When to use Restore-A-Deck Stripper vs. Restore-A-Deck Cleaner

One of the keys to having a beautiful, healthy stained wood deck is regular maintenance. Putting in the time and effort to regularly prep and stain your deck with high-quality products such as Restore-A-Deck will make enhance your deck for years to come.

The first step in the wood staining process is to prep a wood surface by applying either Restore-A-Deck Cleaner or Restore-A-Deck Stripper to the wood surface. How do you know when to use a wood cleaner or a wood stripper? Here are some guidelines to determine which formula is right for your situation.

Restore-A-Deck wood cleaner is ideal for prepping an old or new wood surface that has no stain that needs to be removed. The cleaner breaks down dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and mill glaze to make it easier to remove when scrubbed or power washed. It washes the wood to reveal a smooth, even surface ideal for staining. The Restore-A-Deck Cleaner is also excellent for “Maintenance” coats or prepping for applying the same brand and type of stain that was used previously.

Oftentimes, wood decks will have peeling or discolored stain already on it that you wish to remove for proper application of a new stain. This is when it is recommended you use Restore-A-Deck Stripper. The wood stripper has an aggressive caustic formula that emulsifies and breaks down most deck stains so they can be easily removed when scrubbed or power washed. The stripper also removes all of the dirt, grime, mold, mildew, and mill glaze that would have been removed by using a cleaner, so it is recommended to use either Restore-A-Deck Cleaner or Restore-A-Deck Stripper, not both of them.

Sometimes, it is hard to tell if a deck already has stain or sealers on it. When you are uncertain, splash some water on the wood surface. If the water beads up, there may be an old stain that is present on the wood surface. If the water absorbs into the wood quickly, there is little or no wood stain on the surface.

Follow either Restore-A-Deck Cleaner or Restore-A-Deck Stripper with Restore-A-Deck Brightener. The Brightener will restore the wood surface to its original color, neutralize the pH, and open the wood pores, revealing an ideal surface perfect for the stain.

Any questions? Please ask below!

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    Daron · 04/24/2019
    Hi there! New to this whole process, and want to stain the deck at my house.

    The deck is redwood and 30 years old, mostly shaded with limited rain/mostly good weather (I live in the Bay Area, CA).

    Questions if you dont mind:
    1. Should I use a stripper or cleaner here?
    2. Based on others recommendations, I’m leaning towards TWP1500- is this a good choice for my case?
    3. Is it best to power wash lightly, then strip/clean, the brighten, and stain two coats after wood dries?

    Advance thanks! (See photos)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/24/2019
      1. You have a solid stain. You will need to sand this off fully.
      2. Once you fully remove the current stain, the TWP 1500 is the right choice for CA.
      3. Sand all first, clean and brighten, then two coats of stain.
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    Doug · 04/06/2019
    I just bought your stripper. I have a deck that has many coats of old stain. By far, this has been the best stripper I have used. Question: If I use your stripper, does it matter which of a cleaner or brightener I use afterwards? Or should I use both (hopefully not, thats a lot of work)? Thanks.
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      RAD Products · 04/06/2019
      You need to use the Brightener after the stripping. No need to use the cleaner.
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    Logan · 03/30/2019
    The previous homeowner stained our deck with Behr semi-transparent stain. Based on the attached images, can you tell us whether RAD stripper or cleaner is more appropriate?

    Thank you!
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    Theresa · 03/23/2019
    Is the cleaner safe on grass and plants? I plan to use it on my fence and live in an urban area. I’m concerned the cleaner might damage my neighbors lawn or flowers.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 03/24/2019
      It is eco-safe but make sure to rinse any soap residue and dirt from the plants when done.
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    Theresa · 03/23/2019
    Plants
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    Betty · 10/24/2018
    My house is Hardy Board, will the deck stripper damage it.
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      RAD Products · 10/25/2018
      It shouldn't but always pre-wet first and rinse right away any over spray of the stripper.
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    Betty · 10/23/2018
    i put Behr semi transparent stain on my deck 4 years ago, it is peeling terrible. It peels up when I wash it with the hose. Will restore stripper remove the stain? It is not oil base. I will never put anything but oil if I can get this off.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 10/24/2018
      Behr is one of the most difficult finishes to strip. The RAD stripper will work but you may need to strip it a few times to get it all off.
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    Liz · 09/06/2018
    I cleaned and brightened my cedar deck three weeks ago but haven't been able to stain it because we've had nearly constant rain ever since. RAD Package instructions state that stain needs to be applied within two weeks. I've now got a week of dry weather ahead to finally get it done. Do I need to both clean and brighten again, or only brighten?
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      RAD Products · 09/06/2018
      Lightly wash the deck with water. You should be okay to stain then.
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    David · 04/27/2018
    I have a newer deck that has not been stained yet 2 years old out of PT wood
    but I have railings above the new deck boards that had been stained prior with a oil based stain (SW) do I need to do anything prior to protect the base non stained deck - like spray with water. Wash rails with stripper then wash deck and rails with cleaner? Then do the whole thing in brightner?


    thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/28/2018
      What type of stain is on the railings? Can you post a picture? Need to make sure it can be stripped off.

      You do not have to protect the flooring. Assuming the SW can be stripped, your steps are correct.
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        David · 04/28/2018
        It’s a sherwin Williams deskscape waterborne stain
        maybe 6 years old
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          RAD Products · 04/28/2018
          Type? Solid stain, semi-transparent, etc. Please post a picture.
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            David · 04/28/2018
            It's a semi transparent stain custom mix
            I have tried loading pictures but not sure working
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              RAD Products · 04/28/2018
              We posted the pictures for you. Did you receive an error when uploading? What browser are you using?
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                RAD Products · 04/28/2018
                This mix means it is an acrylic latex filming stain. Based on the pictures and type, it may be difficult to fully strip off. Use the Restore A Deck Stripper for this but you may need to sand some after to fully remove.
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    Joe · 04/26/2018
    I have read that your Restore-A-Deck cleaner can be applied with a garden sprayer, then simply washed off with a hose. No scrubbing or pressure washing is needed. Can you comment? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      RAD Products · 04/26/2018
      Sorry, but no that is not true. You have to scrub or pressure wash after applying the cleaner.