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
    Eileen · 06/01/2020
    Hello, I have cleaned my deck with oxyclean before finding your site. Our deck is 22 yr old. It had been stained 12 yrs ago with semi transparent arborcoat and then 8 yrs ago with a semi transparent Sherwim Williams paint. There are only small areas of stain left on the deck. Do I have to use stripper still or sand then strip. I want to replace the railing.
    We also have a gazebo that was painted with the same stains. Can I apply a semitransparent stain over it?
    My deck area is 600 ft. How much stain and stripper and brightner would I need?
    We added onto the deck with a composite. It is a light color. It has black mold on it. Would your cleaner clean that as well?
    Thank you, Eileen
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/02/2020
      You cannot strip a solid stain so you will have to power sand it off if you want to use a semi-transparent. Clean and brighten after the sanding. The RAD cleaner will clean composite wood.
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    Donna Fanshaw · 06/01/2020
    Hello, I have five questions for you! First - the background on what we have. We have two recently constructed redwood decks that have not yet been stained. Both have been left to weather. One, partially covered and partially full sun, has weathered for just over a year. The other, fully covered, has weathered about 18 months. So, we are now ready to proceed with cleaning, brightening, and staining with your RAD semi-transparent Natural stain. My questions: 1) There are a couple spots that got gouged from shoveling snow this past Winter - we may want to sand those spots a bit. I noticed on the website that sanding is a no-no as it will affect the woods ability to absorb the stain so there was a recommendation to weather the wood again if sanded. Do you foresee an issue if we just lightly sand a few spots? Do we really have to let them weather again and if so, for how long? 2) I am going to purchase your deck staining brush but thought I noticed in on of the Q&A's that you recommend a different tool for rails and vertical posts but I can't find it. So, my question is which tool do you recommend for rails and vertical posts - the paint pad or the paint brush or? 3) With our redwood weathered for over a year, I am assuming we can/should apply two wet-on-wet coats - am I correct? 4) We have approx. 1000 sq ft between both decks and all the steps so I am guessing I should order 10 gallons if we will apply two coats - do you agree? 5) With the virus situation, if I order tomorrow, 6/2/20, how long before you will ship? I live in Idaho. Would you have an estimate for me as to when I should receive the shipment? We are hoping to have the deck done by 6/18/20. Thank you in advance for your reply! Donna
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/02/2020
      1. Do not spot sand as then the stain will not take the same way if you do.
      2. Use a stain pad or regular brush for verticals.
      3. Yes, two light coats.
      4. Yes.
      5. Right now we are delayed about 7-10 business days before items ship out. No guarantee for the 18th.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary Jannarone · 06/01/2020
    Can I amend my order before it ships? I ordered too much stain.
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    Kate · 06/01/2020
    Do I need to remove the fuzzies from deck that appeared after cleaning and brightening before I apply solid stain to deck?
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    Lucie Griggs · 06/01/2020
    I am in the process of stripping the old peeling stain (Behr Transparent Cedar naturaltone) on pressure treated wood deck. Have not quite finished walkway which is only about 1/4 of the total area and it has taken several applications to get off the stain. The rest of the deck is half covered and half exposed. The covered part still looks good (no peeling) but may take even longer to get off. I am thinking it might be easier and faster to just sand off the rest of the deck instead of stripping. If so, what tips about sanding and do I add Brightner after I sand?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      60-80 grit paper for sanding. Clean and brighten after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bryan · 06/01/2020
    I used the stripper and brightener and everything turned out great. However, there is a stained spot from where we had an outdoor rug. Is there anything I can do to remove it?
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    Michelle Jo · 06/01/2020
    1. Do you need a chemical respirator when applying the stripper? 2. If I use the semi transparent stain this year and decide to use the solid stain in a few years, do i have to strip the old stain (all RAD products) or can I just apply solid over the semi-transparent?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      1. Not but you can use one.
      2. You can apply over it after a good cleaning.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Todd Troop · 06/01/2020
    I'm in the process of re-staining our 10 year old deck. I used the stain stripper and additive to remove the old stain, and then the brightener. After that, I even sanded every plank with an orbital sander to remove any residual stain, and to smooth out the wood. So, the wood was prepped well, and then I applied two coats of the TWP 100 Rustic Brown stain. However, it didn't cover evenly, some parts stained well, and others didn't really take on the color of the stain. I could apply another coat, but I'm concerned the wood would not soak it up and the stain would pool. Is there any way to even this out, by making the lighter areas match the darker?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      This happened due to your sanding. It is lighter in the areas that were sanded smoother. The only way to even out would be to strip and start over or happy another light coat but not sure if that will make it fully even or not.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Todd Troop · 06/01/2020
        I tried adding a another thin coat to a small section, and it looks better, but there's now a sheen to it, and it's a little tacky. With the TWP stain, should the final result be a matte finish, or a slight sheen acceptable? If there is a sheen, does that mean the stain is sitting on top of the wood, and therefore too much stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/01/2020
          No shine. Too much stain and it cannot soak in. See what it looks like after drying for a day or two.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Todd Troop · 06/03/2020
            2 days have passed since I added a thin third coat to just one plank to try to even out the color a little more. I've include a photo, with the right plank being the one with a third coat. As best that you can tell, is that too much shine, or is that acceptable? It's not tacky and smooth to the touch. Thanks for all of your help.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 06/03/2020
              That is too shiny and is laying on top of the wood.
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                Todd Troop · 06/03/2020
                Okay, thanks! I'll leave well enough alone, and not add any more stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Todd Troop · 06/01/2020
        Yes, about the area being sanded smoother. Some paint had been spilled there, so more sanding was needed. I'd rather not strip it and start over, so I'll conservatively try to apply another coat to see if that helps. Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joe Russo · 06/01/2020
    Good Morning, I’m not sure the age of our deck but the people before us probably stained it about 6-7 years ago. It currently has the Sherwin Williams Deckscapes solid stain on. It now also has 1 coat of the Olympic semi transparent stain that was put on about a week ago by a guy who did not properly prep and used the wrong type of stain. Will your products work and what do you recommend? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      Sorry but no, you will have to power sand to remove this and fix it.
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    Richard Hunt · 06/01/2020
    Do you have a product to clean composite decks?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JA · 06/01/2020
    Ready to apply solid stain and would love to know best way (tools) to apply it. It's a very large deck. Once applied, how many hours do I wait until I apply second coat? Lastly, rain chance are in the forecast so how long after applying do we need it to be dry?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      Apply with roller and brush. The second coat goes on as soon as the first coat is dry to the touch. No rain for 6-12 hours after.
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    Lucie Griggs · 06/01/2020
    Brightner has been applied to stripped deck. Rain expected for next week. How long can I wait to apply Restore-a-Deck stain?
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    Catherine Grein · 06/01/2020
    We got a bit of the Restore a deck wood stain on our siding. Is there anything we can use to remove? We have tried soap and water but it will not budge. Any advice?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      Try a water-based graffiti remover cleaner from your local paint storel
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Joni Gonzales · 06/01/2020
        I just removed stain from my siding using acetone nail polish remover. It didn't hurt my siding but my siding is white so test it in an inconspicuous place if you do this
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bruce Lindsey · 06/01/2020
    I am in the process of staining my deck first before staining my house, as the deck is in bad condition and needs immediate attention. If I use the Restore-A-Deck cleaning and brightening products on my house, after staining the deck, will the run off and over spray damage the new solid stain finish I am putting on the deck?

    Also, I am not clear on whether or not brightener is necessary with solid stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      Use a brightener with a solid stain if the wood does not have a previous coating. If a previous coating then no need. The prep products should only be used when recoating. If you get it on the freshly stained wood, it could discolor the stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ted · 05/31/2020
    How long will unused stain last in storage?
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    Brian · 05/31/2020
    We are installing a new cedar fence on one side of our house however a few panels are difficult to get access to for prepping and staining after is installed. Can I prep (with RAD cleaner and brightener) and stain (Armstrong semi transparent stain) the new cedar panels prior to install? I have a little less than 2 weeks to prep and stain before the fence is installed.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/01/2020
      If rough sawn wood then yes. If smooth wood, then no.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Brian · 06/01/2020
        The panel is rough sawn, but below the panel, closes to the ground are the pressure treated boards. Can the pressure treated be stained at same time as the rough sawn cedar panel?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steven · 05/31/2020
    I am restoring a deck that has previously been stained. The previous homeowner did not leave the stain buckets behind, but it looks like transparent or semi-transparent. The old stain is fairly spotty - some places it has adhered well and other places there is no stain at all. My plan is to put on a darker coat of semi-solid stain. I was planning on using the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and then staining - skipping the Brightener altogether because I am putting on a semi-solid and darker coat. Is this a good idea? Or should I still use the Brightener product? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2020
      You have to remove the current stain fully first. Post a picture for help with this.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Steven · 06/01/2020
        I posted a few pictures here. Thanks for the help!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 06/01/2020
          You will need to strip this, not clean it. Use the Restore A Deck Stripper with both additives: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

          You have to neutralize when done with the brightener.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Steven · 06/01/2020
            Thank you. So does that mean I don't need to use the Cleaner at all?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 06/01/2020
              No need for the cleaner.
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                Steven · 06/01/2020
                Thanks for the quick response! After applying the stripper, how long should I wait to then use the Brightener? And then after the Brightener, how long should I want to apply the new stain?
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                  RAD Products · 06/01/2020
                  Brighten the same day as stripper. It depends on the stain you are using as to when to apply.
                  • We will reply to your comment shortly
                    Steven · 06/01/2020
                    I'll use Armstrong-Clark semi-solid stain (sold through this website). Do you have guidance on the timing?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary Ann · 05/31/2020
    Last year we used the cleaner, Brightener and semi-transparent stain to a 1 year old deck. This year I want to stain again. Do I just use cleaner before I stain or do I need to use Brightener too.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    al osoba · 05/31/2020
    what is the best clean up method for the restore a deck wood staining brush? there seems to be a lot of dried on stain/sealer.
    Al
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gary · 05/31/2020
    I have a worn 1200 sq ft pressure treated deck and a 200 sq ft dock. Thinking of using stripper and brightener first, then cedar stain. How much do you suggest. Was going to do TWP but we are in rainy season.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2020
      2 Stripper/Brightener kits and 12-15 gallons of stain for two coats.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    BO · 05/31/2020
    We have never stain or seal a deck before so please bear with my questions and reply back asap so we can decide and place order today and start staining next wknd. We recently bought house and dont know history of deck other then house is about 12yrs old. Last wknd we pressure washed whole deck and hand scrub extremely dirty/green algea areas. Yesterday hand sanded whole deck because entire floor was rough and had spots of splinters even before pressure washing. Here are my questions...

    1. Are my pics of deck good enough to go straight to staining or will i still need to do which one: RAD stripper+brightener or RAD cleaner+brightener?

    2. Want to choose something with longest protection yrs and least amount of maintenance work. Does a solid stain provide a longer protection vs semi transparent stain? If so how many more yrs compared to semi transparent?

    3. We like the look of solid stain but is that more work maintenance wise? Would we have to strip off and also sand off entire color before putting on another RAD solid stain (either same color or darker color)? We may opt out of this choice if there's more work involved every time to maintain (vs semi transparent) so plz explain in detail work involved so we fully understand what we're getting ourselves into.

    4. Do all RAD semi transparent stains and solid color stains have a sealer in it already? Or would we have to add a sealer to mix with your stain? Or do a sealer coat as last step on top of any of your stains? What does it mean RAD stain does not repel water but shed water.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2020
      1. No pic.
      2. They last the same.
      3. Just clean and reapply as needed down the road.
      4. Deck stains are sealers as well. You cannot add more sealer into or on top of a deck stain. Sheds water as they are breathable coatings. They do not bead water.
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    Hank · 05/31/2020
    Is there a dealer in Chattanooga, Tn.
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    chris brew · 05/31/2020
    In may 2019 I stripped my old stain, sanded, cleaned, brightened and applied two coats of Restore a deck semi transparent cedar stain. This past winter took its toll and need to apply a coat for maintaince. I have searched the forums on how to do this but have read different opinions on this. The stain is not peeling just looks like I applied to thin of a coat last spring. Can I just clean the wood with your cleaning product and re-stain?
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    Sandy W · 05/31/2020
    How do you clean up the brush after applying the stain? Soap and water or ??
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    Brian · 05/31/2020
    After prepping my fence with RAD cleaner and brightener, rain is expected here and there during this week and next. If it continues like this for next 2 weeks, do I need to re-apply the RAD cleaner and brightener? How long can I delay on applying ArmstrongClark semi transparent stain before I need to re-apply the RAD cleaner and brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2020
      Just lightly clean if longer then two weeks.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Brian · 05/31/2020
        Thanks. What solution do i use to lightly clean? I have a pressure washer that can push out either 800, 1000, 1200, 1500 psi. Which psi should i use for light cleaning? Or do i use some other means?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/31/2020
          Use the RAD Cleaner and lightly pressure wash.
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            Brian · 05/31/2020
            Thanks. One more question. I noticed in a comment that for re-applying the same stain and color (for mine is the Armstrong semi transparent stain), i wouldn’t need to apply the brightener? In general my fence is still in good shape but the horizontal part is pretty beat up. It has been about 4yrs since I last stain it. Does it cause any issues if I used the brightener?
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    Jennifer Miller · 05/31/2020
    I just finished applying the first coat of semi transparent stain on my deck but i dont have enough to apply a second coat. Can i apply a seccond coat once it is delivered?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2020
      No. The second coat needs to be applied wet on wet. It would be better to apply a maintenance coat next Spring.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jennifer S Miller · 05/31/2020
        Would fall be too early to apply the second coat or should i just wait until sprong? And before i apply the second coat should i clean it with your cleaner?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 05/31/2020
          Clean first and then recoat. Spring would be best.
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    Marcia · 05/31/2020
    Our deck is 16 x20 with an additional 5 x 20 walkway, 30 years old, treated lumber. It has been coated with latex paint annually, most recently using Valspar latex deck paint. The boards are in decent shape, and we've stripped it with a commercial paint stripper, power washed, and sanded. There is still some paint in the grooves that we're attempting to remove, but we may not be able to get it all up. We would like to cover it as thoroughly as possible, but don't mind if some tiny specks of paint are still visible. We would like to use a light gray (cottage gray looks about right).

    The biggest issue with this deck has always been peeling, so that's what we want to avoid at all costs. I know the solid stain will provide better coverage, but I'm concerned it will peel. Does the semi-transparent stain sound like the best way to go with this project?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/31/2020
      You will need to remove all of the paint and you still have a decent amount left before using the semi-transparent. It will not work unless you get it all out of the wood grain.
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    Sandy W · 05/31/2020
    Will the transparent stain stop sap from bleeding through?
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    LindaR · 05/31/2020
    In my previous post, I said I had put on one coat of solid stain last fall and ran out of time for the second coat. We wanted to darken the color this spring and you advised to put on two coats. We decided we like the deck color, and are changing the color of the house instead.

    1) Do I only need one coat on the floor now if I'm staying with the same color?

    2) Do I just use the cleaner on the floor?

    3) Clean and brighten the rails that weren't painted? Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mathew · 05/31/2020
    Hello! I am expecting RAD stripper and brightener along with RAD stain to arrive early next week. Thanks for all your help up to this point. I had to sand the deck to remove previous water based stain (eco wood treatment from Home Depot) that was only applied less than 4 weeks ago along with rough wear patches on some boards. The deck is 6 years old, pressure treated. I used 60 grit sand paper. (Before and after pic attached). Another question: how many coats should I apply of the dark walnut stain? Thank you for your help.