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
    Zee · 06/24/2021
    We are currently having a brand new cedar deck installed in the Pacific Northwest. Can the crew stain the deck right away? If they stain it right away, what are the issues? Is it a huge deal if they stain it right away? Also the deck will be 25’x15’. How much stain will we need to buy and how fast can we get it? 
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    Lucie Griggs · 06/23/2021
    The previous stain on my deck steps is peeling.  After cleaning and brightening, there is even more peeling.  Can I apply a solid stain without stripping the old finish?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/23/2021
      You can cover the intact stain with the RAD Solid Stains but you have to remove any stain that is peeling.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lucie Griggs · 06/23/2021
        Can I just sand off the areas that are peeling and if so, do I need to apply brightener after sanding?
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          RAD Products · 06/23/2021
          Yes, use 60 grit. No need to brighten this after in your scenario.
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    christopher · 06/23/2021
    We have a second floor wooden porch. Will the cleaner and brightener cause issues for the downstairs porch? Will we need to try and cover everything and redirect the rinsewater?
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      RAD Products · 06/23/2021
      What is the porch of made below?
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        christopher · 06/23/2021
        floor is composite decking, rails are plastic, posts are wrapped in MDF of something similar.
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          RAD Products · 06/23/2021
          They will not harm the composite or plastic but make sure to rinse well when done to remove soap, grime, etc.
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            christopher · 06/23/2021
            I also have a few small holes to fill. Would it be best to do that before or after the cleaner/brightener?
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              RAD Products · 06/23/2021
              Wood fillers will not work on outside wood and they will not stain to blend.
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    Jim · 06/23/2021
    We have a 27-year-old deck that had been stained with semi-transparent stain about every two to three years.  Last Tuesday (June 15th) I used the stripper along with the two additives and the brightener and removed most of the darker red stain.  On Monday (June 21st), I completed sanding the deck (it looks great!)and was ready to apply your light walnut stain on Tuesday (June 22nd) until I learned we were getting rain on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.  The weather forecast shows periodic rain for the next 7 days.  How long can the sanded wood remain unstained and how long of a drying window do I need for the stain to dry?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/23/2021
      Stain within 2 weeks of the prep. No rain for 4-8 hours after applying.
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    Clearwater · 06/21/2021
    I have a deck that was built in 2012. I think it was stained and a poly applied back then however I don't know that for certain. Only looking at it to assuming.

    Please advise what I should use to get those boards to where I can apply a stain that looks similar to the 3 replacement boards in the last picture.

    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2021
      Yes, it is thick like a poly so it will be a difficult strip and will probably not come off completely. Strip with both additives and the stripper: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html
      Let the mixed product dwell for 45 minutes (mist to keep from drying out if needed) and then pressure wash off. If it does not come off fully, then let dry and sand off the rest. Brightener would be last.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Clearwater · 06/21/2021
        Should I be concerned about the surrounding bushes (Spirea)? Should they be covered during the application of the stripper, additives, rinsing it off or the brightener?
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          RAD Products · 06/21/2021
          Cover them from over-spray when applying and washing and then remove the tarps as soon as you are done. 
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    Dean · 06/20/2021
    Do you match stains
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom B. · 06/20/2021
    Referring to Pete's deck, he would then use stripper, cleaner and then brightener to prepare for re-staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/21/2021
      Strip and then brighten. No need for the cleaner.
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    Dawn Rudolph · 06/20/2021
    I'm planning to use your solid white stain for the posts and railings of a brand-new deck, to match the trim of the house. The new deck floor has just been stained. Do I need to tape off every individual metal bannister, or will I be able to wipe them clean after applying ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/20/2021
      You cannot wipe clean a solid stain from the metal spindles to remove, tarp, or paint around them.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Michael · 06/18/2021
    I finished with the RAD stripper and brightener and 2 coats of RAD semi-transparent wood stain yesterday afternoon. When I finished up, I spilled stain on the deck steps. I did try to wipe up the spilled stain at the time of the spill.
    The deck looks great today. But, after 24 hours of drying, the steps are sticky.  
    Will the sticky steps stay that way, or wear away after a while? Or is there something I can do to minimize the stickiness?
    Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/18/2021
      Sticky means it was over applied. It should cure out and it has only been 24 hours. Give it more time.
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    Larry Mayotte · 06/17/2021
    Yesterday I used the RAD Stripper and Brightener to remove Penofin Red Label Clear Rosewood Oil.  The cedar deck is approximately 5 years old.  Prior to installing the Penofin, we sanded the deck down and oiled.  The Penofin looked terrible after 3 weeks.  I believe local wildfire smoke caused the oil to take in the ash.  Anyway, after the stripping, there are some areas where fuzzies showed up.  I was thinking of just taking a pole sander with 80 grit to these areas.  Once done, I plan to stain with RAD cedar.  Before I do that, I wanted your recommendation. 
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    Dave Domzalski · 06/17/2021
    I applied restore a deck solid stain on my prepped and dry cedar 24 hours ago. Now some parts of the deck have little droplets of moisture sweating on to of the stain. Is this a problem? There has been no rain and about 88 degree sunny weather
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    George in CC · 06/16/2021
    * Type of wood if known: Mahogany
    * Approximate Age of Wood:13 years
    * If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type: Australian Timber Oil 19459 and/or 19430 (I think it is water-based semi-transparent).
    * If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained: Approx. 12/2019.
    * Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.):Deck
    * Do you have access to a pressure washer: that’s my question - will a 1800 psi electric cold water PW be sufficient?
    * Miscellaneous Info: The deck looked beautiful when we bought the place one year ago, now looks bad (see photos).
    Questions: 1 - I plan to use RAD stripper and brightener.  I would prefer to buy an 1800 PSI electric cold water pressure washer for $100 than rent a more powerful machine for $42 a day, but would the 1800 PSI machine be able be able to remove the stripper?2 - The job is 660 sq ft of deck plus 185 sq ft for the covered porch.  If we split the main deck into two days, would it be impossible to match the two halves?  Any suggestions for breaking up the project, or is 660 feasible in one day?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/16/2021
      No, the electric pressure washers are not adequate. It is not about the PSI, but the GPM or gallons per minute. Use the RAD Stripper with both additives for this one. We would not split this staining in half. Do it all in one day. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        George in CC · 06/17/2021
        Thanks for the explanation.  So I plan to do the whole 537 sq ft deck in one day, as you suggest.  But the steps will need different prep to protect the white verticals, so it might be a second day before I can do them.  Steps are about 125  sq ft.  How much of the additives do I need in total?  If I do the steps another day, do I need to reserve a portion of the additives and mix them on that day?  Also, should 5 gallons of stain cover the 537 + 125 = 660 sq ft?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/18/2021
          One of each additive for the Stripper. You can mix all at once and use as needed. It will be close with the stain amount. you may need more.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            George in CC · 06/18/2021
            If I need more, I'd like to buy one of the 2.5 gallon and keep the excess for next year.  Do you sell 2.5 gallons or is 1 gallon the only choice?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 06/18/2021
              We sell only 1 gallons and the 5 gallons. We do not sell the 2.5-gallons.
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    Pete Minarich · 06/16/2021
    What can I do to improve the brush marks/uneven application look of the semi-transparent stain I just applied? I used a pad to apply but it’s hard to apply the same amount of stain everywhere. Short of a total redo, can I 1)feather in around the worst areas with more stain, or 2) sand off heavier stained areas?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/16/2021
      It is not possible to spot fix and feather it in. It would end up looking much worse. 
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    Elisabeth · 06/14/2021
    I am getting ready to install a pine pressure treated picket fence.  I also have a deck that is a couple of years old that has never been stained or sealed.  What products should I use for these?  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/14/2021
      Prep with the RAD Cleaner/Brightener kits and stain with the RAD Stain in a semi-transparent color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Martin Campbell · 06/13/2021
    I couldn't do the second coat today.  should I wet the first one with water tomorrow afternoon to do the second coat.  What do you suggest.  I am restoring and old (20-30?? y/o) deck.  It turns out I am using the transparent Cedar stain.  I had ordered Natural and didn't notice until I had done a few boards and thought it was darker due to being wet. then I looked at the label!  I think the darker cedar may be better for the old deck.  Will doing the second coat tomorrow be okay?  Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/14/2021
      You cannot do the second coat once the first coat dries. The second coat has to be applied wet on wet. You can do another coat in 6-12 months (or longer) and you will have to clean again for prep.
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        Martin · 06/14/2021
        Thank you for the quick response.  And thank you for having this service. It is great!!
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    Jennifer · 06/13/2021
    I apologize if this has been asked already. 
    I have the stripper and both additives. How long is the stripper and additives good for after being mixed together. I have to work with Mother Nature and lack of any shade on the deck. I’m considering breaking the task up to accomplish that. 
    Thank you! 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/14/2021
      A few weeks, maybe longer.
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        pj · 06/15/2021
        I have had two occasions where stripper and both additives were mixed and held in a backpack sprayer for over a month.........when finally used the sprayer had to be shaken for several minutes but when applied and pressure washed the mix worked as well as if it had been mixed same day.  Obviously, the sprayer/mix was stored away from temp extremes......about 65 degrees.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim Fitsimones · 06/13/2021
    Hi. I just finished stripping sanding, cleaning, and brightening my deck. It is 12 years old and covered. I just put light walnut down today. I had planned on doing two coats but the stain said one coat if it has been sanded. The wood sucked the stain in, you can see in the pics. Question: Can I put a second coat down or should I wait till next year. And if I can put a second coat down is it ok if it’s not wet on wet?Thank you,Jim
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/14/2021
      You cannot do another coat once the first coat has fully cured. Wait until Spring or late Fall. Lightly clean and apply another coat then.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jim Fitsimones · 06/14/2021
        Ok thanks! If I do it late fall do I need to use the cleaner and brightner again?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/14/2021
          Yes, you always have to prep when reapplying.
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            Jim Fitsimones · 06/14/2021
            Gotcha, Last question. Can I apply two coats wet on wet if I had sanded the deck?
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              Jim Fitsimones · 06/14/2021
              In reapplying wet on wet it says 20-40 after the first coat. It took me about 1 1/2 hours to stain. Do I finish staining and then reapply?  I remember seeing this question before I forgot what you recommended. 
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                RAD Products · 06/14/2021
                No, you would need to break it up if it is taking that long to apply the first coat.
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              RAD Products · 06/14/2021
              Only one coat if you sand.
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                James P Fitsimones · 06/15/2021
                In the fall when I clean and reapply the stain should I do two coats or one? And really in general whenever I do clean a stained deck is it one or two applications. 
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    Craig · 06/13/2021
    I had an old thick coating on my pressure treated deck, most peeled off but some required a floor sander. I gave the entire deck a light sand and other areas required aggressive sanding. I used stripper and neutralizer after. Can I stain with RAD solid or should I wait some time period? 
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    Bruce · 06/13/2021
    I am going to sand and brighten and I understand that stain should be applied within 14 days of this prep. What would I need to do if it goes longer than 14 days (weather issues mainly)?
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    Fritz · 06/12/2021
    Hello, 
    I plan to purchase your Coastal Gray solid stain, and I also want to use an anti-skid additive such as Rust-Oleum Epoxy Shield. Will the traction granules affect the stain's durability or require any modification to the stain's application instructions?  
    I was thinking I would add the anti-skid stuff only to the first coat, then apply the standard second coat.
    Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/13/2021
      It should be fine but you may want to apply it in the second coat, it will be easier.
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    allan MacIvor · 06/12/2021
    we have a wood treated deck 15 years , we used Bear stain lasted 2 years . i want to redo the deck . i live in southern alberta canada . what can i use ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/12/2021
      You will have to remove the Behr first. For help with this, post some pictures.
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    Chris · 06/11/2021
    Hi, I have a 20 year old farmer's porch-deck is mahogany as well as stairs and railings. What do you suggest for stain color?  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/11/2021
      Light Walnut. Make sure to prep well first. Post pictures if you need help with this.
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    Ryan · 06/11/2021
    Hi. I just received your deck cleaner and brightener and am excited to use it. Is there a problem if I do the cleaner/brightener and then wait a week to stain (re-stain using the same previous stain). There is a small chance of rain in the forecast next week. And always the chance of dust/pollen accumulating on the deck. Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/11/2021
      Best to stain within 14 days of prep. Make sure to blow off any debris if needed with a leaf blower.
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    Corey · 06/10/2021
    I have 9 month old new p/t deck and now looking to stain it. we prefer the natural semi transparent. given there is no pigment in the natural colour stain, and to prevent it from silvering, will i need to reapply a 2nd/3rd coat of natural stain quicker than a 2nd/3rd coat of the light walnut semi transparent stain for example?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/10/2021
      Ther is pigment in the Natural color and you must have pigment for UV protection from graying. Longevity is the same.
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    Kathleen · 06/10/2021
    What was the suggestion regarding filling in cracks in the deck wood? It was in one of the videos. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/10/2021
      Not to do it. It does not work well and does not blend.
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    Wahab Yazdani · 06/10/2021
    I am staining with classic white solid and have done 2 coats on the handrails.  Some rails are having a brown stain and drying that way.  Some are fine. Any reason you know of?  I did the first coat early in the morning when the sun comes up but behind our house. And the 2nd coat in the evening after the sun dies down.  Thank for any info
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/10/2021
      That is tannin bleed coming from the wood. Tannin bleed is a tan or brownish discoloration on the paint surface. Tannins exist in all deck woods, most notably pine, cedar, and redwood, and can bleed through to the surface, leaving a yellowish-brown stain on the surface. Tannin bleed is an underlying wood problem, not a stain failure, and happens when in a very wet climate. Tannic acid can discolor the stain as the wet wood pushes the stains out towards the surface. 
      We would suggest letting the wood dry out for a few weeks or month and then touch up over those spots.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Wahab Yazdani · 06/10/2021
        Okay thanks.  That makes sense, the last morning it was misty. I may have to wait for it to be dry.
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    Sarah · 06/10/2021
    Hi!Location: Midwest (IL)Deck wood is either cedar or pine, not sureDeck is 16+ years oldDeck gets a bit of sun on one panel but the rest gets mostly shade. Mildew grows to the point that the deck gets slippery.  
    Deck has been power washed. 
    Please recommend what products to use to finish the prep of this deck. 
    I will be applying TWP 1503 once the deck is properly prepped. 
    Thank you for the guidance. Sarah 
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    Ronda · 06/09/2021
    We installed a cedar fence with pressure treated pine posts last summer (maybe July). It has begun to fade some and I want to keep the natural color of the cedar (I like both your natural and cedar colored stain). Do I need to clean and brighten at this point or could I get away with just cleaning and then staining? Also, how much would I need for the fence? There is approximately 166 square feet of panels (front and back included) + the posts. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/09/2021
      Yes, you do have to prep with the products. It will be an easy prep.
      We would need a total sq footage. Length x Height x 2 =?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave · 06/09/2021
    For 15 yr old Ipe. Never treated, PACNW Saltwater. Lt Walnut recommended but Cedar had less "yellow" tint.  Would Cedar be acceptable? Semi-Transparent or Solid Stain?  Second picture, Rained shortly after test stain.  originally looked like areas where stain did not soak in but looks ok now. Any concerns? 
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    Daniel Bigger · 06/08/2021
    I need to strip stained shingle siding and pine soffits.  Will stripper damage my stained/colored cement sidewalk and colored rock siding that lies below the treated areas?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/08/2021
      No, it should not but do rinse well when you are done.