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
    Tom · 05/12/2019
    I have Olympic Maximum Solid stain on my deck. Every year I clean with Olympic Deck cleaner and re-stain a few sections of the total deck. If I use your deck cleaner is it necessary to also use the deck brightener as well? Parts of the deck are dirty with mold but is in good shape with no peeling or fading. Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 05/12/2019
      No need to use the brightener if you are using a solid stain.
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    Jim Taylor · 05/12/2019
    My apologies...I forgot to mention that I will be using the Woodrich Timber Oil, same color/blend again on the deck.
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    Jim Taylor · 05/12/2019
    I used the Woodrich Timber Oil on my deck 3 years ago. Should I start out with the Cleaner or Stripper first? There is some mold but not much.
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    Karen · 05/11/2019
    I have approximately 800 square feet of deck and rails to stain. Decks were built last year and this is my first time prepping and staining myself. Could you tell me if the package of cleaner, brightener, and 2 containers of stain will be enough? Or if not, how much of what do I need? Thank you.
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      Karen · 05/17/2019
      Thanks. I received my order and have read the instructions. What I'm not clear on is the stain comes in a jug. If I apply it with a brush, should I pour some in a paint tray?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/11/2019
      You will need about 6-8 gallons of stain for the one coat for newer wood. One cleaner/brightener kit should work for prep.
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    Allen · 05/11/2019
    I am about to purchase and install new 1 x 12 cedar boards and strips from Lowes and do board and batten siding (apx. 8'x30' for now, then do that again in couple months on another wall). It states the wood is cedar wood, am not sure if it is “technically” western cedar or? Anyhow, the boards appear to have a slightly rough texture to them, not rough sawn perhaps, but not smooth either. Anyhow, I would like to have a nearly clear finish with a little darkening color to it however. A few questions. What product(s) do you recommend? And when can I apply it? I’m thinking it would be easier to apply before installing OR should I install and let it set for a period of time??? Would it need a cleaner – brightener? Logically I'm "thinking" since they are new boards I shouldn't I would think? Seems like I "should" be able to apply the sealer to the wood directly ASAP, before installing, BUT maybe I'm wrong. I guess, long story short I need full directions for this scenario, lol… Located in Southern Tennessee

    ALSO, there is a section of old board and batten siding that needs cleaned and sealed and would like for it to look as similar to the new as I can. It is about half that size, what do I do-use there. I know, a lot of questions, sorry...
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/11/2019
      Install, wait a few months, prep with cleaner and wood brightener, stain with 1 coat of the RAD in Natural Color.

      Clean, brighten, stain for the older wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Allen · 05/11/2019
        So I can't (or don't need to) apply the Natural color now on the new semi-rough wood?
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          RAD Products · 05/11/2019
          Not now. Let it weather.
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            Allen · 05/11/2019
            OK, how much product should I get for old and new wood combined? Old wood will be about 120 sq. ft., new wood will be about 240 sq. ft. Should old wood have 1 or 2 coats? Is there an instructional application video(s) somewhere perhaps as well?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 05/12/2019
              3-4 gallons. 2 coats for the older wood. We do not have videos.
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                Allen · 05/12/2019
                Do you think RAD or TWP sealer is best for this scenario?
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                  RAD Products · 05/12/2019
                  Use the RAD.
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                    Allen · 05/13/2019
                    I notice in your directions online: Note: Depending on the level of care your deck needs, heavily grayed wood may need brushing especially if you are not using a pressure washer to rinse My question is, do you sell such a brush? I assume you don't need to use your "Restore A Deck Wood Staining Brush" OR can you?
                    • We will reply to your comment shortly
                      RAD Products · 05/13/2019
                      Potentially a scrub brush if heavily grayed. Most pressure wash off after applying the cleaner.
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                        Allen · 05/13/2019
                        OK, but you don't sell a scrub brush?
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    Billy · 05/11/2019
    I am working on restoring my deck and I am seeking advice on which products I need to use.
    My deck is 438 sq ft. Pressure treated pine wood. most of the wood is 35 years old. Boards have been replaced as needed. For the last application, I used Cabot Tintable Neutral Base Solid Exterior Stain and Sealer, tinted light gray. The wood was stained at least five years ago. I do have a pressure washer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bea · 05/10/2019
    I just had the full top of my 16x20 PTW deck replaced last month. The contractor sprayed it with a clear sealant and said to stain next year. However, my deck is in full sun all day and the boards developing running cracks which greatly concerns me for water penetration. In this case, would it be better to stain sooner? If so, would I also need to clean and brighten before using your product or would cleaning alone be sufficient since there is no graying yet of the wood?
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    Rick · 05/10/2019
    Hi there is there a way to add an additional product to my order. I am shipping to Canada and wanted to add one more product before the items are shipped.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/10/2019
      You would have to call us ASAP to do that as we would not be able to this comment system.
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    nancy · 05/09/2019
    I used your cleaner, brightener, and some stain last summer....Overall the deck looks good. I noticed some mold mostly on the edges of the steps. How should I address this? thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/10/2019
      If it is just a small amount, try some bathroom cleaner that contains a little bit of bleach. Spray on and rinse after a few minutes. Do a test spot first.
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    Myra Virostko · 05/09/2019
    Hi there, I have another question, I am same customer that ask about peeling, it seems I've over applied the RAD stain. I am going to strip and brighten this spring. My question is whether to use the oil based stain that you sell on this site (AC) this time instead of the RAD. My deck seems to soak up rain and water and not bead up and has new cracks this spring, so I'm thinking the oil based stain will better prevent the rain and snow from soaking in to my redwood. I will include a picture, we got a couple inches of snow last night and this is how my deck looks this morning, and I applied RAD stain last spring.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/09/2019
      The oil based will not stop or prevent rain from soaking in any different than the RAD stain. Deck stains do not "bead" water like a car wax but rather "shed" water.
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    Cheryl MacKinnon · 05/09/2019
    Where can I purchase RAD products in Toronto GTA or Durham Region?
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      RAD Products · 05/09/2019
      No dealers there but we can ship to you from this site.
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    Jan King · 05/08/2019
    So I cleaned and brightened a small front deck that is quite old and had another stain (semi-transparent) on it. Most everything came out amazing; however, there are still areas that need attention (see photo). I just ordered the stripper and will redo those areas which, hopefully, will work this time. After I put on the RAD stain, how do I care for the deck going forward? Will I just use the cleaner and re-stain or will I need to strip and re-stain again?
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    Myra Virostko · 05/07/2019
    I stripped, brightened and stained my deck approximately one year ago this month with RAD. I now have a lot of peeling of stain on my deck. I have about a 4 yr old redwood deck that I had put a coat of superdeck transparent stain on, so I knew I needed to strip my deck to apply the RAD...I thought I had followed the directions exactly and had read all instructions and a lot of comments on your site. I did this in May in Colorado where the weather is not really hot, under the temperature at which you recommend. I am at a loss now as to what I need to do. Do I need to start over and sand my deck?....Should i strip again? Should I switch products yet again? I will include pictures. PLEASE HELP!!!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/08/2019
      Hi Myra,

      The pictures show an over application of the stain. The RAD stain is a penetrating stain that soaks fully into the wood grain. In the pictures, it was applied to the point that it did not soak in correctly but dried on top of the wood, hence the lifting from the top of the wood.

      See the attached picture with the description of the proper application.

      At this point, it might be best to just lightly touch up those spots and then do a full restore next year. Another option is to strip and reapply.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JoelK · 05/07/2019
    I have an IPE deck and I live in San Diego where there is a lot of sun and not much rain. It is several years old and I want to refinish it. Previously I would sand the deck and then apply an oil based product such as Penfoil each year where I brushed on the stain and let it sit for about 20 min and then wiped off the excess. This year I am considering your product. What should I do to the deck before applying your product? How do I best apply your product? What is clean up like? I have dogs and keeping them off the deck is tricky, how long do I need to let it dry before they can safely walk on it?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sarah · 05/06/2019
    I am almost done stripping the semi-transparent stain off the deck. I will need to sand a few spots (I may or may not have gotten a bit aggressive with the pressure washer in some stubborn areas)
    Any suggestions for sanding? Do I brighten before or after sanding?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Betsy · 05/06/2019
    Will the stripper take paint off of adjoining parts of house that will get run off or splatter? Also if oil based product is on there and plan to redcoat with same product can rad cleaner and Brightener be used to prep?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2019
      Stripper does not remove paint. If recoating with the same brand and color, you can clean and brighten for prep.
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    Brittaney Ross · 05/06/2019
    I am in need of stain suggestions for 10 year old deck, direct sunlight in Texas. I have already purchased RAD stripper and brightener. The stain from previous owner is Thompson water seal solid. Before discovering it was a solid stain, I was wanting TWP 1503 (dark oak), but it seems like I may need a different transparency from what I am reading. Do you have any recommendations for brand/transparency in this similar color? Thanks in advance!
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    Gramps Fish · 05/06/2019
    We have an 18 x 16 deck, with a 5 foot wide set of 6 steps, and 45 feet of 38 inch tall railing. The deck is made of pressure treated pine, and was built in 2009. The deck has never been stained or sealed, and I'm considering using your brightener and Natural stain.

    I cleaned the deck two weeks ago with Zep concentrated wood deck and fence pressure wash solution, but used a deck cleaning brush and a lot of elbow grease instead of a pressure washer.

    We received a huge amount of rain after I'd cleaned and rinsed the deck.

    The folks who built the deck used the wrong type of screws for the decking, and many of the screws have corroded and are either popping up or breaking off. I'm in the process of replacing all 1,040 of the screws, after which I anticipate giving the decking a light sanding any place there's wood sticking up.

    Several of the 8x8 support posts have fairly significant vertical cracks.

    1) Do you have any suggestions for treating or filling the vertical cracks in the support posts?

    2) At least 3 weeks, and possibly 4, will have elapsed between the time I cleaned the deck and when I'll be able to apply your brightener. Will that length of time be an issue?

    3) Because I'm removing the old deck screws and installing new ones, there are places where the deck screws are further below the surface of the wood than I might like. Do you have any suggestions on how I should treat the screws?

    Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2019
      1. Wood filler will not work or "stain" to blend. Just leave as is. it is normal to have cracks.
      2. You clean and brighten right after another on the same day. Stain within 2 weeks. If you go longer, you will need to reprep lightly.
      3. Sorry but no.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lanny · 05/06/2019
    Is it okay to apply the brightener with a paint brush? Does the brightener need a dwell time as the cleaner does?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2019
      You apply with a pump sprayer, not a brush. About 10-15 minutes dwell time.
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    Leslie · 05/06/2019
    Can you mix stain colors, example light walnut and dark walnut. I have a cedar deck but dark walnut stained oak floors inside. I would like to attempt a color close to what us inside. Any suggestions? Or natural with dark walnut for a lighter color.
    what is involved in restraining for future reference?
    Our deck is cleaned, no stain and brightened.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2019
      Yes, you can mix the colors. As to what ratio, that is hard for us to answer as to what you would like. Best to test first.

      Clean and recoat as needed down the road.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Leslie · 05/06/2019
        By clean and redcoat I’m assuming you mean to use the cleaner and brightener again before restraining. Hopefully you are not referring to a stripper product? What is the average life expectancy..example Georgia, cedar, full sun?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/06/2019
          Cleaner and Brightener. 2-3 years is normal.
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    John · 05/05/2019
    I ordered the Rad Stain Remover, Brightener, and Satin for my covered cedar deck. I noticed since then that the ceiling boards are weathered near the edges where they get some dampness from rain so I've decided to clean and stain the ceiling boards also. I'm not sure if the ceiling boards were treated with a stain or not. It's evident that the floor boards were stained because I can see the wear on them. Will the Stain Remover clean the ceiling boards ok even though I don't know if the boards were treated with a stain?
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      RAD Products · 05/06/2019
      Post a picture.
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        John · 05/06/2019
        I ordered the Rad Stain Remover, Brightener, and Semi Transparent Cedar Stain for my covered cedar deck. I noticed since then that the ceiling boards are weathered near the edges where they receive some dampness from rain so I've decided to refinish the ceiling boards also. It's evident that the floor boards were stained because I can see the wear on them. I'd like to use the Stain Remover to clean the ceiling boards before staining them although I'm not sure if they were stained after the deck was built about 6 years ago. Is it ok to use the stain remover to clean the ceiling (even though I'm not sure if there is a stain on it), followed by the brightener? I plan to cover the deck floor with a tarp to protect it during this process and then begin working on the floor of the deck after I finish the ceiling. Thanks
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/06/2019
          Best to use the Cleaner and then the Brightener for the ceiling. You do not have any stain there and it is hard to use stripper upside down as the stripper will get all over you as you are washing.
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    Craig · 05/04/2019
    My deck is 2 years old - pressure treated pine and cedar posts. Never stained. I planning on staining it this spring. Would one coat of stain be adequate?
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    Craig · 05/04/2019
    Would it be okay/recommended to apply the stain with a paint roller?
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      RAD Products · 05/05/2019
      No. Use a stain pad or brush for better application.
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    Sarah · 05/04/2019
    I used the stripper last night and this morning, followed by the pressure washer. There are remnants/splashes of stain on the siding that I absolutely cannot scrub off! HELP! It must be from the stripper solution and the stain? I haven't stained anything...only stripper. How can I get this off??? I've tried Soft scrub, magic eraser sponge and just spraying the stripper directly onto the siding and then pressure washing it off....it won't budge.
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    michael martines · 05/04/2019
    where do I obtain a coupon code for my purchase?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/05/2019
      I am sorry but we do not have any promo codes at this time.
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    Denton Brosius · 05/04/2019
    Are single 2.5 Gallon containers of stain available? Cost?
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      RAD Products · 05/05/2019
      We do not sell the 2.5 containers on the website.
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    mario · 05/03/2019
    Let me see if I got this right, after I strip, then brighten, I then have to sand,(my choice) after sanding do I need to brighten again or can I hose it off & stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/03/2019
      Strip, let dry, sand if needed, brighten when done.
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    Sarah · 05/02/2019
    I plan to strip at least once Friday night. Brush and pressure wash Saturday and do a strip again on stubborn parts. Then sand what is left....do I need to brighten this same weekend or is it ok to wait to brighten/stain until next weekend. Possibly a weeknight might work but no guarantees! Just wondering if I have to follow a certain timeline.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/02/2019
      Brighten as soon as you are done with any sanding is best.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sarah · 05/02/2019
        If I brighten this weekend can I wait a week or so to stain? The wood will be ok for that long? Or do I need to brighten again soon before staining? How long after using the brightener do I have to wiat to stain? I plan to use an oil based Ready Seal stain.
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          RAD Products · 05/03/2019
          Yes but stain within 2 weeks.
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            Sarah · 05/03/2019
            So......first layer is up! I am beyond impressed with how well this has worked. I was ready to light a match to the whole deck but my hope has been restored! Planning on doing it again tomorrow and try and get up more.
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    Miles · 05/02/2019
    I will be staining my deck tomorrow afternoon as there is no rain in the news.
    My deck is all prepped for staining

    Any tips and stuff to know before staining?
    How long in between coats?
    How can I clean my vinyl siding if some gets in it?
    Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 05/02/2019
    The wood I believe is redwood. It is probably 25 years old or more. Not sure. Measured square footage to be 868 square feet with no excess not including the posts and rails. Probably should make it 900 square feet to be safe.
    Looking for you're recommendations to make this a good as possible.