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
    Julie · 08/21/2021
    Square Footage of Area to be Restored: It comes to 292 sq ft using your calculator; however, the spindles are metal and the cocktail counter is not wood so they don’t need staining.
    Type of wood if known: cedar
    Approximate Age of Wood: 10 years
    If Applicable, Previous Stain Brand Used and Type: Behr semi-transparent water-based
    If Applicable, When was the last time wood was stained: 6 years ago
    Wood Type to be Stained (Deck, House, Fence, etc.): deck
    Do you have access to a pressure washer: yes
    Miscellaneous Info: We’d rather not use a solid stain unless we have to because we like to see the wood grain and don’t like it when the peeling is obvious. The Behr semi-transparent ended up looking more solid than we expected. We are wondering if your products will be able to strip off this stain. What advice do you have as far as products or procedures (is a lot of sanding likely to be needed? what type of sander? what grit?) to remove the remaining stain and, assuming that it can be removed, what stain might be best for our conditions and desire to see the wood grain and not have a product that peels off as it degrades? The deck is partially shaded by an oak tree and the deck (and deck furniture) gets a black coating of something fairly quickly—fungus?—and there was also lichen growing on part of the railing. We’ve power washed the stairs and part of the main deck, as you can see in these photos. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/22/2021
      You will need to sand to get this Behr off and if you want to use a semi-transparent color. Stripping will not remove it fully as it is a solid stain in appearance.
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    Kim Neal · 08/21/2021
    Hello-I have a lot of ipe at my home-on decking, fencing, accent walls and steps. Decking is 10 years old and we recently added a new fence and gate. I have spent a lot of time researching the product to use on all of it. I like the idea of the Restore a Deck in gray but wonder if it actually looks gray on the ipe. I am just as concerned with longevity of the product as looks. I don't want to use something that has to be sanded off in the next 1-2 years. I have made samples of Pennofin and Armstrong Clark. I am super confused about what to use. Right now it is all stripped and sanded and ready to stain. I just need to choose the product and color.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/22/2021
      We would not use the gray on IPE wood. Use the Light Walnut. Clean and recoat as needed. 
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    Janette Norton · 08/19/2021
    I prepped the deck pressure washing, stripping, sanding (a lot) and the brightener. It looks like new wood!! I am doing the entire porch area including the decorative beams. Balusters are removed and will be completed once deck work is done. My problem; it took me 4 hours to stain the trim and railing. I really would like to put a light second coat but I've read that if it's longer than 40 minutes you shouldn't. How long do I have to wait to apply 2nd coat. The prep took over a week and I'd hate to have to do it again. Thanks. Attached pic shows deck boards after prep and initial area in progress. Photo's from the MAC are not supported? "File not supported". Anyway, question is the same
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/20/2021
      You cannot apply another coat once the first coat has fully dried for 6-12 months and you will need to prep again. 
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        Janette Norton · 08/20/2021
        Thank you for responding so quickly.  Can you define "prep".  I'm assuming prep means a wash prior to applying, not stripping, brightening and then re-stain.  I just want to be sure I'm using the product correctly.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/20/2021
          Clean and brighten for prep whenever ever you recoat.
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            Janette Norton · 08/22/2021
            Thank you!  Deck looks great.  The two tone (trim with one coat and deck with 2) looks pretty good too!
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    trace · 08/19/2021
    how can i see a picture of natural or cedar on pre treated pine?
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    Steve · 08/18/2021
    I have a deck with Sikkens ProLuxe Cetol STD Translucent Matte Wood Finish. I have cleaned it off with mold and mildew cleaners over the years and then applied over top of old stain when it needed it. Will your stripper remove this stain? 
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    Bill · 08/18/2021
    My deck is approximately 20 years old. It had Behr solid color deck stain put on initially. All I’ve done so far is just power wash the deck. Does all of the previous stain have to be removed to apply RAD solid stain. I’m going to go through your other steps that is recommended before applying RAD solid stain. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/19/2021
      You do not have to remove all the previous solid stain if you are using the RAD Solid Stain. Just remove all the dirt and peeling stain and then you can coat over the intact solid stain.
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    Michael · 08/18/2021
    I'm planning to apply two coats of the RAD solid color and if I do a deep pressure washing cleaning followed by sanding and rinsing, do I still need to apply your cleaner and brightner? Secondly, do I need to mist between first and second coat? thanks muchMichael
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/18/2021
      No, you should be fine and do not have to use the cleaner and brightener in this case. 60-80 grit sanding at most. Do not mist between coats with the solid stain.
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    L.Massi · 08/16/2021
    Hello,I have used your deck stains before on previously stained old wood; but have biggest and most difficult project ahead of me,Location: Sunset Beach, NC marsh environment.  Wood:  10o feet new pressure treated lumber. Completed end of July.primary walkway boards 4 feet long,  sitting platform 10 x 10 ft with 2 benches.  Handrails 2x 4” both sides of walkway with support posts approx every 6 feet.* the contractor said it could be stained before 6 month aging process, since it is exposed full sun in hot temps - thought speeds up process? Do you agree with this?
    I read 1 coat of semi-transparent usually for new wood, but really do not want to repeat this job in 1 year?  Can you use 2 coats of semi- trans on first application? Or would I need to use the opaques that allow 2.( but would like some grain showing is first preference)Are the RAD products up for this harsh enviro?  Want to use a water-base due to location. Or do you recommend a different product entirely?Have vertical, and horizontal surfaces,Would appreciate your input. Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Cyndee · 08/15/2021
    i have an old deck and a tree fell so i had to replace 5 boards, the contractor said to stain them in 2 weeks but everything I read said to wait 3 months for new wood. It will be 3 weeks on Monday can I stain it with restore a deck semi transparent and just use the brightener first or do I need to clean and then brighten before staining? Do I wait 3 months ? 
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    haagy65 · 08/14/2021
    Hello, I’m stripping & brightening this week with the products I bought from you.  I need help deciding between the twp 100 & the Armstrong Clark in the semi transparent gray, is there any advantage to the Armstrong Clark, trying to decide why it would be worth the extra cost ie if it only takes one coat while the other takes two etc?  I am in Montana?  Also how many gallons would I need for 1400 sq ft of deck & that doesn’t exclude the side posts?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/15/2021
      Both are excellent and will last about the same. As for how much, we would need to know the total sq footage that includes the side posts, railings, steps, etc to give an accurate amount needed. 
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        haagy65 · 08/15/2021
        Thanks, are both one or two coat? 1650 sq ft total.  If I go with twp which product should I get 100, 1500 etc (I’m in Mt)?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/15/2021
          About 15 gallons for two coats. Use the 100 series. 
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            haagy65 · 08/16/2021
            Thanks, would Armstrong Clark require 2 coats as well, it’s an older weathered deck that definitely needs stain?  Is there any advantage to using a sprayer vs roller?
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    ronald · 08/14/2021
    is your natcerl a clear treatment
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    Randy · 08/13/2021
    Hi
    Do you have any good ideas on how to apply the stripper on a 9 foot high pergola that’s over my deck? I’ve use this product before and I remember, if you splash it on skin it causes chemical burns. It’s also slicker than snot before you wash it off. I’m not looking forward to this deck restore. It’s in 100% direct sun and I would rather not use a raincoat while applying the stripper. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/13/2021
      Strip the deck first, rinse well and then apply the stripper with a pump sprayer to the pergola. Be careful to not have the stripper fall on you when applying and wear protective clothing. Brightener on all wood lastly
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff Queen · 08/10/2021
    I have a 3200 SF dock in South Florida to re-stain Im interested in the RAD solid and i understand that these have to be bought in 1 gal size only? How many gallons do i need to do 2 coats ? the wood is poor condition around 20 years and its pressure treated 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/11/2021
      One gallon only. For your amount, you would need about 25-30 gallons for two coats. I would suggest maybe starting with 16 or so and you will have a better idea after a day or two as to how much you need and then could order more.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad Steele · 08/09/2021
    Hello, I just went through a process of staining my deck with valspar Dutch licorice semi transparent stain, we did not like the color after I applied it. I used valspar stain stripper and then sanded the entire deck and still can not get the blue out of the entire deck, what would be your recommendation, would you recommend your stripper and restore. The deck is 12x20 and we would like to go back to either a transparent or semi transparent stain, but have seen the blue bleed through on some test spots
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/09/2021
      You could try the RAD stripper with both additives and then a good pressure wash to see if that will get more of the blue out of the wood. Brightener after.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Brad Steele · 08/09/2021
      More pictures 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Brad Steele · 08/09/2021
      More pictures 
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 08/09/2021
        You may need to sand as well as some looks very thick like a solid stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 08/07/2021
    Hello. We went through your whole process last summer with our deck and it went well. We live in a shaded/damp area and there is a lot of dirt on our deck now. We tried power washing, but it didn't get a lot of the dirt off. What would you recommend as a way to keep our deck clean on an annual basis? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/08/2021
      Warm water with some dish soap and a very light cleaning brush like the ones you use to wash cars.
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    Jill · 08/07/2021
    Hi,
    I have a deck that's approx 10 years old; wood is pressure-treated spruce. The deck was stained 2 years ago with a Rez semi-transparent product that started peeling off almost right away. I've ordered your cleaner/brightener products as well as 2 gallons of solid stain (desert taupe). Due to "cupping" of some of the boards, I am unable to get all of the Rez stain off with sanding. I've attached a photo of the best I could do with some boards. There is no loose stain and I will be pressure washing the deck after cleaning/brightening. Will this work? Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/08/2021
      Yes, as loon as the stain you are covering is intact and not peeling.
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        Jill · 08/27/2021
        Using the cleaner, brightener and solid stain (Desert Taupe), old stain completely covered. Thanks!
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    Tom · 08/06/2021
    Added picture from Tom Z
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    Tom Z · 08/06/2021
    I have a weathered cedar fence that I’d like to restore to original color. This year I have carpenter bees attracted to the fence digging a few small channels.What can I do to restore and protect?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/06/2021
      Prep with the Restore A Deck Cleaner and then the Brightener. Stain with the RAD stain in a semi-transparent color of your choice.
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        Karen vonW · 08/19/2021
        Hello.  I also have carpenter bee channels in wood joists (part of a balcony and trellis) and old screw holes that I need to fill prior to staining.  I am planning to use a dark color RAD stain.  Can you recommend a filler that will stain well? Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/19/2021
          Wood fillers will not work well and they will not stain to blend with a deck stain. Find a caulk that is close in color is your best option. 
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    Bill Hurkman · 08/06/2021
    I am refinishing an older cedar deck that has four coats of paint on it. I power sanded it to bare wood and want to stain it. The decking is in good shape, but the problem is that it many small cracks (less than 1/32 inch) that are too deep to sand out and contain white paint from the first coat. I read that RAD Stains cannot be used over a primer. Is my only option to repaint the deck, which I really don’t want to do?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/06/2021
      You should be fine since you only have a small amount of paint. Just use the RAD solid stain as is. No primer. 
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    mmaslan · 08/04/2021
    We have a five-year-old deck on our summer home on the oceanfront in Maine. The winter weather is rough. A previous attempt to stain one section of it with a big box product failed, presumably because of rain or accumulated snow. (The deck goes uncared for in the winter.) this spring our caretaker stripped and brightened with RAD products and put one coat of coastal gray solid stain on most but not all of the deck (!). What he did looked fine but I was anxious to get the job finished, so on Saturday I applied RAD cleaner with a sprayer and then rinsed it with a pressure washer. I accidentally mixed 4x too much cleaner into the solution, and after the first rinse it left some white residue at the edges of the deck where the water ran off, so I spent a good two hours or more rinsing until got dark. It looked fine on Sunday morning, so I applied the second coat of stain starting in late afternoon (because there had been some light drizzle earlier). It looked good on completion, but by the next morning it was a mess. In some places there is a white residue, some of which comes off on my fingers. Elsewhere, it looks like the stain was diluted and partially washed away by the usual overnight condensation. (There was no rain.) there are drip spots under the eves. I am hoping that a third coat with take care of all of this, but I’m not sure weather the white is residue from the cleaner, and if so, whether I need to strip and start over. Needless to say, I would prefer to avoid that if possible.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/05/2021
      Hello,
      You cannot apply a third coat and when applying a second coat, it has to be done wet on wet. At this point, you should strip it all done using the RAD Stripper and both additives, brighten the wood, and then restain. Add more on top while only compound your mistakes in the long run.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        mmaslan · 08/06/2021
        This is the solid stain. Instructions say to apply second coat only once first is completely dry!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          RAD Products · 08/06/2021
          Sorry, thought it was the semi-transparent. You can do a third coat if needed with the solid stain and it should even it all out as well.
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    Aumfwd · 08/04/2021
    I am putting brand new cedar siding on a garage. 6000 linear feet. What would you recommend as far as staining the new siding. Brand? Process? Thank you!
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    Janice · 08/04/2021
    My deck is treated with Australian Timber oil. How should I proceed? Some areas are gray where water has sat on it. Do these products serve as waterproofing? I live in a snowy area.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/04/2021
      Use the RAD Stripper and then the Brightener for prep. Stain with the RAD Stains after to protect and seal the wood.
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    Roger W · 08/02/2021
    I did a maintenance coat last year on my cedar deck and am going to do the same this year.  It is in good shape but there are some areas where another maintenance coat is needed so I'm going to restain it again this year.  I will be using the same semi transparent RAD cedar stain.  Do I need to use the cleaner and brightner prior to the stain or can I just use the cleaner?
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    Greg · 08/02/2021
    I have 900 Sq Ft of deck downstairs and 450 sq ft upstairs. I have completely sanded old Behr stain off as stripping was not getting it using 80 grit paper? I am down to new wood. I am using RAD Dark Walnut Semi. Should I wait a while since I am down to new wood? Next steps recommended please? Clean and Brightener? How much product do I need? 1 coat of stain since sanded to new wood right? How many gallons of stain? Thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/02/2021
      Wait a month or so and then clean and brighten for prep. 2 of each cleaner and brightener. One coat of stain. About 10 gallons for the one coat.
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    WILLIAM PRICE · 08/01/2021
    Three weeks ago I sprayed my 20+ year old deck with 10% vinegar and power washed to strip the (spruce) wood until it looked like new. I would like to stain it to look like my new brown/sienna pressure-treated deck (see photos- wood appears darker from recent rain). Is it necessary to use your deck cleaner before the brightener or can I go straight to the brightener before staining? Is the brightener washed off first or is the stain applied a few hours after applying the brightener without first washing off the brightener? Which colour of your semi-transparent stain would best match the Sienna brown?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/01/2021
      Yes, use the RAD Cleaner and Brightener for prep. You must wash off the brightener after. Look at Light Walnut or Cedar colors.
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    Anil Rana · 07/31/2021
    Hello, I have a new deck weathering for a almost 2 months now. Planning to stain in next few days/weeks. Do I need to Clean -> Brighten -> Stain or just Brighten -> Stain.

    Square Footage  - 338
    Approximate Age of Wood: New Deck Do you have access to a pressure washer: Yes
    Any other recommendations?
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    Gerald Laird · 07/30/2021
    used the cleaner and brightener 3 + weeks ago can I apply semi transparent now?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/31/2021
      You will need to redo the prep again.
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    Scott Reitz · 07/28/2021
    I have a 4 year old handicapped Ramp. I initially used velsper stain but it did a lousy job and used RAD to strip, clean, brighten and stain 3 years ago. Each year since I clean and brighten the  Ramp but only restain deck and horizontal railings as stain on vertical posts is good. Is there a problem if only clean and brighten the Ramp or do I need to reapply stain each year?Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/28/2021
      The prep products should only be used if you plan on recoating, not for general cleaning of dirt, etc.
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    Kurt · 07/26/2021
    Finished staining my deck a couple of weeks ago with RAD semi-transparent stain. Looks good.  I noticed some stains on nearby concrete.  What is the best way to remove these stains?  Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 07/26/2021
      A graffiti remover cleaner and pressure washing.
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    Bob W · 07/24/2021
    Last year (Fall) I used your Process and Products (water based stain) to refinish my Mahogany Decks (2). The finished product looked great but by Spring the main Deck looked pretty bad, the smaller one didn’t look too bad. I live in the Northeast and the intervening winter was the usual. The Main Deck is on the East side of the house and is in the Sun from approximately 8:30 - 9:00 AM until 1:00 - 1:30 PM. While the Front Deck/Porch faces West and gets the Sun from approximately 2:00 PM until 4:00 - 4:30 PM, there are a lot of trees. Although the wood looks and feels dry the finish itself doesn’t look too bad. The East facing main Deck handles a majority of the house foot traffic while the West facing Deck/porch handles minimal traffic 
    You thoughts and suggestions please.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/24/2021
      Clean and brighen the wood and apply one light coat to all.