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
    Stephanie · 09/26/2020
    Is it ok to stain if the night time temperature will drop below 40? Daytime highs in the 69s.
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    Seth · 09/25/2020
    If the shipping address is Canada, at the checkout, the amount shown...is that USD or CAD?
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    Kevin · 09/25/2020
    I used the RAD system two years ago on newly installed Port Orford Cedar (porch deck) and it needs to be refreshed. I over bought and have plenty of cleaner, brightner, and stain to do this. Since it was new wood two years ago, I didn't buy any stripper. Since it's only had one coat of RAD before, do I need to do the stripping step as if the existing finish was another brand or unknown? Thanks.
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    Mike Randall · 09/25/2020
    Did my order go through a few minutes ago? I have no confirmation. Thanks
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    Seth · 09/25/2020
    couple of followup questions-
    1) Do we need a sealer or RAD prevents further water damage?
    2) Would you advise solid stain or semi-transperent?
    3) How many gallons needed for a 450 sqft deck?
    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2020
      1. You cannot use a sealer when you are using a deck stain.
      2. Up to you.
      3. 4-5 gallons.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Deltad · 09/25/2020
    Gazebo, 30 yr old Red Cedar, using oil based stain, stripped and brighten with Restore-a-deck (Used pressure washer)

    We are hoping to start staining the spindles today since they are labor intensive. We have had cloudy weather with lows of 60s and highs 80s with humidity of 85%. They are reading 16-18% moisture level. It will be 48 hours at noon. Can we start at noon with this moisture level?

    We have rain coming on Monday.
    If we are unable to complete before rain, we will not be able to stain again until Thursday next week. Do we have to use the Brightner again before waiting 48 hours after rain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Seth · 09/25/2020
    Hello, we moved into this house and has an old deck which is not cared for very well. i dont think it has been stained for atleast 5 yrs. For now, i did a power wash and deep clean and able to get most of it back. but it still has some cracks and knots in the wood. Should i be using a sealer to prevent further damage? and then stain? ... please help with what would be the best approach to prevent further damage and restore some life into the deck. thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2020
      You will need to redo the prep with the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kits. Stain after with the RAD Stains. You cannot apply a sealer prior to applying a deck stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Seth · 09/25/2020
        Thank you for your quick response. Do we even need a sealer? or will RAD be enough to prevent further water damage?
        Thank you
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    Shannon T · 09/24/2020
    I was told by you a while back I had to RAD strip, brighten, buff, and use semi transparent stain on my 4 month old cedar deck which I cleaned with oxyclean, scrubbed with brush & used Thompson water sealer on. The deck had gray spots that the water sealer didn’t soak into and they looked like wood fuzzies. I’m doing the deck tomorrow and my question is what do I use to “buff” the wood fuzzies off after stripping?
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    jim owens · 09/24/2020
    Is this tool compatible with your solid color stains?
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      RAD Products · 09/24/2020
      No, not solid stains. You will need a brush and or roller.
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    Jim Owens · 09/24/2020
    Can solid stain be applied with an airless paint gun?
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    marsha lega · 09/23/2020
    I have a new deck 3 1/2 months old in IL. it is new pressure treated pine. 440 sq feet. we have a pressure washer. what should I buy to protect my deck.
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    John · 09/23/2020
    Thanks in advance for your help and advice.

    My goal is to show off the wood color and grain on this 1 year old fence

    - 1 Year old Cedar Fence with pressure treated posts: 150' X 6' (1 side only) = 900 Total square footage

    - No stain currently

    - I have a pressure washer


    Thanks again!

    John
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/23/2020
      Prep with the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kits. Stain with the Restore A Deck Stain in a semi-transparent color.
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    peter · 09/23/2020
    Thanks for your product. We are happy with the result. Here are photos of our 300 sq. ft. cambara mahogany deck, first built 10 years ago and modified in late Fall 2019 with new boards that are quite obvious. We had made the error of treating the older deck with a paraffin-based sealer. With a combination of hand and reciprocating floor sander, we did manage to remove the sealer. We used RAD cleaner, then brightener on one day, waited two days because of rain, then applied RAD. We did color tests on lumber scraps, but changed our mind upon application. We tried the light walnut stain on a section, but it was too orange for us, so we mixed light walnut with dark walnut 50-50%. We also have a small 2 year old deck at the back of the house in cedar with cambara steps, installed this week (no cedar was available because of the lumber shortage). We will treat and stain the deck today, and I will post a photo as a comment here. We will wait to treat the cambara till it ages, per your suggestions. I am posting the photos because the FAQ helped our decision-making a great deal.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Corey S · 09/22/2020
    I have a standard deck made out of pressure treated pine. The boards are weathered and I replaced the rotten boards with new boards last summer in addition to all the railings. I am using an 80 grit drum sander to bring some of the deck boards back to life and remove some of the cupping. The deck boards have been stripped of all paint. The deck rails are 1 summer old and are pressure treated wood. I have them one season to dry out so they would accept the stain better.

    I purchased the Restore a Deck Comb / Cleaner and Brightener (didn't need th stripper because there is no stain or paint as I previously removed that last summer. My question is about my aluminum balusters. As I understand it, I do the cleaner and the brighter and then put two applications of the stain down. Since this is a wet application, I know It's okay for me to walk on the first coat, but not the second.

    My question is about my aluminum balusters.

    1. Since I do have aluminum balusters, do I use a brush to put those two coats on the rails?
    2. If I'm not suppose to use a brush but use the wet application (same as the deck boards) does the stain wipe off the the black aluminum balusters if I spray them at the same time I do the deck boards?
    3. If it is suggested to to paint the rails with a brush and not the spray, what happens if I accidentally get stain on the wood railings when I'm spraying? Is that going to be blotchy as they will undoubtedly get more stain on the bottoms as I'm spraying the deck boards during the wet application.

    Any guidance or tips would be appreciated. Just don't want to screw it up.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/22/2020
      Since you sanded you only apply one coat.

      1. Just one coat is needed for the vertical wood. Use a brush or stain pad.
      2. If you get any stain on the aluminum it should be wiped off right away.
      3. We would not spray here. Just use a stain pad or brush for all.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Corey S · 09/22/2020
        So since I have aluminum balusters, you are saying I should go ahead and just paint everything with a brush and stainpad AND NOT USE a spray on application?

        I'm assuming I shouldn't walk on that one and only coat until it dries then since a second coat isn't needed?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/22/2020
          Do not spray, just one coat. No need to walk on it if only doing the coat.
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    Cory · 09/22/2020
    I believe I over applied the deck semi transparent stain because the surface is slightly tacky even after 48hrs. What is the best way to resolve this? Everything else looks great. Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/22/2020
      Just let it dry, there is not a way to speed it up. Most likely it was over applied.
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    Mark day · 09/21/2020
    Don’t know what happened to the other 2 pics? Oh well my deck was pretty beat up so we are very happy with the results
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    Mark day · 09/21/2020
    This is cypress solid color stain. Looks great. Before and after pics up close. Literally used the the absolute last drop on the last board 2nd coat. ? I recommend this product.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Westbury · 09/20/2020
    Another question from a long -unstained deck. If a full cleaning, brightening and light sanding are done, does all oxidation have to be removed in order to accept the stain properly or will it mainly create color variation?

    Thanks so much!
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    AMG · 09/20/2020
    I am planning on using your system to prep and stain my 425 sq foot multi-color deck. The deck is about 18 years old, don't know wood type. Last treated 3 years ago with Cabot semi-transparent. I hope to use the RAD Semi-Transparent on the deck and spindles and Solid white stain on the painted rails. My questions:

    -How do I prep the white painted rails before applying the solid stain? Do I need to remove all of the white paint first? Is this even possible?
    -I do have a pressure washer. Should I pressure wash first and then use the stripper? Or just use it after applying the stripper?
    -There are some deep-ish trough areas where the wood splintered and came off. Is it possible to fill these first? If so, with what?
    -How many gallons do you recommend for 425 sqf?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      -Remove all the loose stain with power washing and stripping. You do not need to remove all, just what is loose
      -Apply stripper and pressure wash off.
      -Filler will not work on decks.
      -About 4-5 gallons.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Richard B. · 09/20/2020
    After applying RAD stripper and then brightener, I got the wood fuzzies or feathers. This is a common issue, I think. Tried to find previous posts about this. Can I just sand these then apply stain or should I clean and brighten again after sanding? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      Lightly clean if you power sand to remove any sand dust.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dan · 09/20/2020
    5 year old pressure treated pine, never stained deck. I used the cleaner and brightener. I was left with fuzzies all over the deck. What caused this? How do I resolve this? I believe I will have to allow to dry, then sand the entire deck. What grain sandpaper should I use in my random orbital sander? After sanding, do I need to use cleaner and brightener again or can i just sweep away dust and start staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      When you leave wood unstained for many years the wood will heavily oxidize or the top layer will turn gray. When you clean you have to remove this oxidation and the longer you let the wood sit unstained, the deeper the oxidation. The results you are seeing are from the removal of the oxidation and cannot be avoided as it has to come off. It is not a result of the cleaner or the pressure washer but a result of having too much oxidation from the wood sitting for 2 years. At this point, you should sand or buff off the raised wood fibers. Final prep with a lightly cleaning to remove sand dust.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Dan · 09/20/2020
        OK Thanks for the info. What do you mean by a light cleaning to remove sand dust? Should I just spray it with water or perhaps just wiping with a damp cloth? Also, is it OK to use Scotch Brite to buff off the fibers?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/20/2020
          Use a deck cleaner and then lightly pressure wash off. Do not use Scotch Brite pads. You need a floor buffer and buffing pads.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Dan · 09/22/2020
            I did everything as suggested, however, I didnt realize that since I sanded the wood, I would only need 1 coat of stain. I applied 2 coats of stain. What is the downside to this and is this going to create problems?
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              RAD Products · 09/23/2020
              It is possible that if over applied it may not penetrate correctly and lead to issues with drying and or premature wearing since it cannot fully soak in and drying on top of the wood.
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                Dan · 09/23/2020
                Darn, I wish I would have known that. I thought 1 coat was recommended only after a thorough power sanding or when using new wood. Since I only did a light sanding using 80 grit sandpaper with light duty palm sander. Just enough light sanding to remove the raised wood fibers I did the wet on wet application process. If I have issues with improper drying and premature wear over time, what will I need to do to remedy in the spring?
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                  RAD Products · 09/23/2020
                  Strip and recoat if needed.
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                    Dan · 09/23/2020
                    So to be clear. If I decide I need to recoat. What will I need to do. Use stripper, then brightener, then recoat with 1 coat only? Will I need to use additive with the stripper or will the stripper alone be enough to remove the 2 fresh coats of RAD transparent stain? Will I also need to sand again at any point in this process?
                    • We will reply to your comment shortly
                      RAD Products · 09/24/2020
                      Strip and brighten for prep and most likely two coats applied wet on wet will be needed. You may need the booster and gel as well. We would not worry about it unless an issue.
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    Mary · 09/20/2020
    Should deck board be replaced before or after the stripper is applied?
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    Julie M. · 09/20/2020
    Additional pictures
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    Julie M. · 09/20/2020
    I am requesting recommendations on cleaning product and type of stain best for deck. There are areas with stain that has maintained color and other areas where the stain has faded.

    I am considering a darker stain.

    Type of wood if known:
    Approximate Age of Wood:12-15 years
    If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type (Examples of Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Solid Stain, Oil-Based, Water-Based): TWP 100 series (purchased from restore a deck) semi transparent stain.
    If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained: October 2015
    Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.): Deck
    Do you have access to a pressure washer: yes if necessary
    Miscellaneous Info: Plan to complete deck project this fall.
    *Must Include 1-3 Photos of Restoration Project. There is a link to upload photos in the bottom right corner of the comment area.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      Use the RAD Stripper and Brightener Kit for prep. Stain with a Darker color like Dark Walnut in the RAD Stains.
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    Nelson Custodio · 09/19/2020
    My deck is just about a year old and hasn't been treated with anything. I just bought your kit that includes the 5 gallon stain, cleaner and brighter. Should I do a light sand?
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      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      Only if needed. After cleaning, prior to the brightener.
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    Westbury · 09/19/2020
    One additional question would be.

    Since I'll be waiting for my RAD cleaners and brighteners to be shipped, any reason why I can't do a first cleaning and then some sanding work now and then apply RAD cleaners a couple of weeks later. Are they bad for bare wood? Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Westbury · 09/19/2020
    In Maryland we have a 30 year, 500 square foot deck that was cleaned but never re-stained years ago.

    1.I prefer to do semi-transparent because of how it looks. Is that even possible with a deck of this age? I don't mind color variation.


    2. Since clearly we're horrible with deck maintenance, I also care about ease of maintenance. For semi can you clean it an apply another coat in a few years or does it have to be stripped? (assuming we'd do it in a couple of years, not 10?)

    The up close photo shows the deck with one power wash with a deck cleaner. The picture with the apple shows the deck in its uncleaned state.

    Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      1. Yes, you can use a semi-transparent.
      2. Clean and recoat as needed.
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    Brian Balow · 09/19/2020
    RAD light walnut is very orange. I have an old deck, used RAD steps to clean and brighten. Very Orange, what are my options to re-stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      Strip and brighten for prep then you can change color.
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    Silvia · 09/18/2020
    I saw in your FAQ that I should not hope to remove the dark stain I just applied to my brand new deck. It is awful looking. Looks thick, like a semi-solid even though it sells as a transparent. Would using your stripper with the booster at least remove some of the color? I can then wait six months. Now, it hurts my eyes every time I look at it. Do you recommend that I apply a clear stain after the stripper + booster + brightener if only to protect the wood (it is new) until I have better prospects to remove it completely in the spring? Thanks for any advice.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/19/2020
      You will need to remove it 100% first before coating it with another product. You may have to power sand as well depending on the stain brand and type you used.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Silvia · 09/19/2020
        Thank you. Jus finished the removal. I will pass the sander once it dries for good measure. Your products rock!!


        By the way, should I brighten or clean after the sanding?

        thanks again,
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          silvia vega · 09/25/2020
          Hi there,

          A follow up question, please. It has been a week since stripping, and brightening and it has been raining buckets, so no sanding yet. It looks like I may be able to sand on Tuesday if the forecast gets it right. That will be 2 days of no rain and one and a half weeks after using the RAD products.

          Should I brighten again after the sanding and wait another 2 days to stain (TWP)? Or can I sand, blow the deck clean and apply the stain? Since I screwed up once, I want to make sure I follow up all the steps to a great deck.

          thanks very much!!
          --Silvia