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Restore-A-Deck Cleaner System Review

Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Kit

Restore-A-Deck Cleaner Kit

Restore-A-Deck is the only product on the market that offers both a Step 1 Deck Cleaner and a Step 2 Deck Brightener in the same kit. Restore-A-Deck comes in a powdered concentrated formula. Each 2 lb container makes 5 liquid gallons. Simply pour each into a five gallon container and add water to dissolve the powder concentrate.

Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Scores (1-10)

Removal of Graying, Dirt, Grime: 9

- The Restore-A-Deck Step 1 Deck Cleaner did very well at removing general dirt and grime. The deep cleaning formula made it easy to break down the gray wood cells. All mold was removed as well. The Step 1 Deck Cleaner did not remove some rust stains from the furniture but the Step 2 Brightener did.

Cost Per Square Foot: 10

- The best on the market today. Cost to clean and brighten an average 600 square foot deck is less then $.07 a foot. Since Restore-A-Deck comes in a powder we liked that you only needed to mix as much as you needed. Very little waste.

Removal of Old Stain: N/A

- RAD products are designed to clean, not remove old deck stains. We would presume that they would remove a deck stain if the stain has deteriorated drastically.

Ease of Application: 8

- RAD does not come in a liquid. You need to measure 6 oz per gallon of water of mix the entire 2 lb. container into a 5 gallons of water. This product does apply easily with a garden pump sprayer. We needed to make sure to mix at the correct dosage otherwise the powder did not completely dissolve. Testing was done with both scrubbing and pressure washing. Both worked well. Step 2 brightener does not need to be scrubbed, just rinsed with water after 10 minutes.

Final Appearance of Cleaning: 9

- The IPE wood deck looked brand new after cleaning and drying for 2 days. We would have given this a score of 10 if it was not for a couple of minor water spots that did not come out. These spots looked to be from planter boxes.

Overall Score for Restore-A-Deck Cleaner: 9

- Restore-A-Deck makes a great and economical product for reviving your deck to like new condition. We really like that kits contained both the cleaner and brightener. This was easier then buying the products separately.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Restore A Deck
Product Type: Powdered Concentrate. Kit contains Step 1 Deck Cleaner and Step 2 Deck Brightener
Available Sizes: 2 Pound Container Makes 5 Liquid Gallons
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coverage Per Gallon: 100-200 sq. ft
Application Tools: Scrub Brush, Pump Sprayer

Test Deck Stats:

When Tested: June 2008
Deck Wood Type: IPE Exotic Hardwood
Deck Square Footage: 500
Condition of Deck: Heavily grayed with mold/mildew. No previous stain
How Much Product Used:
RAD 300 Kit. Retails for $39.99

*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

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Average Ratings Score From Consumers Who Have Used Product 


156 Responses to “Restore-A-Deck Cleaner System Review”

  1. bhh says:

    I am in the process of installing a new Cumaru (Brazilian Teak) deck which will be finished with Ipe Oil. I've been doing a bit of research but would you recommend the RAD cleaner or the cleaner + brightener for this application prior to oiling?

  2. Bob Boggus says:

    I have a 1 1/2 old IPE deck. I am getting ready to apply the RAD cleaner and brighter. I would like to keep the natural color of the IPE after cleaning. Do you recommend a sealer? And how long after the RAD application should I wait to proceed with the sealer?

    • Bob, all IPE stains will enhance the natural color of the IPE. Clear sealers that do not change the color will not stop or prevent UV graying. Most use a stain such as IPE Oil or Messmers Hardwood Stain.

  3. Kevin says:

    The TWP 1500 product info on your site says it requires 2 coats, and the Armstrong Clark stain info states only requires one. Is there a difference (other than twice the cost)?

    • Deck Stain Help says:

      Kevin, as contractors we find both products are about the same when it comes to coats needed. They are both 1-2 coats depending on the porosity of the wood or age. We apply the AC with a wet on wet application for best results. This is more like 1.5 coats as the second coat will spread twice as far as the first coat.

  4. Kevin says:

    Meant to ask – does this web site have any financial relationship with any of the products that you recommend? Had to ask…

  5. Kevin says:

    Does the deck have to be completely dry to apply TWP 1500?

  6. [...] Important Note: This is our 2nd Review of the Restore A Deck Kits. See Here for First Review: Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kit [...]

  7. Eric says:

    Great website I have to say. Very knowledgeable and very helpful. One question I have about this page is, it looks like the product RAD was tested on a deck back in 2008 for this post. You have it ranked number one cleaner in your opinion. Its been 5-6 years now and I was wondering if you have used the product recently and if it would still be your number one cleaner of choice. Thanks for all the advice on your site!!

  8. Larry Moss says:

    I was just reading the RAD website and it said that the brightener " would not remove the gray from wood". Is the only reason for the brightener to equalize the wood for staining? I don't have a lot of old stain "cabot semi trans" on the deck but I am stripping anyway. Do I really need to strip the rest or will RAD 2 step match what I have stripped? If I don't strip the rest will I end up with a 2 tone deck? Currently using woodmans stripper and brightener. Stripper seems fine but not sure about the brightener. 10 year old deck and getting "frustrated"

    • Larry, the brightener neutralizes the cleaner or stripper and lightens the color of the wood as well. You need to strip all so the wood looks even. Brightening is very easy.

  9. Rob says:

    I am preparing my 8 month old covered cedar deck for staining with Armstrong Clark and have a couple of questions. I purchased the RAD kit for cleaning/brightening.

    1. Is it best to pre-soak the cedar with water prior to applying the cleaner solution, or do I just spray the cleaner on the dry wood?
    2. Once the cleaner is thoroughly removed with the pressure washer, should the brightener be used right away, or can it be done the next day?

    Thanks for all the help!

  10. Rob says:

    So, I cleaned and brightened my screen room/deck this weekend. The cedar ceiling and walls were a breeze, but the portions of the floor that had grayed slightly and the stairs, which were quite gray, were much more difficult. I am pretty happy with the final result, but it took a lot of pressure washing to remove the gray. I could not believe how much wood pulp was created by the process. I got a bit impatient in some areas, which resulted in some grooved wood (pressure washer damage). I will do a light sand with 60 grit orbital to get rid of the fuzzies. Do you have any suggestions to fix the deeper groves I made with the pressure washer? If I sand them out, do I need to brighten again before staining? Thanks again for the help!

  11. Justin says:

    I'm prepping my 5 year old cedar deck for TWP 100, floor has two coats of Pittsburgh Paints Ultra Advance clear waterproofing sealant/toner (50/50 mix). For the most part the stain has worn evenly (exception is portion where stairs start), do I need to user a stripper/brightener or cleaner/brightener before applying the TWP? Thanks for your help.

  12. Steve says:

    I have a 1 year old cedar privacy fence that has really started to grey. The back of the yard portion of the fence was not put in by me and is 16 years old and completely dark grey, but surprisingly still pretty solid. I 'm planning on staining the 1 year old portion with Armstrong Clark. Will the restore-a-deck and brightner bring my 1 year old portions back to like new? Is there any chance it will remove the grey from the old back portion so it can be stained as well or should I just concentrate on the new fence? I do have a power washer as well.
    Thank you, Steve

  13. Mike says:

    I have a cedar deck with a under deck water proof system made of galvanized steel corrugated sheet and aluminum gutter. The deck was stained with a Cabot Semi Solid Stain and starting to wear off. Is it OK to use the RAD stripper and brightener on my deck? If not what do you recommend?



  14. DanMan says:

    This might be off-topic, but I see a few questions about staining cedar. I was under the impression that oil promoted mold growth – yet I see you recommending Cabot ATO for cedar to some readers. I have an Ipe deck, but with cedar posts and a rough-hewn cedar fascia. The deck is only three years old, but both the initial staining and the second treatment (about a year ago) were both done with Cabot Australian Timber Oil – not just for the Ipe, but for the cedar as well. The cedar is very mildew stained – and my deck is in bright sun, almost no shade until after 6pm, southern exposure in Georgia. It's a merciless frying pan out there, and still the cedar is very discolored from mold. I've been assuming that after I clean it (I've now tried OxyClean and Behr All-in-One Wood Cleaner to almost no effect), I'll start over with a water-based stain on the cedar (and Ipe Oil on the Ipe, per your site's excellent review). Am I wrong in assuming that Timber Oil on cedar (or anything oil-based) is a yummy environment for mold, even in direct sun?

    • We do not suggest the Cabot ATO but a different product called Wood rich Timber Oil. Not the same and does not promote mold like the Cabot. TWP or Defy Extreme will do the best for mold prevention.

  15. Mike says:

    I have a cedar deck with a under deck water proof system made of galvanized steel corrugated sheet and aluminum gutter. The deck was stained with a Cabot Semi Solid Stain and starting to wear off. Is it OK to use the RAD stripper and brightener on my deck? If not what do you recommend?

    PS. I am unable to register to your site. I can input my information but I do not get your response email to click on the link to complete the registration process.

  16. Susiejo says:

    Are Gemini Restore-A-Deck and Restore-A-Deck the same products / same manufacturer?
    I tried to order the Gemini RAD but it cannot be shipped to PA (VOC regulations).
    What cleaner/brightener do you recommend for PA and where can I buy it?

  17. Tanya says:

    How should I apply Restore-A-Deck cleaner and brightener to a pergola? We built a pergola last year, and now it's time to stain it. But I don't know how to "leave a cleaner on the surface for 10 min" if the surface is vertical or upside-down… It won't stay there.
    Help me please!

  18. Dave says:

    I have a deck in Orange County, California that is partially located over an artificial lake. The deck was last stained approximately nine years ago with, as I remember, a Cabot solid stain. There is still a little color left although now the wood grain clearly shows through. I am planning on using an Armstrong Clark semi solid stain and actually talked to Jake Clark last week who was most accommodating. Question is, since I am over water, I assume I would not be able to use the RAD stripper, but that the RAD cleaner and brightener would be OK. Is my assumption correct. Also 7 or 8 of the 20 foot pressure treated douglas fir boards will have to be replaced. Should the deck be sanded before or after using the RAD cleaner and brightener? Regarding the new boards, again since most but not all will be over water, I assume the underside should sealed first before replacement, should it be with the Armstrong Clark or would some other product be preferable. I will be using a contractor. Thanks for your help. Great site!

    • If you have a solid stain than you cannot use a semi-solid stain over it. You would need to remove the solid stain first and stripping will not it effectively so you will need to sand it off. Once off then you would need to the RAD Deck Cleaner and Brightener kit and it is okay over water. Replace wood, sand, clean, brighten, and stain in the order.

  19. Josh says:

    I have a year old deck. Being a rookie at this I power washed the deck just water to clean it. I found this site after the power wash. I'm wondering if I should re-wash with the Restore a Deck or similar product. The cleaning looks ok, I think a re-wash would be better but I don't want to keep power washing. I have an entry level power wash. Thoughts?

  20. Jim says:

    Thanks for all the great info. After a lot of reading I've decided to stain my new Eastern White Cedar deck with AC semi-trans Amber. The deck has been sitting untreated for a year and I've just completed the RAD two steps. While the wood was wet it looked great. Now that it's dry it looks blotchy with white patches here and there, mostly around knots and such but also in some of the wood grain. (May have pressure washed a little too hard) Could this be the result of not rinsing the brightener off enough? I'm at a loss. I used the gentler fan attachment on a 1900 psi power washer to rinse the deck. Should I try and rinse a little harder? Or, if it looked great while wet, will it all turn out okay if I go ahead and stain? My weather window is closing.
    Thanks in advance.

    • When wood is oxidizing for a year you will get a heavy layer of wood cells that need to be removed first. Try rewashing with water only and get slightly closer to the wood. The Amber stain will give a look similar to a wet look so the white areas will not show when stained.

  21. bill smith says:

    I just had my fence stained with Behr premium semi transparent cedar stain. As was stated in a previous comment, it was a pumpkin color. This was just done on 10/7. I want to know would it be better to try removing it now or wait until spring or does it not matter? also, will it retain it's waterproofing to some degree or need to be redone?

    • Spring would be better but either way Behr is hard to remove and even more so when it is on a vertical fence. Behr is a filming acrylic stain and these stain types are almost as hard to remove as a solid stain. You will need multiple applications of a stain stripper and pressure washing to remove. Sorry but there is no easy way to fix this.

  22. Jim says:

    We have a composite deck that was damaged by a subcontractor who spilled a tub reglaze paint over several boards. We spoke with a Messmer's technical expert (because we intend to restain with one of their composite deck stains) who recommended we clean the deck with an oxygenated bleach cleaner. We are going to use Restore-A-Deck based on this site's recommendations, but I have 2 questions:

    1) Restore a Deck says the cleaner won't remove paint. What do you know about using their stripper on a composite deck? Our composite deck is unusual in that it does NOT have an external plastic coating covering the material

    2) Can we use the Restore a Deck brightener on our composite wood in addition to the cleaner?

    Any expert input you can provide would be most welcome! Thanks!

    • 1. No deck stain stripper we have ever used will remove paint. I doubt it will work for you.
      2. Brighteners will have no affect on composite wood.

      You probably need more of a commercial paint stripper for this. Do a test spot first to make sure it does not have a reaction with the composite.

  23. Corey W says:

    Hello. This site is great. I purchased RAD stripper and brightener to refinish my redwood deck in New Mexico. The deck is well, well overdue for maintenance. I have stripped a majority of what was left of the Sikkens stain that was on the deck but the deck will need to be sanded pretty badly. There is also some discoloration and what looks like a bit of mold. The high traffic areas are really difficult to strip and will definitely need sanding. Now, should I strip, sand and then use a cleaner for the darker areas on the wood? Or should I use the cleaner, then sand and then use the brightener? Thanks for your help!

  24. CaliGuest says:

    Will this work well to clean and prep 2,000 sq feet of redwood fencing? I am looking to stain the fence with TWP 1500 California Redwood. The fence is a year old, and has not been stained or painted previously. I am in northern California, so we have rainy winters but hot and sunny summers. Are there better cleaners or longer lasting redwood fence stains?

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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.