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
    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
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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?
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    robert wolford · 07/08/2019
    Most of your advertising states that you can clean, brighten and brighten on the same day. On your bottles of stain I received it states to wait 48 hours before staining. Which is correct>
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/09/2019
      We for 48 hours if using a different brand of stain. The RAD stain can be applied the same day.
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    Deanna · 07/08/2019
    How long from order time would it take for stain to be delivered to Calgary alberta
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    Sheila Campbell · 07/08/2019
    Can the solid be applied to damp wood or does this only apply to semi solid and transparent stains?
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    Jane · 07/08/2019
    I have a rooftop deck and would like to save some effort sanding by using a stripper. Will it hurt the membrane of my flat roof?
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    Eileen · 07/08/2019
    Hello
    I applied the stain to my deck yesterday, it started raining early this morning and I noticed that the water is not beading up on the deck in some places. Did I not apply not enough stain to the deck ?
    I put on 2 coats of the stain. Thx
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2019
      It is not designed to bead water but shed water as it is a penetrating breathable wood stain.
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    Caroltraver · 07/07/2019
    Here is a photo. Trust me... it looks worse in person.
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    Caroltraver · 07/07/2019
    Hi! I just finished staining my new deck (16x20 KDAT pine) I weathered it for 7 weeks, used the cleaner, the Brightener, and then followed with a single coat of RAD cedar and now that it has dried, I have to say, I did a lousy job. I used a pad to apply and you can see every last overlap, stop mark, etc... next time I’m definitely going with a brush. My question is... how long do I have to wait to redo it? And even if I do give it a second coat, will it cover the mistakes I made this time?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/08/2019
      You will have to remove to fix this. You can do it now or next Spring. Was it hot out when you did this and did you apply to damp wood? See this for tips about hot sun issues: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/Deck-Cleaning-Reviews-and-Tips/restore-a-deck-stain-hot-sun-application.html
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
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        caroltraver · 07/09/2019
        I misted it, per the instructions, then waited an hour for the standing water to disappear. It was still early in the day, so under 80 degrees, and it was overcast. I had also power washed it for over 30 minutes the night before during the cleaning/brightening process. The directions on the stain said not to stop in the middle of a board, but I was only able to cover about 6 feet of each 20 foot board before having to stop and re-wet the stain pad. Any suggestions on how to work around that? Would a brush would give me better results than a pad? Also, when I stained my sample boards, they were more visibly wet (no standing water, but the wood was clearly damp) and they came out perfectly (of course they were only two feet long, so I didn't have to stop and restart anywhere). Assuming the stripper works like the brightener (spray on, wait 15 minutes, then power wash off) will it remove ALL of the stain? And finally (sorry - I'm just frustrated that I screwed this up and don't want to mess it up again), am I correct in assuming that simply applying a second coat of stain at this point would not mask the problems, but make them worse? Thanks so much for your help. The color is beautiful. I just didn't expect the process to be so unforgiving. The drips settled almost instantly. Thanks again. I appreciate it.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 07/09/2019
          It should remove all the stain. Use the boosters as well: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

          Adding more now will not work. Use the stain brush when applying: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/decktools.html
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            Caroltraver · 07/09/2019
            Thanks. Last question - I just watched a few videos online and noticed that they only pulled the brush backwards. I went front and back like a mop. Could that have been part of the problem? Also wondering if there’s a logic to just getting two high quality paint/stain brushes, dipping one in water, wetting the board and then following right away with stain using the second brush (like I did with the sample boards) It would take a lot longer, but it feels like it might give me more control over both the application (fewer drips and overlaps) and the dampness of the wood. Or am I overthinking this? Apologies for the stupid questions. Just want to get this right.
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              RAD Products · 07/09/2019
              No, front and back is fine. Yes, you are over thinking this a little. Just spread evenly from end to end.
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                Caroltraver · 07/11/2019
                I just ordered the stripper and plan to redo sometime in the next couple of weeks depending on the weather. I think you may be right in that I allowed the boards to dry too much before applying. Are the boosters really necessary given that I only applied one coat? The description makes it sound like they’re only needed for extreme cases. Thanks.
                • We will reply to your comment shortly
                  RAD Products · 07/11/2019
                  A newly applied stain is harder to remove, that is why we suggested the additives.
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                    caroltraver · 07/11/2019
                    Would I be better off waiting til Spring? Or would I still have to use the additives even then?
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                      RAD Products · 07/11/2019
                      It would be easier to strip in the Spring. Probably would not need the additives.
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                    RAD Products · 07/11/2019
                    You have to brighten as well when done.
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    Sally · 07/06/2019
    Applied the brighter and rinsed thoroughly. After the deck dried I’ve noticed a white coating or film on many of the pieces. Is this normal?
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    laura · 07/06/2019
    Do I need to seal the deck after I stain it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/07/2019
      No need and you cannot add a sealer over a deck stain.
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    Wayne Smith · 07/05/2019
    My zip code is 80504. Is there a local Store where your products can be purchased?
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    Frederick Cruea · 07/05/2019
    Having successfully used R-A-D stripper,wood brightener and translucent ceder stain/sealer, can I apply a second coat of stain/sealer weeks later?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/06/2019
      No, the first coat has already cured and would repel the second coat if weeks later. You can lightly clean and recoat in late Fall or Spring.
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    Amy · 07/04/2019
    Installed a fence using pressure treated pine July 2018. Received some very bad advise from local "experts". Spent many, many hours stripping horrible-looking stain. Desperately needing some assistance so I don't waste another 2-3 weeks prepping fence and hating final product. Do I need to apply cleaner and brightener or can I just find the correct color stain desired. Portion of fence has removing agent applied and sprayed off with garden hose, old fence has only been pressure washed, a new 12-ft section (on left) is waiting to weather and will be addressed next year. Thanks so much for your time. I am planning to purchase sample kit, but need to know if I should purchase other products.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2019
      Yes, lightly clean and brighten for final prep.
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    Kathryn · 07/04/2019
    I have a deck that was repaired - it hasn't been treated for 15 years, and that was with a clear coat without stain, but now I have new boards mixed in with old. I am wanting to stain the deck but need advice on the products I need to first clean the old wood. Do I need a cleaner, a stripper and a brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2019
      Clean and brighten of no visible coating is on the wood.
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    James Calamis · 07/04/2019
    Looks good, even after only 1 coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James Calamis · 07/04/2019
    Finally finished! 860' 33 year old redwood deck. Previously stained, powerwashed, restained every year or 2. Cleaned, stripped, powerwashed to remove all old stain (20 hours!) and finally applied Restore-A-Deck solid. Unfortunately, 10 gallons barely covered ONE coat, but it looks better than it has in years. Too late now for a second coat, but I'll apply the 2nd coat next spring. Just a few questions:
    1 - I actually ordered 12 gallons and have 2 unopened. Can I save them until next spring?
    2 - How many gallons will I need in the spring for the 2nd coat?
    3 - How much cleaner should I order before applying the 2nd coat?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Carrie · 07/04/2019
    I do not have a power washer available or know of one to hire. Can I clean and brighten with a garden hose?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/05/2019
      No, it will not work with just a garden hose to clean.
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    Brandon · 07/04/2019
    Bought the house several years ago and just getting around to doing something with the deck. We've decided to try and paint/stain the deck to give us a few years until we need to replace it.


    I don't know anything about the deck other than the size of it. Not sure if it's stain or paint(leaning to this because of color). I was going to purchase some of your products but not sure what I need for the prep. Any suggestions?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Amy · 07/03/2019
    I need to put a second coat of woodrich penetrating stain on my cedar deck. We did one good coat about a year and a half ago (when the deck was new). Before we initially stained it we used used the restore a deck cleaner and brightener. We had a lot of new wood gunk come off and it was a big process to scrub and sand. I don’t want to strip off the stain that is there I just want to add a second coat. Can you please tell me how to prep?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/04/2019
      Use the RAD Cleaner and lightly pressure wash.
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    Jeff · 07/03/2019
    I recently stripped my deck using RAD products. We had a transparent waterbased stain previously. I also sanding the entire deck to bare wood. We decided to use your solid stain-classic white. I am very displeased at the outcome. We followed the directions and weather as instructed. We let the first coat dry for several days. Today it rained and the stain is now turning yellow on us. What gives? Please help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/04/2019
      The yellowing is not from the stain (it is not possible for a white stain to turn yellow) but from something else. Possibly the water or pollen? It also needs another coat.
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    Joei · 07/03/2019
    I have a cedar deck that was originally stained with a water based semi-transparent stain 2-3 years ago. The deck was new at that time. It almost immediately started peeling, and has continued to do so over the last two years. I'm very concerned that the much of the wood is (and has been) unprotected from elements - I live in Minnesota.

    At any rate, I'm planning to prepare the deck myself, and I've hired someone to stain it for me. What do you recommend I use to remove what I left of the water based stain?

    Thank you!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/03/2019
      What brand was it and best to post some pictures.
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    Jim · 07/03/2019
    I sanded, cleaned, brightened and stained my handrail (2 coats) last fall. Now, there are several sections of the handrail that have faded dramatically so that the wood underneath is turning grey. Plus there are a few sections that look like they've dropped out completely and appears as if new wood is showing though. This just happened last week. I want to find out what's happening with this before I restain my entire deck. Would appreciate your comments and advice.
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      RAD Products · 07/03/2019
      Most likely you over-applied. The RAD is designed to sook in fully and if too much is applied to the point it cannot fully soak in, this can happen. If you sand the deck, this would hinder the stain's absorption is why we suggest only one coat if applying to sanded wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Jim · 07/09/2019
        What is your suggested remedy?
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          RAD Products · 07/10/2019
          Since it is just the railing, take 60 grit paper and sand it. Rinse well with water and apply 1 light coat. It should take much better/
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    John Olexa · 07/03/2019
    I have a 12 year old pressure treated yellow pine deck, 337 sq feet. Last year it was coated with penofin oil base stain. It has darkened with many black areas. What do you suggest?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/03/2019
      Prep with the RAD stripper and brightener. One of each. Stain with the RAD stain. About 3-4 gallons for the two coats applied wet on wet.
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    Kate · 07/02/2019
    Not sure why this one did not load, but this photo shows the worst of what is left on the deck now. Please let me know what you think. Thanks so much!
    Kate