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
    daskjs · 09/09/2021
    Just curious, what does the RSD step one product look like before it is mixed with water?
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    Gregg Juster · 09/09/2021
    How do I tell  if my log cabin needs staining. If I put water on it and it runs off is that good?
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      RAD Products · 09/09/2021
      Visually if it looks good then no need to redo.
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    rick mather · 09/08/2021
    I used woodrich timber oil on my deck several years ago. It held up amazingly well.  I have re-stained it recently.  The wood is getting a bit darker.  Should I go to a lighter color of woodrich or maybe switch to twp going forward.  i live in Colorado spring at about 7000 ft elevation so sun can be brutal on deck stains
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/08/2021
      To get it lighter you would need to remove it down to the bare wood with the RAD Stripper and Brightener Kit.
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    J · 09/07/2021
    My deck is an exotic hardwood previously coated with a water-based coating made for EHW.  I liked it, but its no longer available. Im looking at RAD now.  Why do you not sell cleaner and stripper together?  Is it odd that my contractor asked for that combination of products?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/08/2021
      You strip or clean followed by the brightener for botb. You never do both cleaner and stripper.
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    Noreen Vorvis · 09/07/2021
    Hi first we power washed our deck using the stripper tip and it removed everything but left some pieces of wood lifted and pretty much like the pictures you posted on powerwashing tips. I take it there is nothing you can do to correct this issue other than sanding? I am sure you hear this all the time and whoops should have know better... So we lightly sanded some spots and then used the stripper and brightener which did a great job removing the rest of the old stain/paint! We managed to get one coat on the deck and then we had a unpredicted thunderstorm which ended up removing some the the solid stain we applied. What do we do now? The weekend was perfect until the thunderstorm and now they are predicting more thunderstorms for the rest of the week. We live in Georgia and humidity can increase higher than 50% with these storms. Can we put the 2nd and possibly a third coat next weekend if weather is good? We need your advice. Again we are using a RAD solid stain. Thank you very much for your help...Noreen
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/07/2021
      You can apply another coat this coming weekend. Give it a light pressure wash rinse the day before to remove any dirt, etc.
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    cAp · 09/06/2021
    Trying to make a 15-20 year old neglected deck look better. I do have a pressure washer. Last finished with Cabot Semi Transparent 2 years ago, tried Flood two years before that. Nothing at all was applied in the years before. Deck has now been sanded to remove most of old stain and smooth some of the roughest wood. Under the stain was green (probably algae) left from poor prep before the other stains were applied. Part sun in summer, mostly shade and ice/snow in winter. In summer, part of the deck is always in shade that is often damp, thus the green in the wood.
    Plan to use RAD Light Walnut or Cedar. Photos show before and after sanding. We are not trying for a perfect looking deck and know there are imperfections. Some of the wood is checked pretty bad, we don't mind that so much. Pretty sure we will not have an even color deck once it is done, that is ok. We do not want to go with a solid or semi solid stain.

    Will one of your products remove the deep set green?

    Since I sanded pretty well, especially the rail (sun checked and squirrel nibbled), do I need to wait? How long? Cooler temps are coming soon here in Wisconsin.
    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/06/2021
      Wait until Spring since you power sanded and then clean and brighten all for prep and apply the RAD Semi-transparent stain.
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    Sylvia Davidowitz · 09/06/2021
    Can I order a sample of your Restore a deck solid stain in coastal grey?
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    Derrick McClain · 09/06/2021
    Hello, 
    Deck is ~18 years old.  
    First part: Deck appears to be pressure treated pine.  3 weeks ago used the RAD stripper and power washed “main deck.” Next, sanded with 36, then 60 on horizontals and 80 on rails. From what I can glean on your threads, now that its stripped/sanded, we should treat like new wood and clean/brighten then stain with 1 coat semi-trans. True? Alternatively, can I just brighten without applying cleaner? If applying brightener or cleaner, is power washing required or rinse with hose?  
    Second, deck around pool with the boards replaced as needed…strip? Or just clean then brighten? 
    My takeaway is that stripping furs the wood, which requires sanding, which in turn puts the deck amateur in the scenario of cleaning then brightening, if not weathering for 3-6 months before staining.  What’s the theory behind weathering aged decks that have been sanded, it seems like the wood should be fine to take a double coat of semi after staining if its older and well worn…what are the risks associated…peaking, uneven coat?  
    Thanks in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/06/2021
      Just one coat. Clean and brighten the wood. Strip and brighten the older wood as you want it as porous as possible. Sanding closes the pores, it does not open up the pores.
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    Rod · 09/05/2021
    Does the brightener have an agent in it such as bleach that kills black mold on decks? I stripped and cleaned the deck with the RAD stripper and applied the RAD whitener, but there are a few places where there are still some very light black mold stains. Although negligible at this time, I was concerned if the mold was not completely dead then it would grow again under the stain after I re-stain it.  If the brightener had something in it such as a bleaching agent that killed it, then I would be fine staining over it.  Otherwise, I will either sand it down or re-clean it with something that kills mold. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/05/2021
      The stripper would have easily killed any mildew. If you have some back spots still then it may not be mildew. Could be rust. The Brightener would help to remove rust spots but would not have any affect on mildew. 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Rod · 09/05/2021
        Thank you for your quick reply to both of my questions over the past week!!!
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    Thomas Boehlein · 09/04/2021
    Deck is at least 15 years old, previously had multiple coats of Behr solid stain in the past 8 years prior to that I do not know. I have sanded the entire floor however in some spots there are still remnants of solid behind. What do you recommend as far as prep and should I remain with a solid or would a semi transparent work.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ree · 09/03/2021
    I am about to stain a 12x12 pressure treated wood deck that was built about 13 months ago. No stain or anything has been applied. I have a few questions. 1. How many gallons are needed to do the deck, railings and steps?2. Do you need to stain the bottom/underneath the deck?3. What items should I purchase to apply the stain, get in between the slats, and to clean and brighten the deck prior to staining?4. Do I apply more than 1 coat of the stain?5. Are there any tips  you can provide to help. I read a few reviews about a tacky feel and it has me concerned because this is not something I have ever done before. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/04/2021
      1. We would need a total sq footage added up that includes all wood, rails, steps, etc.2. No.3. Use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener for prep. Application tools are here.https://www.restore-a-deck.com/decktools.html
      4. Two light coats applied wet on wet. 5. Thre are numerous articles on our website that explain prep and application. There is also a calculator on this page for amounts needed.
      It is sometimes tacky until it fully cures. This is normal for any stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ree · 09/04/2021
        What is meant by wet on wet? Also, are there specific application tools that you could recommend. I will be cleaning,  brightening and staining using your products. Thanks. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/05/2021
          https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-wet-on-wet-application.html
          The tools are on the link we sent in the previous reply. Most use the floor brush and stain pads.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Ree · 09/05/2021
            Thank you. See picture. 1. Do I  use a pad to apply stain to the top rail and the brush for the floor. 2. Do I use only 1 coat of stain? 3. Also, I  want to keep the natural color. Is this possible to do and the wood not gray? 
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 09/06/2021
              1. Yess.2. Two coats wet on wet.3. No, the stain must be tinted to prevent graying.
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                Ree · 09/06/2021
                Oh. I thought you apply 1 coat if the deck was new. Per the.builder, I had to let wood dry 1 year and then apply stain. 1 year is up, so is 2 coats still needed?
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 09/06/2021
                  It is not new at 13 months. 2 coats applied wet on wet. 
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    Karie Conway · 09/03/2021
    We applied our first coat of stain last fall on new cedar. Do we have to use cleaner and brightened before second application or just wash off?
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    Rick M · 09/03/2021
    Does the deck need to be wet or dry before the stain stripper is applied?  Also, is it recommended to apply with a sprayer or something like an old mop?  Deck is 36 feet by 16 1/2 feet so it seems like I need to work pretty quickly before things start to dry.  My hope is to apply the stripper, rinse, and then do the brightener in the same day, shooting for an early start since I'm in Texas and after noon or so the temps are excessive.   Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/03/2021
      Wet is best. Spray on and then pressure wash off. You cannot just rinse off the stripper. The Brightener can be rinsed. 
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    John Dodge · 09/03/2021
    I have been using the TP 101 Cedertone on my deck for years. I have about 2 gallons of this left in a 5 gallon can that appears to be usable, bought in 2019.  I would like to use this along with 2 gallons of the Restore-A-Deck stain. Can I mix these together and use them? Should I keep them separate and do different (not adjacent) areas of my deck ?Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rod · 09/03/2021
    2 questions. I stripped part of my deck last weekend and will finish this weekend. I had both the stripper and whitener left over so left them in their spray bottles.  How long will both products stay good already mixed? I didn't know if I needed to dump them both and start over 1 week later.
    2nd question.  I have stainless steel cable railing.  Will the stripper or whitener harm the stainless steel?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/03/2021
      The Stripper and Brightener will last a few months after being mixed. It should not harm the stainless steel.
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        rod · 09/03/2021
        Thank you for your quick reply!
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    Diane · 09/01/2021
    Do you have a product that will fix power washer laps?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/02/2021
      There is no such thing. The only way to fix pressure wash marks is to power sand the entire deck to remove them.
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    Erin · 08/31/2021
    I have a 9 month old PTP fence (never stained)...can I apply your cleaner, brightner and semi transparent stain with a 1 gallon hand pump sprayer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/31/2021
      Yes, but you will need to pressure wash off the cleaner.
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    Jeff · 08/31/2021
    I just realized I purchased way too much stain for my deck. What is the shelf life after a bucket of stain has been opened? I’m hoping I can use to redo the deck in a few years.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/31/2021
      Unopened about 36 months. Opened about 12 months, maybe a little longer. Cannot freeze.
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        Jeff · 08/31/2021
        Would I be able to tell visually if it has gone bad?
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          RAD Products · 08/31/2021
          Thick, clumpy, does not mix evenly are signs it has gone bad.
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    Kari · 08/30/2021
    Hi, we have that deck over paint, last year we sanded most of it off and now are trying to get into all the sides to get it off.  Long story short, we are almost ready for the next steps.  Do we need to sand again or just start with the prep?  If we can start with prep what products do we use?  I received the paint samples and the Espresso looks really great, but I need to prep it first, yes?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/31/2021
      Use the cleaner and the brightener for prep.
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    John · 08/30/2021
    where can this product be purchased?
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    Tom · 08/30/2021
    stained wood deck last year. Edge of steps show wear. Can you touch up?
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    Sue Kimber · 08/30/2021
    I accidentally ordered natural colored stain instead of light walnut. Can I purchase a tint to add to my 2.5 gallon containers? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/30/2021
      Sorry but we do not sell tint and you cannot custom tint it to match.
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    Stu K · 08/29/2021
    I recently applied RAD stripper and wood brightener to my deck, and applied RAD semi-transparent stain.  I applied (yesterday) even more than one coat, wet over wet, some places 3-4 coats since it just wasn’t covering the deck.  In any event, now I look at the deck and there are a few places that look like it needs more stain.  Reading from this forum, it sounds like I should wait 6-8 months, clean the deck, and then apply more stain.  Can I do this in a couple of weeks?  Please see my deck photo attached, and please advise.  Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/30/2021
      No, you cannot apply now and you also over-applied. The RAD is a fully penetrating stain, not a filming stain. It is not supposed to lay on top of the wood and have a shine. 
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        Stu K. · 08/30/2021
        What’s my next steps, if any?  Can I repair in the spring by applying another coat to sections that don’t quite match, or are the over applied sections going to be an issue?  Will the over applied sections just not dry properly?  Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/30/2021
          Leave as is until time to redo. Prep and recoat. Could be 1-2 years or longer. Over-applied areas may fail faster but most likley will be fine.
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    Michael · 08/29/2021
    I will be redoing two decks  with RAD products in the next few weeks and have a question. On the first deck I will be using your Cypress solid stain (two coats with 4-6 hours between  coats). On the second deck I will be using one of your semitransparent stains - one coat only after pressure washing, sanding, rinsing, then your cleaner and brightner.
    I have many spindles on both decks and wanted to know how you feel about using a Painter's Mitt for the spindles either on the solid stain or the semitransparent? I've seen some good reviews for using these on spindles and the one I've ordered is lamb's skin and highley rated. Recommendations for either or both decks?Mhanks much
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/29/2021
      You cannot use a mitt for the solid stain. Brushes or rollers are best. They work okay for the semi-transparent but can be messy.
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    Joe · 08/28/2021
    Can you use a paint sprayer for the semi-transparent stain and the solid stain? If not, how would you recommend staining wooden latices?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/29/2021
      Yes. 
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        Joe · 09/03/2021
        I tried spraying Restore A Deck's solid stain with this paint sprayer and it didn't go so well. Intermittent spray and what did come out was very textured. Same results with the 1.8mm and 3mm opening. Is that expected, or is there another type of sprayer better suited to the job?

        Also, what would be the next best alternative for applying solid stain to a latice? Thanks! 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 09/04/2021
          You can only spray the solid stain with an airless paint sprayer. The one you used is not that type.
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    Guillaume · 08/28/2021
    My deck is white cedar, 3 years old. I power sand it, used the rad stipper and brightner and a pressure washer to rince and a brush to scrub ligho. Look at the pictures, there is some wood pieces peeling off.  It does not look good to stain.  What do you think?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/28/2021
      That is furring. It can be buffed or sanded off and it typically does not show when stained if you do not sand or buff.
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    Michael · 08/27/2021
    Great website with really quick responses to questions. Well done.
    I have to replace a single board in my deck (pressure treated pine) with new wood. My plan was to install the new board, then pressure wash the entire deck and sand where necessary (60-80), then use your cleaner, followed by your brightner and finally two coats of your semi transparent stain. Do I need to do anything different for the one board of new wood?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/27/2021
      Only one coat if you sand. The new board technically need to weather for 3 months or longer. Since it is just one board, we would suggest doing all now and touching up that board next spring. 
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    Scott · 08/26/2021
    Hello,
    What size\style of roller is recommended to apply the Restore-a-deck solid stain?  I assume a rather thick roller but hoping to know if a specific thickness is recommended…
    Thanks in advance,Scott
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/26/2021
      1/2" to 5/8" roller cover for the solid stain works well.
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        Scott · 08/26/2021
        Great, thanks!
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    Karen Corcoran · 08/23/2021
    I just had my deck and porch professionally power washed.  They were able to lift most of the old stain except for areas that are less exposed to weather which isn't much.  The areas to stain are about 25 years old and are pressure treated wood.  Being older I am looking to make this job as simple as possible. Do I need to lift the rest of the stain with your brightener stripper products if I were to use semi transparent? Would it be necessary to lift it if I were to use a solid stain? If using solid stain is it still two coats with wet to wet application? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/23/2021
      Yes, all previous stain will need to be removed if you want to use a semi-transparent color. No need to remove all if using the solid stain. Two coats but not wet on wet with the solid stain.
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        Karen Corcoran · 08/23/2021
        Do you recommend lightly sanding the areas that still have old stain or will the solid stain adhere? 
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          RAD Products · 08/23/2021
          No need to sand as long as the wood is clean and the current stain is not peeling.
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            Karen Corcoran · 08/23/2021
            The deck is fully exposed to weather elements.  How long is usual between re-staining?
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    Jeff · 08/22/2021
    I’m planning my deck refinishing for the next few weekends. Will the stripper or the brightener affect the stucco on my house? The stucco is a beige color. It will be quite difficult to not get any on the house at all.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/22/2021
      It should be fine but always test first to make sure there is not a reaction.