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
    Ron Z · 08/25/2020
    That was supposed to be a thumbs up. :)
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    Peter · 08/25/2020
    Hi- need some advice. 20 year old cedar deck in SE Mich. Stripping off Behr Deckover. Some old stain underneath. pics below. Still a little sanding for the small patches of remaining deckover. Or let the winter take it off.
    Long term want a gray color to match house trim. Willing to clean and re-stain every couple years but not scrapping/sanding. Initially thinking semi-transparent but want to confirm solid does not need removing to re-stain every few years (clean/brighten/stain)

    I assume I need to get the reddish soaked in stain off to allow new stain to penetrate. Just use the plain stripper and then brightener from both solid and semi?


    Also- can I just order just gray samples and forgo the other colors? Do they sell samples here locally in Michigan?


    Thanks.

    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/25/2020
      Probably best to go with a solid stain once you are done to cover this. You can recoat with the solid stain later on an ass needed after a good pressure washing. You can pick up all products and samples at our store in Bloomfield Hills otherwise you would have to order online.


      The Sealer Store
      2388 Franklin Rd
      Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302
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    Jack · 08/25/2020
    How long does shipping take once the product is ordered?
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    Joe · 08/25/2020
    I have close up pictures of my deck, but not sure if they're getting through to you.
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    Joe · 08/25/2020
    Trying to post more photos to my earlier question.
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    Joe · 08/25/2020
    My deck is about 425 sq. ft. It's green treated wood (pine, I assume). It's probably 25 years old or so. It was stained by someone else at least 12 years ago. They used Cabot stain but I'm not sure what kind. I have a 1900 psi electric pressure washer. Pictures I submitted show black areas and a generally worn condition. I was thinking of using your stripper, then brightener. I thought maybe a solid stain, due to the age and condition of the deck. If that sounds right, can I apply stripper & brightener with a sprayer, then wash them off with the pressure washer? What's best to apply solid stain? I like the looks of the wide yellow brush you sell, but it says not to use for solid stains. So use a roller, pad or something else? Apply 2 coats? Wet on wet? How long between coats? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/25/2020
      Yes, use a solid stain for this after prep. Apply with rollers and a brush, two coats. The second coat goes on after the first coat dries with the solid stains. Prep by stripping off as much as you can and then brighten the wood.
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    Jesse · 08/24/2020
    I just ordered a kit from you. My question is , can I stain over some boards that have been hardened and 2 part epoxy woody wood filler. Some of boards are partially rotted but can't be replaced without MAJOR MAJOR complete removal and replacement of benchs.rails & stairways.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/25/2020
      The RAD semi-transparent stain will work over a wood filler and will not "stain" the filler to blend. The solid stain should be okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad B. · 08/24/2020
    We ordered the Wood Stain/Cleaner/Brightener combo kit to go onto a 5 year old deck that has never been stained. The materials should be here in two days. Meantime, the weather has brought rain today and tomorrow, but looks clear from then through the weekend. My question is: how long should we let the deck dry out from the rains before starting the cleaning/brightening/staining process? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/25/2020
      Rain does not affect the prepping. Make sure to apply the stain to damp wood or dry wood.
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    Robert · 08/24/2020
    I replaced 30 year old decking from several decks early this spring, but kept the balusters which appeared to be stained with a semitransparent stain. Two and a half weeks ago I (1) stripped the balusters using RAD stripper (with both additives), (2) cleaned the new(ish) decking using RAD cleaner, and (3) neutralized all wood with RAD brightener. Due to high humidity, it took nearly a week for the wood moisture to drop below 15% in certain areas. Then, when the moisture level finally dropped low enough to be stained, the weather did not cooperate with significant chance of rain each day.

    This last weekend, the forecast finally looked ok (overcast but no significant chance for rain until the evening). However, when I was just finishing up staining my second deck, a pop up shower appeared out of nowhere nowhere. The stain had been on my first deck for a couple hours and it doesn't look great but it doesn't look terrible. But the second deck just looks awful. Splotchy, washed out, just bad.

    What are my options?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/24/2020
      Send some pictures.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 08/24/2020
        Leave the first deck alone. The second deck will need to be stripped and brightened on the floors and then recoated to fix.
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    Jeff White · 08/23/2020
    Is there any difference in the type of sealant / semi-transparent product for treating exterior cedar siding of a house, as compared to a deck?
    Does the coverage area change when treating vertical versus horizontal surfaces?
    Anything else?
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    Mary Squire · 08/23/2020
    We just stained our deck today using 2 coats of RAD semi-transparent in Cottage Gray. We purchased the application pads at Ace Hardware, and they appeared to be good quality, designed specifically for deck staining. However, the application did not come out evenly, and there are several places that are significantly lighter than other places. Is it okay to wait a few days and then go over those lighter spots again?
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      RAD Products · 08/23/2020
      Sorry but no, it will not take once it has cured and it will not blend.
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    Rob T · 08/23/2020
    I'm having trouble posting more than three photos with my contest entry even after resizing the to less than 1 mb each. What am I doing wrong? Can you delete my previous attempts at entry? Thanks.
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    jim peacock · 08/23/2020
    my name is jim peacock my left overs leaked or exploded in my basement . i think i bought BROWN SUGAR from you before , could you check your records to see .jim
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    Pat Armstrong · 08/23/2020
    My deck is 2 years old. The boards came stained. (See picture) Do I clean it or strip it for a RAD semi transparent stain.
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    Vicki · 08/23/2020
    How long after 4 days of rain can I stain my deck. Can I prep the deck days before staining.
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    Lynn · 08/22/2020
    can your RAD solid stain be used on patio pavers? it would match my deck that I just stained
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    Miriam Jacobs · 08/21/2020
    I’ve just finished staining my deck and I’m very pleased with the results. I had to aggressively sand my deck and thus it’s a bit lighter than I would like. What is the absolute minimum I have to wait to put on a second coat? Thanks!
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    Miriam · 08/21/2020
    I have just finished staining my deck. I’m very pleased with the results. I had to strip and sand like a madwoman because I did not know what the original product on the deck was, and the two coats on top of that was the semi-transparent Behr. It’s very light though and a bit splotchy since the sanding was so aggressive. What is the absolute minimum time I need to wait to put on a second coat?

    Thanks! Miriam
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/21/2020
      6-12 months. Clean with the RAD Cleaner first.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Miriam Jacobs · 08/21/2020
        Thanks! Please ignore my second post. I somehow reloaded the page to August 3rd and since I didn’t see my question I asked it again. Yes. I’m tired.


        Thanks again, Miriam
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    Barbara Lutterbein · 08/21/2020
    Sorry if posting twice. My deck area is approximately 600 Sq ft, 7 years old, treated lumber, last stained 5 years ago with I believe a solid acrylic stain. Please confirm that I understand the steps if I decide to use solid stain: lightly power wash, apply cleaner, rinse, apply brightener, rinse, let dry. Apply 2 coats of solid stain, letting dry between coats. If I decide to use semitransparent, then I need to strip and/or sand? First step? And apply wet? Thanks! Would you recommend solid or semi-transparent based on the picture?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/21/2020
      You cannot strip off a solid stain fully so that means you would have to sand it off if you want the semi-transparent. For using the RAD Solid Stain, your prep is correct.
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    Sam · 08/20/2020
    Never got an answer to my question:

    Sam · 08/15/2020
    This is suppose to be eco friendly, but is it safe to use on a dock in a lake? Will washing this product or the brightener into the lake cause problems?
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    Tom · 08/20/2020
    In June 2018 I replaced my deck floor with mahogany, but not the spindles or rails. I let it weather until September 2018 and then used cleaner and brightener before putting on a RAD stain. I plan to use a RAD stain again this coming September. Do I need to use both cleaner and brightener before using the RAD stain. Should I use only one coat, or wet-on-wet coat, or two coats. What about on the very weathered top rails--one coat or two.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/21/2020
      Use both for prep and just one coat for Mahogany wood. Other wood types can get two coats.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 08/19/2020
    I just cleaned, brightened and stained my 1 year old deck for the first time. How long do I wait to put furniture back and walk/sit on it as normal?
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    Ray Moore · 08/19/2020
    1) I used the RAD stripper with the RAD booster on 50% of my 2 year old deck. I used the stripper instead of the cleaner as I couldn't find out from the contractor who built my deck whether they used an oil based or water based product. I am a bit concerned that with only using a brush, in the shade, that a lot of the top layer of the wood was partially removed leaving very "fury" planks that I am now going to have to sand. Is this normal?

    2) I have not applied the brightener as of yet opting to wait until after sanding. Is this advisable? How long can I wait to use the brightener after stripping a deck?

    3) Given the problem that I had using the stripper is it advisable to just use the cleaner?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/19/2020
      1. It does not look like it was stained or sealed ever. You were too aggressive with the products and should have not used the stripper but the cleaner. You will need to sand this off.
      2. Brighten after the sanding.
      3. Yes and also pressure wash after applying the cleaner.
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    Drew · 08/18/2020
    Hi--just wanted to know if the 'natural' stain is basically clear, or does it have a tint

    Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2020
      The Natural is tinted. It has to be tinted for UV protection from graying.
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    Adam · 08/18/2020
    Hello,
    We have two ages of cedar wood , the deck and a newly built bench.
    cedar deck is 4 years old, original stain behr semi transparent. We stripped the deck two years ago with defy stripper and brightener. Got about 90% of the old stain off before applying RAD semi transparent cedar color. We can tell where the Behr didn’t peel off.


    Our question now is the best order to go in to get the newly built and old deck to match up with the same RAD stain.

    Also, the cleaner we have is bullfrog and says to not clean new cedar or redwood due to reddening.

    My guess is we sand deck and clean and brighten both in 3 months, although I really don’t want to sand. The plus is the deck will now be covered from rain. It’s 90-100 right now so staining the new bench seems less than Ideal.


    youre help is very appreciated
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    Sean · 08/18/2020
    How quick is shipping to PA?
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    SR · 08/18/2020
    (Apologies the previous post did not get uploaded correctly)

    We are trying to refinish a deck which we don't have much history about - we don't know how old it is or what kind of applications (stain, solid stain, deck paint) might have been applied before.

    We tried using a Behr stripper but that didn't help much. We then used Citristrip which helped get most of the previous stain/paint off - but we aren't sure if that's enough or we should also plan to sand. Please advise what would be best next steps and which of your products we should use.

    Please see a couple of pictures of before and after using the using the stripper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    SR · 08/18/2020
    We are trying to refinish a deck which we don't have much history about - we don't know how old it is or what kind of applications (stain, solid stain, deck paint) might have been applied before.

    We tried using a Behr stripper but that didn't help much. We then used Citristrip which helped get most of the previous stain/paint off - but we aren't sure if that's enough or we should also plan to sand. Please advise what would be best next steps and which of your products we should use.

    Please see a couple of pictures of before and after using the using the stripper.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2020
      You have a solid stain so it cannot be stripped off fully and you will need to reapply another solid stain: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-solid-stain.html

      For final prep, just make sure you sand off any loose stain. You can cover the intact stain with the new solid stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        SR · 08/18/2020
        Thank you, couple of additional questions.

        After sanding any loose stain do we go straight to applying solid stain or should we plan to clean, brighten before applying solid stain? Also is a primer required before applying your solid stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/18/2020
          Hello, you cannot use a primer first. You should be able to stain right after as long as the deck is free of sand dust, etc.
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    Susan · 08/17/2020
    My deck and stairs (3 flights and 5 landings) are 20+ years old. Solid stain was last applied 5 years ago. I scraped, powerwashed and sanded with a belt sander and orbital sander. About 40% of stain was removed.
    I have just finished with the stripper(powerwashed prior to brightener) Perhaps another 10% of stain was removed. Here are my questions:

    1.Brightener mixed as directed and left on for 20 minutes never sudsed as I flooded with water. Why not?
    2. Some loose stain still remains. I plan to scrape again once the wood lis dry. Is there anything else I should do to ensure good stain adhesion.
    This had been an exhausting job for a 78 year old woman and I still have a deck which thankfully had only a transparent stain in the past
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2020
      1. It is small suds, not heavy.
      2. No, just make sure all loose stain is removed.