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
    David · 08/07/2019
    We have 2 pressure treated decks that have an oil based sealers with a solid latex deck stain, ie Shark Skin. Can we use the Restore-a-deck stripper with booster? We purchased four gallons of Armstrong-Clark semi solid Woodland Brown. One other question please? On the Armstrong-Clark cans it states to call the company if the decks are less than 18inches off the ground. Ours are and perhaps that's why both Behr and Shark Skin both failed. Perhaps the same will happen with the Armstrong-Clark.

    Regards,

    David Waterhouse

    Victoria BC Canada
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/08/2019
      No, the RAD Stripper will not remove a solid stain fully. You will need to power sand to remove the Sharkskin. The AC will not fail like the other brands you used.
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    wkirk · 08/06/2019
    Can you recommend one of you products for removing solid stain. It's about 3 years old and some of it is peeling off pretty easy; but a lot of it still has good adhesion. Ideally I would like to take it to bare woo and do a semi-transparent stain. Pressure treated wood. the deck is 32ft x 14 ft and about 20 years old. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/06/2019
      Sorry, but it is not possible to remove a solid stain fully with a deck stain stripper. You may be able to remove some or most but you will need to sand to get it all off.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        wkirk · 08/06/2019
        would you recommend a drum sander that you would use on a hardwood floor or is that overkill
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 08/05/2019
    Hi There! Just discovered your site and I'm interested in your product. I have a large deck (1,200 square feet) and a good portion of it is adjacent to and partially over a koi pond. I read that your stripper and brightener is "eco friendly". Does that mean that I can trust that runoff from the deck into the koi pond won't harm the fish? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/06/2019
      They are eco-friendly but it would be best to avoid getting the stripper in the water as it is caustic and will raise the pH balance.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jason · 08/06/2019
        Ok, I can sand the deck wherever there's a danger of runoff getting into the pond. How about the brightener?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Aaron Frey · 08/05/2019
    I have a new 12X14 deck with pressure treated decking, cedar posts & railings, and black aluminum balusters. The deck has weathered for 12 months and I am ready to stain. I was going to use the RAD cleaner and brightener and then stain with RAD semi-transparent light walnut.

    1. Is there anything special I need to do to protect the metal balusters before prep or staining? Can the cleaner or brightener damage metal balusters?

    2. When staining how do I know how much stain is enough yet not too much? What application method typically has the best result (pump sprayer, deck brush, pad applicator)? If I use a pump sprayer do I still need to run a pad or brush along the boards to ensure even coverage?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mark · 08/05/2019
    Can you apply RAD stain with an airless sprayer?
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    Brent Hupp · 08/05/2019
    I’ve used your cleaner and brightener on my nearly 1 year old redwood fence. A couple of questions.
    1- the stain from the nails are still present. How can I best remove them?
    2- will the RAD semi transparent stain prevent the nail stains from returning?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/05/2019
      That is rust from your nails. There is not a way to remove that fully as it is deep in the wood. You will have to replace the nails to prevent the rust.

      BTW, the fence installer or manufacturer should be liable for this as they used the wrong type of nails.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Brent Hupp · 08/07/2019
        Thanks for the reply. If I remove the nails, can the rust discoloration be removed with a product? Or with sanding / planing?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/08/2019
          The RAD wood brightener works best to remove the rust but it may not remove all if the rust is deep in the wood grain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve Hayworth · 08/04/2019
    We have a new deck made of pressure treated wood. Can we use RAD on this kind of wood immediately or do we need to wait for a few months for it to weather a bit?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom · 08/04/2019
    About a year ago I used RAD cleaner and stain on a 100 sq. treated pine hot-tub deck that had aged in the sun for about 6 months. The stain has worn off in some high traffic areas. Do I just pressure wash and re-stain the entire deck, or do I need to do more? I love your products. I might have applied stain too thickly the first time.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2019
      Use the Rad cleaner and pressure washer for prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Tom · 08/04/2019
        Should I use the RAD neutralizer/brightener also? The underlying wood shows no signs of greying.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Denise · 08/04/2019
    I used RAD cleaner and brightener 3 weeks ago to prep my deck for staining but, due to weather limitations, was only able to stain rails. I still need to stain Ipe floor boards with Defy hardwood stain. Do I need to use brightener again? I’m afraid it will possibly ruin stain on rails when applying or rinsing floorboards. If I need to brighten again, can I use a diluted strength mix? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2019
      Yes, brightener again. Do not dilute. It does not harm stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Don · 08/04/2019
    I need to remove Behr premium acrylic solid stain from my deck. Much of it is already peeling in areas. Deck is 5 years old and I was told never to use solid stain in New York environment. I would then like to re-stain using semitransparent stain instead. How do I remove the Behr solid stain and what semitransparent stain do you recommend? Deck is 16' x 22', 5 years old, New York
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Luis · 08/03/2019
    Got the samples yesterday and stained a block of sanded redwood today to chose the color. Here is the picture. We are trying to decide between Cedar and Light Walnut.
    The deck has been fully sanded and I think we will just do the brightener before the stain. What do think?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/03/2019
      How smooth of sandpaper grit did you use?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Luis · 08/03/2019
        36->80
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/03/2019
          Best o clean and brighten after the sanding as this will remove sand dust and open the pores of the wood. Just one coat of stain to a sanded deck.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Luis · 08/03/2019
            Perfect, thanks! Will post pictures when done. Cheers!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rick · 08/01/2019
    I am using TWP 1500 on a RAD stripped and brightened deck. The stain advises that you should not apply stain if rain is expected within 48 hours. I live in VA and it can rain or thunderstorm without warning. What can you do to preserve the work done if it unexpectedly rains after 24 hours but prior to 48 hours?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2019
      You cannot do anything about rain but typically the TWP is forgiving as long as the stain has at least 12 hours to dry.
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    Steve · 08/01/2019
    Any recommendations for redoing barn wood? Or is this product mainly for treated wood?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dennis · 07/30/2019
    What color do you recommend to "redo" a redwood deck. These desks were stained with transparent SuperDeck #1903 initially. Do you have any pictures of you colors on redwood? Or anyone ready this post? Thanks,
    Dennis
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Harvey Knuth · 07/30/2019
    I'm having trouble deciding which color semi transparent stain to choose.
    Do you have any pics of cedar decks with different stain colors...cedar, lt walnut and dk walnut?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Andrea · 07/30/2019
    Help! We are in the process of power sanding (NOT easy) our pressure treated deck to prepare for stain. Had a mess of semi transparent, covered with either semi solid or solid (no prep in between) that actually lasted for a good 5 or 6 years. It is about 13-14 years old. We are down to bare clean looking wood on railings (replaced spindles with new to avoid sanding) and the floor is close to bare/clean...but has some marking that looks almost like it's wet. Deck is our main entrance so very used, it is covered so only the edges see direct sunlight and also as the sun rises and falls it sees some direct. Husband wants to stain directly after sanding, I think we should at least use a brightener. He wants to use a dark color to cover any of the darkening on the floor and I'm somewhat ok with that but really want the wood to show thru some, after all our hard work. Will the brightener hurt surrounding grass, plants, animals? And how long after brightening can we wait to stain? I want to see the results (if brightening, will only do floor as railings are perfect at this point) before I decide what stain/color to buy so would probably need a week or two. I think 2 weeks would be ok? Also, your stain is water based, I've heard oil is better...really, what is the difference? I want to do the best this time around!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/30/2019
      Hello,

      Post a picture or two of the prep. What grit paper did you sand with? Best to clean and brighten after sanding. Also only one coat of the stain. RAD is water-based and is a penetrating stain. Better in many ways then oil-based. Less chance of mildew and better UV resistance.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Andrea · 07/31/2019
        Sorry for the delay - this sanding is kicking our butts. Hours upon hours upon hours. We started with 100 grit (what a joke, lol) and are now down to 40 to try and get the job done. Still extremely hard but praying it will be worth it when we're done. Hoping we can get away without cleaner - don't want the chemicals near our animals.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/01/2019
          The Cleaner and Brightener are Eco-Friendly and will not harm them. You should at a minimum use the Brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anne · 07/29/2019
    Our deck is 13 years old. We power sanded the entire deck. It is redwood. The wood is in perfect condition now. Looks new. Do we still need to use the brightener before applying the RAD Light Walnut semi-transparent stain? Since the RAD stain is water soluble, do you know if it is compatible to be applied over a product such as FlameSeal? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/29/2019
      It cannot be applied over a different product. Yes, you will need to clean and brighten the wood after sanding. What grit paper did you sand with? Just one coat of stain as you will need to treat this like new wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sleepless in Sprinfi · 07/29/2019
    Do I have to strip the deck to use RAD if there is a prior coat of Defy Extreme on the Deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/29/2019
      Yes, you cannot apply a different brand of stain over your current coating.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JUDITH E COX · 07/29/2019
    Last August, I put on one coat of RAD's semi-transparent natural wood stain on my deck, and it turned out beautiful! This year it still looks pretty good, but there are some spots where it seems to have worn thin, with bare grain beginning to show through in spots. This is true primarily where the sun has hit it the hardest. Would you recommend a second coat now, or should I wait longer before I recoat it? And if I recoat it, do I first use the cleaner and brightener just as I did before?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 07/29/2019
    I have a deck that I need help with next steps.
    The deck is 4-5 years old, and the original Semi-Transparent Stain did not adhere correctly (peeled), so I have spent the last 2 weekends applying Citri-Strip, and then pressure washing the old off (before I found / was recommended your products). I will next do some rough sanding of seating areas, and posts. The pictures are after the first attempt at stripping with a SW product that did not work, the final result is quite clean pressure treated pine.

    Best I can tell my next step with your products is Brightener and then Semi-transparent penetrating stain.
    Is there a time frame from the process I have completed to then use the brightener, i.e. do I need to figure out how to do that sooner than later, or can it be up to a month?

    Is there any chance you can help me estimate how much is needed? The deck itself is about 15' x 18', but as you can see there is a pergola and benches.
    In addition, I see we spray on the brightener and then rinse, is there a best practice for applying the stain (i.e. how do I apply it the the pergola and protect the deck and benches until I'm ready (are simple canvas drop cloths enough)?
    Thanks in advance for the help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/29/2019
      After using the brightener, you should stain within a couple of weeks. As far as how much stain, 5-7 gallons would be a good estimate.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        lla4dna · 07/29/2019
        After being the one to reply to my questions, is there any way to call you directly to ask final questions before I purchase?
        Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/29/2019
          Anyone at the office can answer your questions.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        lla4dna · 07/29/2019
        Thanks. I will try and do the same day, but bigger deck, so may be tough. Will the standard canvas drop cloths suffice for the protecting of the deck and benches while I apply the stain to the pergola? Do you have advice how to apply to the pergola...hand pump sprayer and then roll in (with a thin nap roller?), or any other method?

        Also, approx. how many square feet are you estimating, so i also know how much Brigthener to order...or can you let me know your estimate for Brightener needed?

        Thanks again for the time!
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        David N. Ades · 07/29/2019
        Thanks. I will try and do the same day, but bigger deck, so may be tough.
        Will the standard canvas drop cloths suffice for the protecting of the deck and benches while I apply the stain to the pergola? Do you have advice how to apply to the pergola...hand pump sprayer and then roll in (with a thin nap roller?), or any other method?
        Thanks again for the time!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/29/2019
          Plastic tarps. Canvas will bleed through. You can spray and back brush/pad for the pergola. Don't use a roller.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rob Cate · 07/29/2019
    I painted my first coat of a solid restore a deck stain a few weeks ago. Due to scheduling constraints, I wasn't able to apply the second coat within the recommended time period. what cleaning / preparation do I need to do to get good adhesion between the 1st coat applied a few weeks ago and a second coat?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/29/2019
      Do a light pressure wash rinse tor remove dirt and let dry fully before applying. Post some pictures when done!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sean · 07/28/2019
    Just cleaned, brightened, and stained a brand-new deck but wound up with really bad lap marks. Used a foam pad to apply as opposed to rolling and back brushing. Followed all instructions, time limits, ‘damp’ preparation, etc. What can I do in the future to avoid these marks? And should I immediately apply a second coat to try and obscure them now? Thanks in advance.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Naami · 07/28/2019
    Hi! So I used your clean and brightener and I did one coat in an area on Friday and I'm Sunday some water spilled on it and I see it washed away. What did I do wrong? Why isn't it curing?some of the space was just from stain being out on unevenly
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/29/2019
      You definitely will need more than one coat for the solid stain. Once the stain fully cures, it cannot wash away.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Naami borenstein · 07/29/2019
        I'm worried why it didn't cute in two days though does that mean it needs more time or it won't cure because I did something wrong
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/29/2019
          Did you prep and stain the same day? If so, how long did you let the wood dry between prep and stain?
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Naami Borenstein · 07/29/2019
            no i didnt i did prep and a little less than two weeks later did stain
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    Dariel · 07/28/2019
    Are the RAD stain, cleaner and brightener made in the US?
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    Gerald · 07/27/2019
    I coated a new cedar deck last fall with Flood CWF-UV penetrating wood finish. I put on one thin coat a 24 hours later a fairly thick coat. This year it looks terrible: splotchy. I am trying to strip it. I've applied Superdeck exterior wood stripper 2X and am still scrubbing and pressure washing the Flood product up. the deck is about 10' wide by 30' long. Any advice you can give me?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kent · 07/26/2019
    Ok....I finished sanding the solid stained deck ( DeckScapes) I have been working on...( Most solid stain peeled off with pressure washing and I completely sanded everything with 50 grit and a belt sander. Applied stripper and brightener today to all and there are a few small areas that are still peeling and I will finish sanding those tomorrow. My question is: Is there any need to re-brighten etc the small places that I sanded or can I just make sure its clean with compressed air before staining? ( Received Costal Gray solid stain today and will be staining Monday. UPS delayed the delivery for some odd reason!! )

    Also...is there any reason to dampen the deck before starting to stain on Monday? Its about 400 sq ft. and temps here will be in the 80's. I can keep most of the deck shaded .
    Thanks!
    Kent
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/26/2019
      If using the solid stain, no need to brighten again or dampen with water prior to stain.
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    Mike · 07/26/2019
    can I use a regular pump sprayer or do I need a stain pump sprayer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/26/2019
      Any quality pump sprayer with a fan tip will work.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    RAYMOND DUCHARME · 07/25/2019
    What is the shelf life of the RAD solid stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2019
      Unopened and stored in a temperature-controlled room, it is a few years.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gina Shafer · 07/25/2019
    I'm using a solid stain to go over an old solid stain on a deck with wood rails. The wood is pressure treated pine about 15 years old. The old stain was applied over 5 years ago. Do I need to strip and brighten when covering solid stain with solid stain? I do have access to a pressure washer .
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2019
      No need to strip all off. You can use the stripper and pressure washing to help remove the loose or peeling stain. You can cover any of the current solid stain that is not peeling after the prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gschimma · 07/25/2019
    Just cleaned, pressured washed and stained my 22 year old main deck with one of your semi-transparent stains. Looks great! We have new stairs and I ended up staining them on a separate day. Unfortunately there was an unexpected rain and the stairs are splotchy. Do I need to start from scratch and pressure wash and sand and then stain? Also, I applied the same stain to the rails but am now thinking of using your solid white stain on them to match a smaller deck and our porch. How do I prepare the rails?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/25/2019
      You would have to strip/brightener the rails for best results with the solid stain. You would also have to remove the blotchy stain from the steps if you want to fix now since the stain has cured already. The other option is to wait until Spring and lightly clean and recoat then