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
    Ryan · 05/13/2021
    We used the RAD Solid Stain two weeks ago and applied the recommended two coats but the second coat was a little thin in some areas.  Can we order more stain and apply another coat after a light cleaning?  Thanks.
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    Tom J · 05/12/2021
    I have about 700sq ft of redwood deck on a house we purchased last August. Last September, I rebuilt about 250 sq ft that was structurally unsound. My question...can I use the stripper on the new wood for prep? Or, do I need cleaner for the new wood and stripper for the old? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/13/2021
      Cleaner only for the new wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Tom J · 05/14/2021
        Sorry, second picture didn’t post originally.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Tom J · 05/13/2021
        Thanks! The new stuff is the area near the sliding door. The rest is the old stuff. Stripper the correct choice for the old stuff? I don’t know what they used or how long ago.
        Thanks again!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lorna · 05/12/2021
    Hi, my husband and I are looking to refinish our deck. We bought our house in Dec 2019, and we don't know how old the deck is or what product was used previously.  It is approximately 700 sq. ft with railing.  We plan to use the solid stain white on the railing and the semi-transparent in dark walnut on the deck.  Yes, we will be using a pressure washer.
    1. Due to rough wood, we plan to sand the deck down quite a bit.  This should take off whatever stain is currently there, correct? How soon can we stain after sanding?  What order should we clean, sand, and brighten?
    2. The railings are in better shape than the deck, but it's possible that a different product was used.  Do you think the stripper will remove what's there, and do you think we will need the booster and/or thickening agent? Would the process be any different for these compared to the deck? Will we need to sand down to bare wood before applying the solid stain?
    3. We will be replacing the top boards on the railing. If using untreated wood, we don't need to wait for weathering, correct? Can we clean and stain with the rest of it?
    I've been scouring the comments on this site, and I'm finding some conflicting information.  I would appreciate some advice in what our process should be. Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/13/2021
      1. Strip off what you can first. Sand after if needed or to smooth the wood with 60-80 grit. Brighten all after. Just one coat of the semi-transparent for the floors if you power sand. Two coats for the solid stain.2. Use both additives with the stripper for both areas. You do not have to remove all the stain from the rails since you are covering it with a solid color.3. You have to wait to weather no matter what with new wood. Does not matter the wood type.
      Thanks
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Lorna · 05/13/2021
        Thanks for your reply. I realize that only 2 of my pictures were posted!

        What is the reason for just one coat of the semi transparent stain when power sanding?

        Assuming the new wood is weathered (or we wait to replace), we can strip, sand, brighten, and stain all in one day? 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/13/2021
          Sanding reduces the absorption of the wood so two two cannot soak in fully. Wait 3 months for new wood to weather.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Lorna · 05/13/2021
            That makes sense! Just for clarification, does "new wood" refer just to the boards that would be replaced, or also for the wood that has been power sanded? I'm just trying to figure out if I can stain immediately after sanding or if I need to wait.   
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alex · 05/12/2021
    I have a deck that I last used Redwood Olympic Maximum stain two years ago and it needs staining again. Can I go with a lighter semi tranparent color? What prep steps do you recommend. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/12/2021
      You will need to remove this fully as what you have on there now looks like a solid stain in many areas. This means that you cannot strip it fully off and that sanding will be required.
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    OneEyeMan · 05/12/2021
    We recently had a Batu (Mahogany) floor installed on our outdoor north facing porch. It basically never gets sunlight but does get wet from rain. The contractor used 3 coats of Varathane Ultimate Spar Urethane to coat it. The first coat sank completely into the wood. I've since learned that this probably wasn't the best choice for the porch floor. I'm reading that it'll peel up within a year and then I'll have to sand it down to bare wood and apply an appropriate finish. Your thoughts on this? If you agree it'll fail, will your Restore-A-Deck Cleaner remove all the Varathane (even the Varathane that sunk into the wood) without having to sand?  Will I need to use anything else before applying your Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain?  Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/12/2021
      This will have to be power sanded off with floor sanding machines. Yes it will fail. Not sure why your contractor would do this but he created unnecessary issues for you. 
      Once sanded off you will need to do a final prep with the RAD Cleaner and Brightener kits.  Stain after. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        OneEyeMan · 05/12/2021
        Well, he said he's been using polyurethane products for years with no problems.  Oh well, I'll just wait till it starts failing then sand it off. I assume your Stripper wouldn't remove the Varathane??  If I get it down to bare wood, why would I need to use your Cleaner and Brightener?  This is new wood.  
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/12/2021
          You cannot strip this off, you will have to sand. You need the Cleaner and Brightener to open up the pores of the wood after sanding.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    William · 05/10/2021
    I have an older deck that I've just finished power washing. It seems like I'll need to apply 2 coats of stain but at 1,000 square feet it can get expensive. Since the 2nd coat needs to be applied while the deck is still wet from the first, can I return any unused containers if I order too many? 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Julie · 05/10/2021
    Novice stainer here - sons and I stained deck of new kiln dried pine yesterday - used your cleaner, brightener and light walnut semi transparent stain.  Looks great but a few drips remain and a few places have bubbles on surface - how can we clean up these places?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kathryn A Sattizahn · 05/08/2021
    I stripped my deck and it needs sanding because it is very rough.  Which do I do first, use brightener or sand.  How long can I go after the stripping or sanding before I apply brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Craig · 05/08/2021
    What do I need to do about an order I received that has broken bags in my brightener/stripper kit? ...now mixed together in the clear bag it comes in.Also, not sure if it was my fault but I received a sample of solid white that was supposed to be solid Brown oak.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/09/2021
      Reply back to your order email with pictures of the damage and will take care of the issue.
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    Paul · 05/08/2021
    I have a 900 sq ft multi level deck with a long bench, large planter box and a stairway with 14 steps to the ground, all of which needs to be stripped and stained. Because the decking is up to 7 ft off the ground, I plan on applying stripper to the ends of the deck boards and then work my way up the 14 steps to the seating areas.  If I can’t finish the stripping and applying brightener in one day is it okay to apply the brightener to the entire deck the second day or so I need to apply brightener to the areas done on the first day?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/08/2021
      Best to do it all at once and on the same day as stripping if at all possible.
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    Annalie Faddis · 05/07/2021
    We love your products.  We have repair questions resulting from ice storm damage to our western red cedar deck.  A contractor will be replacing some boards this month with new wood.  But the 2 year old stain on the undamaged boards was trashed and needs reapplication to protect the deck from Pacific NW spring rains and a hot summer.  Since we now need to weather the new boards, I'm unsure of how to balance color matching vs the need to protect the existing deck.  Do you recommend we prep (clean, strip, brighten) and re-stain the existing deck now, then merely brighten and single coat stain the new boards after weathering?  Or is there another sequence recommended?   Thanks in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/07/2021
      Do it all at the same time in a few months.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    I · 05/07/2021
    Bought a house (in Florida) with a sweet old barn. We love the weathered look, but the wood looks like it could use some care. Would your product be a good fit for me?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/07/2021
      You cannot cover over the weathered look so that will have to come off. Use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and pressure washing to remove. When done, use the Brighener. You can then stain it with our stains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary Pelczar · 05/06/2021
    We used the cleaner and brightener on Cumaru decking that is about a year old and has never had stain. Now that it is drying it looks a bit chaulky. Especially the sections that still hadn't faded and lost their color. Do we not rinse well enough or is that how it is supposed to look before staining? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2021
      Looks like oxidizes wood fibers that were not removed fully during the cleaning. Did you pressure wash after applying the cleaner?
      Typically, this does not show when stained. You can do a test board to see how it dries.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Gary Pelczar · 05/06/2021
        We didn't use pressure washer. Just brushed good and then hosed off. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kathryn A Sattizahn · 05/06/2021
    After applying stripper do you need to use a deck brush before pressure washing?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/06/2021
      No need for most scenarios to scrub prior to pressure washing. Depends on the difficulty of removal of the old stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Peggy · 05/05/2021
    My deck boards are Evergrain (composite) decking.  Can I use the cleaner on the deck boards to get rid of the mildew/algae that is in places on the deck boards?
    My deck railings are pressure treated lumber and hogwire fencing (which was primed with rustoleum primer and then painted with rustoleum black paint).  Will the cleaner damage the paint on the wire?
    Once I have cleaned the lumber part of deck railings I will use your brightener and then your stain.
    Thank you.
    Peggy
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/05/2021
      Yes, you can use the cleaner to clean the composite wood. The cleaner should not harm the paint on the wire unless it is peeling.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    EJB · 05/05/2021
    Hello.  As of today, May 5, 2021, are your deck stain products approved by Canada's standards?  Thank you.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/05/2021
      Restore A Deck products are compliant for Canada.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 05/05/2021
    What am I doing wrong! I have a 16 x 30 natural wood, pine, deck. It currently has Behr semi transparent stain/sealer on it . We’ve treated roughly 100 square feet twice and it has barely stripped any of the stain. We’re probably just going to rent a sander and attack it that way. Less mess and quicker results! We even used the booster.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/05/2021
      Behr goes on the wood like a semi-solid or solid stain in appearance. This is probably why it is not coming off. Feel free to post pictures here.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Allen Bjorkman · 05/05/2021
    Can a paint sprayer be used? If so, will water clean it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/05/2021
      Yes but make sure to back brush any drips or runs so it is applied evenly. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Phyllis · 05/03/2021
    Your FAQ above says an additional sealer is required after staining... just confirming this is still true as I've seen conflicting info on other deck staining help sites.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/03/2021
      No, you cannot add a sealer over the RAD stains. No need.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Phyllis · 05/03/2021
        That is good to hear because it was making me rethink how we were going to restore our deck.  I am still confused about this FAQ on the the Deck Cleaning F.A.Q. page however:  
        Question: I used Restore-A-Deck and it looks great! Now I want to seal in the beauty and protect it from the elements. What do you recommend?
        Answer: Allow the wood to dry for three to four days in direct sunlight (75+degrees F) Pick a quality sealer from a reputable dealer. We suggest the Woodrich Timber Oil, Hardwood Wiping Stain or Amstrong Clark.

        Why are you recommending using "a quality sealer" but not suggesting any of your stain products?  
        I was interpreting this question originally as saying that these sealers should be applied over your stain.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/03/2021
          The Deck Cleaning FAQs have nothing to do with staining, just the cleaning steps.
          As for that comment, that is from a very old post prior to us developing and selling our RAD stain.
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            Phyllis · 05/03/2021
            Then I suspect you would now recommend your own stain over those products?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kathryn A Sattizahn · 05/02/2021
    How much stain, stripper and brightener are needed for a 500 square feet?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/02/2021
      One kit of stripper and brightener and about 5 gallons of stain.
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    Simon Sweeney · 05/01/2021
    1400 sq ftPressure treated spruce fir or pine8 yrsNo stain ever or anything elseDeck and fenceOwn pressure washerLocation is Hamilton Ontario Canada. Full sun exposure
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/02/2021
      Use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener kits for prep and then stain with the RAD Semi-transparent stains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 05/01/2021
    I am looking to try your natural stain. I have 400 sq ft of cumaru decking. I have used Armstrong Clark stain in the past with good results. Unfortunately the Amber stain darkens the deck more than I desire. I have used RAD products with good results regarding cleaning and brightening. Two questions: One gallon of AC stain does my deck, do I need two gallons using your product and will your Natural Stain color bring the blond wood colors back instead of darkening them?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/02/2021
      All stain will enhance/darken the grain. How much depends on the tint. There is no way to say what it will look like on your wood until you test it. 2 gallons would be correct.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sue · 04/30/2021
    I have a 2 year old covered redwood deck approximately 20' X 30' with  8 stairs and a landing about 30 square feet. I am planning on 2 coats of stain after cleaning and brightening. Will I need 10 gallons of stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/01/2021
      Use the calculator to determine amount needed. It is to the right side on desktop or below on mobile.
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    James Wallner · 04/30/2021
    Need to clean and prep 20-yr old deck tot re-stain with solid color acrylic deck stain. 3-yr old coating is peeling in chunks -- about half can easily be removed with scraper -- other half has good adhesion. What cleaner is recommended?
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    WILLIAM t WEICHTMANN · 04/29/2021
    Striped power washed--going to sand and then brighten--? how long after brighter can i stain (usng radsemi and am I correct to use just one coat after sanding
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/29/2021
      Just one coat after sanding. Brighten after the sanding. You can stain to dry or damp wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Scott · 04/29/2021
    Hello. Last year I applied the dark walnut semi-transparent stain.  I need to reapply on a walkway that receives full sun.  I have read in the Q&A for the same thing that I need to do is to use just the cleaner and in other place to use both the cleaner and the brightener which is correct? Thanks in advance for your answer and time.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/29/2021
      Best to use both as the brightener neutralizes the cleaner.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Larry · 04/28/2021
    I have a 25' x 25' Yellow Cedar deck and a 10' x 14' Yellow Cedar deck with 3 steps. The deck is about 4 years old and has been previously stained with Ultra Premium Red Label Penofin Transparent Western Red Cedar. It was last stained 2 years ago, I'm not happy with the Penofin and I am looking for a new product.

    The RAD sounds exactly what I am looking for, Do you think this stain would work for this kind of wood? If so, is there a color you would suggest to use on it? I really like the reddish color in the Light Walnut, but I am worried it will look too natural and void of color on this kind of wood. The dark Walnut is ok, but it does not have any red in it, but i would rather have brown than a natural looking color. What would you suggest?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/28/2021
      Prep first to remove the Penofin. Use the RAD stripper and then the brightener. The stain will work well for you. Colors will always vary based on wood type and the age so no way to say for certain the final color on your wood. The Light Walnut is not "natural" or light in color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat Hardy · 04/28/2021
    I need 2 bags of Restore a deck cleaner and 1 bag of Restore a deck brightener.  I live in Canada.  What is the least expensive way to ship this.  I have purchased these products previously.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/28/2021
      We only ship one way, and that is UPS. For cost you can add to cart and enter your shipping info.
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    Nathan Reed · 04/27/2021
    I’m looking to use your solid stain on my kid’s cedar playset. The original stain was worn down across most of the playset. Could I get away with just power washing it and applying your solid stain or do I have to use the stripper? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/28/2021
      Using the stripper while pressure washing will help to remove as much as possible of the old stain that is failing. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 04/27/2021
    HI, great product.  Restained my deck and got some of the transparent natural stain on the vinyl siding and the aluminum frame of my sliders.  Tried to remove some immediately with water and a rag but not much success.  What is the best cleanser to remove?ThanksJim
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/27/2021
      A water based graffiti remover cleaner from your local paint store.