How to Restore Your Deck all in One Day 5/5 (6)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

Restore Your Deck all in One Day

Restore Your Deck all in One Day

Tips on Restoring Your Deck in One Day

In recent years there have been a few new deck and wood stains coming to the market that allow the ability to prep and stain your deck all on the same day. As contractors in the deck restoration business, this allows us to save money and more importantly time by completing everything on the same day. No need to wait days or even weeks for the wood to dry or the rainy weather to cooperate. This frees up a lot of time for the average homeowner as the task of redoing the deck or exterior wood does not take up multiple weekends.

Here are the 3 basic restoration steps on prepping and staining your deck on the same day.

Step 1:  Choose a Deck Cleaner or Deck Stain Stripper?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing a cleaner or stripper.  Is your wood new or old? Does the wood have a stain on it already?  If so, do you know what type of stain they previously used on the wood? Is the stain water-based or oil-based?  What is the brand?   Are you happy with the stain and color that is already on the wood?  These questions above will help you decide between the cleaner or stripper.  The description of each product will help you narrow down what best suits your project.

There are two options for the initial prep, a Deck Cleaner or a Deck Stain Stripper

Deck Cleaner

The deck cleaner is just that, a cleaner. The cleaner will remove dirt, grime mold, and mildew. A cleaner can be used on any new wood and old wood.  Deck cleaners can also be used on decks with stain already on it and you are recoating with the exact same brand and color of the stain. Deck cleaners are not formulated to remove existing deck stains, that job is for the deck stripper.  Cleaners are a milder detergent, so it will clean without harming wood fibers, pets, grass, and most plants.  After the deck is cleaned and rinsed you are ready to go onto step 2.  Depending on the brand you choose, step 2 will be called either a brightener or neutralizer.

Deck Stripper

The deck stripper is what you would choose if you are wanting to remove an old stain coating.  Stripper quickly and efficiently removes a variety of finishes.  Some examples are oil, water, latex-based finishes including clear sealers, transparent stains, and semi-transparent stains.  On top of removing stains, it also takes off dirt, mold, mildew, and mill glaze.  Since this product is a strong chemical, it is best to keep surrounding plants and grass wet and rinsed or even cover objects you don’t want the stripper to get on.  Keep children and pets away from the stripper also.  Spray the stripper on also with a pump sprayer and let it sit for about 20 minutes.  After the dwell time, use a pressure washer to remove. You may have to do this process a few times to get the stain off properly.  If you are unable to remove 100% of the old stain with the stripper you will have to sand those hard to remove areas. Use sanding paper that is not finer than 80 grit. After that is complete proceed to Step 2, which is called brightener or neutralizer depending on which brand you choose.

Step 2:  Wood Brightener/Neutralizer

After completing Step 1 with either the cleaner or stripper, you will begin step 2, which is using the brightener or neutralizer (depending on which brand you pick).  Brightener is used to neutralize the PH balance of the wood which allows for a proper application of the wood stain.  The brightener gives your wood surfaces a clean looking finish that will get you ready for your 3rd step which is staining.  You will apply the brightener with a pump sprayer, allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off for 20 minutes with a garden hose or a light pressure wash.  Next will be your 3rd Step which is finding a deck stain that can be used for the damp wood application.

Step 3: Staining the Same day as the Prep

The key to staining on the same day as prep is to allow all the visible water to dry off the deck. It can be applied to damp wood to the touch not soaking wet wood. Make sure that when applying you only apply as much stain as the wood can absorb. Do not over apply a semi-transparent deck stain.

Deck After Prep

Damp Deck After Prep

Deck Prep and Stain in One Day

Deck Prep and Stain in One Day

Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain is the best stain we have tested can be applied to dry or damp wood, saving you a tremendous amount of time. The RAD Wood stain actually easier and soaks in better when the wood is damp. We have started to use the stain on a more consistent due to its overall performance and time savings.

The other brand of stain that allows damp wood application is The BEHR Premium Quick Dry Oil Base Wood Finish. We did not have good results with this product and you can read our review here: BEHR Premium Quick Dry Oil Base Wood Finish. You can also read other consumer reviews on the HD site where it is rated poorly as well.

Please ask any questions you have below.

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J Fuqua
J Fuqua

We have a new pressure treated ground contact wooden dock. It was built last October. It is in the direct sun most of the day and is located in the southern part of Alabama. What cleaner do you recommend? Do we need to use a brighter? We are totally confused about which stain and sealer to use. We
prefer a transparent stain. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Laura
Laura

I want to clean & restore a 2 yr old redwood deck fully exposed to southern sun & northern Cal rains previously treated with PreservaWood penetrating oil stain & sealer. Should I first do cleaning, then the brightening processes & does it have to dry completely in between, before new stain! And, can I change the stain product & color slightly darker ? Can you recommend products to use? I’d like to avoid sanding if possible

Eric
Eric

I have a deck that was stained with Penofin three years ago. It didn’t hold up very well. So this year I power washed and sanded the decking with a floor sander almost down to bare wood. It is a clear cedar deck so then I stained in with TWP 101 (cedar semi transparent stain). It turned out great! If I want to stain it again with the same product next summer, how do I prepare my deck?
Thanks

betty
betty

What would you recommend for a cedar deck that has been stained with penafin clear stain a year ago?

Denise
Denise

I have the cleaner and Brightener as well as the light walnut stain for my TIGER deck. (RAD)
I did the sunroom a couple of weeks ago in one day and it turned out beautiful !
Here is my question : i have a 12 x 42 deck that is also Tigerwood. There is no way i can do it all in one day. The sunroom almost killed me! How should i go about it without there being overlaps? Should i do the cleaner and Brightener one day and the stain the next after i dampen the wood or can i do the deck in 1/3’s? I just do not want it to be obvious that i stopped and started. The deck is very gray. It has never been treated in any way. Can i clean or brighten twice to get the best out of it or leave it on longer? Please advise. Thanks!!!

EJ Connor
EJ Connor

I have been using Flood CWF-UV penetrating wood finish for years…clear natural. The wood is looking gray. Can I use Flood cedar stain now to brighten the deck?

T Deckert
T Deckert

I just built a 2 tier deck with light brown pressure treated lumber. I don’t want to stain it so what can I put on it to keep its own colour and waterproof it?

George X
George X

what is rating for Cabot Deckcorrect ??

Walter
Walter

Hi. Thank you for all your helpful advice and the time you put into answering all these questions.
I recently stripped a 26×16 deck which was covered in Solid stain. It took weeks of stripping and sanding as i had limited time but, it looks great now. All old stain removed, i cleaned the deck and lightly sanded after dry to remove raised and loose fibers.
The wood is very clean but i didn’t stabilize with brighter. I would still like to do so prior to staining so, would it still be alright for me to do so 6 days later?
If so, are these the correct steps:
-Dampen the wood
-Apply the brightener.
-Let sit and Scrub..
-Finally, rinse off.

Also, I was thinking of using Restore a deck brightener and stain. What is your advice?

Thank you in advance.

Walter
Walter

Forgot to attach picture…
Thanks

Deck Finish.jpg
Mary fusco
Mary fusco

Can you recommend any Sherwin Williams semi transparent deck stain and cleaner?