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
    Sandra D · 09/04/2019
    I have stripped and brightened my PT pine deck and plan to stain it with TWP 100 tomorrow. The directions say not to apply it if rain is predicted in the next 48 hours. Finding four days in a row with zero chance of precipitation is a rarity here in Minnesota. What happens if there is a passing shower within the two days after staining?
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      RAD Products · 09/04/2019
      No issues.
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        Sandra D · 09/04/2019
        The RAD brightener says to apply the stain within two weeks. The weather may prevent this. If it does, will I have to brighten it again? This is enough to give one ulcers.
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          RAD Products · 09/04/2019
          Lightly wash with water and brighten the wood again.
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            Sandra D · 09/04/2019
            Not sure if you're saying the water brightens it, or I need to use a brightener again.
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              RAD Products · 09/04/2019
              Wash with water and then apply the brightener again.
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    PW · 09/03/2019
    Can leftover Brightener that has been mixed be saved to use the next day?
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    marc · 09/03/2019
    can I restore this white cedar playset to its original color?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/03/2019
      The cleaner and brightener will remove the gray and then you should stain it with the Restore A Deck Stains.
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    Robert Wildman · 09/03/2019
    Last year I stripped the TWP oil-based stain and converted to the semi-transparent water-based dark walnut stain. Everything came out great. Now I want to do a maintenance re-staining with the same dark walnut stain. Do I use a full-strength or weaker cleaning mixture? If weaker, how many oz. to a gallon? Do I need to use a brightener? Finally, do I do one coat or a second wet on wet coat? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/03/2019
      Just one coat and no need for the brightener this time. Mix cleaner at 1/2 strength (3-4 oz per gallon of water) and light pressure rinse.
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    Jonathan · 09/03/2019
    What if you need a second coat and the first is already dry?
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      RAD Products · 09/03/2019
      Best to wait until spring to do this so it can properly soak in and adhere. Light cleaning first,
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    Rebecca Pendergast · 09/02/2019
    Hi! I'm trying to figure out what color to paint our treated pine deck. It's a new deck that's been sitting for over a year, and is now ready for stain. I'm leaning towards cedar because our house color is a tan with a lot of gray in it, and natural and light walnut seem too yellow. Are my thoughts accurate? 1st pic is house color with light walnut. 2nd pic is house color with cedar. Lighting isn't good. Third pic is another question. What should I do with the ceiling to our covered deck? I like the color, and it doesn't get weathered by precipitation. Only by temperatures. Thanks!
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    Cheryl Kay · 09/02/2019
    I already applied the Thompson's Sealer & Protector product to the steps & rails but not the rest of the deck. I didn't like the results so started researching & discovered this information & like this better. I want to start over. Can I remove the Thompson's with just power washing it off? Also, how long will it take to receive this after ordering it? I am in western MI.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/02/2019
      You will need a stripper while pressure washing. Brightener after. Shipping takes 1-3 days.
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    Cheryl Kay · 09/02/2019
    Where is RAD made?
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    Bob Wainwright · 09/01/2019
    We have two Mahogany decks with stairs (285 sq ft) that badly need refinishing. The wood is approximately six (6) years old. Previously finished with oil based products both transparent and semi trans. such as Thompson, Sikkens’ products, a C2 Fusion product and another recommended finish. Finished two summers ago. I used my Pressure Washer with a Deck cleaning concentrate before finishing also some light sanding.
    None of the finishes have stood up to the elements.
    Included are a few pictures.
    I don’t want to sand the remaining patches of finish off, I would prefer stripping and brightening.
    I would appreciate your advice on the best method of restoring the wood. Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Terry Selby · 09/01/2019
    Can I order 1- 2.5 gallon jug of RAD stain?
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    Susan Musgrove · 08/31/2019
    Can Armstrong Clark oil-based stain be applied to damp wood? If not, how long should deck dry before application?
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    Brad · 08/30/2019
    I am somewhat confused with the steps to restore an old cedar deck. There is an old old stain on it which I intend to chemically strip and then sand to remove what the stripper did not. My goal is to get the cedar wood restored as close as possible to its light bright original color and then apply a transparent or semi-transparent stain.


    My questions:
    1. The chemical stripper will presumably raise the PH of the wood which could cause any applied stain to be darker than desired.
    Do I need to apply a Brightener, and if so exactly when?
    Should I apply it immediately after chemically stripping, but before sanding .... or apply it after the full chemically strip/sanding step is done, or perhaps at both stages? The sanding will take days so if I leave the Brightener application until after it is done, some of the stripper chemicals would presumably remain in the wood for that time.

    2. Is there any need to use a Cleaner given that I am restoring the wood by stripping/sanding? If so, when would it be applied?

    3. I'm guessing I may need 60-grit sandpaper, perhaps even 40-grit, after the chemical stripping to remove the more difficult remaining stain spots. If I apply the Brightener at some point (before sanding, after sanding, ??perhaps both) do I need to re-sand, and what grit, before applying my stain?

    Thanks for your assistance.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/30/2019
      1. Yes, you have to apply brightener and as soon as you are done with all the stripping. If you sand, then do the brightener after the sanding instead.
      2. No need if stripping.
      3. Do not sand after the brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    tony · 08/30/2019
    Tony F I just finished cleaning and brightening my new cedar deck (3 months old). It was done in the sun. Did I do it correctly judging from the photos? I will be applying RAD semi-trans natural. I wanted to know if I can proceed or do I have to redo cleaning and brightening. thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sandra D · 08/29/2019
    I just finished stripping my PT pine deck (for the second time), finishing in the dark. Now I need to apply the brightener, but there are some fuzzy areas that I want to lightly sand. Which should I do first?

    One other question: both times with the stripper, I spent many hours stripping and pressure washing my not-very-large deck, yet the soapy-looking stripper never appeared to be completely removed. What's with that? I mean, at some point you've got to call it a day!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/30/2019
      Lightly sand first. Are you asking about the old stain was not removed or the soap suds from the stripper? If the suds, the brightener neutralizes that.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sandra D · 08/30/2019
        The latter--suds from the stripper. I didn't understand that the brightener would take care of this.

        Thank you for your help!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 08/29/2019
    Hello,

    I plan on staining a new PT pine deck that's about 4 months old but need to split the work up into multiple days. Can I clean/pressure wash on a Friday and then brighten/stain on Sunday? Or should I do the cleaning and brightening on the same day? I can't find anything saying how long the brightener neutralizes the deck for.

    Thanks!

    Jason
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      RAD Products · 08/29/2019
      You can do either. Brightener neutrlize it permanently so that does not matter.
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        Jason · 08/29/2019
        Excellent. Thanks for the ridiculously fast response!
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    Jeff · 08/28/2019
    Do I need to apply Brightener on a newly sanded pressure treated deck? The wood itself is 2 months old and is copper pressure treated wood from Home Depot.
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    steve · 08/28/2019
    I have a potential project on old barn wood. The customer wants to keep the "gray" look. I realize there is no way of doing so if it is going to be cleaned. Does RAD have a "gray" transparent stain to match the old barn wood look?

    Thank you. Steve
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Devo · 08/28/2019
    Greetings,

    I have a 170 sq.ft. covered porch. It is T&G douglas fir, likely about 10 years old. It had a stain and sealer on it. I plan to sand the old finish off completely, to 80 grit. Right now I'm about half done the 50 grit pass. The sanded wood looks like new, it is very bright. I would like to stain with the semi-transparent stain in light walnut.

    Questions:

    How many coats should I apply, 1 or 2 'wet on wet'?
    Depending on your answer above, how much product should I buy?
    Do I need to clean and brighten with RAD products, or can I rinse with water and then go straight to stain (considering how bright it appears already)?
    Is the 80-grit enough, or should I consider 100 grit?

    Thank you for your help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/28/2019
      Just one coat after sanding. 1-2 gallons of the stain. Need to clean and brighten the wood to open the pores of the wood after sanding. Do not sand finer than 80.
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    Ted Swenson · 08/27/2019
    I placed an order yesterday. Any chance of getting faster shipping? Like, 2-3 days?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Judy · 08/26/2019
    Can you store the mixed Stripper/Booster/Thickening gel in a 5 gal container overnight in the event I don't finish the stripping in one day? Also, can the brightening wait until the next day or should I brighten what I strip immediately?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/26/2019
      Yes, you can store it mixed. Best to apply the brightener as soon as you can.
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    Kelvin · 08/26/2019
    What's the shelf life for RAD cleaner and brightener? Also for semi transparent stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/26/2019
      Unmixed, the prep products are good for many years if stored correctly. Same with the stain. Cannot freeze.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ryan Benson · 08/26/2019
    3600 sq. ft. of fence (this is total both sides)

    Eastern White Cedar

    Fence was installed October 2018

    Nothing has been used on the fence yet. Was told to let it weather and dry out and to stain in about a year.

    Looking to use a sprayer. This will be done in Rhode Island during the month of September 2019 which is typically 70-75F highs and 50-55F lows.

    I'm a complete beginner at staining and looking for a product that is durable (ideally 3+ years before I need to reapply) and a product that will need limited steps for reapplication.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/26/2019
      Hello,

      Prep first with our RAD Cleaner/ Brightener Kits and then stain with the RAD Semi-transparent stain. It will last 3-6 years for a fence. Easy to reapply as needed down the road.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ryan Benson · 08/26/2019
        Thank you for the reply. It is recommended to only apply one coat to new wood and a second coat 12-18 months after. Do I need to clean and brighten again?


        Are there any quantity discounts? I saw that you had recommended to someone doing 3800 sq. ft. of fencing 30-35 gal but that was 2 coats.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kraig · 08/25/2019
    can you apply with a HVLP sprayer, such as a wagner flexio 3000?
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    Thomas Lofton · 08/25/2019
    Well my wife read this and noticed “taupe” in the 2nd sentence. I have no idea why except embarrassment, damn’! CYPRESS please. If you need me to call, please let me me know.
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    Thomas Lofton · 08/25/2019
    I receive my order for six (6) gallons of solid stain. However I received white rather than the taupe I intended. I checked the order and it does specify classic white. So I went back and checked the entering process and again got white even though I checked cypress. When I entered and doubled checked cypress, cypress was entered correctly. Long story short I need cypress and to return the white. I’m reasonably sure the mistake was due to my error. Can you arrange for me to return the white stain and send me the cypress and bill me as you deem fair.

    The reason for my delay lay in informing you is due to my waiting on the weather appropriate for staining and had stored ( in A/C controlled space) without checking. Again, my error.
    ASAP
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Judy · 08/25/2019
    Can you store the mixed Stripper/Booster/Thickening gel in a 5 gal container overnight in the event I don't finish the stripping in one day? Also, can the brightening wait until the next day or should I brighten what I strip immediately?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Judy · 08/26/2019
      I didn't get a response to my questions
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    Judy · 08/24/2019
    I am re-staining a 7 year old deck 200 sq ft. that has had various water-based transparent stains applied over the years; Flood, Sikkens, PPG. 2 years ago the entire deck was sanded down to the bare wood and the PPG stain was applied. I would now like to try RAD products. I want to order Stripper (plus both additives), 1 gal of Brightener and 1 gal of semi-transparent stain. I do not need the cleaner, correct?
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    Wil · 08/24/2019
    Any reason the Restore-A-Deck semi transparent stain cannot, or should not, be applied to a newly installed Cedar fence (in hot central Texas direct sun)?
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    Brenda · 08/24/2019
    I think I read somewhere on this site say it's ok to walk on first coat but be sure to brush out footprints. If I am using the Restore-A-Deck Brush, will that be sufficient? Or do I need to use a regular paint brush?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    GM · 08/22/2019
    My deck is PT pine with some new wood (about 3 months old now) and the rest newly-sanded. Total area is 950-1000 sq ft including floor, rails, etc. I plan to use RAD ST stain after prepping with RAD cleaner & brightener. Since it's new and newly-sanded wood, just one coat of stain per your articles and answer to a previous post. Looks like your stain-cleaner-brightener combo kit (5 gallons stain, 2 lbs each cleaner & brightener) should give me enough cleaner & brightener, but maybe not quite enough stain? Maybe another gallon or two of stain? Please advise, thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/22/2019
      You will be very close on the prep products and you will need close to 7 gallons for the one coat of stain.