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
    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?
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    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.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            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)
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                  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.
                  • We will reply to your comment shortly
                    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        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.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            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. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    lpoulson · 07/08/2022
    what to do about raised grain after cleaning and brightening 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tiffany · 07/08/2022
    Hi, We moved into a house and the previous owner stained the fence and deck with the CANADIAN FORMULATION OF Behr Premium semi-transparent stain and sealer.  The deck is peeling but the fence is not. 
    1. Will the RAD stripper and brightener work on this product.
    2. Do we need to strip the fence - the stain is not peeling so we are hoping it is possible to simply go over it with a solid stain. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    AK · 07/08/2022
    Hi - we stained most of our deck after prepping with RAD stripper/brightener/power wash on June 26. Looks good but we ran out of time and were not able to finish a section before leaving town. (It is a separate section from what we finished so isn't half-stained or anything.)

    If we stain early next week do we need to prep the entire section all over again? Or can we just go right to staining? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2022
      Give it a good pressure wash rinse prior and it should be okay.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        AK · 07/08/2022
        Perfect. Thanks! These products have really done a nice job for us.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    George in CC · 07/08/2022
    Last year I bought two five-gallon jugs of stain, but used less than one of the jugs.  This year I restained the back porch with left-over stain, and it turned out well.  Then I did the front entrance on another day, using the last of the left-over.  But it ran out, and I did the bottom step with a new jug.  The results on the bottom step are unsatisfactory - the light colored areas turn black when they get wet.  
    I think I did two things wrong:
    1. I shook the new jug well, but it looked a lot lighter than last year's.  I suspect I needed to scrape the coloring from the bottom of the jug, or somehow get it to fully mix.  How is the best way to do that?
    2. The light areas look like they didn't get stained, or were not properly prepared.  However, I used the stripper with additive, scrubbed extensively. I even scrubbed after applying the whitener. I applied what looked like a lot of stain.
    The bottom step clearly needs more work, but what should I do?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2022
      It did not take correctly. The easiest thing to do is sand that one step with 60-80 grit and apply one coat of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pete · 07/08/2022
    I have a 2000 sqft wrap-around redwood deck that is 25+ yrs old. Cleaned with TSP and applied PreservaWood stain 3 times in past. Will your stripper/cleaner with extra additive and gel clean this mess up? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2022
      Please reply back in comments with some pictures.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Pete · 07/08/2022
        Attached are five labeled pictures.  Two that were TSP treated/power washed and three untreated
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/08/2022
          This is not an easy strip as what you have on the wood is way over applied and on the wood like a film-forming varnish type coating. You can try the RAD Stripper with both additives and pressure wash off as much as possible. Sand if needed to get the rest off. If you get it all off, then use the RAD Semi-Transparent stain after. If not, then use the RAD Solid Stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim Pajer · 07/08/2022
    I have just purchased your stripper and brightener kit and intend to start by stripping all the vertical surfaces. Afterward, I will need to replace a few decking boards and strip the decking.  My question is: Does it matter when I use the brightener?  Can I use it say up to a week after I do the stripping; or do I need to use it immediately after stripping?  My deck is about 360 square feet; so at my age, this is going to be a several day project. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2022
      Best to brighten as soon as you can.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ray · 07/06/2022
    Sorry, one last question.  I read somewhere that the stripping material could be mixed for a stronger mix than the two pounds for five gallons.  What is the max recommended mix for one gallon (ounces per gal)?  Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ray · 07/06/2022
    What is the shelf life of the stripper, cleaner and brightener once mixed? (I have used all three)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/06/2022
      Only the cleaner has a shelf life after being mixed. It needs to be used within a few hours.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave C · 07/05/2022
    This is a follow up. I do have a pressure washer. Deck is approximately 400 sq and I have no idea the last time this was stained ==== based on old container and color, best guess is that they used a transparent cedar stain. I plan to go with your stripper and brightener and finish with one of your stains. I was not planning on refinishing the railings at this time as they are in good condition. I will protect the bottom of the railing so it doesn’t get discolored. 
    First would you still recommend the booster? Second, would you recommend the semi transparent or transparent cedar stain? And is it recommended to put plastic on the side of the house to protect against damage to paint when stripping and brightening? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/06/2022
      Not sure if this can be fully stripped as it looks like a film-forming acrylic semi-solid. We would suggest using the RAD stripper and both additives to remove as much as possible. If needed sand any that cannot be stripped. Teh stripper will not remove the paint off the house. Just prewet and rinse any over-spray.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Susan · 07/05/2022
    When using the stripper, is it necessary to use a power washer or will a hose with a nozzle on 'jet' setting work?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2022
      Pressure wash it off for best results.
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    Mr. Beamon · 07/05/2022
    Forgot to post pictures of actual deck after one round of step 1 cleaner and step 2 brightener.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2022
      Yes, it has some more oxidation that can be removed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    eugene · 07/05/2022
    stained my deck last year with RAD semi transparent . what prep is needed to put another coat on this year
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mr. Beamon · 07/05/2022
    I have a deck which was pretty weathered, I don't have any before pictures.  I wanted to see should I do another cleaner and brighten step before staining?
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    John · 07/05/2022
    What’s the best method to clean brush after using RAD stain?
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    John · 07/05/2022
    Can RAD stain be thickened so it’s not so watery?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2022
      No, and it needs to be thin in consistency as it is a penetrating stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Charles · 07/05/2022
    Good morning - after going through all of the prep steps, I stained part of my deck yesterday morning using a mix of the dark and light walnut.  I brushed the stain on and did 2 coats using the wet on wet method.  Unfortunately, when I walked on the deck today it was very tacky.  Not sure what happened but I need to know what should I do now.  There obviously is too much stain on the deck.  Should I strip now and start over please advise.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2022
      Give it more time to cure. A week or so.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Charles · 07/05/2022
        Ok.  The other issue is that the stain (2 coats) dried much darker than I expected.  So its tacky and darker than I wanted.  Can I strip the stain today and start over?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Taryn Duffy · 07/04/2022
    Hi. Hoping for some help. New house (for me) with a really old deck that I need to get a few more years out of. Want to use your solid stain. Do I need to use the cleaner if it’s been thoroughly power washed? Can you help me figure out how much solid stain I will need? Measures the 3 sections as follows: 1: 22’7” x 18’4”; 2: 15’9” x 7’; 3: 14’ x 32’. That doesn’t include the benches & railings so figuring adding 2 more gallons for that. Also saw you recommend NOT using wood filler on holes & damaged areas, correct? Including photos and any guidance you can hide would be hugely appreciated.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2022
      Prep by removing any loose or peeling stain by stripping and or sanding. You can cover the intact stain that is not peeling with the RAD Solid Stain. About 10 Gallons for two coats. You can use a filler if rated for exterior if using the solid stains.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Taryn Duffy · 08/09/2022
        Hi. Do you have a wood filler that you recommend? Also, I’m concerned that some existing paint may peel. If I want to clean it with your product first, what product do you recommend and how much? (Purchased your solid stain already but haven’t started the project. Looking to do so next week.). Thanks for your help!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/10/2022
          Any exterior wood filler will work. Use the RAD Stripper and pressure washing to remove any loose or peeling stain.
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    Merwin Dupuis · 07/04/2022
    What should I use to remove cuprinol from my deck
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2022
      Post some pics in the comments of the deck.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ron Forcier · 07/04/2022
    We just finished cleaning our deck (not using the RAD Cleaner); it is nice and clean.  We have not stained or treated our deck in Rhode Island for many years.  We plan on using the RESTORE-A-DECK WOOD STAIN, Semi-transparent.  Do we really need to apply the RAD Brightener before we apply the RAD Semi-Transparent Stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/04/2022
      Yes, to neutralize the Cleaner.
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        Ron Forcier · 07/04/2022
        Thanks for the quick response, even on a holiday.  Happy Independence Day!
        And, thanks for the education.  I'll be ordering shortly.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    joe · 07/02/2022
    Used Cleaner, Brighter and Semi-transparent stain on new redwood deck 1 year ago. I am now prepping deck to stained again. After using cleaner "some" of the previous stain was removed. If I apply same semi-transparent stain, will the color look lighter where stain was removed compared to rest of the wood??  If so, what is the best remedy??
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/03/2022
      Post a picture.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Joe Toneli · 07/03/2022
        Hi RAD Products. Here is a picture of the deck. Left side is the exposed area. Right side is area under the deck overhang. This is after the deck was completely cleaned. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/04/2022
          Looks good to stain.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Joe T. · 07/06/2022
            Back to original question - will the color look lighter where stain was removed compared to re-staining over stained wood??
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    Gary Jannarone · 07/01/2022
    Do you accept returns of unopened stain? I ordered way too much and have a 2 1/2 gallon unopened.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Charles · 07/01/2022
    Do you have a video on how to apply the semi-transparent stain using a brush?  Also, is it necessary to wipe any excess stain with a clean cloth to avoid tackiness?