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
    Ann Silvers · 07/14/2019
    I did the whole 3 step process last summer with mostly great results. The decks came through the winter looking great except for the knots. The knots are really standing out - looking unstained compared to the wood around them. Should I go over the whole deck with stain? Should I spot stain the knots? Do I have to do multiple steps even though it's only been one year?
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      RAD Products · 07/14/2019
      Can you post a picture?
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          RAD Products · 07/14/2019
          It is normal for knots to be lighter in color due to the harder density of the wood of the wood there. Leave as is. Spot adding more will not blend with the rest of the deck and will not darken the knots much or at all.

          Do a clean and recoat next year.
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    KK · 07/14/2019
    Does free USA shipping include the state of Alaska?
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    Andy · 07/13/2019
    I’m restraining a older cedar deck and will be using the RAD Brightener and semi-transparent cedar stain. I ended up having to sand the deck down to remove older stain. Is there a particular grit I should use to allow the stain to penetrate better?
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    Adam Raley · 07/13/2019
    I stripped, brightened and stained a few years back using RAD products only of course, but there are some high traffic areas of the deck that appear to need a restrain. Do I need to strip as opposed to clean if I used Restore A Deck again? At first I was thinking I could clean and brighten and then stain again but I wanted to double check (trying to avoid the pain of sanding and all that). On the flip side could I just clean the deck with a high pressure hose and then just stain and avoid the clean/brighten? Thanks!
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    Raley · 07/13/2019
    I stripped, brightened and stained a few years back using RAD products only of course, but there are some high traffic areas of the deck that appear to need a restrain. Do I need to strip as opposed to clean if I used Restore A Deck again? At first I was thinking I could clean and brighten and then stain again but I wanted to double check (trying to avoid the pain of sanding and all that). On the flip side could I just clean the deck with a high pressure hose and then just stain and avoid the clean/brighten? Thanks!
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    tony capoccia · 07/12/2019
    what is the shelf life of the stripper and or brightner once it is mixed?
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    Jane · 07/12/2019
    is it tintable and is there anywhere I can purchase it and see the stains
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    Joanne · 07/12/2019
    Hi my deck is bare wood, do I still need to prep. It.
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    Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
    We ordered desert taupe solid and have tested the color on a step that has been stripped and brightened. The color is no where close to the sample on the website or bottle. Attached is a picture showing the sample from your site and images of our steps next to each other. We need help asap as this is too light and will not work. We would like a phone call to discuss options since we took this week off work as weather permitted to finish our deck
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      Hello, The color is correct and will darken as it cures and when not in direct sunlight. If you want a darker color, maybe Brown Oak will work for you?
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        Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
        Thanks for taking our call today and sending the brown oak asap so we can finish our deck
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    Rick · 07/11/2019
    I used the RAD stripper and brightener and they did a great job. However, the weather has kept me from being able to stain (using TWP 1500) for the past 2 weeks. Do I need to brighten again prior to staining (if it ever stops raining!)?
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    NMI · 07/11/2019
    Hi I used the cleaner and then applied the pressure washer. I was not seeing a great difference and then I uses a kitchen sponge and scrubbed some of the wood and a lot of dirt came off and the wood lightened. Do I need to scrub the whole deck on top of pressure washing? Any tips to make it easier? I attached photos and you can see the wood i scrubbed and the ones I didn't
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      All the gray and dirt is coming off. Apply the cleaner (make sure you are using the red bag), pressure wash but closer to the wood, rinse well, then brighten all wood. You do not have to scrub.
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        Naami borenstein · 07/11/2019
        Also I stopped cleaning in the middle and am away fkr a few days do I have to redo the whole thing? Bec i didnt place brightner yet? Thanks
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        N. · 07/11/2019
        So even if the color doesnt change I should still just apply the brightner
        The only area the color changes was where I scrubbed
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    Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
    We ended up renting a floor sander. There is still some old stain but no flaking or peeling we are covering again with the restore a deck solid. There is a 24% chance of rain (scattered storms) this afternoon. Is it OK for us to go ahead and Brighten, any issues if it rains after brightening. Can brightener be applied in full sun? Tonight and Tomorrow is 0% chance of rain so we plan on appying the solid later this evening and / or tomorrow
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      Rain will not harm any prep. You can brighten now and the sun does not matter.
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        Sheila Campbell · 07/11/2019
        Thanks so much for your quick response you guys have been great. we have a lot of questions because we've had a bad experiences in the past and just want to make sure we are prepping as best as possible. Should we keep the Brightener damp for the 15 minutes that it sits on the deck
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    Jing · 07/11/2019
    Hello, I have several questions for my project. I plan to restore just the deck surface and top of the rails only as they are exposed more to elements.(It rained last night, so the pics may look different)

    1. Will the prep solution damage the paint on railings when I apply the prep solution? If so,ow can I safely clean it?
    2. Can I skip the prep solution application and power wash it instead?
    3. What particular brand of caulk should I use to fill the cracks? Polyurethane or acrylic?

    Thank you in advance.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      1. No, the cleaner will not harm the railings.
      2. Use the cleaner while pressure washing for best results.
      3. Do not fill cracks. No need and having cracks is normal for exterior wood.
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    Robert Hull · 07/10/2019
    how do I check on the status of my order?
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      Your sample order was delivered July 3rd and left at the front door.
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    Patricia Hartman · 07/10/2019
    any chance the order I just placed can be sent 2 day.? Thank you. Patricia Hartman.
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    Jack · 07/10/2019
    Some of my pictures did not download from my previous post. Jack
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      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
      That is sap leeching from the wood. Not much can be done about it.
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        Jack Zocolo · 07/11/2019
        Is this something that I can clean off and reapply another semi-transparent coat next year? Does this sap stop leeching? Thank you
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          RAD Products · 07/11/2019
          Sap leeching or not cannot be controlled. It can happen whenever the pores are opened and is prone to pine decking.

          You can remove with a paint thinner and reapply next year.
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    Jack · 07/10/2019
    I completed the cleaning/staining on my new PTWP deck 3 weeks ago. The deck was built 10 months ago and I am noticing some white/sticky marks on the wood in areas. I also am noticing that the stain did not adhere to some areas. Any ideas?
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    Kyle · 07/09/2019
    I'm re-doing my 16'x16' deck. I'm replacing the railing and stairs with new wood, but decided to keep the base as it was in pretty decent shape. I decided to strip as much as I could by sanding (still a little more to do around the sides). Can I still use the stripper for the hard to get areas between the boards? Followed up with a pressure washer. Can I use the stripper over the entire deck? Or am I going to need to go over with the cleaner after the stripper? There was a dark red/brown stain on the deck before. I want to go with the lighter cedar stain, so figured it would be best to sand.

    Another question. I live in Ohio. The new railing and stairs probably won't have enough time to weather before the weather turns ugly. So I will need to wait until next spring to stain. Should I wait and stain it all together or will it be OK to put a coat down on the base this year, then do the railing and stairs next year? Maybe another light coat over the base at that time?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/10/2019
      I am not seeing any stain between the boards in your picture. Not sure if a stripper and pressure washer will even be able to get between the boards to remove anything. I wouldn't even bother trying. Best to just clean and brighten all now and stain with one coat. After the rails/stairs are installed and weathered, prep them in Spring and apply one coat to all wood.
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    Kate · 07/09/2019
    If the stain does not fully cure for 24 hours, is there anyway I can apply a light coat on top of a light coat I applied about 8 hours ago? Now that it has dried, I see what I missed and where I applied too little.

    Thanks!
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      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      No, wet on wet coats only. 20-60 minutes after the first coat.
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        Kate · 07/09/2019
        Ok. Thanks. I’ll do it in the Fall.
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    Tammy · 07/09/2019
    My husband and I purchased your 3-step kit and are finally getting around to starting the process. We decided to purchase your kit as we're tired of restaining our deck every 2 years. (Totally rethinking the cost effectiveness of building a composite deck next time.) We used a pressure washer first and I started the cleaning part, but there is still quite a bit of the previous stain on the cedar deck. I'll attach a picture. After reviewing some of the comments from others and the RAD responses, I have a question. We most recently (2-3 years ago) applied Cabot cedar oil stain (but it's not solid stain; I'm attaching the picture below of what we used). Do we need to completely sand the deck before completing step 2 & 3 in the RAD process? Or do I need to repeat step 1 (cleaning) and really put tons of elbow grease into it. Or perhaps simply sanding would be easier??
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    Laurie · 07/09/2019
    I purchased a gazebo one month ago. The builder applied one coat of a semi-transparent water based stain on the pressure treated floor but the color is much too light. Can I apply RAD over the existing stain?
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      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      No, you would have to strip it off and then brighten the wood.
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    bob · 07/09/2019
    how soon after applying restore a deck will it tolerate rain
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    Kate · 07/09/2019
    I just finished applying one coat of dark walnut semi transparent due to all the sanding required to get the deckover, paint and other stain off. I used a 1 1/4 bags of cleaner, 1 1/4 bags of brightener and did not even finish 2.5 gallons of stain. I did not want to over apply, but what if I under applied?
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      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      Looks good! You will be fine and you can always do a light cleaning and recoat next year or as needed.
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        RAD Products · 07/09/2019
        The reason you used less stain is due to the sanding. That reduces absorption.
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          Kate · 07/09/2019
          Ok. It is much lighter than I thought it would be. How many months do I need to wait if I want to clean, brighten and add another coat?

          Thanks!

          Kate
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            RAD Products · 07/09/2019
            Later in Fall or next Spring will work. It is lighter due to the sanding as that reduces absorption.
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              Kate · 07/09/2019
              Ok. Thanks so much for the help!
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    Ginny · 07/09/2019
    Hi,
    I am going to re-stain my 20+ year old deck. I stained it about 5 years ago. I have power washed it, I am not sure I remove all the old stain. I also have one area that has turned black from the suet that dripped on the deck. I have two questions.
    1. How do I remove the suet stain
    2. Do I need to use the stripper and brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      You could try the stripper and brightener but if the oils from the bird seed are deep in the wood, then it will not come out fully.
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        Ginny · 07/12/2019
        Could I use dish soap like Dane to remove the oils Or would that damage the wood? Also I see a number of people have sanded their deck, is this just to smooth out the roughness or to improve the staining
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          RAD Products · 07/12/2019
          Dawn will not remove the deep oils, nothing will. Probably not even sanding.
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    Lindsay · 07/09/2019
    We plan on ordering this product (semi-transparent), and cleaner to resurface our beat up 8 year old deck. Can we also use this product on our exterior / front wood beams (wood columns) and bead-board porch ceilings that are in need of paint or stain? Would love to multi-purpose this product. Thanks for any insight.
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      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      You can as long as there is not any previous stain.
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    Sheila Campbell · 07/09/2019
    We applied stripper this morning left it on for 30 minutes we are in the process of pressure washing and they're still a lot of flaking the deck previously had behr solid stain on it. What are your recommendations?
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      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      Hello,

      Per the stripper product page, the stripper will not remove a solid stain fully. Are you planning on using a solid stain again?
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    Sheila Campbell · 07/09/2019
    Here is another pic
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    Karma · 07/08/2019
    Do you have samples of the Armstrong stains?