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
    Al · 05/18/2021
    I will be using the RAD cleaner and brightener on my deck.  I have wood painted shake shingles on the siding of my house that butts up to my deck floor.Will these products cause damage to my siding? 
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    Sanford · 05/18/2021
    Well, I just finished my deck and it did not come out very well.  I had sanded the deck in the fall and let it age over the winter.  I cleaned and brightened.  I did power wash but there was a fair amount of slime which did not come off even though I washed over and over.  But once dry it seemed okay, though there were lots of "fuzzies" that were visible.   In accordance with your suggestion from a previous post, I just went on.  So  the next morning I started staining around 8:30 in around 70 degree weather.  The stain went on pretty blotchy and uneven.  I waited a half hour to do a light second coat as your direction indicated.  Part way through, I realized that everywhere I stepped on the first coat there were footprints that did not come off with the light second coat, even though I rubbed hard with the brush (I used the deck brush I bought from you.) I also noticed after that the brush itself left streaks.  The end result looked very "amateur."  I am considering trying to fix things, after everything is well cured, with a very light sanding to take out the foot prints, brush marks and the fuzzies that are still very visible.  Or is there anything else I should try.  (Hm . . . I am probably not willing to go through the whole process of cleaning and brightening again.)   
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      RAD Products · 05/18/2021
      You will have to remove it all and then buff to sand to fix. It cannot be spot fixed.
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    Scottbuf · 05/18/2021
    Loved using RAD on a large fence and deck in our cold climate. Two years later...partial re-stain in order - only for the deck surface and edges. What to order? 
    I completed the entire process with the RAD kit to clean, brighten and stain a large fence as well as deck and stairs. Worked very well on all surfaces, however the deck floor and margins now are peeling and need restoring to their earlier semi-transparent cedar finish. I have a total of about 285 sq. ft. of deck surface and sides to re-stain. 2 questions, 1) Which of the stripper or cleaner/brightener to order for the prep steps and 2) When applying the stripper or other pre-stain products, do I need to worry (and if so, best prevention method recommended) about overspray to the adjacent fence boards that might strip or fade/damage some of THEIR finish?
    For the deck re-application of semi-transparent cedar stain I'm guessing 2 gals of stain will be required. I have a pressure washer. See photos for both standard worn deck areas and areas with algae/green stains on deck, as well as a (Deck floor 3) 'joining' area against the fence which (despite some dirt and grit that I can easily wash off) looks great and has kept its nice color and finish throughout its length now and probably has one more year in it before requiring treatment/re-application. Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/18/2021
      1. Strip and brighten for prep.2. Cover the adjacent fence as it will remove the stain there.
      2-3 gallons of stain. 
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    bruce w hrinko · 05/18/2021
    I just finished using Stripper and Brightner on my deck.  My question is would it be possible to wait until tomorrow to do the stain.  I have indirect sunlight from 6 a.m. until Noon and direct sunlight from Noon  on.I am using Semi Transparent Stain.Thanks
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    Tracy L. · 05/18/2021
    I stripped very stubborn solid stain off my deck with a non-RAD brand product. Now, I want to complete the project with RAD products. Should I do both the Cleaning and Brightening steps or just the Brightening step before staining with RAD semi-transparent stain?   
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    david w seppala · 05/18/2021
    First time user and love the product. I tried to tell my wife that we needed to use plastic on the siding but she thought tape would do the trick...well we have your semi-transparent stain flecks on some of the siding. What do you recommend to get the flecks of stain off?
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    Larry Blaikie · 05/18/2021
    Live in Ontario, Canada, 12 month old deck , I went through the process of cleaning and bighting- well rinsed.    Two days later I stained the staining with wet on wet for the railings, but I was having issues with left over product. (since my deck was just on the crossover between one coat and two, was not sure what to do),  So after some issues controlling the streaks with the second coat.  When it came to the deck I decided on just one coat. What i am noticing is a difference finish ( sheen)  in some areas, I was careful to do the same technique all over but there does seem to be a difference in some boards, some appear to have more product on the surface, while other areas absorbed the product.  the deck is 12 months old.   the variations are not too bad, I was wondering as i missed the wet on wet step for the deck boards, Should I add a thin 2nd coat (within 72 hours)  or just do a maintenance coat next year.   The boards with the more sheen seem to be the ones that had the most shad over the past year- not sure if that is a coincidence or not.    Can i just do part of the deck with the second coat?  thoughts. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/18/2021
      You cannot add more at this point and having a sheen means it was over applied in those areas. It actually looks good though, so leave it. You can always clean and apply another coat next year if needed.
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    Chuck Davis · 05/17/2021
    I have to reapply TWP 100 to my deck every year, and this is getting old. I'm hoping that you will have a suggestion that will allow two years between applications.


    KDAT PT pine was put down over existing framing in 2015. Per your suggestion I started with a light coat of TWP 100.


    I prep with Restore-A-Deck, making two passes over the RAD Cleaner with a scrub brush and then a pressure washer. In some areas a fairly thick layer of "mung" comes off with the pressure washer. (More on this later.) I make sure to flood the deck thoroughly to remove the RAD Brightener. I have tried different applicators, but I'm currently using a brush for the TWP 100.


    Our house is in a very damp location, so per your suggestion I am applying Wet & Forget to the deck every 4 months or so.


    After a year, areas underneath furniture and a deck storage box still look great and still bead water. Shaded areas look fair and no longer bead. Sunny areas have turned dark and no longer bead. It is these sunny areas where the thickest layer of "mung" is found.


    This is what is weird. Mold should be thickest in the shaded and covered locations, not the sunny locations. I'm not sure what I am dealing with.


    I finished this year's Restore-A-Deck prep yesterday, and plan to stain in the next few days. Any suggestions that you might have to extend the life of the stain coating, including a possible change of product, would be appreciated.


    Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/17/2021
      Maybe try the Restore A Deck semi-transparent stain as it will prevent mildew better. You will need to strip off the TWP to do this.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Chuck Davis · 05/18/2021
        Any idea what I've got growing (or accumulating) in the sunny areas?  ("Mung")  I would expect mold & mildew to grow in the shady or covered areas, but those areas look (relatively) fine.
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          RAD Products · 05/18/2021
          We would need to see pictures.
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            Chuck Davis · 05/18/2021
            Sorry.  Too late.  Deck has already been cleaned and brightened with RAD and pressure washer.  I'll put a tickler in my calendar to take pictures next spring.  Thanks.
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              Chuck Davis · 05/18/2021
              Don't know if these will provide any information.  Under furniture and along shady wall still looks pretty good.  Open, sunlit areas (now cleaned) were dark with a layer of something that came off with RAD Cleaner and pressure washer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mo · 05/17/2021
    How long does it take to ship to Ontario, Canada?
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    Vince · 05/17/2021
    I have a deck that is roughly 16x10 that hasn't been cleaned/treated in 8+ years. I assume the wood is original to the house which is nearly 30 years. I plan on sanding a lot of the surfaces (at least on the horizontal boards) before staining but am not clear on the steps I should take. Should I Sand -> Clean -> Stain or Clean -> Sand -> Rinse -> Stain? Most of the old semi-transparent stain is faded away on the horizontal boards with some remaining on the verticals. I've only used pressure washing in the past to prep as I don't like using chemicals as a general rule and I also don't want to get anything on my neighbors decks which are only 5-6 feet apart. Are they absolutely necessary or can I just clean using pressure? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/17/2021
      You have to prep with the products. Use the Cleaner first, sand after if needed with 60 grit, Brightener next, stain last.
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        Vince · 05/17/2021
        Thanks for the quick reply! Can that be done over a few days or does it have to be done all at once? I've seen it recommended to follow cleaner/stripper directly by brightener while still wet but I didn't want to sand while wet. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/17/2021
          If you sand you can break it down over a few days.
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    Stephen · 05/17/2021
    I have a cedar deck that I have previously stained with RAD semi-transparent stain. I wanted to reapply this year and used the cleaner and brightener and then applied the stain (same colour used previously) using the RAD deck brush and wet-on-wet application for two coats. The result isn't as dark as I remember it. I am wondering if I didn't stir the stain enough. Is that possible and would I be able to re-clean, brighten and stain again the next day?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/17/2021
      You cannot apply more now and adding more would not be a good idea as it will not soak in, nor would it darken the color. Colors are the same and have not been changed
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    William · 05/16/2021
    Hi, I am in the process of restoring an old deck and stairs and I am now looking to stain it, before spending hundreds, I would appreciate your guidance in choosing the right products and methods, after having carefully read your guide and customers projects, I'm still not sure:- Location : Quebec
    - Square footage: 967sq. ft.- Type of wood: pressure-treated wood (I don't know which type of tree).- Approximate Age of Wood: most deck 30yrs old, stairs and railings replaced in August 20 by new pressure-treated wood, and Front-desk railing + deck patch just replaced 1 month ago (please see picture with metal baluster).- Previous stain: I think some kind of Acacia semi transparent on entrance stairs (like 10 yrs ago), but other than that, I think it's natural.- Wood type to be stained: deck, stairs and railing- Pressure water: Yes 1500PSI
    My questions: - I love semi-transparent results I can find in your database, but as my project is a mixed of very old wood and new wood I'm really not sure if this solution is viable for me? My goal is to not see the difference between old and new once stained. What do you think? Do I need to go opaque?- In order to prep correctly will I need both cleaner and stripper (because of mix between old and new wood) or stripper alone will be enough? Will I need some booster?- Your calculator estimate 10 gallons of stain, is it the same calculator for both semi-transparent and opaque stain?- Main deck (with bbq and everything) is exposed South full Sun, how will it affect the stain and how to prevent it?
    Thank you so much for your help.Will
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2021
      The only way to blend it all is go go with the RAD Solid stain. Stripper and brightener for prep. 2 of each About 10 gallons of the stain for two coats. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        William · 05/20/2021
        Wil I need both additives for stripper or product alone will be enough for me to strip deck and railings? Thanks
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        William · 05/16/2021
        Thanks for your quick answer!I will follow your advice, and I think me preference is going to solid stain Brown oak.Unfortunately I can't find any picture of results from customers. I went through all contests pages 2019 and 2020.Do you have any in your database, website?Thanks
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          Karen Piotrowicz · 05/19/2021
          I used Brown oak stain on my 30 year old deck, some old boards some new boards that we aged 1 year.  Power washed, cleaned and brightened. Waited one week then put on two coats of the stain allowing to dry 2 hours in between. Came out great. Photos attached.
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          RAD Products · 05/16/2021
          Just what is on the website pages. 
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    Naz · 05/15/2021
    Hi,If I pressure wash my deck and apply a solid stain, will that work?  Or do I need to sand it down too?  Thanks!
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    Sanford · 05/15/2021
    Hi, I just used the cleaner on a redwood deck that had been sanded in the fall and left to age over the winter.  I washed the cleaner off as best I could using a power washer (spent about an hour washing!) but there is a good bit of slime left over which does not seem to wash off, .  The deck is very slippery because of the slime.   Do I have to remove the slime?  More power washing?  Should I go over it with a deck brush when dry or wet?  Should Ignore the slime and proceed with brightening and staining?  Thanks.   
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/16/2021
      Pressure wash if off as much as you can and then brighten.
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    Craig · 05/15/2021
    I started the project of using stripper on my cedar pergola. Since it’s built as part of my deck its a tough job. I got about 3/4 of it stripped and power washed but ran out of time and fin not brighten. A few questions.... is it still ok to go back another time and use the brighten? Also it does not look like the AC stain is “completely” removed since I still see some color to the cedar. Is it still ok to apply RAD stain or would in need to go back to AC stain? This has definitely been a tougher job being on a ladder than just a deck surface.  
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      RAD Products · 05/16/2021
      Brightener when you are able. We would need to see dry pictures to determine if you removed enough or not.
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    Tom · 05/15/2021
    Hi.  Last fall I stripped my deck with 2 applications of the stripper in prep for staining.  Unfortunately, I ran out of time to finish the application.  Can I just use the brightener and stain now?Thanks. Tom
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    WG · 05/14/2021
    Can I order the Armstrong-Clark stain on this site or do I have to go to their website? 
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    Cynthia Beauchamp · 05/14/2021
    Our deck is about 20 years old and we typically stain every 2 years.  The last time we used Benjamin Moore Arborcoat solid stain (2 years ago) in a redwood colour but we have subsequently changed the colour of our home and want to change the colour of the deck.  The BM Arborcoat did not fare well this winter and is peeling in many spots. Which products would you suggest to use?  We do have a power washer.  Some of the wood is smooth; flower boxes and outside deck is rough wood.  Thanks for your help,
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    Carol · 05/14/2021
    Will the Restore-a-Deck stripper remove RAD stain from vinyl siding? If so, how do you do that? If not, what can I use (we splashed a little)
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    Gus · 05/14/2021
    two more picture that did not go through
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    Gus · 05/14/2021
    Hi there, we are working on a cedar deck that has been neglected. It seems like they had used cabot. The deck is about 1000sqft , half sun in NY state. What are you recommendation in terms of which product to be used and how much you recon I need?I have a couple of weeks to order / receive the order.Thanks so much again for the great site and product!
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    Jeff Kuneman · 05/14/2021
    our deck has numerous cracks in the floor ect. do I fill these all in with something? I seen someone say fill them in with a polyurethane caulk color to match stain but our deck is very large and it would take some time. 
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      RAD Products · 05/14/2021
      No, never use a filler. It will not work on outdoor wood and will not stain to blend. Cracks are normal and not an issue.
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    Ryan · 05/13/2021
    We used the RAD Solid Stain two weeks ago and applied the recommended two coats but the second coat was a little thin in some areas.  Can we order more stain and apply another coat after a light cleaning?  Thanks.
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    Tom J · 05/12/2021
    I have about 700sq ft of redwood deck on a house we purchased last August. Last September, I rebuilt about 250 sq ft that was structurally unsound. My question...can I use the stripper on the new wood for prep? Or, do I need cleaner for the new wood and stripper for the old? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/13/2021
      Cleaner only for the new wood.
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        Tom J · 05/14/2021
        Sorry, second picture didn’t post originally.
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        Tom J · 05/13/2021
        Thanks! The new stuff is the area near the sliding door. The rest is the old stuff. Stripper the correct choice for the old stuff? I don’t know what they used or how long ago.
        Thanks again!
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    Lorna · 05/12/2021
    Hi, my husband and I are looking to refinish our deck. We bought our house in Dec 2019, and we don't know how old the deck is or what product was used previously.  It is approximately 700 sq. ft with railing.  We plan to use the solid stain white on the railing and the semi-transparent in dark walnut on the deck.  Yes, we will be using a pressure washer.
    1. Due to rough wood, we plan to sand the deck down quite a bit.  This should take off whatever stain is currently there, correct? How soon can we stain after sanding?  What order should we clean, sand, and brighten?
    2. The railings are in better shape than the deck, but it's possible that a different product was used.  Do you think the stripper will remove what's there, and do you think we will need the booster and/or thickening agent? Would the process be any different for these compared to the deck? Will we need to sand down to bare wood before applying the solid stain?
    3. We will be replacing the top boards on the railing. If using untreated wood, we don't need to wait for weathering, correct? Can we clean and stain with the rest of it?
    I've been scouring the comments on this site, and I'm finding some conflicting information.  I would appreciate some advice in what our process should be. Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/13/2021
      1. Strip off what you can first. Sand after if needed or to smooth the wood with 60-80 grit. Brighten all after. Just one coat of the semi-transparent for the floors if you power sand. Two coats for the solid stain.2. Use both additives with the stripper for both areas. You do not have to remove all the stain from the rails since you are covering it with a solid color.3. You have to wait to weather no matter what with new wood. Does not matter the wood type.
      Thanks
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lorna · 05/13/2021
        Thanks for your reply. I realize that only 2 of my pictures were posted!

        What is the reason for just one coat of the semi transparent stain when power sanding?

        Assuming the new wood is weathered (or we wait to replace), we can strip, sand, brighten, and stain all in one day? 
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          RAD Products · 05/13/2021
          Sanding reduces the absorption of the wood so two two cannot soak in fully. Wait 3 months for new wood to weather.
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            Lorna · 05/13/2021
            That makes sense! Just for clarification, does "new wood" refer just to the boards that would be replaced, or also for the wood that has been power sanded? I'm just trying to figure out if I can stain immediately after sanding or if I need to wait.   
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    Alex · 05/12/2021
    I have a deck that I last used Redwood Olympic Maximum stain two years ago and it needs staining again. Can I go with a lighter semi tranparent color? What prep steps do you recommend. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/12/2021
      You will need to remove this fully as what you have on there now looks like a solid stain in many areas. This means that you cannot strip it fully off and that sanding will be required.
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    OneEyeMan · 05/12/2021
    We recently had a Batu (Mahogany) floor installed on our outdoor north facing porch. It basically never gets sunlight but does get wet from rain. The contractor used 3 coats of Varathane Ultimate Spar Urethane to coat it. The first coat sank completely into the wood. I've since learned that this probably wasn't the best choice for the porch floor. I'm reading that it'll peel up within a year and then I'll have to sand it down to bare wood and apply an appropriate finish. Your thoughts on this? If you agree it'll fail, will your Restore-A-Deck Cleaner remove all the Varathane (even the Varathane that sunk into the wood) without having to sand?  Will I need to use anything else before applying your Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain?  Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/12/2021
      This will have to be power sanded off with floor sanding machines. Yes it will fail. Not sure why your contractor would do this but he created unnecessary issues for you. 
      Once sanded off you will need to do a final prep with the RAD Cleaner and Brightener kits.  Stain after. 
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        OneEyeMan · 05/12/2021
        Well, he said he's been using polyurethane products for years with no problems.  Oh well, I'll just wait till it starts failing then sand it off. I assume your Stripper wouldn't remove the Varathane??  If I get it down to bare wood, why would I need to use your Cleaner and Brightener?  This is new wood.  
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          RAD Products · 05/12/2021
          You cannot strip this off, you will have to sand. You need the Cleaner and Brightener to open up the pores of the wood after sanding.
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    William · 05/10/2021
    I have an older deck that I've just finished power washing. It seems like I'll need to apply 2 coats of stain but at 1,000 square feet it can get expensive. Since the 2nd coat needs to be applied while the deck is still wet from the first, can I return any unused containers if I order too many? 
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    Julie · 05/10/2021
    Novice stainer here - sons and I stained deck of new kiln dried pine yesterday - used your cleaner, brightener and light walnut semi transparent stain.  Looks great but a few drips remain and a few places have bubbles on surface - how can we clean up these places?
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    Kathryn A Sattizahn · 05/08/2021
    I stripped my deck and it needs sanding because it is very rough.  Which do I do first, use brightener or sand.  How long can I go after the stripping or sanding before I apply brightener.