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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    Gina B · 04/30/2022
    The deck on the house we bought has peeling green stain which we are intending to strip.  However, the rail posts are rotting from the inside out and we need to replace them.  Since we will have a mixture of new and old wood, what is the best plan of attack?
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    Jon Levine · 04/29/2022
    I have a 140sf mahogany deck. About 5 out of 15-20 boards need to be replaced. After using RAD stripper (to get up old stain from old boards), will the RAD brightener open up the pores of the new boards enough to allow the new oil stain to penetrate? (Some people say yes, some say to let new boards weather first--but it's a very shady deck and will take a long time to weather.) Will I be OK to go a head and stain after the stripping/brightening? And will sanding help open up the new boards? If so, what grit?
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    Lisa · 04/29/2022
    How do I know how many boosters I need per 600 package?
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      RAD Products · 04/29/2022
      Boosters work only with the stripper, not the cleaner. The 600 is only the cleaner and brightener kit.
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        Lisa · 04/29/2022
        Sorry my bad. I have stripped and additives in the cart in addition to the 600 package.  Sorry.
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          RAD Products · 04/30/2022
          One booster and/or gell per stripper.
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    Phil · 04/27/2022
    Read your response to Jeff...have the same circumstance....except one year, water based Defy in good shape, and want to clean/recoat in May.  Is brightener not required?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/27/2022
      A brightener is only required if the wood is down to the bare wood after using the cleaner. This can happen depending on how many years between coats and how it has worn.
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    jeff · 04/26/2022
    It's been 2 years, stain in good shape, can I use cleaner and re-coat to maintain deck. Also use one coat or two?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2022
      Cleaner for prep and typically one coat.
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    Glen Feltner · 04/25/2022
    I applied RAD semi-transparent stain to my deck 2 years ago with good results.  Can you direct me to proper instructions for reapplication with the same RAD semi-transparent stain? 
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    Diana · 04/23/2022
    I have used Bakers Gray Away on my back deck (prepped with your products). It's been 2 years since the last application. Right outside the doors going out onto the deck, the color has faded. There are a couple other small random spots where this has happened. The remaining 95% of the deck is still in good shape. Do I need to strip/brighten before applying the Bakers again this year or just use the cleaner/brightener? The deck is wet in the picture, but you can see the area where color is gone.
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      RAD Products · 04/24/2022
      Use the Stripper and Brighen so that you have an even appearance when you restain.
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    Neil · 04/22/2022
    I have stripped and brightened my 30 year old deck with RAD products with very good results. I have just applied Behr semi transparent stain and do not like the color or wood grain look. Could I go over the semi transparent with solid stain without prepping again.
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    Josh · 04/21/2022
    Do you sand after the cleaner and brighter stage has been completed? 
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    Louis Lefebvre · 04/19/2022
    Can Restore a Deck stain be applied on top of oil base Arsmtrong Clark stain ?
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    BH · 04/19/2022
    Regarding prep for solid stain application:
    My 10 year old deck is PT pine. The 5 year old semi-transparent stain is not peeling, but is worn to the wood in many places. I thoroughly pressure treated the deck. Most of the wood looks clean and new, but there are some areas where the wood remains stubbornly stained. Would I be able to apply RAD Solid Stain to the deck as is, or would it still require cleaner/stripper/brightener?
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      RAD Products · 04/19/2022
      You can use the Solid Stain now.
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        BH · 04/19/2022
        Wow! Thanks for the unbelievably fast response to my question!! Here's another: Could I apply RAD Solid Stain with a small, inexpensive, electric sprayer like Wagner Spraytech or similar?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/19/2022
          No, too thick. Use rollers and brushes for the RAD Solid Stain.
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    david · 04/19/2022
    How long should I wait before staining a new pressure treated deck? Do I use the cleaner and brightener before I stain? Do I apply 2 coats of stain a day apart? Thanks
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    Paul · 04/17/2022
    How many coats are the coverage estimates based on?   I’m covering a solid stained pressure treated deck and porch, and some of decking is new due to repairs.  I’m assuming this is okay as long as I let it season for some months first.  I did a test run stripping some porch furniture stained with the same stuff, and I’m having trouble getting it stripped even after two passes.  How necessary is for the wood to be stripped completely?  Do you have any tips to do a better job on this with a pressure washer, as far as nozzles and techniques and so on?  Or should I use other tools in addition?  Thank you.
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    Thomas Swinney · 04/17/2022
    How do I remove your stain from vinyl siding? Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 04/18/2022
      Try a water based graffiti remover cleaner from your local paint store or Home Depot.
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    Sean · 04/16/2022
    Does the stain need to be wiped after staining with the brush or pad?
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    Sean · 04/15/2022
    Hi ,
    I cleaned and brightened my deck last week witht be rad products. I’m getting ready to stain now but it’s been raining in my area so I’m holding off until the weather gets better. How soon after prepping my deck so I need to stain?
    thanks 
    sean
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      RAD Products · 04/16/2022
      Stain within two weeks of prep is best.
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    Erin · 04/14/2022
    My fence was stained last week with a SuperDeck semi-transparent, but I'm certain it wasn't prepped and applied correctly. Aside from using the wrong color, the stain is already peeling off in some places and chips easily. I read below that it's harder to remove recent stain -- is there a way to get a sample of the stripper + additives to test how well it'll remove before buying the full 5-gallon package? How long do you typically need to wait for stripping to be succcessful?
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      RAD Products · 04/15/2022
      Post some pictures of the deck for help here in the comments. 
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        Erin · 04/15/2022
        They said they did two coats — not sure if that’s over the top? Good to note they also mixed the semi-transparent with Thompsons clear sealant (like in the bucket, not painted over). A blunder all around! 

        Including in the last photo the luck I’ve had with Cabot stripper(top two boards) and DEFY (bottom board). 

        Thanks so much for your help!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 04/15/2022
          They really messed this up. It does not look like it can be stripped fully right now as the coating is on the wood like a paint and sitting on top of the wood. You may have to sand it all off to fix this.

          BTW, you can never mix Thompons into a deck stain.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Erin · 04/15/2022
            Not surprised to hear that — it was not the approved plan!

            I figured a lot of sanding would be involved! Would RAD Stripper with both boosters still help to get it in a better spot pre-sanding? Trying to sod as much work with the power washer as I can.

            Will it get easier to remove if I wait a couple months? 
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            Erin · 04/15/2022
            They sure did! It was actually only supposed to be the Thompsons waterseal… the semi-transparent was a surprise!

            I figured sanding would definitely be involved. Would RAD with both boosters put me in a better spot before sanding given the amount/type of stain? Trying to get as much as I can done with power washing.

            If I wait a couple months, should it be a little easier to remove? 
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              RAD Products · 04/15/2022
              Using the RAD Striper with both boosters will remove a decent amount and then your sanding will be less.
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                RAD Products · 04/15/2022
                A couple of months will not make a difference.
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    KEVIN PAPAGELIS · 04/13/2022
    Hi, I have purchased RAD stripper and brightener.  I have a fairly large deck and not sure I can get all of stripper down in one day.  What is maximum time I can have between stripper step and brightener for best performance?  Or is it better to do section by section a strip step, then brightener immediate after.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/14/2022
      Brighten as soon as you are done with the stripping so if needed, split the Stripping/Brightening in half.
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    Lee · 04/13/2022
    Is it ok to apply a second coat after the first one is fully dry?
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    Eric · 04/13/2022
    I have a small, 2-yr old, pine, pressure treated deck that has yet to be stained. Before applying stain I plan to prep the wood with Restore-A-Deck Cleaner and Brightener.  It is the prep process that I have questions about. First, would a pressure washer produce better results (I don't have one now, have never used a pressure washer, but am willing to purchase one if needed)?  Next, there are a few boards/areas with some furring/fuzzies - Should I sand them off with 80 grit? If I do sand them, do I then have to sand all of the deck to get even staining? If I use a scrub pad (by hand) instead of sandpaper to remove this furring, do I similarly need to go over the whole deck with the scrub pad to get even staining? Should furring removal be done before cleaning and brightening? Lastly, what bristle stiffness do you recommend for the deck brush used with Restore-A-Deck Cleaner, and can such a brush effectively remove furring? Also, can too stiff of a deck brush cause additional furring?

    Thank you - 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/13/2022
      Pressure washing is faster and more effective when using the RAD prep products. If you sand/buff, do this after the cleaner and before the brightener. Scrub pad will not remove the furring. You can buff them off with a floor scrubber and 3M sanding pad.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 04/13/2022
        Brushes do not cause furring. The removal of graying/oxidation does. The more graying you have, the greater the chance of furring occurring.
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    Chris · 04/13/2022
    I prepped half my deck according to all the RAD protocol and I stained it using a airless spray gun with the light walnut. I didn't like how I sprayed, and my user error has it looking uneven and dark, and so several weeks later, I started over with it, using the stripper again so I could change my application to brush. But the stripper this time, didn't take the RAD stain off hardly at all when I powerwashed it  like it did the first time. Looks like I will have to belt sand it off, but its not sanding very easily either. Do you know why it won't strip like it did before? and can you suggest how I get it off to re-prep for staining? Is it possible that the stain is so new and so good, it won't come off for awhile? I really have to take it off to match the other side, which I applied stain with a brush. That side looks great. Thank you for your reply!  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/13/2022
      It is always much harder to strip a newly applied stain. Even more, so if over-applied. Did you use both Stripper additives? The Gel and Booster?
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        Chris · 04/13/2022
        No, I did not. Didn't know there were these products. I can take a look at that. 
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    Stan · 04/11/2022
    Hi, I used the Armstrong Rustic Brown (semi-T) roughly 3 years ago--can I now transition to Restore-a-deck stains without stripping? Is the Dark Walnut closest in color?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/11/2022
      No, you need to strip and brighten. Dark Walnut would be closest in color.
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        Stan · 04/11/2022
        If I go back to the Armstrong, I would just clean and brighten?  Thanks
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          RAD Products · 04/11/2022
          Correct. Stripping is not any harder than cleaning. The same amount of work just removes the current stain fully.
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    Denise Feehan · 04/10/2022
    Hello,
    we have a deck and screen porch that was built one year ago.  We wanted wood to cure before staining/sealing and now ready to get this task completed.  We have pressure treated wood for the rails and posts of deck.  We have composite wood for the deck flooring.  
    1) since there is nothing on the wood at this time what do you recommend for proper treatment? 
    2) we ordered the sample pack to get better idea of exact color we would like. What a great idea.  (Made mistake of buying a gallon at lowes and it is awful color so wasted $48.00) 
    3) we have been told not to do underneath the deck, is that your professional opinion as well?
    4) love all the videos and reviews as I have done research after buying on spur of moment sealant at lowes.  
    thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/10/2022
      1. Use the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kit
      2. No problem!
      3. Correct.
      4. Welcome!
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    Kevin · 04/10/2022
    Hi, my deck railings look OK from a prior semi-transparent stain (Olympic), but I need to do the deck and want to strip, brighten, stain.  Are you able to match any semi-transparent colors from Olympic in your brand?
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    B L Cline · 04/09/2022
    I stained my redwood deck with your products (SEMI-TRANSPARENT STAIN if I remember right) late summer 2019. My deck gets all day hot California sun, and constant foot traffic. The vertical railings are just now starting to show slight stain deterioration on the sun exposed side; however, the deck and steps have large areas where stain has worn off. Per your calculator I need product for 509 SQ FT. What would be the best process to re-stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/09/2022
      Use the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kit for the prep. One kit will be enough.
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    Kay · 04/08/2022
    Do I need a sealer on top of the restore a deck semi-transparent stain?
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      RAD Products · 04/08/2022
      No, and should never top coat a stain with a sealer as that leads to peeling.
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    John · 04/06/2022
    My deck is 6 years old and a hot mess. Stained with Behr and peeling in some spots and won't come up in other spots. I live in Florida and need to know what to do to get my deck looking great again for the summer. 
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    Clarence · 04/03/2022
    Best way to spring clean (dirt, mildew, etc.) semi-transparent stained deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/03/2022
      When recoating use the Cleaner and Brightener for prep. 
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    Barbara T · 04/02/2022
    Hello I just got the cleaner/brightener and solid stain for the new wood we have in a basically stained fence (see pic). Before I read the instructions for the cleaner and brightener for that small area I was going to use a paint brush to put both products on and use a hose to rinse them off before staining. Would that work?

    We don't have a sprayer of any kind and at our age don't really want to buy more tools. We could borrow a power washer to do the horizontal surface of the deck which needs stripping and staining but using that on the new fence lattice would likely take off the stain on the boards below.
    Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/03/2022
      Apply the prep products with a pump sprayer and then lightly pressure wash off is the correct way. You cannot apply the prep products with a paintbrush. 
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    Phil · 04/02/2022
    25 year old 1600SF Cedar deck fully sanded, new vinyl railings.   A few boards replaced with new Cedar.   Do I need stripper, or just cleaner/brightener?    For this big deck, which combo products would be best choice ?   Thanks.