Restore A Deck Stain Stripper Instructions and How To Help

Maintaining a woodRAD STRIPPERdefault deck will ensure you get the longest lifespan and most use out of the extra outdoor living space. To maintain the appearance of a deck it should be cleaned and recoated every couple of years on average.

When preparing a deck for refinishing it is vital that it be cleaned properly. It is important to remove any old stain or sealer remnants that may be on the deck that would block the new stain or sealer from penetrating the wood properly.

Restore A Deck Stain Stripper is a specially designed two-part system for stripping old transparent and semi-transparent deck stains from wood prior to refinishing. There are some basic step-by-step instructions for stripping a deck with the RAD Stain Stripper system.

Restore A Deck Stripper Steps

1. Be sure air temperatures are within 45-90 degrees before starting.

2. Remove all furniture and décor from the deck and the surrounding area. Move at least 20 feet away and downwind from overspray.

3. Although RAD products are Eco-Friendly it is still recommended to cover any sensitive landscaping, shrubbery, and/or plants or pre-wet with water. Make sure to rinse well any overspray that may get on plants.

4. Cover any windows, doors, and other areas of the house with plastic or pre-wet with water.

5. Be sure to wear personal protection equipment such as eyewear, gloves, and clothing.

6. Mix Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper by following the suggested instructions. Mix until all the crystals are fully dissolved. If using a pump sprayer to apply, mix in a separate bucket first and transfer to sprayer to avoid clogging of sprayer inlet tube.

7. Option 1: Mist fresh water onto the deck then apply RAD Stain Stripper using a pump sprayer or scrub brush. This is the most effective way.

   Option 2: Use your chemical injector to apply RAD Stain Stripper for medium to light stain removal.

8. Allow RAD Stain Stripper to sit on wood for 10-15 minutes or until the surface becomes slippery. Keep misting deck with water so is not allowed to dry.

9. Gently pressure wash at 1500 PSI or hand scrub vigorously the deck until all dirt, grime, and gray fibers are removed. Rinse deck, shrubbery, and surrounding area with fresh water. Pressure washing is more effective.

10. Reapply RAD Stain Stripper to any stubborn areas repeating steps 7 & 8 to remove old stain or sealer as much as possible.

11. While wood is still wet apply Restore-A-Deck Wood Brightener following the mixing instructions and using a pump sprayer. The RAD Wood Brightener does not need to be washed or scrubbed, simply rinse off after 10 minutes of dwell time. Make sure to rinse the RAD Brightener thoroughly for 20 minutes until all soap suds are removed after the 10 minutes dwell time.

Note that RAD Stain Stripper is not intended for use to effectively remove solid deck stains or paints.

Need Help Stripping an Old Stain? Ask Below!

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    ymh · 07/27/2021
    just applied stripper with additives. i dont see any bubbling on my spindles only on parts of the floor of the deck.
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    Lizzie · 07/26/2021
    Hello, I have just purchased the rad deck stripper and brightner.. will it work on this semi transparent stain that is currently on the deck now?  it was power washed already and much of the stain came off but seems to be thicker in some areas.. 
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      RAD Products · 07/26/2021
      It looks fairly thick in areas. You will need both additives and let dwell for 45 or more minutes before pressure washing off. 
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    David Rodgerson · 07/23/2021
    I need to also strip my cedar railings and posts, is there any special process to use for vertical surfaces or the lattice structure I have at the end of the deck? Does it stay on vertical spindles long enough to be effective or does it take multiple applications? Thanks!
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    Gene Tinelli · 06/29/2021
    Followup to previous question. If the stored solution is too thick for my pump sprayer, can I use the stored stripper plus additives with pads for my spindles?
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      RAD Products · 06/29/2021
      Yes, that should be okay. Much easier to spray to apply though.
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    Gene Tinelli · 06/29/2021
    Last year I did about two-thirds of my deck with your three stage system (stripper plus additives, brighener, and stain. Now I'm going to finish the rest of the deck. I have a five-gallon container with about three gallons of extra stripper plus booster plus thickener left over. it has been sealed in the container for about ten months. Can I use the rest this year? Will it clog my sprayer? Should I purchase new stripper plus additives?
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      RAD Products · 06/29/2021
      It should be fine but test it first to make sure it is 100% fluid.
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    Leanne · 06/23/2021
    Bought our house last year and don't know what was used on the deck previously. We pressure washed last weekend and this is how it looks. Are you able to tell if this was a solid stain? Really hoping we'll be able to use the RAD we ordered :|
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      RAD Products · 06/23/2021
      No, it does not look like a solid stain. Send a picture while wet.
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        Leanne Murray · 06/23/2021
        These aren't great pics but it's what I have from last weekend. Thanks for your help!
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          RAD Products · 06/24/2021
          You should be using the RAD Stripper and Brightening kit while pressure washing to remove your old stain. This needs to com off and you are also damaging the wood by just pressure washing with water only. It is leaving line marks in the wood and furring it up.
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            Leanne Murray · 06/26/2021
            Should I sand before I clean and brighten?
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            Leanne Murray · 06/24/2021
            Yeah - I was worried about that. Our RAD arrives tomorrow so we'll move to that. Thanks for your help!
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    Jan Yung · 06/19/2021
    Is it true that each time (every 2-3 years) one refreshes their deck, the solid stain must be completely removed via sanding?  Our deck currently has a mix of pressure treated lumber boards some unstained and some with Behr solid stain on them (these boards are likely 4 years old) (Picture following).So I am wondering after we remove as much of the Behr stain off as we can and then go through the RAD cleaner, brightener and RAD solid stain, must we sand again in 2-3 years?'What is the protocol for maintaining the RAD solid stain?  WHY is so little written about it?  I read somewhere on your site to "refresh it as needed."
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/20/2021
      You do not have to remove fully when recoating with a solid stain. Just remove what is peeling, covering the rest.
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        Janet Yung · 06/21/2021
        "covering as needed" follows the cleaning and brightening stages again?
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    Geoff Surprenant · 06/17/2021
    I am going to be stripping/brightening the substructure of my deck which has some kind of old solid deck stain that is peeling off, and I want to remove it completely to re-stain. Since your RAD Stain Stripper (in the description above) is not intended to effectively remove solid deck stains or paints, what is the best method to accomplish my above stated goal? Power wash at a high PSI first? I have a power washer that has up to 3,100 PSI capability. 
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    Summer · 06/10/2021
    I'm working to strip my deck and two things are happening that I have questions about... It's a cedar deck by the way. It turned red after I applied the stipper and it seems to be staying red. I haven't brightened it yet because I need to do another round of stripper today in some areas. Is the red normal? Will the brightener fix that? And second question, the deck boards are now fuzzy (I'm assuming from the pressure washer). I did some online searching and some people say to sand. And some people say it's fine to leave it and stain. What do you recommend? I'll be using the armstrong semi-transparent. Thank you!
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      Summer · 06/10/2021
      Here are photos:
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RAD Products · 06/10/2021
        1. It is normal as the stripper darkens or raises the pH balance. Brightener restores the color.2. You can stain it as is or lightly sand or buff off the fuzzies if you like.
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          Summer · 06/10/2021
          Also, I'm having a really hard time getting all the stain off around the knots. Is it imperative that every bit of stain comes off? I'm assuming the armstrong can't penetrate anywhere there's old stain... Thank you so much for your help!
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          Summer · 06/10/2021
          Thank you so much for your quick reply!! If I stain it as is, what will happen with the fuzzies?
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    Jessica · 06/02/2021
    I'm trying to strip and re-stain the pictured deck. I haven't lived here long and I don't know what was used previously. I've pressure washed and cleaned the deck at this point. Does it look like this was a solid stain that can't be removed with the RAD stripper? Thanks for your help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 06/02/2021
      You have a solid stain, it cannot be fully stripped.
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    Craig · 05/05/2021
    I am preparing to strip and brighten my Cedar pergola. Also I will be renting a sander to sand the Pressure Treated deck surface due to old deck coating from Menards that won't fully scrap off. What needs to be done to the surface after sanding. I plan to use RAD semi tranparent on everything. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 05/05/2021
      Clean and brighten all wood after sanding, only one coat of the stain on sanded wood.
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        Craig · 05/05/2021
        One other question. If I strip and brighten how long can I wait to stain assuming I want to try samples on prepped wood it would be a week or so before I would order and start staining. And lastly  I noticed RAD has solid stain. Will that hold up on my deck surface of pressure treated wood? Better or worse than semi transparent?
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          RAD Products · 05/05/2021
          Stain within two weeks is best. Solids tains will last about the same on a deck compared to the semi-transparent colors.
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    Frank · 05/03/2021
    Will RAD Stripper - with or without additives - remove Behr Deck Over (thick acrylic) from PT Pine deck boards. I'd like to strip>clean>brighten and restain with all RAD products.
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      RAD Products · 05/03/2021
      No stain stripper will remove Behr Deckover. You will have to sand it all off.
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        Frank · 05/03/2021
        Ouch! That's what my local contractor told me... I just wanted to confirm with the Pro's. Thanks for quick reply.
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    Mike · 03/14/2021
    Hello. We have a six year old, kiln dried treated pine deck that surrounds half of a chlorine pool. We used the Camo hidden screw system. I mention this because we almost immediately had serious cracking. The deck was installed in the fall and we had it stained in May of the following year. We used Sherwin Williams SuperDeck solid stain. The deck has needed to be re-stained every two years due to peeling. This year, I plan to switch to Defy Extreme solid (so I can color match the fence). My plan is to RAD strip off what I can and sand what remains. Since the deck will need to dry before sanding, can I apply the RAD whitener after sanding (which may be a couple of days after using the stripper)? Will this reduce the effect of the brightener? I wish that you have a color match option for your stains!
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    Jim · 10/29/2020
    I just purchased solid stain and stripper. I didn’t purchase brightner - is this a requirement or suggestion? Alternatives if I need to use a brightner for this weekend?

    BTW, thanks for the fast shipping and excellent packaging!
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      RAD Products · 10/30/2020
      The brightener should be used to neutralize the stripper. There are not alternatives locally that we know of.
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    Jeff · 10/23/2020
    I misapplied my sealer on my new deck, do I need brightener after stripping off sealer on new wood?
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    Lacy · 10/08/2020
    Do y’all sell a pump sprayer to use to apply the stripper?
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    Bob W · 09/26/2020
    Hello,
    I'm stripping a Mahogany Deck using RAD products and following your instructions carefully. After several attempts using either brush or Power-wash there always remains residual stain in the Wood’s fiber. Extensive sanding would be required to remove it and would also add substantial work, to say nothing of the damage to the wood. Incidentally, the repeated pressure washing is removing wood fiber.
    Your thoughts,
    Thanks,
    Bob W
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    Shannon T · 09/20/2020
    Hi, I have a 4 month old cedar deck which I cleaned with oxyclean and a scrub brush, rinsed, applied Thompson's Water sealer and after it dried, had a bunch of wood gray fuzzies where the sealer didn’t soak in- you recommended to “strip, brighten, and lightly buff the fuzzies and use RAD semi transparent stain” - I have a power washer and have ordered the RAD products. What I need to know is what do I use to “Lightly buff the fuzzies?”
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 09/20/2020
      Rent a floor buffer and buff with a sanding pad.
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    Mel Adams · 09/17/2020
    Is it possible to re-wet the deck and apply the brightener the day after using RAD stripper, rather than trying to keep the entire area wet throughout the entire stripping/brightening process?
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      RAD Products · 09/17/2020
      Yes, but for max results, brighten the same day as the stripping.
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    Franklin T. Whitaker · 09/01/2020
    Can I purchase only the stripper? I already have brightener.
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    Carolyn Howison · 08/31/2020
    Will Stripper remove splatter/spray residue left to dry on a soapstone counter after the person applying RAD Semi-Transparent in Natural failed to cover the countertop during application? Some dishware was on the counter at the time leaving perfect circles of dried stain along with the splatters everywhere. Tried mineral spirit soak and scrub to no avail. Will Stripper work or do I have to somehow grind down the countertop? This formerly glossy black countertop looks horrible now.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 08/31/2020
      It depends if it soaked in deep or not. Also, you will probably have to reseal the countertop after. Try a test spot and see if it removes it.
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    richard · 08/25/2020
    i just striped a deck and log home put 116 pro on the house rustic did part of the deck with cape cod gray dont like it how can i get it off thought it was the same semi trans
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    Janine Bay teske · 08/15/2020
    do i need to use the brighter immediately after stripping? I have not received the brightner yet and wanted to get started.
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    Carolyn · 08/11/2020
    Hi- The deck that we need to refinish is above a walkout basement and concrete patio. Does the patio need to be fully covered with plastic to prevent any damage from the stripper? Thanks!
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      Paul · 09/01/2020
      Yes I would if you don't want any on the concrete. Or you will need to pressure wash it before it dries good.
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    Dan · 07/31/2020
    Pictures of my cedar railing..
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    Dan · 07/31/2020
    My main deck and stairs are TREX, but by railings are cedar with aluminum posts. I want to clean, brighten, and stain the cedar railing ONLY. Can you tell me if the RAD stripper will harm either the TREX decking material, or the aluminum posts? Seems like it would be difficult to protect the TREX and all the posts. I don't want to strip any color from the TREX or the aluminum posts. Please advise.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/31/2020
      The prep will not harm the Trex but make sure to rinse well to remove any dirt, soap suds, etc.
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        Dan · 07/31/2020
        I'm glad to hear the prep will not harm the trex. HOWEVER, will the prep damage the painted aluminum posts? Do I need to protect them? I am planning to use the RAD stripper, and then the RAD Brightener.
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    Frank · 07/20/2020
    I stained my deck several years ago with TWP walnut stain. I was complacent in keeping up with the deck maintenance and now I’m in the precess of restoring my redwood deck. Some of the boards were damaged (by dogs), so I decided to reuse the damaged boards by turning them over as seen in the photo. I am going to stain using a lighter stain (TWP Honeytone). I have cleaned (pressure washed) the deck and now going to use RAD stripper and brightener to complete the deck prep. On my deck that is 300 sq. ft., what ratio should I use for each (stripper & brightener) for 300 sq. ft. as I don’t want to mix the whole lot and waste it, and do I need to make the stripper solution stronger since I will be removing a darker stain? Also, after proper mixing of each, can stripper and brightener be applied with a pressure washer using a low pressure nozzle? Last question, Is there any wait time between stripper and brightener application?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/21/2020
      Mix stripper at a normal ratio of 8 oz per gallon. Apply with a pump sprayer and pressure wash off after 15 minutes. Rinse well and apply the brightener right after with a pump sprayer. Do not apply products with a pressure washer.
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    Terry · 07/15/2020
    Hi, I inherited a deck that had Behr Semi Transparent waterproof stain put on it about 4 years ago, a lite beige color( it didn’t cover very well, it might have been put on too soon after deck was built). I bought the Restore a deck stripper and the additives and it has gotten most of it off but not all of it with the help of a pressure washer. It’s a 10’ x 24’ deck with railings. My question is if I don’t want to sand the rest off, after I apply the Brightener and wait a few days, can I just go over it with a darker semi transparent or a solid or should I put back what was on there, the Behr.

    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/15/2020
      If you cannot fully strip off then you will need to use the RAD Solid Stain to cover.
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        Terry · 07/15/2020
        Thank you for the quick reply. I hope you don’t mind answering a few more questions. I looked at your solid colors, what would you recommend to cover up the beige that would be remaining and the deck is 10’ x 24’ with 3ft high rails going around, how much stain? I thinking that’s probably between 350-400 square feet? Thank you. Oh also, can I do the rails with a Wagner sprayer if it’s a little diluted?
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          RAD Products · 07/15/2020
          4-6 Gallons of the solid stain. Any color you like. You cannot dilute it.
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    Joe G · 07/10/2020
    I plan to strip Sikkens oil semi trans stain from deck. See attached image. Question - in what order should I apply + sand. Stripper, brightener, sand (80 grit), and then stain? Or should I sand before brightener?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 07/10/2020
      Use both additives when suing stripper for this: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

      If you sand, do it after stripper and before brightening.
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        Joe G · 07/10/2020
        Thanks. so it is okay to let deck dry after strip / before brightener so I can spot sand?
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          RAD Products · 07/10/2020
          Yes.
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            joe g · 07/11/2020
            Also, I did some light power washing this morning (no cleaner just water) to see how/if it cleans up in prep for the stripper. There is heavy moss in some sections. Do I need to clean first or will stripper (plus additive) take care of this?
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    Corie · 06/30/2020
    We intend to use RAD stripper on our cedar deck (new last year and has one coat of Penofin). Do you sell the "scrub brush" for application? We do not use sprayers.
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      RAD Products · 06/30/2020
      Best to scray it on and then pressure wash off. Much easier.