain: I'm going to be using a Wagner Control Pro 170 airless sprayer to apply the stain. Do I need to back brush if I use the sprayer? Any recommendation on the tip size and pressure setting for applying the stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2022
      1. Any decent pressure wash with 2000-3000 PSI and GPM over 2.4 should work well. Always use a green or white tip. 
      2. Back brush as needed to ensure an even application and to catch any drips and runs. Any fan tip will work. Wider is easier,
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 07/21/2022
    Hi there, 

    I have been working on removing the previous stain on my 20 year old deck with a combination of RAD stripper, a brush, and a power washer. Due to time constraints, its been a slow process and I do a section at a time. I am almost done removing all the previous stain, and I assume the next step is the RAD brightener before doing the RAD stain. I noted varying color of the deck at this point. 1) Does it look like I am on the right track? 2) Will the varied color of the deck even out after the brightener? Thanks. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2022
      1. Yes.
      2. It should but it also should even out when stained.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jackie · 07/19/2022
    I just power-washed my 3-year old unfinished deck yesterday. To use your stain, must I power-wash it again with your products.
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    Erika Romine · 07/19/2022
    After picture
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    Erika Romine · 07/19/2022
    I stripped the old solid stain, sanded and brightened and then put on two coats of solid stain. I am happy with the look and it seems like it will hold up to weather better than the product I used last year.
    I have noticed that I can see bare wood in between some of the planks (on the vertical sides). Is this ok? Did I fail to put enough solid stain on to seep between boards? 
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    Richard W · 07/18/2022
    2016 I installed approximately 400sf of knotty red cedar, waited a year and used RAD with PW then TWP semi.  2019 I repeated the process. Very happy with the process.  However, the floor seemed to have developed some ridges in the wood, maybe from using a stiff brush and the RAD cleaner last time around.  Yesterday, I used 50/50 bleach/water to remove any green mildew and any dripping from the grill, lightly brushed and heavily rinsed.  I'm considering belt sanding the entire deck to remove ridges.  What would the process be after sanding the deck with 80 grit? or is this overkill?  thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/18/2022
      It is normal to have this and decking should not be overly smooth. We would not sand it.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Richard W · 08/06/2022
        1 coat on the verticals wet on wet on the floor.  Looks great.  love the product
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    Henry · 07/17/2022
    I have a five year old 20 x 17 ft redwood deck that was originally stained with a Thompson product that peeled pretty quickly. It was sanded and a Preserva oil based transparent product was used. Am looking to try the Restore-A-Deck product and was wondering whether the stripper or cleaner product should be used and whether any sanding/pressure washing will be needed for the semi-transparent stain? Also would 2-3 gallons of the stain be sufficient? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/17/2022
      Strip and brighten for prep. About 3-4 gallons for two coats applied wet on wet.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    BD · 07/16/2022
    Our contractor and helper stained our deck/pergola yesterday with RAD ST Light Walnut. The helper was heavy handed with the stain and it's dark and shiny on the deck floor. I think that he kept rolling until the wood couldn't soak up any more. Looks more like a dark walnut than a Semi Transparent Light Walnut. There are drips and uneven areas all over and the vertical areas are inconsistent and they ran out of stain (5 gallons) The top of the pergola and posts aren't even done yet

    There are also splatters on the siding (they tried cleaning some up yesterday) and glass doors even though they were covered also have splatters.

    I contacted the dealer for help and the rep on the phone told me to take a dry rag and it would take the shine off. My concern is that it will peel and that also won't do anything with the drips in the various areas or the dark color.  She said the cleaner may help remove some of the over staining. 

    I tried cleaning the glass doors and siding with 409 and Windex and the splatters are not coming off. 

    I have notified the contractor (emailed this AM). Any help/advise on how to fix this mess is greatly appreciated.  

     
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/17/2022
      Use Goof off to remove from the glass. You cannot remove just the over applied stain that has dried. You would have to strip it all off and start over to fix it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Michael Keighley · 07/16/2022
    Sorry but this will be a long one. I have three projects for which I am only using your products and have questions on all three projects.

    1. I installed a PT pine vertical fence two years ago. I waited one year for it to weather and then pressure treated it, used your cleaner and brightener and then two coats of your semi transparent stain (wet on wet). It came out fantastic and now one year after the staining it still looks great. When should I do a maintenance coat and when I do, should I just lightly pressure wash it and then apply another single coat of the same stain?

    2. On my second project which I finished one year ago, I pressure washed, then used your cleaner, and brightener and then applied two coats (wet on wet) of your solid stain (also came out really nice) however I had to add three new steps (PT pine - six boards) which have now weathered for one year. I'm now ready to stain these steps with the same solid stain. Do I now use the same system - pressure wash, cleaner, brightener and then two (wet on wet) coats of the same solid stain? 

    3. My final project is a five hundred square foot deck of new wood PT pine that has weathered for one year. The spindles and handrails are not new wood and were never stained. I plan to lightly sand them, then pressure wash, then the cleaner then brightener and now my question - should I use one or two coats (wet on wet) of semi transparent stain on these spindles and top rails? And lastly, for the floor of the deck I have new wood PT pine that has weathered for one year and I plan to pressure wash, use the brightener and cleaner and then semi transparent stain - should I do one coat or can I do two coats (wet on wet) of the semi transparent stain.

    Thanks much and thanks for making such great products. I have already recommended you guys to many friends.

    Michael
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/17/2022
      1. As needed. About 3-4 years for a fence. Clean and brighten for prep.
      2. Yes, correct.
      3. 2 coats applied wet on wet.
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    Richard Roose · 07/15/2022
    can i darken the stain i ordered
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary · 07/12/2022
    If a cedar deck (5 years old) has been stripped of old finish then sanded with 80 grit sandpaper, will it need one or 2 coats of RAD semi-transparent stain after cleaning/brightening?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary · 07/11/2022
    Hello - wondering if I should use cleaner + brightener or stripper + brightener?

    Details: 2 barn doors. Not sure about wood, looks like pine. Semi-transparent natural stain, but unsure of brand. Prob about 5 years old. I have access to a pressure washer. Roughly 450 sq. ft (front/back)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2022
      Strip and brighten will be easier.
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        Gary · 07/11/2022
        Thanks - is the clean basically best reserved for existing RAD stain? I just used RAD products for my deck, so trying to plan ahead (hopefully far ahead) :).
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/12/2022
          You clean and recoat when using the same brand and color of deck stain otherwise you should strip.
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            Gary · 07/31/2022
            Did the first strip/brighten and results pretty good. Noticed that there are some “fibers” appearing now. I’m not concerned about the texture, but will this impact the RAD stain? Any additional steps I need to take?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/01/2022
              Looks a little rough from the prep/pressure washing. Might want to buff the floors. See this for tips: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/wood-fuzzies-furring-on-deck/
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                Gary · 08/01/2022
                This is on a barn door, so raising a large orbital will be challenging. Do you suggest using a palm sander with buffing pad? (If if even exists)
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 08/01/2022
                  How does it look when wet? If good, then it should be fine when stained. It seems your barn door is rough sawn wood anyhow so it just might be the way it is.
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                    Gary · 08/19/2022
                    I’m at 2.5 weeks since doing the strip and brighten on these barn doors. Repeat the process or give it a pressure was, then stain?
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                      RAD Products · 08/19/2022
                      Pressure wash and stain should be okay as long as it has not grayed.
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    Dhstorm · 07/10/2022
    My question is about applying a different color over an existing one— coastal gray over cedar. Because the stain is semi-transparent, I realize the gray will not cover completely. But could it tone down the cedar color? Is that a possible result?!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2022
      No, you cannot tone down the cedar color. You can mix the cedar with another color prior to applying. We do not have ratios on this so you would have to test it on your own.
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    Dhstorm · 07/10/2022
    After i clean and brighten a deck previously stained RAD cedar, can I apply coastal gray to tone the color down?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2022
      You would have to strip and brighten if you want to switch to the gray.
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    Bob · 07/10/2022
    Can previous  restore-a deck stain be recoated (with restore-a deck stain) without being stripped off? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/10/2022
      Yes, but use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener kit for prep.
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        Kathi Sanders · 07/11/2022
        I think it’s important to note that the cleaner will remove a lot of the existing stain. I was not expecting that. Still not sure if the goal is to remove all of the stain or just what comes off easily. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/11/2022
          How much it removes or does not remove depends on how many years between coatings and how much the stain has deteriorated through those years.
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            Bob · 07/11/2022
            How often would you say a deck should be restained (by cleaning and staining over the existing stain)? I am in the process of stripping old stain (not restore-a-deck) and then restaining with your product. Im trying to avoid the stripping process in the future. 
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    Chad · 07/08/2022
    A year ago I built a new house (Minnesota) with some accent cedar siding and wanted to keep the cedar appearance. Painters recommended Sherwin Williams SuperDeck (waterborne) clear sealer which we went with. The siding has direct sunlight and is definitely turning gray. I would like to refinish it ourselves and transition to RAD cedar semi-transparent stain. Would the stripper work for removing the SuperDeck and do I need the booster and thickener? Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/09/2022
      Can you post a couple of pictures?
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        Chad · 07/09/2022
        It is rough sawn tongue and groove cedar siding. Reference sample was kept in the garage without light exposure the past year. 1 gallon can is the sealer that was applied.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/10/2022
          No need for the Stripper additives. Apply the Stripper and pressure wash off. Brightener is last.
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    lpoulson · 07/08/2022
    what to do about raised grain after cleaning and brightening