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
    Vicki · 08/23/2020
    How long after 4 days of rain can I stain my deck. Can I prep the deck days before staining.
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    Lynn · 08/22/2020
    can your RAD solid stain be used on patio pavers? it would match my deck that I just stained
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    Miriam Jacobs · 08/21/2020
    I’ve just finished staining my deck and I’m very pleased with the results. I had to aggressively sand my deck and thus it’s a bit lighter than I would like. What is the absolute minimum I have to wait to put on a second coat? Thanks!
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    Miriam · 08/21/2020
    I have just finished staining my deck. I’m very pleased with the results. I had to strip and sand like a madwoman because I did not know what the original product on the deck was, and the two coats on top of that was the semi-transparent Behr. It’s very light though and a bit splotchy since the sanding was so aggressive. What is the absolute minimum time I need to wait to put on a second coat?

    Thanks! Miriam
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/21/2020
      6-12 months. Clean with the RAD Cleaner first.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Miriam Jacobs · 08/21/2020
        Thanks! Please ignore my second post. I somehow reloaded the page to August 3rd and since I didn’t see my question I asked it again. Yes. I’m tired.


        Thanks again, Miriam
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    Barbara Lutterbein · 08/21/2020
    Sorry if posting twice. My deck area is approximately 600 Sq ft, 7 years old, treated lumber, last stained 5 years ago with I believe a solid acrylic stain. Please confirm that I understand the steps if I decide to use solid stain: lightly power wash, apply cleaner, rinse, apply brightener, rinse, let dry. Apply 2 coats of solid stain, letting dry between coats. If I decide to use semitransparent, then I need to strip and/or sand? First step? And apply wet? Thanks! Would you recommend solid or semi-transparent based on the picture?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/21/2020
      You cannot strip off a solid stain fully so that means you would have to sand it off if you want the semi-transparent. For using the RAD Solid Stain, your prep is correct.
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    Sam · 08/20/2020
    Never got an answer to my question:

    Sam · 08/15/2020
    This is suppose to be eco friendly, but is it safe to use on a dock in a lake? Will washing this product or the brightener into the lake cause problems?
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    Tom · 08/20/2020
    In June 2018 I replaced my deck floor with mahogany, but not the spindles or rails. I let it weather until September 2018 and then used cleaner and brightener before putting on a RAD stain. I plan to use a RAD stain again this coming September. Do I need to use both cleaner and brightener before using the RAD stain. Should I use only one coat, or wet-on-wet coat, or two coats. What about on the very weathered top rails--one coat or two.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/21/2020
      Use both for prep and just one coat for Mahogany wood. Other wood types can get two coats.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 08/19/2020
    I just cleaned, brightened and stained my 1 year old deck for the first time. How long do I wait to put furniture back and walk/sit on it as normal?
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    Ray Moore · 08/19/2020
    1) I used the RAD stripper with the RAD booster on 50% of my 2 year old deck. I used the stripper instead of the cleaner as I couldn't find out from the contractor who built my deck whether they used an oil based or water based product. I am a bit concerned that with only using a brush, in the shade, that a lot of the top layer of the wood was partially removed leaving very "fury" planks that I am now going to have to sand. Is this normal?

    2) I have not applied the brightener as of yet opting to wait until after sanding. Is this advisable? How long can I wait to use the brightener after stripping a deck?

    3) Given the problem that I had using the stripper is it advisable to just use the cleaner?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/19/2020
      1. It does not look like it was stained or sealed ever. You were too aggressive with the products and should have not used the stripper but the cleaner. You will need to sand this off.
      2. Brighten after the sanding.
      3. Yes and also pressure wash after applying the cleaner.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Drew · 08/18/2020
    Hi--just wanted to know if the 'natural' stain is basically clear, or does it have a tint

    Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2020
      The Natural is tinted. It has to be tinted for UV protection from graying.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Adam · 08/18/2020
    Hello,
    We have two ages of cedar wood , the deck and a newly built bench.
    cedar deck is 4 years old, original stain behr semi transparent. We stripped the deck two years ago with defy stripper and brightener. Got about 90% of the old stain off before applying RAD semi transparent cedar color. We can tell where the Behr didn’t peel off.


    Our question now is the best order to go in to get the newly built and old deck to match up with the same RAD stain.

    Also, the cleaner we have is bullfrog and says to not clean new cedar or redwood due to reddening.

    My guess is we sand deck and clean and brighten both in 3 months, although I really don’t want to sand. The plus is the deck will now be covered from rain. It’s 90-100 right now so staining the new bench seems less than Ideal.


    youre help is very appreciated
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    Sean · 08/18/2020
    How quick is shipping to PA?
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    SR · 08/18/2020
    (Apologies the previous post did not get uploaded correctly)

    We are trying to refinish a deck which we don't have much history about - we don't know how old it is or what kind of applications (stain, solid stain, deck paint) might have been applied before.

    We tried using a Behr stripper but that didn't help much. We then used Citristrip which helped get most of the previous stain/paint off - but we aren't sure if that's enough or we should also plan to sand. Please advise what would be best next steps and which of your products we should use.

    Please see a couple of pictures of before and after using the using the stripper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    SR · 08/18/2020
    We are trying to refinish a deck which we don't have much history about - we don't know how old it is or what kind of applications (stain, solid stain, deck paint) might have been applied before.

    We tried using a Behr stripper but that didn't help much. We then used Citristrip which helped get most of the previous stain/paint off - but we aren't sure if that's enough or we should also plan to sand. Please advise what would be best next steps and which of your products we should use.

    Please see a couple of pictures of before and after using the using the stripper.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2020
      You have a solid stain so it cannot be stripped off fully and you will need to reapply another solid stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-solid-stain.html

      For final prep, just make sure you sand off any loose stain. You can cover the intact stain with the new solid stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        SR · 08/18/2020
        Thank you, couple of additional questions.

        After sanding any loose stain do we go straight to applying solid stain or should we plan to clean, brighten before applying solid stain? Also is a primer required before applying your solid stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/18/2020
          Hello, you cannot use a primer first. You should be able to stain right after as long as the deck is free of sand dust, etc.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Susan · 08/17/2020
    My deck and stairs (3 flights and 5 landings) are 20+ years old. Solid stain was last applied 5 years ago. I scraped, powerwashed and sanded with a belt sander and orbital sander. About 40% of stain was removed.
    I have just finished with the stripper(powerwashed prior to brightener) Perhaps another 10% of stain was removed. Here are my questions:

    1.Brightener mixed as directed and left on for 20 minutes never sudsed as I flooded with water. Why not?
    2. Some loose stain still remains. I plan to scrape again once the wood lis dry. Is there anything else I should do to ensure good stain adhesion.
    This had been an exhausting job for a 78 year old woman and I still have a deck which thankfully had only a transparent stain in the past
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2020
      1. It is small suds, not heavy.
      2. No, just make sure all loose stain is removed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dan Bigger · 08/17/2020
    Used the RAD stripper and brightener on cedar garage doors. Afterwards there was quite a bit of furring that I hand sanded with 80 grit to get rid of furring. Do I have to clean and brighten again or just move on to the semi-transparent Armstrong-Clark stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    janet · 08/17/2020
    I'm ready to strip my deck and purchased stripper, gel and booster additives. After I mix them together can I still apply with a pump sprayer?
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    Bob W · 08/17/2020
    Hello,
    I’m about to undertake a much postponed job. To refinish a series of Mahogany Decks, Stairs and Porches. The wood is approximately 10 years old, although they have been washed and finished with reputable(?) semi-transparent oil based stain several times. Nothing has been done over the last couple of years. Each has unique requirements; the principle Deck (exterior), landing and stairs require stripping, sanding?, brightening and finally staining. The surface is somewhat rough, perhaps the grain is raised and needs sanding. Should it be sanded before stripping and brightening or after? Of the original staining only patches remain. There’s a small deck on the opposite side of the house, also exterior, requiring the same attention as the main deck. There remains quite a bit more residual stain…as this is subjected to much less Sun… therefore requiring less sanding. The last…a Porch is under a roof, the finish has stood up quite well but it needs a refreshing coat, I plan to pressure wash this floor and re-stain it.
    The original overall finish is/was a honey brown, actually it is exactly that shade on the flooring which is shown on your site in the, “section specifically designated for IPE or exotic hardwoods.” All Floors to be stained using the same Oil Based Stain.
    First, does my process for the job seem correct? If I use the same stain shade on all surfaces will the results appear somewhat similar, that is, on a stripped and brightened surface and on the washed surface? The Porch and the Main Deck are adjacent and interface at the Porch door way. The available light, natural is not the same for the Porch is roof covered and the Deck not.

    All surfaces to be finished are floors (horizontal). Square areas (ft): to be stripped and brightened = 265, the area to be pressure washed and just re-stained = 180. Total area to be stained ~ 445
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/17/2020
      Strip and brighten all wood is the correct way to do this. No need to sand.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Bob W · 08/17/2020
        What specific oil based stain do you recommend? Will I be able to apply it over the just P washed surface? Will it look much different compared to the stripped, brightened surface?
        The Main Deck is rough, it seems the grain has risen as the wood weathered.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/17/2020
          We suggest our stain which is water-based: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-wood-stain-on-exotic-hardwoods-ipe.html

          Once you strip and remove all and then brighten it will all look the same.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Bob W · 08/19/2020
            Thanks for the Quick reply. I live in the Northeast. Do you think water based stain will protect and stand up to the weather on the Mahogany as well as oil based? As mentioned, part of the job will be covering an area that will only be pressure washed, it presently it is coated with a penetrating oil based stain.
            Total area to be treated is approx. 450 square feet. What is the coverage per gallon for whichever stain I use. What shade of stain should I use...currently what was there was a warm Honey brown.
            For the remainder of the job I will be stripping/brightening approximately 300 square feet are your Kits sold by area to be treated?
            My original communication contains photos to assist your recommendations.
            Thanks for your help.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/19/2020
              Yes, water-based will work as well as long as they are penetrating like the RAD semi-transparent. You cannot just pressure wash, you have to strip/brighten all when switching brands. No way around this and it does not matter if using oil or water-based, it has to come off all areas to be coated. Once all 450 sq feet is stripped and brightened, you can then switch. One kit will cover this. Most use the RAD in Light Walnut.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lin · 08/17/2020
    Will your RAD solid stain stick to caulk? I replaced several side boards that meet up with a patio edge and there is a large gap I need to fill.

    Should I prime the caulk first?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/17/2020
      A primer will not work for a solid stain. It should cover the caulk.
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    John · 08/16/2020
    I just used your RAD stripper to one level of my multi level cedar deck. I have another level to do strip next weekend. Can I apply the RAD brightener to both levels when I'm done stripping? One level will be wet, the other will be dry. Is one method preferred? I can not find any information on applying the brightener to a wet or dry surface.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/17/2020
      It is best to apply the brightener the same day and as soon as you are done with the stripping. If you did not do this, then do it as soon as you are able. Does not matter if wet or dry.
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    Liz · 08/16/2020
    Pouring from the large stain container to a smaller container resulted in large spill. Anyway to remove the RAD stain from our concrete?
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    Corie · 08/15/2020
    Can RAD semi-transparent stain be applied to a new cedar fence as one coat or wet on wet?
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    Maya · 08/15/2020
    Hello! I have ordered to stripper, brightener, gel and booster and only need to make a small quantity for a section of a door. Do you have the ratios for me?

    Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/16/2020
      To make one gallon of the stripper, use 8 oz of powder. Add 1/5 of the bottle for both booster and gel. The same amount of powder for the brightener.
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    janine bay teske · 08/15/2020
    do i need to use the brightner immediately after stripping or can I wait a few days?
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    Steve · 08/15/2020
    How do I mix the step 1 cleaner for use in a power washer?
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    Jeannie A · 08/15/2020
    I applied RAD semi Transparent, should rain water pool after its applied, I have 2 coats on 1 section, if it should can I apply a 3rd coat? It's been 2 days since the 2 coat was applied.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/15/2020
      No, you cannot apply a third coat. Rain sheds off the stain.
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    Karine Benoit · 08/15/2020
    We have use the RAD cleaner and brighter to prepare our deck yesterday. However in one section of the deck, which is in the shade most of the time, it seems like the green which seems like moss was not fully remove (see picture). Should we redo the cleaner and brighter?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/15/2020
      Yes try to but if the green is deep in the wood grain, it will not come out.
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    Stephen Pratt · 08/14/2020
    Good morning,

    I've used your RAD products in the past on my deck with great success.
    My next project is to restore my cedar fence. I used Penofin on it about 12 years ago and it has turned orange over the years. There is still some finish (obviously) on the boards.
    What products would you suggest I use to prepare it for restraining?
    Thanks,
    Steve
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/14/2020
      The RAD stripper and brightener kits for prep and then the RAD semi-transparent stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robert M Souter · 08/14/2020
    I am planning to prep and apply solid stain to my PT deck. However, I have had to replace several deck boards with new wood on the perimeter of the deck. The question is can I first stain the deck in two passes: first pass, prep and stain the old wood, second pass, the new wood on the perimeter after the new wood has weathered? Will prepping the perimeter wood damage the deck that has already been stained?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/14/2020
      Do it all at the same time is the correct way. Breaking it up will make it much harder and you could have some issues as well.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John Costanza · 08/14/2020
    I applied RAD to my deck after a complete sanding off of a solid stain. I followed your recommendations and only applied one coat as it was a newly sanded deck. It turned out beautiful!!! The Midwest has tough winters and I'd like to apply another coat in late fall. In a small test area RAD seemed to adsorb very well. Questions- 1. Should I not be concerned that is has only one coat? 2. What would be the results if I applied a second coat in a few weeks? Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/14/2020
      You cannot apply another coat in a few weeks, it will not take. It is fine through the Winter. Clean in Spring and apply then.