New Redwood Deck Staining Tips 4.7/5 (39)

by Deck Stain Help

Updated February 2020

New Redwood Deck Staining Tips

DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to site for exotic wood deck staining tips. As with all different types of wood surfaces, we recommend you properly prep your redwood before staining in 2020. This involves allowing your redwood to weather for a few months prior to cleaning and brightening. Feel free to leave us a comment with pictures of your  Redwood projects if you have them.


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 the 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

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Krystin
Krystin

Hello,
We just bought a mid-century modern Streng home. The home is all redwood and was stained a dark red/brown. I want to lighten up the wood to it’s natural state. What process would you recommend and what type/brand of clear stain?
Thank you in advance,
KP

chris
chris

Hi there, We have a new redwood deck and its been 2 months now, what would be the earliest you would recommend before staining? Also we have SEAL-ONCE MARINE from Amazon with great reviews but wondered if you had heard of it (goes on milky and you have to do 2 light coats in an hour) Worked great on the redwood fence but wanted to wait to stain the deck part.

Also I did post yesterday so thanks for your reply. I started cleaning the deck boards to prep and realized that I picked up the deck stripper and not cleaner, luckily I only did 4 small back boards but they are dark grey now dry?? I know this will come off when I lightly jet wash but is this normal and will the deck cleaner also act this way?

Thx again.

Chris Martinez
Chris Martinez

We just moved into a new house and the Redwood deck was installed in fall. The builder power washed the deck and found that they needed to replace some board which they just did (12/19/2019). Should we hold off on staining? Also any worries about putting patio table and grill out on the new deck?

Shelly Cortez
Shelly Cortez

I have some new redwood steps in front of my house. We put them in about four months ago so they have been weathering since then. However, we never added risers. We are adding risers now and wanted to add a stain before the rainy season. Does it make more sense to stain the steps and the risers both now, stain the steps now and stain the risers in a few months, or wait and stain everything in a few months?

Isaac T Garner
Isaac T Garner

I finished my redwood deck. Should I let it weather a few months even if it will be snow covered and below freezing all winter?

James Reedy
James Reedy

Good day.
I live in the California Bay area and I’m installing 7 – 4” by 4” by 10’ Redwood posts around my deck’s bench and will be using Redwood material to make a horizontal fence.
The posts will be installed first and fencing material later as time and money allow.
When and what should I use to protect the new Redwood material.
Thanks,
Jim

James Reedy
James Reedy

Thanks a lot.
Jim

Jacqueline Lowe
Jacqueline Lowe

We just installed a new redwood deck. The wood is green (not kiln dried). We are expecting rain in a week. How should we proceed with staining, now or later? Also, if we wait to stain it, how long after it’s been rained on must it dry out from that? Thanks

Zada
Zada

We have a new redwood deck. How about we use Linseed oil for preservation?

Jack
Jack

what is the best stain for old redwood that has been sanded.

Brad
Brad

I installed a redwood gate with side panels was planning to use SuperDeck transparent stain – natural 1910 should I wait few weeks to treat? Is SuperDeck a good product ?

Ian
Ian

I am installing somewhat dry select heart redwood 4×4 for a commemorative bench outdoors, Is there something I can seal with to brighten up the wood, for the event this month, as a temporary bridge to finishing next year?

Kathy
Kathy

I live in Fresno, Ca. It has been extremely hot, 100+ degrees. I just had a new redwood deck built. It has been up for two weeks. Do I need to wait the 3-4 mos.? What type of finish should I use?

Stephanie Bustillos
Stephanie Bustillos

I live in San Francisco ca, and we just had a beautiful Redwood deck bulit, I see everyone being advised to wait 4 months before staining the deck. Would it be all right if I stained it now instead of waiting? I’d like to be able to put my parents swing back up on the deck being that they’re in their late 80s and that’s as far as they can go is our back deck? I was told TWP Total Wood Protector is the best to use on Redwood decks would you advise TWP or is there a better one?? Thank you for help in advance.

September-Lee
September-Lee

I just bought two redwood slabs that have been milled/plained and kiln dried. He ran one slab through the plainer again a couple of times for me. These are actually going up as shelves in my kitchen, but hoping you could advise anyway. Do I need to wait to stain the slab that went through the plainer again? And anything you recommend doing to the slabs before staining? Thanks so much!

Jacob Baas
Jacob Baas

We live in the SF Bay Area and had a beautiful new redwood deck installed last summer. It was stained with Penofin Oil Finish (transparent redwood) which has aged badly and resulted in black patches and discoloration. The natural color of the wood on the deck surface is gone. We are going to re-stain the deck this spring.

1. What stain would you recommend to preserve natural color and avoid turning black?
2. Should we sand and then seal or clean and brighten before sealing?
3. Should we stick with oil-based stain?
4. Is there anything else we can do to prevent discoloration?

Thanks in advance — this forum is incredibly helpful.

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Lisa Pape
Lisa Pape

My new cedar wood gate started as rough sawn wood. The gate maker said he then sanded it smooth. I understood from previous posts you can apply semi-transparent stain to rough sawn cedar. Since mine was sanded, do I wait 6-12 months now to apply the stain? Thank you.

Jeremy S
Jeremy S

We live in Northern California and are building a 16’x30’ redwood deck, using kiln dried 2×6 redwood heartwood for the top. There’s lots of info out there, and I want to clear up a couple questions. The deck will see direct sun for approx half day. We’re also looking into a pergola (covering the deck), but are still undecided.

1. Is use of water based stains ok? Or do you only recommend oil based?

2. I’ve been told because top boards are kiln dried, we do not have to wait to stain. Thoughts?

3. If we do decide to add a pergola, would that change stain recommendations?

Thanx for the help and we appreciate your time!

Lisa Pape
Lisa Pape

I just had a redwood double gate made and installed about 4 weeks ago. I was told to wait a few weeks to let the wood dry out before sealing it on one side. I didnt get around to sealing it and the rains came and now there are black streaks all over the gate. Is it mold and how can I remove the black. I am in central Calif and its still raining.

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Dave, Boise Idaho
Dave, Boise Idaho

New redwood deck going in this week. I saw a question and response suggesting someone in Colorado wait until after winter to prepare and stain. Would the same elements, temperature “restrictions” and suggestion apply to me if I were to use something like cabot’s Australian timber oil instead of semi

Mike
Mike

Having a redwood deck installed right now in the Colorado front range. Would like to keep that natural finish and want to protect the wood. We are rapidly approaching winter months. Everything I’ve read here is to wait a few months to stain. My builder suggests Pinofin for redwood and says stain it right away and don’t let 4 months of snow and cold damage the new deck. With temperatures low, my earliest time if I don’t stain now will be April in 4 months. Is it okay to wait that long or could I stain right after it’s built to protect my investment?

Angus Heaps
Angus Heaps

Just finished building a new cedar deck. I was told to finish it with Varathane lineseed based oil? Your thoughts?

Gary Barton
Gary Barton

We removed 25 year old redwood planks from our deck, turned them over and planed the underneath side, then put them back down. We plan on staining them–would you advise differently given that these are the old boards (they look new and awesome!).

Brent
Brent

I have nearly the same situation. I am looking at the Sikkens stains. Should I use SRD or DEK?

Also, the Sikkens instructions appear to say to use TSP+bleach, rinsed with a pressure washer, even for new wood. That sounds crazy to me. Do you really want to wash newly planed lumber before applying the stain?

Eric T
Eric T

Hi, I will be installing a large 1,000 sf porch ceiling in T&G 1X8 Cedar and another 1,000 sf patio celing in 1X8 Redwood. Both under cover porches in Los Angeles and dont need UV protection. Would really appreciate any help on the following:
1) Should / can I use a wood brightener or conditioner on the the cedar and redwood? I’ve tried staining the redwood and the lighter areas look blotchy.

2) , What are you thoughts on Penofin Blue Label for the cedar and redwood? if not what do you recommend in the low VOC since i’m in California

3) Should i seal both sides?

Thx so much

Eric

Eric T
Eric T

Great thx so much. What cleaner or brightner do you recommend?

Glenn
Glenn

I have an untreated/unstained 9 month old redwood deck in Reno, NV (temperature extremes, dry climate). I plan to clean and then stain the deck next spring. Since the deck is already built, I can only stain the top surface. Will this cause the boards to cup?

dolores gardner
dolores gardner

I have a redwood deck in California and every 7-8 months I have to keep buying a stainer but it don’t last long. What product or solution do you recommend?

George resseguie
George resseguie

We are having a new redwood deck installed to replace our old one. The builder advises us to staining all 4 sides before he installs it. We would be using a Sikens stain product. There would only be a few days laps between staining & installing. We live in the Colorado Rockies..so our climate is pretty dry. Our thought is ti stain the back & sides.. then finish the top after instillation.
My questions are:
1. is it advisable to stain all 4 sides? Will that help or hinder the wood?
2. Is this too soon to stain raw wood? What effect would it have?
3. Re we on the right track??
Any suggestions and information to help us with is project is much appreciated!!

Lucy
Lucy

We have a new rough sewn redwood fence that we just put up, it is beautiful with lots of variation in wood tones. We don’t want to loose that but want to use Defy to protect the fence. We got samples of Cedar and Light Walnut, they are very small samples (1 oz) and they seem exactly the same. My fear is that the Brown tones will be very uniform and we will loose all of the variation in the Redwood. I think the Pine would be too yellowing. Can you comment on the differences between these two stain colors, and if you think we will still see lots of variation with the Cedar or Light Walnut stain? Thank you!

Doug Fisher
Doug Fisher

Our new Redwood deck refuses to absorb the stain. Your article about how to apply was helpful. It’s a day later and some parts have not absorbed. Is it too late to wipe down? Turn the board over and try proper applying? We are hundreds of dollars into staining, sanding tried another brand of stain.

Kelsey
Kelsey

In reading through these posts, I gather that Behr is not a favored product. Can you say why? I was thinking that, if I purchased a better, more expensive product like those you’ve recommended, I wouldn’t have to refinish my deck every year, but above, you say “A redwood deck should be cleaned and protected with a weather resistant stain every year or so.” I’ve very much appreciated all the advice as I’ve read through these comments and have learned a great deal … so this isn’t a critical question. I’m just curious. Thanks!

pnwremod
pnwremod

In reading these comments it is stated that the tint provides the UV protection. We are redoing our redwood deck using both old (planed), and new boards. We like the look of the wood and how it is turning out, but if we used an un-tinted stain, it would quickly turn grey if I understand the prior posts. Have you ever seen a semi-transparent grey toned stain on redwood? This is a consideration, but are not sure what it would look like. Insight appreciated! Thanks.

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Dan
Dan

We have a 5 year old redwood deck and took all the boards off and sanded and put back. Mostly using the other sides of the boards. We had to replace a few of them with new boards. How long should we wait to stain? We’re planning on using a solid stain to last longer, is this good for redwood?

Dale goodart
Dale goodart

What about refinishing old decks what is a good stain.

Walt
Walt

Just built kiln-dried redwood picnic table. We want a good stain that will make it looked like a gray weathered wood. What color and brand would you recommend?

Sam
Sam

I just tried a semi-transparent redwood stain on one fence post on my redwood fence. It takes away the natural color of the redwood and does stain the wood red. Not pretty but I guess that’s why they call it “stain”. What should I put on my fence and deck if I already like the natural color but want the protection?

Tracy
Tracy

I just had a redwood fence built in May. The person that built it sanded all the wood after it was installed. I want to protect the beauty of the fence so everything I’ve read on your site is I should use a semitransparent stain? Should I wait longer or stain it now. I live in Southern California the fence faces east so the front gets full sun till noon-ish and the inside of the fence gets sun the rest of the day. What would the best stain I should us. I would be doing this myself and never worked with wood before but up for the task.

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Kiani
Kiani

I’m planning to put semi transparent oil based stain on my garage redwood (sapwood). Do I need to apply polyurethane oil based? I read somewhere that poly may crack or peel.

Jeff
Jeff

Should you only use stain on redwood or use a sealant?

Jack
Jack

Hi there. We have a redwood rough sawn fencing. We want to achieve the look of natural cedar. We tried applying a semi-transparent “muted” brown but it just turned it too dark brown. Do you have any suggestions to get a cedar color on redwood? Thanks

Mark
Mark

Can any of the deck stains be applied with a sprayer?

Nicholas Bloedorn
Nicholas Bloedorn

I am installing a new redwood deck can I stain it before I put it down.? or once I put it down can I stand it right away after that?

Cristina
Cristina

After reading most of the comments below, I am still confused. I just installed a redwood fence, Ridge & Valley Redwood Fence Picket, from Homedepot. Can I stain it now or should I wait? What should I use to stain it? I bought the semitransparent water based stain from Behr.

Thanks.

R.P
R.P

Hi everyone,

Silly question. We’ve decided to replace all the wood boards on our deck w/ new redwood ones. Is it necessary to stain and seal both sides of all the boards before installing? Hope I make sense.

Thanks!!!

Shelley Ewer
Shelley Ewer

I am installing a Redwood deck (September). Live in Reno, NV…deck will have sun 10am until dusk. I am reading all the comments over the years on this thread and it sounds like I should wait until spring to seal/etc? Never know when the rain, snow, cold temps will happen. Also, you mention Armstrong Clark, TWP 100 series, Defy Extreme…what are the differences and what do you suggest I use? I want to keep the redwood color. Thank you so much.

T. Smith
T. Smith

Hello, and thanks. We are trying to determine whether to immediately stain with semi-transparent stain a redwood (heart) deck and can’t determine whether it’s rough sawn or not, as mentioned above. In other words, should we stain right away or wait? It’s brutally hot here in summer…

Col
Col

Hi, We found dry rot in a support beam, (old growth redwood), *under our deck and one other beam that sounds solid but has one small area that is slightly soft. Will have the support beam replace but I’m not sure what to do with 1) the second beam and 2)the white fungi I can see beginning to grow under the deck. One person says fungi is ‘nothing to worry about”, another tells me to “spray with copper nitrate”, a third says clean it off then spray with a protective coating (TWP)”. Perspective…?
Thank you.

Tracy
Tracy

I’m looking for recommendations for the best sealer for a brand-new kilndried redwood deck. I live in the Willamette Valley in Eugene OR.

Joan
Joan

We just finished building a pergola made from treated red wood. We live in New Mexico, where the humidity is usually 30%. How long should we wait before we stain the wood? D0 we need to use a cleaner & brightener. Im gonna ask Home Depot is the wood is “Wet” treated, my suspicions. Also, the stain, should it be a semi oil one?

Joan
Joan

We live in New Mexico, where it is very dry. We just finished making a Pergola out of treated wood. Should we wait 6 months before staining? What is a good product for staining for New Mexico?

Col
Col

Hi. Thanks for this site and your wisdom. I have a 30 yr. redwood deck that was maintained regularly until the past few years, (not sure what product was previously used). Do you suggest a power wash and sanding? Oil or water based stain? Also, should I replace popper nails with screws?
Again, thank you.

David
David

What is best deck stain/sealer allowed in California?