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
    Eddie · 09/24/2021
    Have a tigerwood deck to which I applied Messmers semi transparent oil stain more than 10 years ago. I am now trying to strip and restain. I applied Restore-A-Deck Stripper and scrubbed, but not all of the stain has been removed. Am ready to apply more Stripper, but wondered if there is more I should be doing? Would renting a floor polisher with a pad work? Do I need to sand? Would like advice before I spend more $. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2021
      Messmers is very easy to strip. Apply the stripper and then pressure wash off. Brighten the wood after.
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    rob · 09/24/2021
    I'm stripping and staining my Ipe deck using RAD products. Yesterday I used the stripper with both additives, scrubbed and then power washed. This morning I have some yellowing on the stairs and in some other spots. See pictures; Please advise: what can I do about this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/25/2021
      You have pressure wash damage from getting too close to the wood. It left marks all over the wood and gauged it as well. You may need to sand to fix these marks. Also, you have to brightener the wood after stripping to neutralize.
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    KIPP KARAVANICH · 09/24/2021
    It has been a year since my first coat of Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain. What all do I need to do to prep for the second coat? Thanks. Any other special instructions for the second coat?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/24/2021
      Just clean and brighten for prep. 
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        KIPP KARAVANICH · 09/24/2021
        The deck is in pretty good shape. Do I need to use One Restore-A-Deck Step 1 Wood Cleaner, and One Restore-A-Deck Step 2 Wood Brightener, or just a general cleaning with water?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/25/2021
          Use both the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep.
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    Mike Carter · 09/23/2021
    I love your products. I used them last year and am very happy. I would like to recoat this fall. Should I just clean and brighten and recoat? I use your semi-transparent stain.
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    Steve · 09/23/2021
    Last year I used a transparent acrylic latex sealant on my cedar deck. I would like to remove it. Do I need to use a stripper or will the cleaner suffice?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/24/2021
      Please post some pictures here for prep help. 
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    Michael · 09/23/2021
    I'm going to be using RAD cleaner, brightner and semi transparent stain on a 100 foot PTP fence and want to know if the cleaner or brightner will harm or discolor the black gate hinges and handles?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/23/2021
      It should not but always test first. 
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    Jim B · 09/22/2021
    Hello. I am in the middle of power washing my cedar deck. The power washing alone is removing most of the RAD stain, which is three years old. My question is can I strip and brighten the deck this afternoon or should I wait for it to dry off. If so, how long? Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 09/22/2021
    Hello. I am in the middle of power washing my cedar deck. The power washing alone is removing most of the RAD stain, which is three years old. My question is can I strip and brighten the deck this afternoon or should I wait for it to dry off. If so, how long? Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/22/2021
      You can strip and brighten now.
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        Jim B · 09/22/2021
        Thanks.  The cedar boards are stripped and look very clean.  Would it make sense to leave them as is, and do cleaning, brightening and staining in the spring?  The Chicago winters have been hard in the stain. If I wait, they will have a fresh start in the spring.
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    Laurie A Higgins · 09/21/2021
    Will RAD solid stain completely cover wood filler as if it wasnt there? We want to use the Espresso color. Our deck is quite old and needed wood filler to make the upper railing smooth again. I know we cant use semi-transparent stain.  Thank you!!
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    Joy · 09/21/2021
    My deck has been sanded but still has stain in the grooves and on the edges. We plan to use the stripper to get this remaining stain off the deck. However we have had solid rain for the past two days and now the sanded boards are full of moisture. The attached photo shows the uncovered portion of the deck that has had rain for two days and the covered area that gets no rain or direct sun. How will I know that the wood is ready for the stripper? We have already purchased stripper, brightener, and cedar tinted stain. We are looking forward to restoring our 20 year old deck with your product.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin · 09/19/2021
    I just finished doing my entire deck and face boards with your products (Sanded, cleaner, brightener and semi transparent stain).  I must say it looks fabulous.   My question for you is:  our mountain house is in high country(almost 10,000 feet altitude on the western slope of Colorado).  It's not unusual to get over 200" of snow in the winter.  Half of my deck is unprotected, the other half is under roof. We close the house for the winter.    I'm thinking of putting down a vinyl tarp over the unprotected part of the deck to protect the deck from snow laying on the deck all winter.   Do you think this is a good idea?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/19/2021
      I doubt it would harm anything if you do. 
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    Lynn · 09/19/2021
    Have wood gazebo by river. Always damp. What products to use to clean mold off and what product to apply to preserve  Wood never dries out
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/19/2021
      RAD Cleaner and Brightener Kit and then the RAD Stains will work.
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    David · 09/18/2021
    How long after applying and removing the stripper can I wait before applying the brightener?
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    Robert Dorries · 09/17/2021
    What would be the directions/procedures to just clean my deck with Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and Brightner without removing any of the current TWP stain in order to apply a maintenance coat of the same stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/19/2021
      It does not work that way. Some of the TWP will come off during prep for recoating and that is okay and is what is intended. 
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    Betty · 09/16/2021
    I have a ten year old pressure-treated deck. I have stained it in the past and scrubbed it to get the pollen etc off. It's now looking worn and it's slippery when wet, so today I pressure washed it. I plan to sand it. I like the cottage grey stain and just want to know what other prep is needed after the pressure washing and sanding. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/17/2021
      Post some pictures here so we can give proper prep advice.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Betty Dondertman · 09/17/2021
        Thank you for your quick response! The first picture is showing the washing in progress. The deck is north-facing and gets little sun this time of year, so when it gets wet, it stays wet a long time. It's about 300 sq ft altogether - it wraps around the cottage. The second pic shows the bare boards, after washing and before sanding. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/17/2021
          You still have some dirt left in the wood. If you want to remove it so it does not show, then use the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kits.
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            Betty Dondertman · 09/17/2021
            OK, thanks! So, I would buy 5 gallons of stain and the cleaner/brightener products. We are on a lake - the land slopes down steeply from the cottage to the water. Are those products safe for the lake?  Also, we are in Ontario, north of Toronto. You ship to Canada, right? 
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 09/17/2021
              We ship to Canada and are safe for the lake.
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                Betty Dondertman · 09/17/2021
                Thanks so much! One final question - if I use the cleaner and brightener, does that mean I won't need to sand as well, or should I sand before using those products? 
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 09/17/2021
                  You typically do not have to sand for prep.
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                    Betty D · 09/19/2021
                    How long does it typically take when shipping to Canada (Toronto, Ontario)?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeverett · 09/16/2021
    Hello! I love all Q/A and comments available on the site and we are completely in on using RAD. I've read as much as possible, but can't seem to come to a conclusion for our project. So here it goes:
    Square Footage of Area to be Restored: 530 sq ft
    Type of wood: unknown
    Approximate Age of Wood: unknown (estimate 7-10 years)
    Previous owners finished with what appears to be Behr advanced deckover paint - on top of another coat (different color) of Behr advanced deck over paint

    We do not have access to a pressure washer and attempted to stay away from harsh paint strippers. Prep work completed so far - Belt sanded each horizontal board down until we clear all old paint - medium grit beltOrbital sander used for railings and rough sand on spindlesScraped remaining loose paint that did not come off during sandingFilled holes and large board cracks with either Bondo wood filler or LOCTITE PL PremiumOld paint remains on spindles and areas of horizontal boards on the railingsApplied BEHR Premium 1 gal. All-In-One Wood and Deck Cleaner, left for 15 minutes, scrubbed with hard bristle brush and rinsed with a garden hoseWork completed on Monday (3-4 days ago) and one light rain since prep
    Based on other answers, it sounds like a RAD semi-transparent stain for the horizontal boards is best and we'll likely need to use another form of paint to recover the railings and spindles. 
    Questions.1. Given we've sanded the bottom horizontal boards down to clean wood and used the Behr all in one wood cleaner. Is the stripper, cleaner, or brightener still required?2. Since we could not get the spindles clear of paint. We cannot use a solid stain over it correct? We'd either have to remove the paint completely OR repaint over with a similar deck over product?3. Any concerns with using semi-transparent RAD stain based on the state of the wood or wood filler used?
    Before and current pictures attached.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/17/2021
      You could proabbly get away with using the RAD Solid stain on the rails based on the pictures.
      A wood filler should never be used with a semi-transparent stain. The filler will not stain to blend and will stand out looking very blotchy/white wherever used.
      It does not look like you removed all of the current coating from the floor so a semi-transparent color should not be used unless you can get all of the solid color off. You could use the solid stain here.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jeverett · 09/17/2021
        Thank you very much for the quick reply! We can continue to remove the rest of the paint if we go the transparent route. We were concerned a solid stain on the bottom horizonal boards would peel faster. It is a roof top south facing deck that just gets hammered by the sun. We are planning on installing shade and rugs to help. Would you recommend solid stain for the bottom/horizontal boards rather than us trying to remove the balance of paint and use semi-transparent? We are more interested in longevity over aesthetics. Thanks again!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/17/2021
          A solid stain will last about the same as the semi-transparent. 2-3 years on a deck.
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    Rob · 09/16/2021
    Two questions for my IPE deck: 1) do you sell the 2 1/2 gallon stains individually? I only see them in packages of two on the site.2) Which color do you recommend for Ipe?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/16/2021
      1. We do not. You can buy 2 or 3 singles if needed.2. Light Walnut.
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        Rob · 09/16/2021
        Thanks, done. Hey what are shipping times to Nashville? 
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    Peter Tourin · 09/14/2021
    We have what appears to be a stain peneteration issue. This is a mahogany (Cambara) deck that was extended 2 years ago. The original deck is about 8 years old and was sealed with Pentafin. The 4ʻ extension is in the front of the photos, and most of the issue is on the new boards. The deck is about 550 sqft.
    Last year we sanded the deck with 60 and 80 grit, concentrating mostly on the old deck (it hadnʻt been maintained for 4-5 years, was weathered and a bit cupped). We then did cleaner/brightener/stain per your instructions. You can see that most of the coverage lasted well, but there are certain boards where it didnʻt. This may be because the newer decking came sealed one side, and the contractor may have installed some boards sealed side up and others sealed side down. 
    Your instructions for maintenance say that I should clean and stain, but Iʻm worried about those boards that are starting to gray out. From the photos, would you recommend sanding the entire deck again, concentrating on the "bad boards", or would you try a maintenance coat of cleaner/stain and see how it works out?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/16/2021
      Sorry, did not see the question. Clean and brighten for prep and then apply one coat.
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        RAD Products · 09/16/2021
        Your wood type being a hardwood will require annual maintenance.
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    Michael · 09/13/2021
    Probably a dumb question, but thought I saw a post that said you can apply your RAD solid stain over an existing solid stain if there is no cracking or peeling? If that is correct, do I need to do a light sanding first? I'll be using two coats of the RAD Cypress over a slightly darker existing solid stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/13/2021
      You can apply over another solid stain but you still have to clean/pressure wash to prep and make sure no peeling.
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    Darren Hughes · 09/12/2021
    Looking at the cottage grey semitransparent product of Restore a Deck. My question is in a year or 2 when it needs be reapplied do I just clean it with the brightner product and then apply the semitransparent product again. So I don't need to pressure washer the wood again and reapply the semitransparent product.  I think I read somewhere that is how the TPW product works.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/13/2021
      You always have to prep when reapplying and that would be both the cleaner and the brightener. You do not have to strip.
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    Alexis R · 09/12/2021
    1st time DIYers. Our deck is around 20 years old and was neglected by previous owners. The solid stain is peeling and there are lots of cracks in the wood. We will be replacing a few boards that's really moldy and in back shape. It sounds like we will need to sand off the stains, but do we sand before replacing the boards or after? Also, do we need to strip/brighten the new boards? Thanks.
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    Cynthia Keyes · 09/09/2021
    We used your strip and brighten products, then stained our deck a couple of months ago.  A couple of weeks ago quite a bit of fresh dirt (mud) was tracked onto the deck and the deck now looks dark and dirty in that area. We tried cleaning it but if you take a paper towel and rub in the area, it comes up black. Can we use the cleaner or brightener on the deck to get it cleaned, but not have to restain it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/09/2021
      No, our prep products should only be used when recoating.
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    daskjs · 09/09/2021
    oops should be RAD not RSD:)
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    daskjs · 09/09/2021
    Just curious, what does the RSD step one product look like before it is mixed with water?
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    Gregg Juster · 09/09/2021
    How do I tell  if my log cabin needs staining. If I put water on it and it runs off is that good?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/09/2021
      Visually if it looks good then no need to redo.
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    rick mather · 09/08/2021
    I used woodrich timber oil on my deck several years ago. It held up amazingly well.  I have re-stained it recently.  The wood is getting a bit darker.  Should I go to a lighter color of woodrich or maybe switch to twp going forward.  i live in Colorado spring at about 7000 ft elevation so sun can be brutal on deck stains
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/08/2021
      To get it lighter you would need to remove it down to the bare wood with the RAD Stripper and Brightener Kit.
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    J · 09/07/2021
    My deck is an exotic hardwood previously coated with a water-based coating made for EHW.  I liked it, but its no longer available. Im looking at RAD now.  Why do you not sell cleaner and stripper together?  Is it odd that my contractor asked for that combination of products?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/08/2021
      You strip or clean followed by the brightener for botb. You never do both cleaner and stripper.
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    Noreen Vorvis · 09/07/2021
    Hi first we power washed our deck using the stripper tip and it removed everything but left some pieces of wood lifted and pretty much like the pictures you posted on powerwashing tips. I take it there is nothing you can do to correct this issue other than sanding? I am sure you hear this all the time and whoops should have know better... So we lightly sanded some spots and then used the stripper and brightener which did a great job removing the rest of the old stain/paint! We managed to get one coat on the deck and then we had a unpredicted thunderstorm which ended up removing some the the solid stain we applied. What do we do now? The weekend was perfect until the thunderstorm and now they are predicting more thunderstorms for the rest of the week. We live in Georgia and humidity can increase higher than 50% with these storms. Can we put the 2nd and possibly a third coat next weekend if weather is good? We need your advice. Again we are using a RAD solid stain. Thank you very much for your help...Noreen
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/07/2021
      You can apply another coat this coming weekend. Give it a light pressure wash rinse the day before to remove any dirt, etc.
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    cAp · 09/06/2021
    Trying to make a 15-20 year old neglected deck look better. I do have a pressure washer. Last finished with Cabot Semi Transparent 2 years ago, tried Flood two years before that. Nothing at all was applied in the years before. Deck has now been sanded to remove most of old stain and smooth some of the roughest wood. Under the stain was green (probably algae) left from poor prep before the other stains were applied. Part sun in summer, mostly shade and ice/snow in winter. In summer, part of the deck is always in shade that is often damp, thus the green in the wood.
    Plan to use RAD Light Walnut or Cedar. Photos show before and after sanding. We are not trying for a perfect looking deck and know there are imperfections. Some of the wood is checked pretty bad, we don't mind that so much. Pretty sure we will not have an even color deck once it is done, that is ok. We do not want to go with a solid or semi solid stain.

    Will one of your products remove the deep set green?

    Since I sanded pretty well, especially the rail (sun checked and squirrel nibbled), do I need to wait? How long? Cooler temps are coming soon here in Wisconsin.
    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/06/2021
      Wait until Spring since you power sanded and then clean and brighten all for prep and apply the RAD Semi-transparent stain.
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    Sylvia Davidowitz · 09/06/2021
    Can I order a sample of your Restore a deck solid stain in coastal grey?