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
    Kent · 07/24/2019
    Does the solid color stain require the second coat wet on wet??
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/24/2019
      No. First coat has to dry before applying the second coat with the RAD Solid Stains.
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    Kent · 07/23/2019
    Should I use the brightener or cleaner on the raw wood that I just exposed or is that mainly just used to neutralize the use of you stripper or cleaner?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/24/2019
      Use to neutralize the Cleaner and Stripper but will help to open up the pores of a sanded deck as well.
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    Kent · 07/23/2019
    Pressure washed solid stained ( DeckScapes) deck and exposed a lot of bare wood.. after sanding any still intact stain should I use any of your cleaning/stripping/brightening products on the exposed raw wood??

    I have ordered 4 gallons of Coastal Gray Solid Stain and I have 1 each stripper and brightener and stripper additive also. I posted earlier this morning
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/23/2019
      As long as the intact stain is adhering to the wood, you can stain with the Solid Gray over it.
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    Steve · 07/23/2019
    Will the cleaner, brightener or transparent stain effect pavers or red brick?
    The patio pavers are under a pergola and the pergola is attached to a brick house.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/23/2019
      No issues on brick with the prep products but do not get the stain on them. Cover or tarp during the staining process.
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    Nikole Kauer · 07/23/2019
    I have a deck that is a year old. We've cleaned it and are ready to apply stain. We want semi-transparent, but don't know which stain to use - RAD stain, TWP, or Armstrong. Help!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/23/2019
      All of them come in semi-transparent colors. Where are you located?
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    TeakRestore · 07/23/2019
    How would you suggest removing a semi transparent primer from Home Depot on teak. I’m considering buying a table, but owner primed it already. (They thought they were going to stain it). I just did a teak table with what I now believe was solid stain with a lot of sanding and your products, it came out great, but I don’t want that much work for this table.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Liz · 07/23/2019
    I used a cleaner to clean new cedar before staining. I had let the wood gray over several months before applying cleaner. I thought I had rinsed thoroughly using highest pressure of my garden hose for about 45 min over the whole deck. Now the wood is dry and the whole thing is furred. What should by next step be?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/23/2019
      That is oxidation/graying of the wood cells that was not fully removed. Reapply the cleaner and pressure wash off. Rinsing with a garden hose will not get this off. Brighten the wood after.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Liz · 07/23/2019
        Thank you. Do I also need to pressure wash off the brightener or just rinse with a garden hose? Can I ask why do I need to re-apply the cleaner and not just pressure wash?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/23/2019
          Pressure washing with just water could damage the wood. using the cleaner helps with this by allowing you to use less pressure. Rinse the brightener when done.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Liz · 07/23/2019
            Makes sense thanks again. What psi do you recommend when rinsing off the cleaner? “Rinse the brightener when done” means with just a garden hose?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 07/23/2019
              Rinse brightener with pressure washer. Wash with cleaner and pressure washer arounf 1500 PSI.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kent · 07/23/2019
    I am refinishing a treated wood deck for a customer that was stained with DeckScapes solid. I realize that unless I completely sand I would need to use solid color stain....my question is how should I prep to change the color to gray? I will be pressure washing today and can post more pictures after.
    Thanks in advance!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/23/2019
      Prep by pressure washing off any loose or peeling stain, dirt, algae, etc. Let dry and sand smooth any rough edges of the current solid stain. You can cover over the intact solid stain that is not peeling with the RAD Solid Stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Julia · 07/22/2019
    I have finished applying Restore a deck semi transparent stain to my deck following your directions. Do I also need to now apply a sealer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/22/2019
      No, and you cannot apply a sealer over any deck stains. No need.
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    bobby bunny · 07/22/2019
    is this the same product as the gemini restore a deck
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    Jim · 07/22/2019
    I have a lake front home with a 750 s.f wood deck that I want to redo. My concern is the slope under the deck is quite steep towards the lake and the stripping material will likely run into the lake. Am I correct in assuming this product would be harmful to any plant life on land and in the lake? Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Thomas Pongracz · 07/21/2019
    I just stained my railings with your white stain and there are areas that are yellow. I used both your cleaner and brightener. Do you know why this might be happening? I was going to buy few gallons of your gray to do the floor but I’m concerned if it will also not be uniform in color.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/22/2019
      Did you put on two coats? You might just need another coat as the old coating or wood is showing through it seems. There is nothing in the stain that would cause it to be yellow.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ken · 07/21/2019
    I emailed last Monday but haven't heard back yet and really want to get started on my deck. We ordered the stripper and brightener but are wondering just how much preparation we need. Our deck is a combination of composite (floor and bench seats) and metal (vertical posts) and wood. We need to use the stripper on the wood but are wondering if it will be harmful to the other areas. Do we need to completely cover them up with tarps and tape or is it okay if they get some of the over spray from the wood. We are anxious to get going on this but don't want to do any harm. Any help would be appreciated! Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/22/2019
      The prep products should not harm the composite. Most likely will not have any effect on the metal spindles either but best to test first to make sure there is not any reaction.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Carl · 07/21/2019
    Home is in the Puget Sound area, Pacific Northwest, where we get a lot of rain.
    500 SF Deck, Incense Cedar, installed 2015, applied Semi-transparent Flood.
    I have completely removed the Flood stain with RAD Stripper, applied RAD Brightener, spot sanded areas where some stain remained. The wood looks great and is ready for second Brightener and then stain.
    I ordered and received 5g. RAD semi-transparent, cedar color. However, I am now having second thoughts. Would the TWP100 be a better choice considering the weather here and the type of wood, Incense Cedar?
    Is it possible to return the RAD semi-transparent and order the TWP100? Any suggestions?
    Which of the two products will work best in the Puget Sound region and on Incense Cedar?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2019
      Either brand would work well and about the same in performance. You can exchange but you will need to cover the shipping costs and any price difference.
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    Greg · 07/20/2019
    I have a 5 year old Trex deck with cedar railings that I stained with Ready Seal, an oil based stain, about 3 years ago with mixed results with mixed results (some greying, fuzzies remained). Prior to staining I cleaned (sodium percarbonate) and brightened (oxalic acid) before applying the stain. For the next staining of the cedar railings, Ready Seal strongly advised using a bleach and water solution for cleaning/brightening for best results but I feel the approach would risk discoloring the Trex portions if not properly controlled. I'm ready to move on RAD products and my question is: when prepping with RAD do I need to go through the full sequence of stripping, cleaning and brightening before applying a RAD stain? Also, just to confirm is there any problem going from an oil based stain like Ready Seal to a water based stain like RAD or TWP (and what are the implications for prep)? Further in using RAD products are there any considerations I need to take into account for protecting the Trex portion of the deck? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2019
      Strip and brighten. No need to use the Cleaner. No issues using the RAD as long as you stripping off the RS. No issues with the Trex.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Greg · 08/24/2019
        Thanks RAD team for the feedback! Just to confirm, the RAD stripping and brightening process will take care of the cedar that has greyed out as well? Is this done with the stripping process and how best can it be accomplished (i.e. with a power washer, scrubbing by hand). Maybe I'm overestimating the effort but after a couple of years - even with the previous stain (Ready Seal) - the greyed out cedar is apparent in many parts (I also I have to remove the furries by sanding). Lastly while I'm ready to move on to RAD for both prepping (stripping and brightening) and staining would it be easier to prep with RAD and then go to an oil based stain like TWP (is there and advantage to staying with an oil based stain and would the same sequence be the same - e.g., strip and brighten with RAD, then stain with TWP?). Thanks again!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/25/2019
          The RAD will remove the RS and the gray. Apply and pressure wash off. Brighrenr when done. No advantage to using an oil-based stain but you can. Same prep.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Greg · 08/25/2019
            Thanks! I'll use the RAD stain as well. Lastly, when stripping the cedar railings do I need to take special care to protect the Trex boards/material which is the majority of the deck? For example do I need to cover the Trex with plastic and/or pre wet the Trex water (like the instructions say with windows, etc ..)? Keep in mind I'll probably be applying the stripper with a scrub brush (not spraying), so there shouldn't be a lot of excess stripper getting on the non cedar parts of the deck. I'm hoping I can just pre wet the Trex and rinse off the whole deck when done stripping and brightening.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 08/25/2019
              The stripper will not harm the Trex.
              • We will reply to your comment shortly
                Greg · 09/02/2019
                Thanks! I just put in an order for RAD products. Lastly, just to confirm:

                - can I apply the stripper with a brush (or do I need to apply with a sprayer)? Keep in mind that it's only cedar railings (about 3 inches wide) but they are pretty gray.

                - likewise do I need to apply the brightener with a sprayer (the type on the RAD website?) or with a brush? If I use a brush what type of brush do I need to use and do I avoid too vigorously applying the stripper to not damage the wood?

                - Do I sand off the existing furries after I'm finished stripping and brightening or before that process?

                - You stated earlier I should pressure wash off the stripper; what PSI should I use? Likewise, should I pressure wash off the brightener too or can I just rinse off with a garden hose?
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 09/02/2019
                  Apply stripper with a sprayer, not a brush.
                  Appy brightener with a sprayer.
                  Sand if needed after.
                  1500-2000 psi will work for the stripper. Just rinse brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Randy · 07/20/2019
    Have approx 200 yards of post and pole fencing.

    1. Any of your products applicable?
    2. Can the 3 step process be avoided for the 200 yards of fencing, i.e. just apply the stain
    3. Which of the useable products have the longest useful life before restaining is necessary?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2019
      1. Yes, the stain would work well.
      2. No, you have to prep.
      3. The RAD semi-transparent stain.
  • 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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
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    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.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        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.
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    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.
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    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.