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
    Scott Brown · 03/11/2021
    We have a prior stained deck. We have Step 1 and 2 RAD. We plan to sand the deck. When would we do that? Before application of either step or at a different time?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/11/2021
      You will have to sand off all of the old stain first and then use the RAD prep after.
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    Lacey Key · 03/10/2021
    I have more a maintenance question than restoration question. I have a approximately 10x5 portion of a deck that was older than my new wood portion (added onto the deck by previous owners so we don’t know they age). The wood is in good shape so when we did the restore a deck finishes with new wood we also did the same to that portion. Two years in and it has quite a bit of green settling on it from over head trees. What is the best way to clean this without having to refinish it completely?
    Also on the new wood portion I have a path that has worn in from steps to steps. The rest of the deck is looking good- can I do a quick coat on just the worn path? Thanks

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      Debbie · 03/11/2021
      I would try the wet and forget first
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      RAD Products · 03/10/2021
      You cannot just clean without re-coating. The prep products are designed for reapplication. You also cannot spot treat the worn path and then have it blend. You have to to a full prep and recoat and it is normal to have to do this every 2-3 years.
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    MDNY102 · 03/10/2021
    Just ordered the cleaner/brightener kits, based on good past results. But just realized that this 2-year old deck, having been stained with Cabot australian timber oil, probably needs stripper rather than cleaner. Any chance I can get away with just cleaner and brightener? Haven't selected a new stain yet, since the Cabot didn't hold up very well. Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 03/10/2021
      You will need to strip and brighten.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        MDNY102 · 03/10/2021
        Last question - need to strip and brighten the horizontal deck surface, which was stained 2 years ago. The railings are all "new" unstained PT, so they just need cleaner and brightener. Any issues with overspray and rinsing of the railings causing any discoloration or staining of the horizontal deck surface before stripping it? Thanks.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        MDNY102 · 03/10/2021
        Thanks, just ordered the stripper. For future reference, it sounds like if I use one of your stain products, I will be able to just use cleaner rather than stripper?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 03/10/2021
    I stained my deck 2 years ago with your products. In prep of restaining the deck do I need to use the stripper or just the cleaner?
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    Steve Christman · 03/05/2021
    I have a call in to your sales dept. Here are pictures.
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    Ryan · 03/04/2021
    I've got approximately 150 square feet of cedar singles on the front gables of my house. The wood is 13 years old and has the original stain from that time of installation. It is an oil based stain, Rodda Rural Manor semi-transparent. If possible, I would like to re-stain the shingles with a lighter and/or more transparent color. I assume the existing stain would have to be stripped and I'm wondering if your product would be a good solution for that. I could rent a pressure washer if required.
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    steve · 03/03/2021
    what is the shelf life of your stain
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/04/2021
      Unopened about 3 years. Opened about 12 months. Cannot freeze.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Richie · 02/25/2021
    Whats the coldest temps you can seal the deck at? Temps in the 40s here now.

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    Ron Z · 02/07/2021
    What's the recommendation re: deicers? I.e. avoid putting any on a deck finished with your stain? I assume so but wanted to ask ...
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 02/07/2021
      Deicers will not work with deck stains. They will break down the coating.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ron Z · 02/08/2021
        That's what I thought. Thanks for the quick response.
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    Lohri · 01/30/2021
    I have 40 year old cedar siding on my house with I think 20 plus year old stain ( possibly semitransparent) We are replacing some siding with new cedar. Old stain has totally worn off in some places, but in other places stain remains. How can I get consistent color stain on all my wood ? Would going with a darker semitransparent or solid stain be better? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/31/2021
      Use the Restore A Deck Stripper/Brightener kits with both additives for prep: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

      Once the old stain is fully removed, use the RAD in the Semi-transparent stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-wood-stain-5-gallon/flypage.tpl.html
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robert M Souter · 01/28/2021
    I cleaned, brightened and stained using a solid RAD stain. My deck is now covered with about 3 inches of snow, probably will get more before this NH winter is over. I have noticed outlines of leaves on my deck that must have resulted from leaves being trapped during one of the snow storms. My question is come spring what is the best way to clean the traces of leaves from my deck? I would hope that I would not have to restain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/28/2021
      Typically watered down bleach removes leave stains but it may also lighten the solid deck stain. If you try it, do a test spot first. 1 part bleach to 5 parts water. BTW, never attempt this with the RAD Semi-transparent stain, only the solid.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dj · 01/27/2021
    How long will it last on a pressure treated fence
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    mdwi · 01/26/2021
    Received RAD and now have a weather window. Want to get some feedback, tips due to wood type/condition.

    Wood: rough cedar deck
    Installed: April 2019 (2 yrs)
    No prior sealers/stains and has grayed.
    Full sun/exposure all day
    Railing has galvanized wire panels

    Have the following equipment: power washer, pump sprayers, soft and still bristle brushes

    1. Any specific tips to avoid fuzzies, or will rough cedar and age produce fuzzies regardless of precautions taken?
    2. Do the galvanized wire panels need to be protected?
    3. Plan to use a transparent stain because we love the look. Also plan to restrain every 1-2 years.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/27/2021
      1. No way to avoid it as it comes from the oxidation/graying removal but it really should not be a concern since it is rough sawn.
      2. Should not be any issues with the galvanized panels.
      3. Use the RAD semi-transparent stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-wood-stain-5-gallon/flypage.tpl.html
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Glenn A. · 01/25/2021
    After stripping & brightening deck, I applied 1 coat of A/C semi-transparent Amber oil-based stain for hardwoods on my mahogany deck last July. 6 months later, the deck appears (looks) as though it has no stain on it whatsoever. When spring/summer arrives I hope to re-stain with something that retains color shade somewhat better. For the easiest solution, do you recommend using a A/C "semi-solid" oil-based stain to cover the visually "semi-transparent" failure, or something else? I'm not all that concerned now about highlighting the grain, but don't want a totally solid-cover finish. Since I now have an oil-based stain, is oil-base the way to continue, or can a water-based semi-solid stain be applied successfully?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/25/2021
      The AC semi-solid will not work on your wood type as it will not be able to soak in. The issue of fading is related to your Mahogany wood and the density of the wood and is why you need to recoat annually. Nothing will last longer. When recoating and switching brands or types of stain you will have to strip and brighten for prep.
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    Tom Hearn · 01/24/2021
    Two Quick Questions. I stripped and stained my deck last fall with the products and was very pleased with the results. I had replaced some of the deck wood and only put one coat of Stain on the product per the recommendations. When I put another coat of stain on the new wood in the spring, do I need to prep it in any way?

    Also, I have two gallons of the Cedar stain left over, how long will it last or can I return it? Thanks

    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/24/2021
      You will need to clean the deck with the RAD Cleaner for prep. Shelf life is 3 years if unopened.
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    Scott · 01/22/2021
    Overriding suggestion: keep your stripper moist & let it sit as long as you can.

    My project details: Everything is 14 years old. Two Cedar garage doors, one L-shaped deck & one straight deck (all railings & post coverings are cedar, wood floors are Ipe) and front porch railings all cedar. In addition to the decks, I also have cedar railings between some of the decks. I had previously used Australian Timber Oil & used to be happy with results. Then the mfg changed composition and it didn’t work. Then I tried a Ben Moore semi-transparent stain (major disappointment). The before pics will show how bad, dull, ugly everything looked. Previously I tried a different brand of stripper and it did nothing.

    Purchased three (3) full RAD stripper & brightener kits with the 2 additives (Thickening Gel & Booster). Used almost 100% of the purchased products. Applied product with backpack sprayer (1 for each stripper & brightener). In total, I spent about 28 hours applying and power washing the stripper and brightener. Obviously had to break into manageable pieces because holding a power washer for 5-8 hours straight is a PITA. Heads up – it’s a dirty job.


    The end results are absolutely amazing. The stripper & brightener really brought the wood back to its original form.

    The stripper & brightener work extremely well. However, and this is huge – you must keep the stripper moist the entire time before power washing. I found the longer I left the stripper on, the better it worked. As mentioned, the semi-transparent stain was pretty ugly, so I let stripper sit for anywhere from 1-2+ hours, but always keeping it very moist. The railings are time consuming when power washing each of the 4 sides, but the longer I let the stripper sit, while wet, the better it worked. I also applied the brightener immediately after I finished the stripper.

    On a side note, I used the stripper & brightener on 2 horse stalls (white pine) that had not been cleaned for 22+ years. The bottom 6’ around the stalls were pretty disgusting. The RAD really worked well on the stalls. They look brand new.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lisa · 01/21/2021
    Am attaching pics of our deck...second coat applied via wagner spray gun about 50 degrees out...stain pooled up in spots looks bad...please advise as how to correct!
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    Sheila · 01/21/2021
    We have a walkway made out of Ash. It was sealed a year ago with an oil based sealer (Penofin), but it grayed out quickly. 2 questions: Do we need to sand prior to applying or is the stripper, brightner sufficient? Also, what color most closely matches the original color (photos)? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/21/2021
      Strip and Brighern for prep. No need to sand. Most use the Light Walnut color for hardwoods such as Ash but you could use the Natural if you want a lighter tint.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    MRC · 01/21/2021
    I used the RAD system last year on my pool deck. The high traffic areas have worn most of the stain off and I need to recoat. What is the process for putting RAD over RAD?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 01/21/2021
      Prep with teh RAD Cleaner and light pressure washing to all floors.
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    Mike Van Dusen · 01/19/2021
    I live in Connecticut. Have a 450 sq ft screen porch with fir t&g floor, which includes a 4'X5' outdoor landing with one step. I need to sand porch in the spring, but need to protect landing and step immediately. What do you suggest for this, and since the deck gets plenty of rain/snow what do you recommend for a finish. Thanks
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    Berta · 12/23/2020
    Both pictures didn’t show up so resending.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Berta · 12/28/2020
      Since your recommendation, I have a couple more questions:
      1. When do I apply the cleaner, if at all to the old wood? The order of using RAD seems to say use the cleaner first, the strip, the brighten.
      2. I am assuming you do not want me to get any of the stripper that I use on the old wood (upper section of the deck) on the new, unstained wood (lower section), so should I cover the new wood areas?
      3. The new wood, if it does not have to be stripped, should I do the cleaning at the same time as doing the old wood and just apply the brightener at the same time as the old wood? Alternatively, should I strip and brighten the old wood and then separately clean/brighten the new wood?

      Thanks.


      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 12/29/2020
        You do not need the cleaner when using the stripper. You would only use the cleaner on the new wood. If you get any stripper on the new wood then rinse it off right away. Strip first old wood and then use cleaner on new wood after. Brighten all when done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Berta · 12/22/2020
    Will the stripper work to remove a coat of transparent PPG Proluxe SRD, formerly known as Sikkens Cetol SRD, exterior wood stain or does the wood have to be sanded before applying Cleaner/Brightener? The wood deck is 5/4 red cedar.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/23/2020
      Please send some pictures for prep help on this removal.
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        Berta · 12/23/2020
        The darker is the Sikkens, older boards. The lower, cleaner ones are new wood. We will be staining with Armstrong-Clark semi-transparent stain.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 12/23/2020
          Use the RAD Stripper with both additives and pressure washing and you should remove most if not all. Brightener after:
          https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brigette · 12/21/2020
    If I am going to use leftover stain for a pine wood sectional for the porch, do I have to brighten before applying stain? (We have sanded the 2 x 4s; they are not treated.) Also, what is the best way to apply to prevent drips?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/21/2020
      If this is new wood, see here: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html

      Sanding is not a good way to prep new wood as it "closes" the wood pores. Back wipe any drips right away.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ed · 12/15/2020
    I put two coats of your white solid stain on my front porch in September, after scraping/sanding all loose stain and cleaning every inch. It looked great in September and October, which were very dry months in the Boston area. That changed in November, when there were several heavy rain storms. Now, I have brown streaks on the railing posts and in many areas where the old stain had been removed, the new stain has changed to a brownish-yellow color. What went wrong?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/16/2020
      Hello,

      What you have had happened with the yellowing is tannin bleed. Tannin bleed is a tan or brownish discoloration on the paint surface. Tannins exist in all deck woods, most notably pine, cedar, and redwood, and can bleed through to the surface, leaving a yellowish-brown stain on the surface. These stains are more noticeable in lighter paint colors.

      Tannin bleed is an underlying wood problem, not a stain failure, and happens when in a very wet climate. Tannic acid can discolor the stain as the wet wood pushes the stains out towards the surface.

      To fix we would suggest recoating the spots next Spring after the wood dries out.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary · 12/08/2020
    What is the shelf life of Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent stain? I have an unopened gallon left over. Can I use it in a year or two or more? Would it have to be stored inside or would it be able to withstand an occasional freeze at night in winter and many 100 degree days in summer (central Texas)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/09/2020
      24 months or so if unopened and it cannot freeze. Has to be stored in a temperature-controlled room.
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    Colin · 12/08/2020
    Do you have any suggestions for a product to buy in order to apply RAD stain on an extension pole? I tried with a painting pad, but the stain is so much more watery than paint that it drips a lot. A regular brush works great for the spots I can reach, but there are some that I can't get with a ladder and need to use an extension pole with instead. Please let me know if you have any recommendations for an applicator that won't drip as much. Thank you, Colin
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/08/2020
      Sorry but noo, you will need a ladder or a lift to reach and use a regular stain pad or brush that is not attached to a pole.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bruce Lindsey · 12/07/2020
    How strict is the minimum 45 degrees for over 24 hours for applying solid wood stain? Following is what our weather looks like for the next couple of clear/sunny days:

    TODAY

    9 am 44 degrees
    12 pm 56 degrees
    3 pm 60 degrees
    7 pm 48 degrees
    10 pm 43 degrees

    TOMORROW

    12 am 41 degrees
    4 am 39 degrees
    6 am 38 degrees - 11 hours below 45
    10 am 54 degrees
    1 pm 65 degrees
    3 pm 67 degrees
    6 pm 57 degrees
    9 pm 48 degrees

    WEDNESDAY

    12 am 43 degrees
    the rest is pretty much the same


    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/07/2020
      I cannot be below 45 when applying and for the 4-6 hours after until fully dried.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Bruce Lindsey · 12/09/2020
        I have some twp 1500 series oil based staining to do as well. It seems to dry a lot more slowly. Does the same apply to it?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 12/09/2020
          Yes but the TWP can take longer to dry. 4-12 hours.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Teri · 12/04/2020
    Is it better to apply with deck dry or mist it lightly? The stain seems to be thin. What will help it from running as much?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/05/2020
      You can do either but we like to apply to damp wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/how-to-restore-a-deck-stain-to-damp-wood.html

      It is a penetrating stain, either dry or damp will not matter when it comes to "running".
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    CHARLES H KALINA JR · 12/03/2020
    I have 220 square foot deck with pressure treated wood about 25 yrs old always had some type of protectant on it.The last time stained about 3 yrs ago with Flood solid natural cedar oil based.I have cleaned and pressure washed the deck, the stain in some places next to the house still looks new.I wanted to change colors what would be the course of action to do this.
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    rlhlittleton · 12/01/2020
    Will this product remove Thompson's green label water seal from cedar fencing (3 years old). Specific method or same as any stain removal?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 12/01/2020
      Yes, it will. Make sure to use the RAD Stripper and then the RAD Brightener.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        rlhlittleton · 12/02/2020
        Most reviews/articles deal with decks. I have a long custom architectural cedar fence I am building that was redesigned and relocated/repurposed on the property. It was sealed when new (2017) with Thompson's green label clear (not by me).

        After stripping old sealer and brightening the wood, I plan to stain posts and trim with dark (mahogany or redwood tint) and the panels with cedar or natural "orange tone" stain.

        Why should I choose RAD stain products vs others and how does it compare to new technology acrylic based stains?

        How long should I expect it to last between re-coats in a dry, high UV climate like Denver (5,500 feet elevation)?

        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 12/02/2020
          The RAD stains will last about 3-6 years on a vertical fence. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stains are advanced, water-based, stain formulations designed to penetrate deep into wood pores for maximum protection and longevity. Recent advancements in water-based wood stain technology have allowed the active ingredients in the Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Stain to offer better UV protection, excellent penetration into the wood grain, and the ability to apply to damp wood. RAD Wood and Deck Stains will increase the life, appearance, and durability of all exterior wood surfaces. With the easy to apply and maintain Eco-Safe formula, you'll be able to finish faster and enjoy your exterior wood or deck for years.