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New Redwood Deck Staining Tips

New Redwood Deck Stain

New Redwood Deck

New Redwood Deck Staining Help and Tips

The natural beauty of redwood can make for a gorgeous deck that any homeowner would be proud of. Redwood is not as readily available as other types of wood, which makes it more expensive. But the cost can be justified by the beauty and longevity of the wood. A redwood deck can last for many years.

Although redwood is naturally resistant to decay, it can still be damaged by wet and dry conditions, constant moisture, and freezing/thawing in colder climates. A redwood deck should be cleaned and protected with a weather resistant stain every year or so.

For help with a new redwood deck, allow the wood to weather for a few months to let the oils dry out (rough sawn wood can be finished right after installation). Prepare the surface with a quality wood cleaner and wood brightener. A two part cleaning system like Restore-A-Deck works well. Use the wood cleaner and a brush or pressure washer to remove any dirt and mill glaze from the surface. Use the wood brightener to further prepare the wood for new stain.

If necessary, you can sand the wood once it dries to remove any remaining mill glaze that may hinder stain penetration. On new smooth redwood, sanding will also help soften the surface for better stain absorption although this step is not necessary.

Use a deck stain recommended for redwood. A semi-transparent penetrating deck stain is ideal. This type of stain will enhance the redwood’s natural beauty and eliminate weathering. When staining redwood, it is important to only apply as much stain as the wood can handle. If stain is not absorbed within 10-15 minutes, wipe the excess off the surface.

Apply stain to the entire length of each board before moving to the next to eliminate lap marks. Start with the deck railings, then the deck floor, and any steps lastly. Always follow the staining instructions on the label, as most stain brands will apply differently from each other.

These tips will help with a new redwood deck. Keep in mind that regular maintenance is the key to a long lasting deck that your family can enjoy for many years.

Ask Questions Below on Staining New Redwood Decking

48 responses to “New Redwood Deck Staining Tips”

  1. Rocky Mtn Proud says:

    I have a new redwood deck in the mountains of Colorado (think dry climate, cold winters, occasional rain showers on summer afternoons, not much mold). I want to retain (or enhance) the natural appearance of the redwood as much as possible. After reading a lot of online info and reviews, it seems to make sense to wait a couple of months, then clean the newly installed redwood before applying an oil based stain/preservative with minimal pigmentation. I expect to need to reapply the oil based product about yearly. Please confirm that I am on the right track….and most important, please suggest the best product to use for the cleaning and for the staining/preserving! Appreciate your help!

  2. Bella says:

    We live in Northern California and finally finished our deck with new redwood just last weekend. My husband is anxious to get it stained before it gets too cold and wet. Also, it is pretty much in full sun from 11-4 in the afternoon and he thinks it will dry too fast and crack. Snow is not heavy here, but we can get a few inches 1-2 x each winter. Should we hold off or proceed with cleaning and staining within the next week? Thanks much!

  3. Pat Doolan says:

    I am trying to find out if con common redwood can be stained with a semi solid stain to hide the sap wood and be made to appear similar to that of a stained con heart deck. Con heart is about 30-40% more expensive than common. Also if I let the con common deck age for 6-12 months will the sap wood start to darken and blend with the heartwood? Which stains would you recommend for this purpose? Thanks for your advice in advance.

  4. Pat Doolan says:

    Follow-up question: Is it worth the extra money to purchase con heart over con common to build a deck?

  5. Mark says:

    I used Thompson's water seal on a new redwood deck about 16 months ago. As we've found out, Thompson's isn't very high quality. We want to use a better sealant; do we need to strip the Thompson's after 16 months? Or is cleaning and resealing enough? Do you recommend any specific products or procedures?

    • You should remove it so the new coating will penetrate into the wood grain. Use the Restore A Deck stripper and pressure wash to remove. Apply their wood brightener to neutralize. Try Armstrong Clark stain in Sierra Redwood color.

  6. Roz says:

    Brand new redwood deck, southern exposure full sun, northern California, wish to maintain beautiful deck color. How and what sealant to choose?

  7. Adam B says:

    I'm building a planter box bench out of redwood 2×6's. I just got the lumber home from the mill. After jointing ,making all my cuts and drilling the kreg jig holes I want to give the wood a coat of stain before assembly. Is this a problem because the wood is so fresh? I understand I will need to put additional coats on in a few months as well. If it is OK to stain the wood be for assembly what steps should I take to prepaid the wood before I apply the stain? Additionally should I apply the stain with a cloth or a brush? Thank you so much for your help

  8. Chuck says:

    We have a 43 year old deck made of California Redwood. Because the framework and building had rot issues I had to rebuild 75% of the support structure so I had to remove all the Redwood deck boards. I have planed all the deck boards to remove the top layer of softness from decades of weathering. Now they are back to their original beautiful rich red color and I would like to preserve this color when I reinstall them.
    In reading online and talking to paint department personnel I've heard that clear or transparent treatments have the worst durability and I'll be re-coating them in a couple of years. I've also read that you shouldn't use an oil-based treatment on Redwood because they aren't very mildew and mold resistant. The deck doesn't get a lot of sun exposure so this is a concern. Also, the deck boards have been stored inside for 2 years so they are nice and dry. Is there a product you can recommend that will meet both of my wishes – preserve the original Redwood color (or color it very slightly) and give me maximum durability? Thanks for your help!

    • Nothing will last more then 2-3 years on a deck surface. In addition, lighter colors/pigments will fade quicker then a darker color. For example a clear will last a few months before it grays. A transparent will last about 9-18 months. Semi-trans a little longer, etc. Many oil based stain will prevent mold by adding mildewcides. Some work better then others. Look at the TWP stains.

  9. Hollie says:

    My contractor just built us a redwood deck, problem is he "stained" it with a colored acrylic "stain." Needless to say it isn't what we wanted and defeats the whole purpose of using redwood. Is there any way to remove this acrylic without ruining the redwood?!

  10. Ken says:

    What happens if you use a wood penetrating oil, such as Penofin, without the stain?

  11. Morgan says:

    We are installing a new redwood deck. We had the boards delivered and then it rained while they say on the driveway. We covered them some, but some of the are quite heavier than others so I assume they retained a bit of moisture. I have them laid out in the garage now as it is supposed to rain again tonight and I am hoping to install next week. If it is in the 80s for a few days will it be ready to install?
    Also, my dad who is a relatively seasoned wood worker tells me to stain the sides and bottoms of the boards before installing, but reading here makes me think we should install and then wait to rain for a few weeks. The wood will absorb water and doesn't feel like it has wax from the mill. Please help with advice on how to stain and seal. We have purchased a semi-transparent stain and clear sealer from Sherwin Williams (Super Deck I think) I just don know when and how to apply to best take care of the deck. It is mostly shaded, but we are supposed to have a wet winter coming soon. Thanks in advance.

  12. Sang says:

    I made a shower stall with 2×6 inch redwood and I did not stain the wood. I used the stool while showering. I noticed shower pan is covered with dark brown stain next morning. I figured it came from the redwood stall. I soaked the stool in water over night and saw water is dark brown.
    How do I get rid of the stain coming from the redwood?

  13. Ron says:

    I live in San Francisco. I had my old deck replaced with kiln dried Redwood (Clear Aye S4S). Lumber salesperson suggested sealing immediately after installation with Penefin Ultra Premium Transparent clear penetrating oil. However, since the deck is not at all shaded I think I should use something that will provide more UV protection.
    2 questions: What product would be recommended to keep the natural color of the wood?
    How soon can I apply that product?
    Thanks for all the helpful information!

  14. eddy watkins says:

    which is best, stain before sealant or seal first then stain

  15. Jen says:

    We had a redwood fence and planter boxes installed about 6 months ago. The wood has darkened and parks have mildew on it. Is there any way to get the original look back? We never sealed it. What sealant or stain should we use?
    We live in San Francisco and it's been rainy here recently. How long should I wait after the rain to treat the wood? Thanks for for help in advance!

    • Prep with a good deck cleaner and wood brightener to restore color. Using a semi-transparent stain will help retain color. Try Armstrong clark or Defy Extreme. Let it dry for a few days after rain.

  16. Dave says:

    I am trying to match in color my old existing redwood conhart wood on my deck to the new conhart wood. Any suggestions? Thanks

  17. Alex says:

    Should I stain first or build fence and then stain?

    • Mike says:

      Stain then build. Lapped over portions of posts and fence boards have some protection since moisture will be trapped between the boards. If you have to make end cuts during build, stain then as you go along.

  18. Kathy Hill says:

    Do you seal the sides and bottoms becore installing green redwood decking? I understand drying out before staining but it isn't clear what to do with the other 4 sides.

  19. Pamela Thurston says:

    We have a 300 sq ft redwood deck in Utah and have tried numerous products that were told to us they were the best. (surface coat type). they have peeled from the heat but fine during winter. We are going to power wash this beautiful deck and start over. What do you suggest for snow, rain and high temp weather for staining???

  20. Shireen says:

    I have real redwood panels on all interior walls and ceilings. It has aged and is very dark. Will a colored translucent work to add color and lighten it up or will I have to just paint it? Home depot said it is probably too dark for a translucent to show any effect.

  21. Ann says:

    My deck contractor told me to stain the deck as soon as possible, it's redwood, but every article and manufacturer's comments say to let it season, so why would he recommend I stain asap? I wanted another opinion before I start staining my brand new deck!

  22. Hector says:

    I had 1/3 of my new redwood deck installed about 45 days ago but not stained yet since I needed more money and time to complete the other 2/3rds. Now that I completed it, the one side that was done 45 days ago got slightly faded or dried out by the sun and looks a lighter color now. Do I need to sand the faded one to match other one prior to staining entire deck? Or should I wait another 45 days to make the Newley side one fade to match other one?

  23. Betsy says:

    I have a new rewood deck and overhang next to a grey shingle house. It there a way to soften the redness but keep the grain so it doesnt look so atrong?

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.