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
    Jay Siwek · 07/01/2019
    1) If we strip, brighten, and stain our deck this year, can we just re-apply semi-transparent stain next year, or do we have to repeat the entire stripping and brightening process each time?
    2) Can we spray on the stain, and then brush with the RAD brush to achieve a smooth, uniform finish?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/01/2019
      1. Clean and recoat next year.
      2. Yes but make the stain fully penetrates into the wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jay · 07/01/2019
        Thanks for the quick reply!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Emily · 06/30/2019
    We live in Denver CO-our redwood deck has a southern exposure and is 575 square feet- about 15 yrs old. I stained it last year (after completely sanding it) with a product that turned out to be awful. Peeled up after 6 months like plastic wrap but is OK on vertical surfaces. Power washing removed most of old stain-then rented a belt sander (80 grit) and sanded entire surface- now have bare wood. We have been getting numerous intermittent storms so need a product I can apply on damp wood and internet search let me to RAD. How many gallons do you think I will need and do you have any tips?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/01/2019
      Clean and brighten for final prep. Just one coat of stain to a sanded deck. About 4-5 gallons of the stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 06/30/2019
    I stained my new deck after six months of weathering. I've got some dark areas and some much lighter. I'm wondering what are the ramifications of second coating some areas. What is the general reason for recommending only one coat on new wood?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/01/2019
      New wood is not absorbent enough for a second coat and if you over apply to the point that the stain cannot fully soak in, then it could lead to premature failure. Best to do another coat next Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Annie · 06/30/2019
    What home improvement stores carry Restore-A-Deck? Or is your product only available online?
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    Andrew · 06/30/2019
    I have already purchased Valspar all in one wood prep cleaner and brightener. Can RAD stain still be applied the same day after using this product?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/30/2019
      Sorry but no.
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        Andrew · 07/02/2019
        Can it be used with other cleaners and brighteners after time to dry? Or will it negatively affect the stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/02/2019
          It possibly could. Definitely not the same day.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kate · 06/29/2019
    I am refinishing my 1000 sqft. deck and purchased two kits with dark walnut semi transparent stain. Not knowing what was on the deck from the previous owners, but knowing it was beginning to chip and peel, I started with sanding. I rented a floor sander and sanded for 18 straight hours and still had not gotten to any wood. It did take a lot of the top coat off which I have since learned was Deck Over. Which should not be sanded for health reasons, apparently. I’ve also tried some strippers and found that citristrip and a pressure washer actually works to remove Deck Over. You have to use it a little differently than the instructions, but it works.

    Under the deck over was a coat of solid stain or paint, I’m not sure which and under that was the original stained wood.

    So, now that I’ve been working to get this stuff off from sun up to sun down for 9 days, I now have 80% of the deck ready. It will take me a few more days to get it all, but I am determined to get there! So now I’m wondering about sanding.

    Just to get this mess off the deck, I’ve used a rented floor sander, a 5” orbital sander and a hand held belt sander in addition to the citristrip. Plus underneath all of that was not the best wood. Some needed extra sanding.

    I know now that the stain may take differently based on how it was sanded. But once I get all this previous junk off, how is the best way to prep for the cleaner, brightener and stain and finally the stain? Go over all of it one more time with an orbital sander or what? What do you suggest?

    Thanks!
    Kate
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/30/2019
      Go over all wood with 80 grit to even out the porosity of the wood. Clean and brighten then stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ken S · 06/28/2019
    10 year old, 785 sq ft deck, Pine, previously stained with Wolman Raincoat Natural Cedar Tinted in September 2016. I have access to a pressure washer.
    Horizontal surfaces are pretty faded (lots of sun). Vertical surfaces still appear stained. Will your stripper remove? Do I need booster/thickening gel?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/29/2019
      Yes, the stripper will remove and the booster and gell will help, especially with the verticals.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary Eberle · 06/28/2019
    I took off work to apply the stain because they were calling for showers tomorrow(Saturday). Finished applying the second coat, and viola, the skies opened. What do I do now?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/29/2019
      Wait until the rain stops and check to make sure the stain is okay. If an issue, post some pictures.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Matt · 06/28/2019
    Hi there,


    One year ago I got new treated pine and applied the semi-transparent stain (after cleaning and brightening) - worked great. I read that this summer I should apply a light maintenance coat.


    Do I need to clean and brighten before application of this coat? Will I need to clean and brighten with subsequent coats 3ish years down the road?

    Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Teresa · 06/27/2019
    When I contacted you earlier..I used your cleaner (not stripper). and then brightener. Followed directions on both packages. After I hosed off the deck yesterday..we did have a downpour of rain. Then this morning we had like powder white stains that appeared. Pictures were included in the earlier post. What can we do now..can we alleviate the white stains..is it safe to stain? Please help..Thanks..
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2019
      That’s the knots and raised grain from oxidation removal. Knots are normally lighter. You can stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Teresa · 06/27/2019
    Here's the picture of the dried white stains.. I even went outside for the 2nd time today and scrubbed and hosed off the deck and fascia boards.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Teresa · 06/27/2019
    I used the stripper and brightener according to the packages yesterday. This morning I had a white film that covered most of the deck. I called your business and they informed me to further scrub and wash off with hose. I did that for an additional 1/2 hour. There still are white spots on the deck and fascia boards..what can I do? Or is it safe to stain 48 hours later.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 06/27/2019
    I used your natural colored deck stain and it worked great. Unfortunately, we over sprayed on a white vinyl fence and have no clue how to get this off. Help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2019
      Try water-based graffiti remover from your local store. Like goof off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John · 06/27/2019
    To strip off old SW oil stain on cedar deck before applying TWP, do we need cleaner AND stripper, or just stripper?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2019
      The stripper then brightener. No need for cleaner.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robin · 06/27/2019
    Staining a cedar wood framed smoked glass screen around two sides of a hot tub. The wood is 12 years old and has never been stained (it is now grey). I would like to use your semi-transparent cedar stain. Would you please advise me on the correct steps and products.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2019
      For the prep, use the RAD cleaner and then the RAD wood brightener. Once prepped, you can apply the RAD stains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    lma · 06/27/2019
    Few question re: application on a recently stripped pressure treated deck.

    1) the site mentions being able to do your whole deck in one day, but the Brightener packaging says to wait 48hrs before staining!?

    2) the site mentions applying stain with brush, sprayer and pad. Is one better than the other?

    3) would staining all the spindle junctions first, then the rest of it a day or more later, or would this look obvious? (deck is about 700sq ft, and I'll like to do it in stages. i.e. spindle junctions, then rest of spindle, etc. )
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/27/2019
      1. That is for other brands of deck stain, not the RAD stains.
      2. Yellow stain brush or pad.
      3. Do it all at once for best results.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Javed · 06/26/2019
    How long does it take to ship to Canada (Toronto, Ontario)?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James Smithson · 06/26/2019
    How long after an order will product ship?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joel · 06/26/2019
    I used Sikkens Proluxe Cetol SRD 2 years ago and have deeply disappointed with it and want to remove it and start over with a more quality stain product. What product do recommend to clean and strip off the old stain? I noticed on Amazon there was a "Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper, Wood Brightener, Booster, Thickening Gel Combo Pack". Would this work or is there something more effective?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Joel · 06/28/2019
      Thanks for your reply. I will certainly purchase from you. Will I need to sand at any point and when should I do that? Before the Brightner or after?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 06/29/2019
        No need to sand unless all does not come off. Brightener after if you do.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/26/2019
      RAD Stripper with the Booster and Gel. We would prefer you did not buy from Amazon. Brightener after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Erich · 06/25/2019
    I stained my deck several years ago using TWP 1501-1 Cedartone. Will your Stripper remove that stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stanley Cienava · 06/25/2019
    The directions on the package of RAD Cleaner say that the mixed solution must be used within 4 hours. Are these directions outdated? Also, how long can mixed solutions of the Brightener and Stripper be stored?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      No, not outdated. The cleaner has a shelf life once mixed with water. The active ingredient will dissipate its effectiveness after 4 hours.

      Stripper and brightener do not have a shelf life once mixed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad · 06/25/2019
    200 sqft deck plus about 20 sqft of stairs, about 50ft of 4ft railing spaced 5.5 inches
    Cedar wood - 32 years old (Yup - a "senior")
    Previous stain - Sikkens Cetol 1 Natural (078) semi-transparent oil stain applied every 2-3 years, last applied 3 years ago
    do NOT have a pressure washer, but could rent if needed

    Questions:
    1. With 10-15 stain applications over the years, will Restore A Deck stripper, perhaps with Booster Additive and Thickening Gel, work?
    2. Do you recommend sanding after stripping? Is Brightener applied after any sanding done?
    3. Rails are still in decent shape. Do you have suggestions on what to do, what not to do, with them?
    4. My plan at this time, after restoration, is to use Sikkens ProLuxe deck semi-transparent stain. Do you have any comments/concerns on this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      1, No, that is appearing to be a solid stain in appearance. The Booster and Gel additives with the stripper will remove much but you will need to sand as well.
      2. Yes to remove all. Brightener after.
      3. Not a fan of Sikkens since they changed the formula.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Diane · 06/25/2019
    HI, can I put the Restore A Deck brightener on a wet deck
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John · 06/25/2019
    Does the Restore-a-deck cleaner strength decay once you open the packet? I am cleaning my never stained Ipe wood deck in sections, starting about a week ago. The very first section I cleaned and brightened (about 40 ft sq) looked beautiful. But since then, each section I have cleaned and brightened looks worse (darker overall with dark spots and song boards that are darker) than the one before. I'm mixing is small batches (1-3 quarts at a time) and not letting it sit more than 4 hours as recommended. I keep refining my technique and getting closer and closer to the ideal conditions described but each section comes out darker than the one before. The only thing I can figure is that the opened bag is decaying as it is exposed to air, but that doesn't make sense because the bag has a vent built into it. The only other variable I know of is delay between clean and brighten. I have been doing all of my cleaning for the day, then waiting a few hours to brighten, but still the same day. I the last two days I have brightened and rinsed late in the day so that it dries overnight.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/25/2019
      It does not decay but the cleaner will raise the pH balance, darkening the wood. That is why you need the brighter to neutralize it back and lighten the wood. Brighten as soon as you can to neutralize.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kate · 06/24/2019
    Will your stripper remove multiple layers including stain and paint?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JK · 06/24/2019
    I have an approximately 950 sq ft deck, don't know type or how old wood is and what it was finished with. I pressure washed all the old solid stain (maybe paint, I don't know) off as best I could. Previous owner did not paint spindles, but I pressured washed those as well. I then sanded using a combination of 60 and 40 grit using a belt sander, standing orbital for the floor and hand orbital for small areas. Was able to get a lot off but can still see old stain/paint in some spots.


    Do I have to use a cleaner and a brightener before applying your solid stain? I did not use any chemical stripper, so I assume I do not need a brightener. Would a wood deck cleaner be helpful before applying your stain? Do you have just a cleaner if not can you recommend? I used a blower to get rid of dust, should I lightly pressure wash again?


    Going to paint railings in white, but some spots are dark from previous stain but has been sanded. Will your white solid cover? Will be doing floor in your gray solid stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      Do a light pressure rinse for final prep to remove sand dust. The solid stain will cover the rest of the old stain. Post some pictures when done!
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        JK · 06/24/2019
        OK thanks, so no need for a cleaner or brightener? I guess I could use your cleaner and then pressure wash that off along with any dust? Is the cleaner overkill at this point? I am thinking 8 gallons of gray (floor area is around 950 sq ft and 1 gallon of white for railings. Going to do the flat top part of railing in the gray, then all vertical railing parts in white and of course the floor in gray.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/25/2019
          You can use the cleaner but you will not need the brightener since you are using the solid stain. Maybe 2-gallons of white but hard to say. I assume two coats of the gray? It will look great!
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            JK · 06/25/2019
            Thanks, I will post pics when done. Using solid stain because you can still see old finish even though I sanded. What is the best way to apply the solid stain? Wet on wet? Wet on dry or just dry on dry? I see the instructions for the semi is wet on wet but didn't notice the solid instructions.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Liz · 06/24/2019
    Should I apply 2 coats on a fence built in Feb 2018. Or is 1 enough?

    What tool do you recommend for applying semi-transparent stain to a fence?

    Want to order enough and correct supplies to be able to start job and finish it. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      Apply two coats wet on wet. The first coat can be sprayed on followed by a second coat 20-60 minutes later with a brush or stain pad.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Liz · 06/24/2019
        Sprayed on with what? Not brushed at all on first coat?

        I was going to purchase the Restore A Deck Wood Staining Brush with yellow bristles, is this the recommended one or something different?


        I have 200 LF of 6' tall fence. It has a top cap and bottom rails. Never been stained. Planned to purchase cleaner, brightener, and cedar semi-transparent stain. You recommended 2 coats. How much do I need?

        Thank you!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/24/2019
          Spray on with a pump sprayer or you can apply the first coat with a brush as well. The yellow brush should work well.

          Are you doing both sides of the fence? If so you have 2400 sq feet and that will require 20-25 gallons for two coats of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Erik · 06/24/2019
    ~705 sq ft

    unknown wood, unknown age, unknown stain
    have access to pressure washer

    plan is to sand the areas where stain still remains, strip, brighten and then stain with semi-transparent cedar.

    Do i need two coats of stain? Should I plan on doing the railings at the same time? Handrail needs minimal sanding, but the posts and balusters would need a lot of sanding/scraping. If I choose not to do them, what precautions should I take with the stripper to protect the railings?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Liz · 06/24/2019
    How long will it take to ship products? I want to order a sample kit then be able to receive the supplies I choose after that by 3rd of July. Located in Alabama.

    My fence was installed in Feb 2018. Will it need 2 coats or 1?

    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kate · 06/24/2019
    What are your thoughts on the Bug Juice additive to stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/24/2019
      It should work to help with bees, etc.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kate · 06/24/2019
        Thank you. I was thinking mainly of ants. I like the bees ?!