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Strip and Brighten the Wood Deck

by The Sealer Store

Strip and Brighten? What is Best Prep?

When it comes to deck restoration and maintenance it is important to know that in order to get good results the wood must be prepped correctly. When a deck stain fails prematurely it can normally be associated with incorrect or lack of wood prep work prior to the stain being applied. Any research on deck restoration will reveal that you need to remove any old failing coatings prior to applying a new stain. You might see the words strip and brighten. So what is the best prep? Strip or brighten?

Actually, both are necessary to get good results. To explain, stripping or using a stain stripper is the method of using a stripping agent during the cleaning process. This is typically done with the aid of a pressure washer. A stripper will emulsify old coatings making them easier to remove with the washer. This will reveal bare clean wood, which will make the best surface possible for the new deck stain.

Stain stripper is caustic so it raises the pH level of the wood causing it to appear very dark. Leaving it in this condition and then staining it will not give you the best results. You will not get the greatest appearance and it will also jeopardize the performance of the stain. To combat this you need to use a wood brightener following the wood stripping process.

The brightener also called neutralizer, will help to lower the pH level of the wood making it more acidic. This will accomplish two things. It will brighten the wood bringing out its natural beauty and also give the stain a better surface to adhere to or to penetrate depending on the stain you use. So the best prep is to both strip and brighten. This will help give more professional-like results. The stain will then perform as expected and give you a longer lasting finish.

Important Note: Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper may not fully remove Solid Color Wood Stains, Paints, Varnishes, and Excessively Over-Applied Acrylic Semi-Transparent and Semi-Solid Coatings. To remove these deck and wood stain types, use the RAD Paint & Solid Stain Stripper

Need Help Stripping an Old Stain? Ask Below!

Do you Have a Difficult to Remove Coating?

Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper Additives

Restore-A-Deck Stripper
Use as Standalone (No Additional Additives Needed)
Where To Use
Horizontal & Vertical Surfaces for the below stain types. Examples: Deck Floors, most Deck Railings, etc.
Stain Types Removed
Most Penetrating Transparent & Semi-Transparent Oil-Based Stains.
Most Heavily Weathered Penetrating Transparent & Semi-Transparent Water-Based (Acrylic) Stains.
Most Clear Penetrating Sealers.
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Thickening Gel Additive
Thickening Gel & Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper
Where To Use
Vertical Surfaces for the below stain types. Examples: Wood Fences, Cedar & Log Homes, etc.
Stain Types Removed
Most Penetrating Transparent & Semi-Transparent Oil-Based Stains.
Most Heavily Weathered Penetrating Transparent & Semi-Transparent Water-Based (Acrylic) Stains.
Most Clear Penetrating Sealers.
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Thickening Gel & Booster
Use Both Additives with Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper
Where To Use
Decks, Wood Fences, Cedar & Log Homes and all Exterior Wood Surfaces for the below stain types.
Stain Types Removed
All Exterior Wood & Deck Stain Types in Columns 1 & 2.
Most Over-Applied Transparent & Semi-Transparent Oil & Water-Based (Acrylic) Stains.
Most Semi-Solid Oil-Based & Water-Based (Acrylic) Stains.
Important Note: Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper w/Addtives may not fully remove Solid Color Wood Stains, Paints, Varnishes, and "Excessively Over-Applied Acrylic" Semi-Transparent and Semi-Solid Coatings. To remove these coatings, use the RAD Paint & Solid Stain Stripper
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Pam Comer
Pam Comer
1 year ago

My painter stripper my deck with the RAD stripper. Not all stain was removed and he didn’t use the Brightener.  This was 3-4 weeks ago.  Is the stripper damaging my deck without the Brightener?
Thank you,
Pam

RAD Products
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  Pam Comer

Not damaged but still should be done. 

  AM
AM
1 year ago

Can I use this stripper on a Cedar deck? The reason for asking is the note at the back of the product that states:
     Product may darken cedar and redwood and raise the grain on
     some sogges of wood
If the cedar wood does darken after applying the stripper can this darkening be reversed with the brightener or is this darkening permanent? 

RAD Products
Admin
1 year ago
Reply to  AM

The RAD stripper raises the pH balance/darkens all wood when applied, that is why you must neutralize and restore the pH balance with the RAD Brightener after. 

JD
JD
1 year ago

Recommend prep?

JD
JD
1 year ago

Recommend prep? Previously stained with twp and 1 coat of another brand.

Avatar photo
2 years ago

I power-washed my 10 yr old Ipe deck.  I believe it had penofin on it previously, but it’s been a few years since last finished.  You can also see a less faded area where a carpet had been for the last year or so.  Do I need to strip, or just clean?  Suggestions?Thanks!

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to 

Clean and then brighten. 

Stu
Stu
2 years ago

Cleaner or stripper? Recently moved into a home that has a beautiful deck but it needs some TLC. I don’t know what has been used on it over the past 20+ years but there is a can of Behr in the basement. 

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Stu

For prep, use the Restore A Deck Stripper and then the Brightener.

Tom lang
Tom lang
2 years ago

Will RAD remove Sikkens semitransparent stain

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom lang

Which version? Pictures would help. Please post them here.

Tom lang
Tom lang
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Cetol SRD

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom lang

Pictures of the deck?

Te
Te
2 years ago

How soon do I need to neutralize the stripper with the brightener?  Can I wait for a few days in between? Thanks.

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Te

Same day is best.

Marilyn
Marilyn
2 years ago

I asked a question on 6/1/21 and I would love to have some guidance from you on how best to do our deck.  Thank you!

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Marilyn

See below. Thanks

Marilyn
Marilyn
2 years ago

We need to address our deck.  It’s 3 summers old. This was new cedar that was cleaned and stained with Restore A Deck. Not sure if I need to use cleaner or stripper prior to the brightener then stain.  And, just checking, all three steps necessary?  Thank you

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Marilyn

Cleaner and then brightener and then stain. No need to strip.

Karen Matluck
Karen Matluck
2 years ago

Do I need to sand the deck?if so in what order? Stripper>sander> brightener?

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Karen Matluck

You may need to sand some if you cannot strip it all off. You would do this after stripping and prior to the brightener.

CM
CM
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

You need to wait for the wood to dry fully before sanding, correct?

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  CM

Correct.

Karen Matluck
Karen Matluck
2 years ago

Here’s pictures of my current deck. Prior owners used bear semi transparent stain

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Karen Matluck

Use the RAD Stripper with both additives while pressure washing:https://www.restore-a-deck.com/rad-stain-stripper-additives.html

Brighener after. 

Karen Matluck
Karen Matluck
2 years ago

My deck was stained with Behr premium semi transparent waterproofing stain & sealer. I want to redo with RAD.  What RAD product should I use to strip and brighten before staining 

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  Karen Matluck

Please post a picture of current condition here in comment area.

RAD Products
Admin
2 years ago
Reply to  RAD Products

Post pictures in comment area. Thanks

Fred
Fred
4 years ago

How do i figure out it i need the stripper additive?

RAD Products
Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Fred

Depends on what brand and type of stain you are removing? Pictures would help as well.

Shelley
Shelley
4 years ago

Can you apply stripper with a brush?

RAD Products
Admin
4 years ago
Reply to  Shelley

No. Pump type sprayer is best.

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