Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Review  4.6/5 (50)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Restore A Deck Wood Stain Review

Restore A Deck Wood Stain Review

Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Review 2024

This is our 6th Year for the review of the Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain. This review will be updated through the years with new pictures as the stain ages. In 2017, our first full year of using the Restore A Deck stain, we had no issues with performance and saved a tremendous amount of time with the ability to prep and stain on the same day. We will continue to offer the Restore A Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain as one of our go-to decking stains for the 2024 restoration season.

*We prefer the application to damp wood as it performs better and applies easier.

Note: Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain can be applied to dry or damp wood. Applying to damp wood allows you the ability to prep and stain on the same day, saving you a tremendous amount of time.

Summary: Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is an advanced, water-based, semi-transparent stain formulation designed to penetrate deep into wood pores for maximum protection and longevity. Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain protects the wood from harmful UV rays and damage caused by water penetration. Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Wood Stain is safe to use, has a low odor, and is easy to clean up with soap and water. It is ideal for all wood types including pressure-treated pine, cedar, fir, or redwood.

Recent advancements in water-based wood stain technology have allowed the active ingredients in the Restore-A-Deck Stain to offer better UV protection, excellent penetration into the wood grain, the ability to apply to damp wood, all in 4 beautiful semi-transparent colors that highlight the natural wood grain.

RAD Wood and Deck Stain will increase the life, appearance, and durability of all exterior wood surfaces. With the easy-to-apply and maintain Eco-Safe formula, you’ll be able to finish faster and enjoy your exterior wood or deck for years.

Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Ratings (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

– The Restore-A-Deck wood stain color we used was the Semi-Transparent Light Walnut. The initial appearance was a rich brown with a hint of red (see pictures below) after drying. The Restore-A-Deck Stain penetrated extremely well into the wood grain on our test deck. No surface film on top of the wood.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 9

– Restore-A-Deck had little to no fading at the 2-year mark. Excellent color retention should be achieved through years 2-3 as well based on initial pictures and testing. See below for a picture.

Restore A Deck Stain One Year

Restore A Deck Stain Two Years

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

–At the 2-year mark, there was no wearing or peeling.

Cost Per Square Foot: 8

– We applied two coats to our 150 sq foot deck that included all railings and steps. Less than 1 gallon was used for this at a total cost of $40. This equates to $.30 a square foot. Very reasonable pricing and better than most other top brands.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 10

– Similar to other water-based deck stains, the Restore-A-Deck Wood stain will not promote the growth of mold or mildew. This is one of the primary advantages of using a water-based coating. At the 1-year mark, the deck showed no signs of any mold or mildew.

Ease of Application: 9

– Our favorite aspect of the Restore-A-Deck Wood stain is the ability to stain and prep on the same day! We tested this by cleaning and brightening the wood with the Step 1 and Step 2 Restore A Deck Cleaner/Brightener Kit and then applying the RAD stain 1 hour after the prep. The wood was visibly wet on a few areas of the deck and damp to the touch throughout. The Restore-A-Deck actually applied easier to the damp wood than any other water-based stain that we have used previously. We also found that the coverage was better when applied to damp wood. In theory, the stain will actually absorb better when applied to damp wood. The water “swells” the wood pores and “pulls” the stain deep into the wood as it dries.  Applying to damp wood will also help avoid potential issues with Applying a Deck Stain in Full Sun.

See before and after pictures below.

Restore A Deck Stain After Prep

Restore A Deck Stain After Prep

Restore A Deck Stain Damp Wood Application

Restore A Deck Stain Damp Wood Application

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8

– As expected, there was very little darkening for the Restore-A-Deck Stain or color shifting.  See picture at 2-year mark above.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

– The Restore-A-Deck will be an easy clean and reapplication as needed.

Overall Score Restore-A-Deck Stain at 1-Year Period: 8.63

– The Restore-A-Deck is an awesome exterior wood stain and has shown the ability to outperform other water-based and oil-based wood stains. Restore-A-Deck’s 3-Step system allows you to save time and money when it comes to restoring your exterior wood and decking. No other system that we have used or tested has allowed the ability to Prep and Stain in the Same Day. If you are looking for the future of exterior wood and deck stain, then you should consider the Restore A Deck Wood Stain and their prepping system.

 

 

Product Information:

More Info: Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain
Cost: $45.99 per Gallon,  $209.99 per 5 Gallon Pail. Products ship free on their website.
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent Water-Based
Available Colors: Natural, Cedar, Light Walnut, Dark Walnut, Cottage gray
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 2 Coats. “Wet on Wet” for older wood. New wood = 1 Coat.
Coverage Per Gallon: 100-150 sq. ft
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 2-4 Hours
Cleanup: Water
VOC Compliant: 50 VOC Compliant in all States
More Info: Product Data
Manufacturer: Restore-A-Deck

Test Deck Stats:
Deck Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 150 Square feet
UV Exposure: 50% Full Sun
How Many Years Tested:  2 Years
Stain Color Used: 
Light Walnut

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

Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Stain Photos

How To Restore Your Deck All in One Day – DeckStainHelp.com

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

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Linda
Linda
1 month ago

I cleaned and prepped my new deck 2 yrs ago with Restore a deck products and semi transparent cedar stain. It looked great. I need to do it again soon. It doesn’t look too bad, but is a little “thin” in spots. I probably didn’t get enough stain on it. What steps do you recommend for me to use to restore the beautiful color I had. I love the product.

Brandon
Brandon
1 year ago

I applied the this product to a new deck this weekend, with great results. I was able to mostly complete a 750+ sq. foot deck by myself.

I was extremely surprised how much much dirt and grime came off of new kiln dried cedar after only 3 months of being installed. Although it was a bit of work scrubbing the deck boards, I am so glad that I used as I had no idea that the boards were are dirty as they were.

Anyways, now for my question, do you have a suggestion for a product to remove any stain that may have gotten on metal railing/trim?

I saw the video of someone suggesting goof-off graffiti remover. My worry with this product is that is it pressurized and I don’t want overspray to hit the deck.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Richard & Irene Garipoli
Richard & Irene Garipoli
3 years ago

I absolutely can honestly say this restoration product(s) are the best I have ever used. We live in PA. I followed all the directions to the tee. I applied the SOLID stain on 20 yr old deck wood, which was in poor shape. Nothing worked previously, even when it was professionally done with their materials, we would have chipping and peeling after the first Winter. I applied this during covidcation last March/April because we had a warm beginning of Spring. This was not hard to apply but we did everything that was recommended, along with some sanding. We were in communication by email with this company almost every other day asking a question or two. They returned a reply sometimes within 10 min. Then if we had additional questions they answered them and referred us to other research material to help us. They were great to deal with even though you didn’t talk over the phone with them. Like I said, we applied this and then wondered if it was going to start peeling by the Fall. Nope, well then definitely after the first ice storm, nope. Well, then after 3 weeks of snow fall pretty continuously. Even though we shoveled the snow off the wood deck, NO PEELING OR CHIPPING! We have a deck that gets hammered with rain, ice, hail and snow. This stuff is the best we have ever used. This Spring, we only had to hose it down with mild soapy water and that’s it. We really appreciate when something actually works the way it’s advertised. This would out sell anything in the stores if it were sold their. I am in awe by this product(s). I am telling all my family, friends and colleagues. I hope you don’t sell out because of word of mouth advertising. It is GREAT COMPANY WITH GREAT PRODUCTS!!! Thank you!!

Erin
Erin
1 year ago

Please send a pic and let us know what color you used. Thank you!

Irene Garipoli
Irene Garipoli
1 year ago
Reply to  Erin

This is the start of our third year and we are still amazed by good it looks with no chipping and peeling. We used the taupe, solid stain originally. Apply this according to the directions and you won’t regret it. This Summer we will use their cleaner and sand it all lightly and apply another coat or two, just for good measure. We don’t want to go through the whole process with stripping again, so this is the easiest method to maintain it. We truly love our deck and would not replace it, at this time since there is no visible rot from above. We cannot see underneath, so maybe years ahead that would be the area that may cause it’s destruction. Until then, we are very pleased with it’s look. Sorry, if the following picture isn’t the best, I just now took it, after a rain storm, early this morning.
Take care, have fun and be safe!

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Erin
Erin
1 year ago
Reply to  Irene Garipoli

3 YEARS AND LOOKING GOOD!! Thank you so much for sharing!

Elaine Booth
Elaine Booth
4 years ago

We are so pleased with the Restore a Deck stain. New wood 9 months after it was installed. Process couldn’t be any easier!

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Steven Murillo
Steven Murillo
4 years ago

All I can say is WOW! I was in a world of hurt with an oil-based sealer/stain product. Admittedly, I had applied too much when I was doing my maintenance clean & reapply after a year of the original coat. I tried stripping the oil-based coat with paint stripper, denatured alcohol, and mechanically, but I would have been at it for weeks!

Then I discovered the Restore-A-Deck webpage and read about the Restore-A-Deck water-based products: Stripper, Brightener, and Stain. I used the Stripper along with the Booster. I first tried just the Stripper, but realized that as the salesperson noted, I did indeed also need the Booster. After a second application with Booster, the deck came out beautifully! I then applied Natural Stain (after waiting a day – ran out of daylight!). The deck looks fantastic! I hadn’t expected the gentle satin or eggshell finish, but it was a nice surprise! Cleanup, being all water-based, was a breeze, and I didn’t end up with lots of environmentally unfriendly run-off.

Hats off to the Restore-A-Deck company! Great products, easy to use, with fantastic results! What more can I say?

Ken Tidwell
Ken Tidwell
5 years ago

Just cleaned and brightened my 2 year old pressure treated pine deck. Then applied the light walnut stain, all from Restore A Deck. It looks great.

Ken Tidwell
Ken Tidwell
5 years ago

Will do.

Ken Tidwell
Ken Tidwell
5 years ago

Here are some photos.

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Tina
Tina
4 years ago

What shade color is this

jean eustice
jean eustice
4 years ago

What color stain is shown in photos?

Ken Tidwell
Ken Tidwell
5 years ago
Reply to  Ken Tidwell

Some more photos.

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Deck Finishes, Stains, Sealers,
Amanda
Amanda
22 hours ago

Sorry I forgot I had another question! Do I need to use the cleaner and the brighter on the deck, I power washed it and all of the stain is off, I’m also going to sand the deck.

Amanda
Amanda
14 days ago

Amanda here returning a picture of my deck you asked for, I just need to know what color I should use, I’m not keen on orange looking stain, I want a light soft brown look. The railing is a brown trex it has been up for over 20 years and has changed color a lot, I do not love how it’s done that, but now I need something that will compliment that color, not clash with it. And there’s not a lot of choices with Restore A Deck. Attach a picture of one of my chairs love this color.

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Amanda
Amanda
22 hours ago

Sorry for my delayed response, and thank you for your help! I like medium brown which color would that be?

Angel Kelley
Angel Kelley
15 days ago

Replacing 3 decks extended over water on my business. Using pressure treaded lumber and live in Jacksonville Fl. Want the best protection and lasting product. I have a gray building and feel I should go with gray tint. Deck builder wants to use Valspar and I want to use what would be the best choice. What’s your recommendation and why?
Thanks
Angel

Angel Kelley
Angel Kelley
14 days ago
Reply to  Angel Kelley

I’ve never worked with an oil base stain so I’m alittle nervous about that. Could I get similar results using Restore or Defy?
If I use o do I have to remove every time it’s time to repaint?

Garret Bell
Garret Bell
18 days ago

Hello, I have a new redwood deck that has been weathered for about 7 months. I plan on doing the full RAD clean, brighter, and stain process. I would like to highlight the natural color of the redwood as much as possible, which semi-transparent stain color would you recommend?

Brian D
Brian D
1 month ago

I live in a semi desert climate 30 miles north of Salt Lake City, and installed a new cedar fence (approx 6 months old).

Do you have advice as to which product to use for such a dry/harsh sun climate? I’m trying to gather info between Restore a deck, TWP products, and Messmers (an Utah based company).

Thanks in advance,
Brian

Greg Lisson
Greg Lisson
3 months ago

Would you recommend Restore A Deck for seats and deck on an open 16′ aluminum boat?
I’m looking for something that can be refreshed without having to sand/strip old finish.

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Sam
Sam
3 months ago

We used Restore a deck last spring, prepared it as recommended. We put one coat on it and it still looks great. I have enough product to clean and stain the deck. When should we do a second coat on it. We live in NC and the pollen is awful in the spring.

Don
Don
7 months ago

This past Spring I stripped and brightened my cedar gate with RAD. I had some trouble getting the results I wanted and you gave me advice on next steps. I had time yesterday to try a couple of your suggestions. I used the RAD stripper again and then applied the brightener. This time, I didn’t rinse the brightener off but let it sit overnight as you had recommended. This morning, the gate boards look great!
My question now is: before I apply the RAD stain to the gate, should I rinse it off to remove any brightener residue or, in this particular case, do I just stain over the dry boards?

Your previous advice:
It is one of two things.
-You did not entirely strip off the old stain. Did the old stain darken or turn black? Penofin has a tendency to do that. The darkening could be remnants of the old stain.
-The other option is you did not brighten long enough to neutralize and lighten the wood internally.
Penofin is very easy to strip. The RAD Stripper will take it off. It is possible that you over stripped and the wood internally darkened more than normal. Try saturating with the brightener and then leave it on and do not rinse it off letting it dry into the wood overnight

Don Brown
Don Brown
7 months ago

Yeah! We finished the gate today and it turned out great! Thanks for all your help Scott!

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Anthony
Anthony
8 months ago

What is the best stain for cypress wood deck? I have used Penofin TWP 100 and 1500 throughout the years. None seem to work well. I have black mold, cracks, and rotted deck every year and have to sand and redo the stain! Rain and sun really takes its toll on my deck! Any recommendations? Thanks!

Anthony
Anthony
8 months ago

Just finished using Penofin cleaner and power washed. Waiting for the brighter to arrive!

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Ralph
Ralph
8 months ago

Does Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck cool feel technology work

Alex
Alex
8 months ago

Newly built house with cedar accent lumber and a cedar porch ceiling. The porch ceiling still looks news while the accent have grayed. Builder used a spar urethane that I plan to strip off. Then was leaning towards restore a deck cedar or Armstrong Clark semi cedar. Which application would be recommended for a Michigan climate and prevent the most graying? Is either product easier to recoat?

Joe
Joe
9 months ago

Can different colors of this stain be mixed (for instance mixing cedar and natrual 50/50) to get a custom color?

petersely
petersely
9 months ago

I already put Olympia Waterguard on right after deck ibuilt in January can I stain now in August and what steps?

Kevin Gillis
Kevin Gillis
10 months ago

I’m interested in your views on how these products work on ipé wood. As an exotic tropical hardwood it’s properties are significantly different from the pressure treated pine that seems to be the most frequent material that your reviews are based on. Do you believe your results and reviews of different preservatives correlate to the tropical hardwoods like ipé and tiger wood?

Kevin Gillis
Kevin Gillis
10 months ago

Thanks – I wrote before delving deeper into your site and finding the answer. Hats off to you for an extremely thorough, informative and useful site.

Stu Douglas
Stu Douglas
10 months ago

Deck about 8yrs old had deck paint but power washed it off in Ohio lots summer sun ,rain an snow best stain recommend oil or water base spray on or brush with all the pool chemicals

Todd J
Todd J
10 months ago

Hey Scott. Been reading a lot here and appreciate all of your expertise. Just resurfaced our 30+ year-old deck with new 5/4 x 6 cedar from a big box store (“M”) that stores their wood in an outdoor/covered location. The deck is about 300 sq.ft., and is on the east side of our home so direct sunlight all morning to early afternoon. The boards have been on for about 4 weeks. I know your advice is to let it season a good, long time, but I’d like to get it stained before I put up my cable railing.
1. Can I use a product like RAD to remove remaining mill glaze and open the pores enough to stain now?
2. Would I need to use both the cleaner and brightener to accomplish this?
3. Likely will use either RAD or Defy for staining. Would I only apply one coat due to this being new wood?

Used Flood CWF in the past and have been looking at Cabot ATO for this new application, but your reviews here tell me RAD/Defy would be better choices. I’m looking for a semi-transparent with the most natural cedar coloring (not reddish). Am in NW IL, so spring rains, hot/humid summers, and colder/snowy winters. Thanks!

Roger
Roger
11 months ago

I live in the Pacific Northwest. My deck is made of Alaskan Yellow Cedar. We are in the process of sanding the deck down (4th time in 22 years). Have tried Sikkens and Pinofine oil based stains in the past. The look great for about 8 months. Then the weathered look appears. If I lived on the coast in might be ok, but I don’t. How does a water base stain fair on Alaskan Yellow Cedar? Caring for a large deck is a lot of work.

Pam
Pam
11 months ago

I have sampled RAD semitransparent stain and liked the outcome. I plan to use this product on a covered porch with new tongue and groove douglas fir. How do I get the wood clean and brightened using the RAD products? Can I use a garden hose and sponge mop? Because my house siding almost entirely encloses the porch I am afraid the water will have no where to go. Suggestions?

Jonathan
Jonathan
11 months ago

I have stripped and brightened my 10 year old deck with the RAD system. Looks great! But I am really struggling with what application method to use for the light walnut stain, wet on wet. Hand bush, Pad, long handle brush (like on the RAD website), etc. What would you recommend?

maria
maria
11 months ago

First photos of finished prepping last night. Second photos after the rain we got overnight. I have bought Defy extreme crystal clear stain but now I am wondering whether a semi transparent stain like light walnut or natural pine might be better able to unify some of the extreme variations in color.
This is a 20 year old deck PT wood never been treated before. Thank you so much for any help.

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Troy M
Troy M
1 year ago

I need to re-stain my deck that originally had RAD wood stain in light walnut. As you can see 50+% of the deck floor is now bare wood. I plan to use the same color RAD stain. Should I do RAD cleaner followed by RAD brightener or do I need to strip all off? Thanks

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Brenda
Brenda
1 year ago

What color of Restore A Deck solid stain is closest to Armstrong Clark Sequoia Semi-Solid?

Chris Lowther
Chris Lowther
1 year ago

Hi Scott, thank you for maintaining this extremely helpful site! Based on your reviews, we are trying to decide between Restore a Deck or Defy Ultra (both semi-transparent) on our 1 year old yellow stain pressure treated wood deck. We live outside of DC and have had mildew on our old deck, so that is a concern. The deck is in a shady spot, but what sun we do get tends to be hot in the summer! We would love to get your thoughts on choosing between these two products (or any other product that you think would be a better fit). Thank you in advance for your help!

Ray
Ray
1 year ago

The picture of the reddish fence on the second row from the bottom above says “Restore a Deck Stain IPE” I cannot read the rest of the text on the picture. Which stain is that? I don’t see anything like that on Restore a Deck’s website.

Tom Steinmetz
Tom Steinmetz
1 year ago

I have used the Armstong Clark semi transparent cedar tone product on my deck for the past 6 or 7 years. In general I have been pretty happy with the results, but lately I have been seeing increasing levels of green algae and mildew, especially on the shaded areas. I have been thinking about using the Restore-A-Deck stain because it seems to be more mildew resistant, but I am concerned about compatability if I am not able to remove every bit of the leftover AC stain. The areas that are exposed to the elements are pretty weathered at this point because I needed to recoat last year, but was not able to get to it before winter got here. Part of the deck is under a porch roof, and of course that part is in excellent condition. I would like some recommendations as to whether the RAD product is an option, or if I have to stay with an oil-based product, is there one that does a better job of preventing mildew growth? I appreciate any help you guys can provide – thanks!

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