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
    Francois J · 07/20/2019
    I have 600 sq ft deck (including stairs & side coverings). Was stained 2 years ago with Cabot - poor quality product. Now the deck is in terrible shape.
    It looks as if I will have to sand down, strip, brighten and stain anew.
    How much RAD stain will I need, and how much RAD cleaner and brightener. Stain color probably Natural-semi-transparent.
    Total cost please?
    Can you ship to Canada?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2019
      One RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kit. 5-6 gallons of the stain. Add the products to cart and enter your shipping info for the total cost.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lucie · 07/19/2019
    How much product will I need for old pressure treated pine deck about 1000 sf. Previously stained with Behr transparent water based stain. Much of deck is now peeling. I understand that I need to strip the old stain, apply brightener and then apply new stain. Not sure how much of each product I will need.
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    Aumfwd · 07/19/2019
    Hello, I need to sand, stain clean and brighten my redwood deck. Obviously, stain goes last. What order should i do the other 3 steps?
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    Clarice Angelo · 07/18/2019
    We have a 25 year old cedar deck that is only about a foot off the ground with a face board around the edge leaving only a 2 inch gap to allow air flow under the deck. We have used Sikkens Cetol deck stain as recommended by the builder but found it begins to peel off within a year after application. Do you have a product that would preserve our cedar deck without peeling off?
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    Dave Hirst · 07/18/2019
    I completely sanded my weathered deck last year and applied 2 coats of your stain. I am very satisfied with the results. I have no peeling but some algae from a long winter. I would like to stain again but am not sure about the prep. What cleaner etc. should I be using?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/18/2019
      Use the RAD Cleaner and a light pressure wash for the prep. Apply only one coat of the stain.
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    Susan Musgrove · 07/17/2019
    It will take several days to strip my deck because I will also need to do some sanding. Is it OK to finish stripping and then re-wet and add brightener all at once? Or do I need to strip and brighten in sections?
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    Kevin · 07/17/2019
    160 SF, 8'x20', it's composite decking material (CertainTeed Boardwalk, similar to original Trex composite), it's about 15 years old, has never been stained or painted, we are pressure washing the decks later this month. We have 46 of these decks to paint, my biggest concern is maintenance so we don't have to continue to pressure wash these decks annually. Is the Restore a Deck stain appropriate for this job?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/17/2019
      Sorry but no, it has not been tested for Composite decking. It may work just fine but we do not have any feedback with it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 07/17/2019
    Our treated lumber 32 x 10 deck, arbor, swing and flower boxes were stained with Sherwin Williams Deckscape waterborne semi transparent deck stain. The arbor and swing’s finishes have not failed and I am not planning on sanding them. The deck and the top of the flowerboxes were faded and peeling. One deck board was starting to rot and has been replaced. I have sanded the deck with an orbital sander with 40 grit paper to remove the peeled stain and smooth out the surfaces.
    I plan on using RAD Stripper and Brightener on the deck, arbor, swing and flowerboxes. I am not sure which stain to use. It looks like the RAD Dark Walnut Semi-Transparent stain might be a good option. Also not sure how a two-toned option would look.
    Questions:
    - I plan on applying RAD Stripper and Brightener to everything. Do you recommend lightly sanding the areas that I have already sanded with a finer grit sandpaper?
    - Do you recommend I prep and stain the new deck board with the rest of the deck? What is the best way to make it blend in with the rest of the deck?
    - What are the pros and cons of the different stains you sell?
    - I am going to have to stand in the lake when I stain the outside of the flowerboxes and the deck frame. I figure it will take me two days to apply one coat of stain to the flowerboxes, arbor, swing and deck. Do you have any recommendations relating to the sequence of completing this project?
    - How much of each product will be needed and what is the most economical way to purchase them (Are RAD Kits cheaper than purchasing the products separately)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/17/2019
      The stain that you have is not a semi-transparent in appearance but a solid color. This stain cannot be stripped fully off. While the can says it is semi-trans, it is actually not.

      Best to go with the two-toned approach. Solid stain for the verticals, arbor, flower boxes, etc and use the semi-transparent for the floors. Sand the rest of the stain off the floors. You can then strip and brighten all for the final prep. No need to sand after.

      -the new board on the floor will not blend the first time staining. Nothing you can do to make it blend when using a semi-transparent color.
      -Do the solid stain first and the semi-transparent last for the floors.
      -We would need sq footage to help with how much stain is needed. One prep kit should work.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jim · 07/29/2019
        I have purchased and received the RAD stripper, RAD brightener, RAD solid stain for the flower boxes & arbor and RAD semi-transparent stain for the deck. I have finished sanding the top surfaces of the treated lumber deck which removed nearly all of the old stain. There is still some old stain on the edges of the deck boards.

        Will the stripper remove the Sherman Williams stain that is on the edges on the deck boards?

        I am not planning on sanding the old Sherman Williams stain off of the flower boxes and arbor. I would like to use my pump sprayer to apply the RAD stripper to these items (and the deck) knowing it will not remove the "solid" stain from the flower boxes and arbor.

        What recommendations do you have relating to using the stripper on the flower boxes and arbor? I will be using the RAD brightener prior to staining them with RAD solid stain .
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/29/2019
          The RAD Stripper will not remove a solid stain from the edges of the deck boards. You may be able to remove some but not all will come off the deck boards, flower boxes, and arbor. Apply and pressure wash off.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jim · 07/18/2019
        Thank you for your timely replies! Your website and recommendations are greatly appreciated.

        Would the RAD Brown Oak Solid and the RAD Dark Walnut Semi be a good match for the two-toned approach? Also, what is the shelf life of the RAD semi transparent stain?

        Thanks again for your help!

        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/18/2019
          Any color combo would work, that would be your preference. Shelf life is a couple of years. It cannot freeze.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    RobC · 07/17/2019
    Square Footage of Area to be Restored: Approx 590 Sq ft deck, 100 sq ft railings
    Type of wood if known: Redwood
    Approximate Age of Wood: 25-30 years
    Previous Stain Brand Used and Type: Not sure, but believe Water based solid stain
    When was the last time wood was stained: No idea. Purchased home 3 years ago.
    Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.): Decks and railings
    Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes

    Miscellaneous Info:
    I have 3 questions please.

    1) Based on the pictures can you confirm that you believe my decks to have been stained previously rather than painted? I just want to make sure that your product will work directly over the top (once dirt and loose material has been removed).

    2) If I used your "Brown Oak" which is darker than the existing stain, do you believe it will require 2 coats?

    3) If I decide to use the Classic white on the railings, will 2 coats cover a previous brown stain effectively?

    Many thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/17/2019
      1. Yes, it is a solid stain and you can apply the RAD Solid stain over this.
      2. Yes, two coats.
      3. Yes, it should.
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        RobC · 07/17/2019
        Perfect! Thank you very much!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dallas · 07/16/2019
    Hi,

    Why do I have these lighter colored spots at the joints of my decking? It seems to bead water and I'm afraid the stain wont penetrate in these locations. What should I do?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim · 07/16/2019
    I have a deck that is approximately two feet from our lake. Are these products safe to use knowing the runoff will get into the water (toxic to fish, etc)?
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    Scott · 07/16/2019
    What is the shelf life of the stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/16/2019
      Opened, about 12 months but could be longer if stored in a temperature-controlled room and the lid is fully closed. Much longer if unopened.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bill · 07/15/2019
    I have a couple hundred square foot couple year old deck. When it was a year old I put on a coat of Australian Timber Oil. Not happy with results. Deck has also grown a lot of algae/mold/mildew. Last year tried to clean and pressure wash but didn't refinish because still green deep in wood. Just used RAD stripper, which worked very well, and brightener. Deck looks day and night better but still green deep in the grain that you can see when wet. I've tested everything I can think of on small pieces. Concentrated roof cleaner, straight bleach, pool chlorine granules, power washing... nothing gets all the green out and I do't want to put RAD stain over it. Crazy enough, I can see bleached out spots where some RAD stripper solution splashed but when I put the solution straight on to clean it better... nothing. Should I mix up some RAD stripper very concentrated and test? I can't believe I have some indestructible green in the grain. Ideas?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2019
      The stripper will probably not get the deep green out. You can try, but make sure brighten very well when done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sally · 07/14/2019
    Doing a two-tone deck. Have finished the rails with two coats of RAD classic white solid stain. Ready to finish the deck floor with RAD light walnut. What is the best way to protect the rails so we can do a wet-on-wet on the deck floor using semi transparent light walnut?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2019
      Tape or mask the railings where it meets the flooring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ann Silvers · 07/14/2019
    I did the whole 3 step process last summer with mostly great results. The decks came through the winter looking great except for the knots. The knots are really standing out - looking unstained compared to the wood around them. Should I go over the whole deck with stain? Should I spot stain the knots? Do I have to do multiple steps even though it's only been one year?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/14/2019
      Can you post a picture?
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        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/14/2019
          It is normal for knots to be lighter in color due to the harder density of the wood of the wood there. Leave as is. Spot adding more will not blend with the rest of the deck and will not darken the knots much or at all.

          Do a clean and recoat next year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    KK · 07/14/2019
    Does free USA shipping include the state of Alaska?
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    Andy · 07/13/2019
    I’m restraining a older cedar deck and will be using the RAD Brightener and semi-transparent cedar stain. I ended up having to sand the deck down to remove older stain. Is there a particular grit I should use to allow the stain to penetrate better?
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    Adam Raley · 07/13/2019
    I stripped, brightened and stained a few years back using RAD products only of course, but there are some high traffic areas of the deck that appear to need a restrain. Do I need to strip as opposed to clean if I used Restore A Deck again? At first I was thinking I could clean and brighten and then stain again but I wanted to double check (trying to avoid the pain of sanding and all that). On the flip side could I just clean the deck with a high pressure hose and then just stain and avoid the clean/brighten? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Raley · 07/13/2019
    I stripped, brightened and stained a few years back using RAD products only of course, but there are some high traffic areas of the deck that appear to need a restrain. Do I need to strip as opposed to clean if I used Restore A Deck again? At first I was thinking I could clean and brighten and then stain again but I wanted to double check (trying to avoid the pain of sanding and all that). On the flip side could I just clean the deck with a high pressure hose and then just stain and avoid the clean/brighten? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    tony capoccia · 07/12/2019
    what is the shelf life of the stripper and or brightner once it is mixed?
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    Jane · 07/12/2019
    is it tintable and is there anywhere I can purchase it and see the stains
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    Joanne · 07/12/2019
    Hi my deck is bare wood, do I still need to prep. It.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
    We ordered desert taupe solid and have tested the color on a step that has been stripped and brightened. The color is no where close to the sample on the website or bottle. Attached is a picture showing the sample from your site and images of our steps next to each other. We need help asap as this is too light and will not work. We would like a phone call to discuss options since we took this week off work as weather permitted to finish our deck
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      Hello, The color is correct and will darken as it cures and when not in direct sunlight. If you want a darker color, maybe Brown Oak will work for you?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
        Thanks for taking our call today and sending the brown oak asap so we can finish our deck
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rick · 07/11/2019
    I used the RAD stripper and brightener and they did a great job. However, the weather has kept me from being able to stain (using TWP 1500) for the past 2 weeks. Do I need to brighten again prior to staining (if it ever stops raining!)?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    NMI · 07/11/2019
    Hi I used the cleaner and then applied the pressure washer. I was not seeing a great difference and then I uses a kitchen sponge and scrubbed some of the wood and a lot of dirt came off and the wood lightened. Do I need to scrub the whole deck on top of pressure washing? Any tips to make it easier? I attached photos and you can see the wood i scrubbed and the ones I didn't
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      All the gray and dirt is coming off. Apply the cleaner (make sure you are using the red bag), pressure wash but closer to the wood, rinse well, then brighten all wood. You do not have to scrub.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Naami borenstein · 07/11/2019
        Also I stopped cleaning in the middle and am away fkr a few days do I have to redo the whole thing? Bec i didnt place brightner yet? Thanks
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        N. · 07/11/2019
        So even if the color doesnt change I should still just apply the brightner
        The only area the color changes was where I scrubbed
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
    We ended up renting a floor sander. There is still some old stain but no flaking or peeling we are covering again with the restore a deck solid. There is a 24% chance of rain (scattered storms) this afternoon. Is it OK for us to go ahead and Brighten, any issues if it rains after brightening. Can brightener be applied in full sun? Tonight and Tomorrow is 0% chance of rain so we plan on appying the solid later this evening and / or tomorrow
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      Rain will not harm any prep. You can brighten now and the sun does not matter.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
        Thanks so much for your quick response you guys have been great. we have a lot of questions because we've had a bad experiences in the past and just want to make sure we are prepping as best as possible. Should we keep the Brightener damp for the 15 minutes that it sits on the deck
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jing · 07/11/2019
    Hello, I have several questions for my project. I plan to restore just the deck surface and top of the rails only as they are exposed more to elements.(It rained last night, so the pics may look different)

    1. Will the prep solution damage the paint on railings when I apply the prep solution? If so,ow can I safely clean it?
    2. Can I skip the prep solution application and power wash it instead?
    3. What particular brand of caulk should I use to fill the cracks? Polyurethane or acrylic?

    Thank you in advance.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      1. No, the cleaner will not harm the railings.
      2. Use the cleaner while pressure washing for best results.
      3. Do not fill cracks. No need and having cracks is normal for exterior wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robert Hull · 07/10/2019
    how do I check on the status of my order?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      Your sample order was delivered July 3rd and left at the front door.
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    Patricia Hartman · 07/10/2019
    any chance the order I just placed can be sent 2 day.? Thank you. Patricia Hartman.