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
    Greg · 10/14/2021
    Please tell me process for second coat semi stain. Did first coat on sanded wood treating like new wood. How long to wait? Cleaner? Brightner? Or just apply. 
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      RAD Products · 10/14/2021
      Wait 6+ months after the first coat and lightly prep with the RAD Cleaner and Brightener.
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    Theresa Osborne · 10/11/2021
    i have read on various sites that newly installed cedar should be stained and sealed right away as it begins to weather more quickly than other woods. If I want it to retain its new look, should I follow that advice, or wait months as you indicate on your site? I do not want it to grey, and I live in a fairly wet Mid Atlantic area. Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 10/11/2021
      You cannot stain new cedar right away. It has to weather and be prepped so the stain can properly penetrate into the wood. 
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    Yvette · 10/11/2021
    Which oil stain (3rd step product name and color) should I use to bring out all the natural red and brown colors of my Tigerwood hardwood deck? Hoping to restore the vibrancy after cleaning and brightening old stain. 
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      RAD Products · 10/11/2021
      Look at the Restore A Deck stain in Light Walnut color.
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    Sue · 10/10/2021
    I stained my steps and we had a hard rain. Is there anything I can do for the horizontal surfaces or do I need to wait til the spring?
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    John · 10/10/2021
    Will be using stripper product and then cleaner. Do I need to cover vinyl siding, composite decking, or windows?
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      RAD Products · 10/11/2021
      Typically no. Make sure to pre-wet and rinse any overspray as soon as you can.
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    Susan · 10/10/2021
    What is the shelf life of the gallons of solid stain as I have 2 leftover after my deck project.
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      RAD Products · 10/10/2021
      1-3 years. Store where it cannot freeze.
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    Ray · 10/10/2021
    Can the product be used in a sprayer?
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    Michael R Carter · 10/08/2021
    I am use RAD stripper and then RAD Cleaner/Neutralize on my screened in deck. Will either of these products damage the new Super Screen I just had re-done? Thanks
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      RAD Products · 10/10/2021
      It should not but always test first.
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    Ann J · 10/08/2021
    I want to purchase a hardwood deck stain for my ipe deck.  Your product is highly recommended, but I have spent twenty minutes trying to find a way to order it, without success. Do you still make Hardwood Deck Stain?  If so, why can't I find it on your website?
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    Jean Day · 10/08/2021
    In 1996, I used Sikkens Butternut Cetol 1 and Cetol 23-Plus on sanded cedar siding.  I never put another coat on since.  Now I must remove what's left of this one-time translucent stain.  The stain was designed to penetrate into the wood.  Will the RAD also penetrate and dissolve the stain in the wood so that i can stain anew with TWP?  Should I use TSP, bleach and water before using the RAD to kill any mold or mildew?  
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      RAD Products · 10/08/2021
      Post some pictures in the comments.
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        Jean Day · 10/08/2021
        Picture attached.
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          RAD Products · 10/08/2021
          Just strip and then brighten. It will come off. No need to clean first.
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            Jean Day · 10/12/2021
            For clarity, the Cetol 1 & 23 formed a film (alk. resins married cryst. polymers).  This question is in case I should (1) strip with a higher ratio of stripper? because (2) the shining sun on the Sikkens siding for 20 years metamorphosed the film to be removed, for better or worse, that I should've been maintaining?   I'd like to get it stripped in one step and avoid residual sanding if possible.  Picture and post above this one.      
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              RAD Products · 10/12/2021
              1, No but you can use both booster and gell to add with this: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html2. Maintain by cleaning and reapplying every 3-5 years.
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                Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                If I boost and gel, would I be able to use the single-stream hose attachment instead of thousands of p.s.i power wash?  I'd rather rinse it over and over with the hose if that works.  (2) Also if the stripper boost & gel gets on my white siding, can I just rinse if off immediately and not have to cover the siding?  The siding is going is going to be painted next anyway.     
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                  RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                  Not sure what you mean. The stripper has to be applied with a pump sprayer. Not a hose attachment. 
                  Prewet and rinse siding right away and while washing is okay.
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                    Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                    Yes, pump-spray to apply, sorry.  I was only asking if rinsing over and over with the hose attachment to get the stripper & stuff off would work instead of power washing. Glad to know I can rinse off the siding, thank you.
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                      RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                      No, you need the pressure washer. 
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                        Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                        Would I need the pressure washer if I did not add the booster and gel to the stripper?    
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                          RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                          You need the pressure washer no matter what.
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                            Jean Day · 10/12/2021
                            What would be the lowest p.s.i. on the pressure washer to get the stripper, gel and booster off?  What would it be without the additives?  
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                              RAD Products · 10/12/2021
                              Same PSI with or without additves. About 1200-1600 PSI.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Susan · 10/08/2021
    i cleaned and did one coat yesterday of the solid stain on my deck. however it never dried as i finished late in the day and decided to wait until today to put on the 2nd coat. This morning because the humidity was high, 90+%, it was still quite wet. It continues to be wet to the touch this afternoon. There were even small piddles of water this morning, i suspect because of the high humidity? Do i need to wait until it is dry to the touch which may end up being tomorrow given our weather to put on a 2nd coat?
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      RAD Products · 10/08/2021
      Needs to be fully dry before applying another coat of the solid stain.
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    Marti · 10/08/2021
    I have some leftover deck stain and would like to use it for a couple boards for a plant shelf indoors, since it’s already waterproof. Is it safe? Will stain the boards outside and let them dry. Thanks 
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      RAD Products · 10/08/2021
      As long as the wood is clan and free of any coatings, you can.
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    Jim B · 10/07/2021
    I recently strip my seven year old red cedar deck and will wait until the spring to apply to apply the cleaner, brightened and stain. I have noticed that when it rains the color of the unstained wood looks very appealing. Will the natural semi transparent stain have a similar look?
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    BettyD · 10/06/2021
    I bought the cleaner, brightener and stain and have gotten started. The deck is 8 yrs old, about 180 sq ft. I cleaned it twice, because it really needed it, it might even have needed a third time, but I scrubbed with a stiff brush on my hands and knees and I am a 66 year old woman so decided that was enough. Then I used the brightener and rinsed for half an hour. See picture. I left it overnight. It's still quite damp this morning. Temp is hovering around 16C/60F and it's overcast.I will start applying the stain soon. Question - just want to confirm that two coats will be needed, about 30 minutes apart? P. S. I bought the 14" brush - didn't have a big enough tray, bought a wallpaper tray, that should work. 
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      RAD Products · 10/06/2021
      2 light coats applied wet on wet is correct. 
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        BettyD · 10/06/2021
        A pic after 2nd coat. 
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    Rob · 10/06/2021
    I posted a message yesterday about my Ipe deck along with three pictures but it is now gone. It was up for several hours. Do I need to repost it?
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    susAN PHILLIPS · 10/05/2021
    Can I apply the second coat of solid stain the following day if i don't have time to do both coats on the same day?
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    Rob · 10/05/2021
    I have an Ipe deck, which I just finished stripping, brightening, sanding and staining all with RAD products. Yesterday I finished staining the second half of the deck surface (I have to move furniture and do half at a time) and woke up this morning to what is pictured below. Looks like there was a light rain last night. What happened? Was it the rain that caused this? What should I do? I just sprayed it all down with a garden hose on the jet setting, and most but not all of the green washed off.   The stain surface is now pretty uneven along with the remaining green stuff. (This is the third picture.)
    I followed all the steps. I not only rinsed off both the stripper and the brightener for the better part of an hour using a garden hose and the power washer simultaneously, but there was a solid 1 1/2 inches of rain after this step. And I sanded the surface with a floor sander followed up by a hand held orbital sander, but with 80 grit. 
    Please advise. The half of the deck that I stained yesterday morning looks great. The half I stained at 5:00 PM is where this occured. What should I do now?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/06/2021
      It was not fully cured before the rain set in. You will have to redo the one side. Try give info a good pressure wash first with water only to see if that removes the discoloration. If not you will need to strip and redo. 
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    Charles H Babb Jr · 10/02/2021
    Really like the RAD products, its all I use on my deck. Now it is time to re-stain the deck, I have already purchased the cleaner, brighter and stain. The new stain is a darker color than the current stain. Of course over time the old stain has faded and washed away. Since I am using a darker stain will it be necessary to strip what is left of the existing stain? 
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      RAD Products · 10/03/2021
      So it blends best, you should strip and then brighten.
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    lisa · 10/02/2021
    how long does it need to dry?  the restore-a-deck water-based stain?  i'm not finding this anywhere?!!?  surely i'm missing it?!  trying to stain today, but rain forecast for tomorrow. 
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    Michelle S. · 10/02/2021
    Hello, I have an approximately 8x9 foot treehouse to stain. The wood is pressure-treated pine and most of it is a year old. The vertical slats on the sides are two months old. None of the wood has never been stained before. What do I order? 
    Thank you!Michelle
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/02/2021
      Use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep. Then stain with one coat of the semi transparent stain. 
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        Michelle S. · 10/02/2021
        Thanks! And is it okay to do it now, with most of the wood 12 months old and some of the wood 2 months old? Or should I wait until spring?
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      Michelle S. · 10/02/2021
      Oh, and it's really just a deck mounted up in a tree--it's not an enclosed house. Thank you!Michelle
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    Earl · 09/30/2021
    Hello....I purchased the combo Stripper and Brightener earlier this year.Starting the project I realized that the deck boards would need to be all removed and replaced.Deck-Over on the deck ruined the boards. It would not strip off nor sand off very easy.Would have taken all summer just to get it off the decking. A real mess it made.My deck is 16' x 24', Rail length is total of 31'; Rail Ht is 37.5"; 3 Steps at 6.5 ft wide; 64 balusters each 42" long made of 2x2.   I replaced all decking with Pressure treated Southern Yellow Pine.  It sat in my driveway as delivered for approx 1.5 months.  It is now all in place. I do have a pressure washer. Questions:1) Do I need to sand the new wood after it sets for a few months (if sitting is needed)2) Since I already have the product, can I use the Stripper vs buying Cleaner?3) Since wood sat for so long, do I need to leave it on deck for 2-3 months and then do the cleaning/staining?4) Going to use the Solid on railings and Semi Transparent on Deck, should we do the railings first, then the deck and then do each baluster prior to installing them? That seems to be logical from an overspray perspective. Thank you for such a great product and site!
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      RAD Products · 09/30/2021
      See here about new wood: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-for-new-wood.html
      You need the cleaner, not the stripper for prep. Does not matter if you do the rails or deck first. You will not be spraying your stains when doing a two toned deck. All handwork will be needed.
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        Earl · 10/03/2021
        Thanks for info.I didn't mention that all railings and balusters are not new. I sanded all of that to remove solid stain that was on them using handheld orbital sander with 60 grit.Question:Should I use the Stripper on those items and Cleaner just on new decking boards or just cleaner on all?We'd like to solid the railings and balusters now prior to winter (Rochester N.Y.) to preserve that wood and then clean/semi-transparent stain new decking boards in Spring.Does that plan sound right?Thank you so much!
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          RAD Products · 10/03/2021
          Cleaner on all. You can break it up.  
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    John · 09/30/2021
    I will be using your stripper product as well as sanding where needed on deck verticals with previous application of behr solid stain. Do I need to use your brightener product as well? Thanks
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    John · 09/30/2021
    Can I apply your solid stain over wood filler?
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    Greg · 09/29/2021
    Ok I used the cleaner and brightener on my pressure treated deck. Dark walnut semi transparent stain. I applied this section of the deck in the evening on damp wood. It looked good until morning. I noticed white beads from the morning dew on the deck. After the wood dried up from the morning dew it left white streaks as if the stain did not take. Could it have not been rinsed enough prior to staining. I used same procedure on another section and had no problems.  Looking for suggestions as to why and what I need to do to fix it. Also this area is were we get in and out of our pool all summer so it gets a lot of chlorine water on it. Thanks Greg  
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      RAD Products · 09/29/2021
      That happened due to not rinsing the brightener fully and this causes a reaction. Try recoating one board and see if that fixes before attempting to recoat all.
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    Rod · 09/29/2021
    Few questions:1. I am stripping the cedar in my entire outdoor living area (6 yrs old) - ceiling, railing, deck.  In reading your instructions, I assume I would put 1 coat on the railings and ceiling, and 2 coats on the deck. Is that correct? If so, will there be a coloration difference due to having differing numbers of coats of stain?  Or is 6 years considered "old wood" and it all should get 2 coats per your instructions?2. If some of the wood is damp from stripping/whitening when I apply the stain, will there be a difference in coloration between the wood that was damp compared to the wood that was dry?  3. Is the 100-200 ft coverage from a gallon assuming 1 coat? Or would 1 gallon enable 2 coats on 100-200 ft?4. Is it best to mist before staining even if the surface area is not in the sun, or is that for just when the surface area is in the sun?Thanks!
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      RAD Products · 09/29/2021
      1. You can do one coat on verticals/ceiling and two on floors and the color will all be the same. 2. No.3. Yes.4. Does not matter.
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        Rod · 09/29/2021
        Thank you for the quick reply!
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    Jay G · 09/25/2021
    Pictures related to my earlier question.
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    JT · 09/25/2021
    Hello.  I used pressure treated cedar pickets from Home Depot and posts, with the fence having been built last year - 11/15/2020. I did wash the fence with Oxiclean about a week ago.

     My funds are rather limited at this time, so I am wondering if I need to use the brightener, and if for this first application of RAD semi-transparent waterbase stain I can use just one coat? I've attached a photo of my fence...which is the one in the foreground.  I will stain it in October before it gets too cold.

    How long can I keep any leftover stain?  I hope to set up a savings plan for next spring and apply however many coats you think should be applied then.  I'll continue each spring.  Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/26/2021
      You can stain it now. One coat will work until you can get another coat on.
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    John · 09/25/2021
    Hello, I have a front and back porch (approx 200 sq ft total) made of an exotic hardwood. The previous owner thinks it is acacia, but not sure. I used a semitransparent stain from the hardware store that is not holding up well, likely bc it would not penetrate the hardwood.  The picture with two tones shows where the wood was covered by an outdoor rug.  In the front, which gets direct light in the am, there is cupping. My plan, in order, is to use the RAD stripper, brightener, sand lightly in the back and more the front (to reduce cupping), and then RAD semitransparent stain. Should I sand the deck lightly to improve absorption with 80 grit random orbital after brightener, and can I do that while it is still wet?  Should I only sand the front, to reduce cupping?  Do the darker stains provide better UV protection?  I have seen conflicting information about doing multiple coats. What do you recommend?  Thank you.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/26/2021
      Do not sand. Strip and brighten for prep. Just one coat for hardwoods. Most use Light Walnut for hardwoods.
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        John · 09/26/2021
        Thank you!  Do you find applicators or brushes are better for consistent application on exotic hardwoods?  I am prone to over apply. Thanks. 
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          RAD Products · 09/27/2021
          The yellow deck floor brush is the easiest.
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            J · 09/30/2021
            One coat of the semi transparent stain or two on e optic hardwoods? 
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    Jay G · 09/25/2021
    Yesterday I applied the stripper, rinsed thoroughly, applied the brightener, and rinsed again.  This morning my pine stairs are covered with white splotches.  They wipe off easily.  Temperature overnight got down to the low 40’s. What are the white splotches?  What is the best way to remove them?  Do I need to rinse again, or apply stripper or brightener again?
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      RAD Products · 09/26/2021
      Post a picture.
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        RAD Products · 09/26/2021
        That is oxidized wood fibers that you did not remove fully. Give it a good pressure wash for prep. If needed, lightly hand sand as well.
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    RJ · 09/25/2021
    RJ · 09/25/2021
    I’ve got a pretty large deck and will be working alone. It will take more than an hour to put the first coat on it I start and go across all of the deck. Can I do it in smaller sections and apply the second coat before moving to the next section? Will the sections match? Sorry if this is a repeat.   Thanks 
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      RAD Products · 09/25/2021
      It may not blend if you do it in sections. Best to do first coat all at once and then go back and do the second coat.