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
    Karen Ranney · 08/04/2020
    We have a 25+ Recycled material (composite?) deck floor. Will the RAD solid stain work?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      Sorry but it has not been tested for composite wood. In theory, it should work as long as it is porous.
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    Susan · 08/04/2020
    My order was shipped 7/25. Do you have have a tracking number since I still have not received it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      Do you have an order number or last name?
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        Susan · 08/04/2020
        1BE4032049 Susan Parker
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          RAD Products · 08/04/2020
          We replied to your order email with the tracking info. Arrives today.
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    Bradley J Banyai · 08/04/2020
    Our deck is 2 years old and made from IPE wood. I want to confirm that your cleaner and brightener products are safe for this wood. Also is your semi-transparent wood stain similar to an IPE oil? And is that what you would recommend for an IPE deck or do you have other suggestions that work better?

    Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jon · 08/04/2020
    I have 10+ year old composite wood deck that is losing its color. I tested a interior polyurethane on a scrap piece and it brought the color back. I know poly will not work in outdoor applications however. Do you have a product that work to bring the color back and withstand Minnesota climate? Thinking of trying your semi transparent natural stain. Thoughts?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      I am sorry but no, we do not have a stain for composite decks.
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        Jon · 08/04/2020
        Okay thank you. Would there be negative
        affects on my decking if I did apply it to the composite boards?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/04/2020
          It may work fine and others have used it but we have not actually tested it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lyn · 08/03/2020
    for your solid RAD stain what type of roller should I get? the stores have so many to choose from. fabric, polyester/knit high or low density?

    nap size?

    thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      1/2" to 5/8' nap and any material will work as long as it says for latex coatings. We would not suggest a foam roller though.
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    Jill · 08/03/2020
    We have a 3 year old Cypress/yellow cedar deck. We live in Washington state and the deck faces west. First year we used a clear sealer, by the next summer I had to sand it because it was so grey. Then used a tinted sealer, same result. Does your product work with this kind of wood? and if so will it be grey again in a year?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      You can use our products on Cypress and Cedar. Strip and brighter for prep and then stain. Typically redo every 2-3 years.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin · 08/03/2020
    I'd like to repaint my deck and am trying to figure out exactly what I need to do to prep it. There is mold/mildew on the decking and the boards are kind of rough. What exactly do I need to do to prepare it for painting? I'm thinking of using a RAD cleaner first. Do I need a brightener too if I'm just painting after? After the cleaner and brightener (if needed) I was planning on sanding with 80 grit paper to remove the roughness. Then I planned to prime and paint. Are there any other products I need or do I need to change the order of the steps? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      Use the Cleaner and pressure washer first and then you can sand after. No need for the brightener.
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    ilmiglione · 08/03/2020
    We have inherited a classic Maine “camp” built just after WWII and like other structures of its kind, it features open framing throughout the interior. The original knotty pine is much darkened and also shows areas of gray and water damage. I am wondering whether we might be able to bring it back to something like original condition using restore-a-deck cleaner and Brightener. Can they be used inside with ample ventilation? Will they work? I have already ordered stain samples to try on the deck, so I may be ordering these products anyhow.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2020
      When using the prep products you also will need to pressure wash and that typically will not work indoors due to the large volume of water being used.
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    Dale · 08/03/2020
    What is the best method for staining a rough cedar fence with RAD semi-transparent? Can I use a pump sprayer and back brush?
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    John · 08/03/2020
    I'm trying to restore a 25 year old pressure treated deck with a railing. Approximately 500 square feet and stained with a solid stain 2-3 years ago. I'm replacing some boards (when pressure treated wood becomes available, there's a little flaking but mostly just a worn out color with old boards. Which of the cleaner/stripper combinations would work? I'm planning on restaining with a new solid color.
    Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sara · 08/02/2020
    I have tried pressure washing my deck (untreated cedar - and just using water) and it turns out I'm not great at doing it evenly. So, now the wood varies in color based on how evenly I cleaned it. If I use your cleaner and brightener on the whole deck before your semi- transparent stain, would I have a good chance of it evening out? Or, do I need to go back and ensure the pressure-wash job is perfectly even before proceeding? Or, would some light sanding work? Thanks!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      Post some pictures here.
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        Sara · 08/02/2020
        Ah, okay, this represents the most stark contrast - as bad as it gets. thanks!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/03/2020
          It would be best to go over this again with the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kits while pressure washing again.
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            Sara · 08/03/2020
            Okay, that's what I thought! I did make a couple of grooves in the wood (not too deep - you can kind of see it in the 2nd picture, top step). Should I: 1. Sand it down before the entire cleaning/brightening process? 2. Sand it down after cleaning but before brightening? 3. Not worry too much about it?
            I have read various pieces of advice about the "fuzzies." I don't really mind them too much... if I see them, could I leave them alone or do I need to sand? Final question about sanding: can I just sand in spots or do I need to sand the entire thing?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/04/2020
              3. Not worry about it as spot sanding could make it worse as it will take the stain lighter. You do not have to worry about the fuzzies.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dominic · 08/02/2020
    Hello,

    We just installed two ~170sqft decks on our home with pressure treated supports, Moso bamboo deck surfaces, and Ipe railings. We are planning on applying your dark walnut semi-transparent stain on all surfaces after 3-4 months of weathering. Any concerns with the stain application on the bamboo or pressure treated surfaces?

    Thanks,
    Dominic
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      The RAD stain will not work on bamboo. Sorry.
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        Dominic · 08/02/2020
        Thanks for the reply. Do you know if the Armstrong Clark stains will work on bamboo?
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          RAD Products · 08/03/2020
          No, they will not. No penetrating stain will work on bamboo as they cannot soak in.
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    Ray · 08/02/2020
    Do you sell a 5 gallon bucket solid stain (instead of buying five 1-gallon)? I can't see it offered in your product list.

    Thanks
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    Pat · 08/02/2020
    I have a new 3 month old Ponderosa treated wood deck. Should I sand the deck first? 60 grit with orbital sander? If I use your cleaner do I still need to use brightener? It's 400 sq/ft so I assume I need 3 gal. gallons of sealer? Thx Pat
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    Holly Smit · 08/01/2020
    Our neighbor just stained their side of our shared fence with an oil-based stain. I want to use Restore-A-Deck on our side, but figure any cleaning/brightening we do will splatter onto their side and remove portions of their stain. What are the consequences of just sticking on a coat of water-based RAD on our side without the prep. Will it peel? Fence is UV damaged with a faded remnant of whatever stain was on there in the first place. We moved in 2 years ago, suspect oil-based was used prior. Just trying to be good neighbors while attending to the wood, and I hate the oil-based fumes and headache that goes with them.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      No prep could result in a very uneven appearance and you cannot apply the RAD over a different brand of stain.
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    Don · 08/01/2020
    A few years ago I used BEHR products to stain our deck. In the past winter the stain was lifting. In the spring I started to redo the deck I used the BEHR remover and the cleaner in while in progress I did a lot of searching "How To" and came across your product. I followed all the directions and "how tos" to get the deck to stainability. I sanded the deck 80 grit hand sander put down one coat of stain as recomended.
    I don't know if I uas too light on the amount I used or if the wood asorbed more but there are areas that seem to be too light like the stain didn't sink all the way. Question can I or should I put on a second coat??
    Thank You
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      It will not be able to take another coating right now as the first has cured. You can lightly clean in the Spring of next year and add a coat then.
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    Douglas · 08/01/2020
    I got the restore a deck natural stain and it’s too yellow for my liking on my redwood deck. . Can I put a second coat on of the cedar to even out the color?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2020
      No, not after the coating has dried and cured as it will not be able to soak in. You would have to strip it off and then brighten the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Russ · 08/01/2020
    I am a bit confused. My back porch was done with Duck Back semi transparent oil stain. It looked good for about 6 months, after about a 1 1/2 it turned all black with mold...I used Mold Eraser and it did take most of it off...now 6 months later the surface in some spots is still a bit oily to the feel and a little black mold still is on a few areas. Would you suggest I sand with 60 to 80 grit sand paper to remove the oily areas and the left over black mold??? Please advise. Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 08/01/2020
    Can I use other brands of semi transparent stain after using your cleaner and brightened? We are looking for other color choices you offer in semi transparent stain. Thanks.
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    Kris Balle · 07/31/2020
    I am planning to apply your solid stain only to my railing. Do I need to strip it first? If not, what prep is necessary before applying the stain? Thanks for your help! Kris
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2020
      Strip off what you can and then you can cover the rest with the RAD solid stain.
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    Melissa · 07/31/2020
    Will the RAD stripper harm the latex paint on my house?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/31/2020
      It should not as long as it not peeling.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Melissa · 08/03/2020
        I think I have ruined my cedar deck and railing. I used the stripper with the Booster and the Gel additive yesterday and followed the directions. I powerwashed the stripper and not everything came off. I have 4-sided deck spindles and not all the finish is off there, either (the outside and sides of the spindles is pretty much intact.) I ran out of daylight last night and didn't get the Brightener on it. The deck just kept foaming up the stripper and the deck was very slippery. I plan to spray the brightener on it after work today. Not sure what to do about the spindles. My deck is up high with no stairs off the deck, so whatever I do I will have to do it from an extension ladder. Can I still use the brightener on the deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    DAB Nabbit · 07/31/2020
    Hi, I have a 26 year old treated 5/4 deck, 228 s.f., that's held up fairly well, was solid stained about 3 years ago and is in need of a refresh. I power-washed it, and am in the process of removing broken screws (most of them). For may boards I have been flipping them over and they look better. There seems to be a shortage of replacement boards at the big box stores.

    My questions:
    - Since it's such an old deck, will it soak up all the stain?
    - I have a mix of old boards with residual solid stain that didn't all come off with power-wash, some boards flipped, and a couple new replaced boards. This leads me to a solid stain, but do I need to strip the boards where the previous stain wouldn't power-wash off?
    - Have new granddaughter, worried about splinters, so I've been sanding as I go with a hand sander 80 grit paper. I plan on a bigger sander with screen once I get the screws all figured out. Is it the brightener that opens up the wood to take stain, or do I need something else?

    Thank you, you guys are great!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/31/2020
      -it should
      -You do not have to fully strip off the previous solid stain when using the RAD Solid Stain.
      -Sand with 60 grit for better adhesion. Do a pressure wash with the brightener after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Pat from PA · 07/31/2020
    Deck is 800 sq ft. pressure treated pine. 20 years old. Previous Behr semi-solid water-based stain applied 7 years ago, now stripped with Behr stripper . Pressure washed. Sanded with orbital upright sander-60 grit. Sanded again with small plane sander-60 grit. Frequent changing of sandpaper.

    I intend to use RAD semi transparent cedar-tone.

    I am confused about the number of coats recommended on sanded wood and whether the deck should go unstained for a month or 2 due to sanding process.


    Should i delay staining for 1-2 months?

    Should i apply 1 coat or 2 wet on wet?

    How much stain should i purchase?

    Thanks, Pat from Pennsylvania


    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/31/2020
      Site for 1-2 months, clean and brighten for final prep. Just one coat of the RAD. 5-6 gallons of stain. One Cleaner/Brightener Kit.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lin · 07/31/2020
    I have a question about Heather's post. I'm getting ready to put on a coat of you't dessert Taupe solid stain. what do u mean by don't back brush. when I put on the first coat last year I rolled it on and then smoothed it down with a brush. was I not supposed to do that?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Heather · 07/31/2020
      Hi Lin
      I back brush only when solid stain is put on immediately. For instance, i have done in the past 2 deck board pieces by roller then immediately back brush them. I haven't used RAD brand before so I'm not sure about streaking. Maybe they can clarify.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/31/2020
      No need to do this and if you back brush a solid stain after it starts to dry, it can cause streaking. Just apply evenly and let dry.
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    JUDITH E COX · 07/30/2020
    I stained my deck two years ago, using your natural semi-transparent stain. At the time, I put on two coats, and it turned out beautiful. I was very happy with it. It still looks okay, but there are spots where the stain is wearing thin and the deck wood is showing through. I would like to restain it this year, putting on just one additional coat. What do you think? Would that be appropriate to do so now? At the time, I bought 6 gallons to cover about 950 square feet. I only need to restain about 800 square (the remaining 150 square feet is not being hit by the sun and still looks like new). I have about 2 gallons of stain left over (I'm guessing that I may not have put it on as thickly as I could have). Is that 2-year-old stain still usable? And how much if any additional stain do you think I need to recover the 800 square feet with one coat? Also I am assuming that I will need to put on the deck cleaner and brightener before I restain. Am I correct about that. Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/30/2020
      Use, clean, and brighten for prep. The coverage for 1 coat is about 150-200 sq feet per gallon. The older stain should be okay but open it up and test spot first.
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    Landis Handyman Services · 07/30/2020
    do you color match solid stain if I provide a brand and color code?
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    Susan · 07/30/2020
    Assuming I follow all instructions, use 2 coats of solid stain how long can I expect the stain etc to last under winter/sun conditions in Vermont
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    Heather · 07/29/2020
    1100 sq ft
    previously used Valspar semi-trans applied extreme heat July 2019, peeling from flash dry?

    1. Use stripper/brightner with power washer?

    2. Want to use Solid Stain-Espresso seems closest to pic. Is 2 coats applied by roller with back brush (church- high traffic area) going to peel again?

    3. Confused by forum/instructions/answers= wet on wet application is for semi? Solid color, wait till 1st coat is dried completely?

    10 gallons?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/30/2020
      That is not semi-transparent but solid opaque in appearance. The main reason it failed is due to Valspar making poor stains and selling products that are not true semi-transparent stains but rather filming opaque stains.

      1. Strip off as much as you can as it cannot be fully stripped. Let dry and spot sand any more loose stain. You can over the stain that is not peeling with the RAD Solid stain.
      2. Two coats. It is not back brushed. Let the first coat dry fully first before applying the 2nd. The RAD will not peel but that would depend on the Valspar staying intact to your wood under the RAD. The only way to know for sure would be to 100% sand off the Valspar.
      3. With the solid stains. Let the first coat dry fully first before applying the 2nd.
      4. Sound correct.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Heather · 07/30/2020
        Thank you. Seeing your product page...another water based RAD solid or would you go with AC oil based?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/30/2020
          You cannot use the Armstrong stains or any stain that is not a solid stain unless you want to fully sand off the Valspar?
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    Wayne · 07/29/2020
    Re--the solid stains: the white is too bright, coast grey is too dark. Can I mix them and get a shade in between?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joe · 07/29/2020
    I have an 8x14 covered deck.. Treated pine. 112 square feet. Elevated off ground. 3 steps with rails. Two side rails all around. 7 foot tall with ceiling covered with galvanized metal roofing. It is one year old Had no prior treatment. Pressure washed once because it is under trees and has started to mildew in several places due to humidity and no sunlight. I have a pressure washer. What do I need to have done to it to stop the mildew and what products to protect it with application do I need? Do you recommend treating the ceiling and if you recommend spraying what effect will it have on the underside of the metal. I am elderly so I will have to hire it done and would appreciate as much info as possible to pass along. Thank you.