Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Review 4.6/5 (30)

by Deck Stain Help
Restore A Deck Wood Stain Review

Restore A Deck Wood Stain Review

Update for 2019: This is our 2nd 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 2018, our first full year if 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 in 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 2019 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 Scores (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 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 main 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: $39.99 per Gallon, $89.99 per 2.5 Gallon Pail, $179.98 per 5 Gallon Pail. Products ship free on their website.
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: Natural, Cedar, Light Walnut, Dark Walnut
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.

5 22
4 6
3 2
2 0
1 0
5 23
4 5
3 1
2 0
1 1
5 21
4 6
3 2
2 0
1 1
5 19
4 9
3 1
2 0
1 1
5 21
4 5
3 3
2 1
1 0
5 24
4 4
3 1
2 0
1 1

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

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Elaine Booth
Elaine Booth

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

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

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

Some more photos.

Deck Finishes, Stains, Sealers,
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gary hack
gary hack

can this be applied over behr quick dry oil finish applied last year

Ildiko
Ildiko

I am looking for a stain on a redwood deck. It was rough cut and originally stained with a solid stain that has cracked and peeled. We live in the redwood forest on the coast of Northern California, so there was a lot of mold, black patches and algae on the wood because some areas simply do not get much sun along with the previous stain failing. I am still working on removing the stain as it is so difficult! I am teetering between the restore-a-deck semi-transparent stain and the twp semi-transparent stain. I noticed that even TWP has linseed oil. Doesn’t that promote mildew? It RAD a good product for this deck or would you prefer an oil-based?

Frank
Frank

I’m debating between this and the TWP 100, is the TWP 100 not good for new wood? You seem to prefer the TWP 100 more often on your comments and posts compared to this. Is the TWP 100 only good for old wood?

Sal
Sal

Can I apply this over a 2 year old oil base stain which did not hold up very well and is very worn.

Phil
Phil

I’m doing steps and landings in western Kentucky, plan on doing in 2 maybe 3 sections. It’s 18 months old, plan on pressure washing all at 1 time then using brightener on a section, then staining that section , then repeating . Am I wrong in my plan of doing sections?

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Carol
Carol

Does a sealer need to be applied after the stain?

Al Warren
Al Warren

I’ve pressure washed and applied Thompson Water seal to my 15 year old 2″x6″ treated wood deck after letting it dry for 5 days. Do I need to remove the sealant before using your product and if so what do I use to remove?

Wright Wommack
Wright Wommack

We have a new sign at our apartment complex made of cedar that we will need to stain immediately so that we can install the remaining portion of the sign. I know this isn’t ideal and we should be weathering for 3-4 months, but if we have to go this route, is there any reason why Olympic would adhere better on new wood than Restore a Deck or TWP? We are leaning towards using Restore a Deck Cedartone.

Any other brand we should consider in this situation? Also, should we still brighten?

Thanks!

DeniseC
DeniseC

We used the RAD Stain in Natural on our fence last year and it still looks incredible! Love these products!

Bob
Bob

Our pine deck boards are new wood. As I understand it, if I somehow treat the wood to remove the glaze on the boards, I can then apply Restore-A-Deck stain the same day. Is that correct?
If so, what should be the process for removing the glaze? Thank you.

Sue
Sue

We have a redwood deck that gets sun all day. What color would you go with, natural, cedar or light walnut. This is a B grade redwood that is 4 years old. We also have residue from a big redwood tree growing next to deck. The deck has very uneven coloring with white spots. Would the natural conceal the uneven discoloring? We live in Berkeley Ca. Thanks.

Sue
Sue

Help! We stripped and brightened the deck yesterday with Restore-a-Deck. We were going to apply the stain today. See pics below. The deck is splotchy , dark in areas, the wood is feathering and basically a mess. We don’t know if we need to rent a sander. Or will the stain (Cedar) cover up vast difference of very dark and light spots? Your guidance of what best to do is appreciated ASAP. Thank you.

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Greg
Greg

I replaced some damaged deck boards earlier this summer with new PT. Most old/existing PT boards were usable but splintered, so I sanded them. I decided to sand the new boards as well in an attempt to get the most uniform appearance after staining. I have not yet cleaned or brightened any of the boards since I’m waiting for the new boards to “season”.

It’s been 2-1/2 months (hot summer, decent amount of rain), and when I do the “water drop” test on the new boards, some of them absorb the water quickly while others do not – the water beads up as shown in the first photo. The second photo shows a larger amount of water that pools. Using a brush to spread the water seems to help, but the water still doesn’t absorb like it does on the other new boards. After a while the water eventually seems to get absorbed, but I’m concerned that these boards might not accept the stain properly.

I can wait another 4 weeks or so before the weather here in Maryland will get to the point where staining won’t be an option and I’ll have to wait until the spring. Questions:

(1) Based on the photos and my description, does it seem likely that another 4 weeks will “season” the new boards enough so that they’re ready to stain? Better yet – am I OK to stain now?

(2) Even though I bought all of the new PT boards at the same time from the same place, I’m assuming the issue is that some of them just need more “seasoning” than others because they’re “wetter”. I say this because I sanded all of them, and thus I think I can rule out mill glaze as the culprit. Would you agree? Any other possible causes for poor water absorption after 2-1/2 months?

(3) I plan to use RAD cleaner & brightener before staining. Will these steps do anything to make the new boards in question ready for staining? In other words: should I be OK to stain after cleaning & brightening?

(4) If I go ahead and stain even though the new boards in question still fail the “water drop” test, what’s the worst that can happen?

(5) Other than waiting, is there anything I can do to the new boards in question to get them ready to accept stain?

Thanks in advance!

Greg M.

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Jocie
Jocie

How long does it take to deliver stain to Beech Mountain, NC?

DannyCrock
DannyCrock

I went with Retore-A-Deck and the deck prep products. The most labor went into prepping the deck before applying the stain. Actual application was easy. We used the natural stain and were so surprised at how beautiful the deck was when finished. The only hiccup was that we received some rain 6hrs after application(no rain was forecasted). However it didn’t seem to faze the stain at all. Now, we will see how the deck holds up after a year and I post a new review.

John Montgomery
John Montgomery

We put up a cedar fence last year and let it weather for the past 12 months. I’m planning on cleaning/brightening it as it has grayed a bit. Is the RAD brightener oxalic acid? My understanding that oxalic brightener takes off the top layer of fence material. Wouldn’t that be defeating the purpose of weathering for a year to open up the grain? Or is that false? Also, since it’s been 12 months, should I do 1 or two coats?

Blake
Blake

I have a deck that is about 2 years old, I’m going to pressure wash it first but I wasn’t sure if I needed brightener with this product?

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Blake
Blake

Can you use a power sprayer to apply this product? Or is it best to brush on?

Dan Sethner
Dan Sethner

How long do you need dry weather after using RAD water based semi transparent stain on deck surface? Would a stain pad or car wash brush work best to apply stain on new deck. All prep work is done!
Thanks, Dan

Jason Hart
Jason Hart

How can I fix lapping with this water based stain? Can’t use mineral spirts to lighten dark areas like oil based. .. thoughts?
Thank you!

Debi
Debi

We have 3 – 2.5 gallon containers of the semi -transparent RAD left over after staining the deck. It is new wood so we only applied one coat and from what I understand, a second coat should be applied in 12 months. What is the shelf life?
Also, we used the RAD semi-transparent in the color Natural. Does that color, since it is so light, provide UVB protection for the deck? Thanks.

Mrs. Corbi Sayler
Mrs. Corbi Sayler

I have a deck ‘addition’ for hot tub plus 4 yr. old deck that was originally, professionally stained with B.M. Arbor coat which I see on your site has a low rating (which I can attest to) – I have re-stained with this yearly just because I have lots of leftover product. It doesn’t make it through one Colorado Rocky Mtn. winter. Can I use Restore-a-deck on the old and the new (cedar). I plan on sanding the old stain as the surface is rough and needs smoothing.

Bruce
Bruce

Re-doing our deck. Thinking about using RAD product. We applied a Sherwin/ Williams clear “sealer” about 2-3 years ago. Do I need to get that out before applying RAD?? The S/W seems to have run its course . Didn’t really like the S/W product anyway, and, have been told by a pro painter that S/W deck products are junk. He recommended RAD-DEFY or Ready-Seal, and said I don’t have to remove the sealer? Your thoughts??

Paul
Paul

Would an HVLP sprayer be OK to use for application?

Rita L Weisjohn
Rita L Weisjohn

We are in the process of re-doing our deck. The spindles, stringers, headers and face plates are all 28 years old but in good condition. The treads are about 5 yrs. old. The deck boards and hand rails are being replaced this year. We are considering the solid RAD. Would this be a proper choice and what would you recommend for prep? The non-replaced items have been stained with Ultra Advanced Exterior Stain (Semi-Transparent) which says it’s acrylic oil. We’ll have to wait a year on the new deck boards and handrails.

Elliot Burg
Elliot Burg

We just completely sanded a 5′ x 30′ semi-exposed ten-year-old cedar deck here in Vermont. We’d like to (1) preserve the color of the deck, (2) not let it gray before staining, (3) protect the deck from extreme weather (snow piles up on it in the winter), and (4) limit future maintenance needs (no peeling, etc.). Can we use RAD brightener and cedar stain now, rather than waiting for the sanded deck to weather? Thanks.

Michele
Michele

What is the best method to remove previous stain and mold from deck?

Paul
Paul

Have a 3-yr premium pine deck (240sq ft) with 6-7 hrs direct sun. I used TWP 100 Series here in humid / hot Raleigh, NC after first couple months of weathering and it’s held up well but is due for a renew. From my reading, it seems that I should use the RAD Stripper and RAD Brightner BUT will the RAD Stain last as long or longer than just re-applying TWP 100 Series? Better yet, why should I not skip the RAD products altogether and just re-apply 2 coats of the TWP 100 Series after a good power washing? Seems that would be just as good. Deck is clean and wood is still solid. Trying to save $$ and time but don’t want to re-do any sooner than 3 yrs, either. Thanks!

greg sipich
greg sipich

stripped previous stain & used brightener but have not been able to apply stain because of rainy weather & been out of town.it has been three weeks.do I have to apply a cieaner & a brightener again before I stain the deck?

John Anderson
John Anderson

I’ve been using oil basedor years (Storm Stain or Ben Moore) in a very dark brown, almost black. Cleanup is a bit of a pain, but the big problem is very long dry time unless I wait until there’s a really hot day. But I prefer to get things ready in late May, when it’s not that hot in New England.

Can I use a water based product over the existing oil stain? I don’t mind applying a coat every year or two as long as there is no peeling which means scraping or stripping – it’s a big deck! (Fir, by the way.)

F.K.
F.K.

Most of the doug fir boards in our 28-yr-old deck are in decent condition, the worst getting replaced beginning 10years ago. Understand what I need for stain and will use RAD two step for cleaning; my concern is about power washing vs sanding OLDER wood. They say power wash will take out too much wood AND create splinters. Sanding is a long and not easily process. I don’t want a dark stain, but do want stain & sealant to be well absorbed. Older, fir, Oregon weather: any opinion specifically about sanding and/or power washing?

Kemp
Kemp

I have a deck that has solid stain (Cabot) on it. However, it was absolute junk and lasted only a few months before starting to peel. (Even after carefully scrubbing, washing and drying the deck beforehand.) One year later, it’s +50% devoid of stain. I want to start over by renting an random orbital floor sander to remove what’s left of the old stain and then applying Restore-A-Deck wood stain. But you say it’s best to apply it to a damp deck. My understanding is that it’s not a good idea to wet a freshly sanded deck since it would raise the grain. What would be your recommendation? Thanks!

Charles J Gharamti
Charles J Gharamti

I’m extending my existing 8 year old deck that is in decent condition, adding about 140 sq. ft.
Would restore a deck stain work well to cover both old and new to blend properly, after cleaning, sanding both sides and brightening the old side?

beth Wolcott
beth Wolcott

Is there a re new type stain that’s water based but less transparent for an older deck that’s never been stained??

David Dedrickson
David Dedrickson

I have a brand new 450′ sq ft redwood deck built a month ago. What color of RAD stain would you recommend to keep the natural redwood color? Natural? lol

Kenneth Galberaith
Kenneth Galberaith

I have a 14 year old treated pine deck. 350 sq ft. It has been coated with Sherwin Williams solid deck stain. The deck boards are solid but have a lot of cracks (Cincinnati weather). I would like to power wash and sand the deck flooring and apply something that will help restore the wood for 2 to 5 years until I replace them. Is this the product for my purpose? Or what do you suggest.

Wendy
Wendy

Hi, will this stain work of my IPE Deck? I would like to switch as my Penofin does not hold up well.

Fred Zappia
Fred Zappia

Just had Cabot semi-transparent stain applied to an old deck. Had not been power washed in 5 years. Contractor washed and then applied a light colored (foghorn) stain, one coat. Apparently insufficient tint was mixed and the result is an almost white finish. According to Lowes nothing can be done short of stripping and starting over. All I would like to do is add another coat in a solid color without going through the labor of stripping, sanding, etc. Any alternative?

David S
David S

what type of prep work was done before application of the product?

Jennifer
Jennifer

Hi, we have a large deck that we believe was previously painted vs. stained solid. We have removed MOST of the paint using a stripper and sanding with a large sander. There is no peeling paint at this point, but there is some residual paint. Everything I’ve researched has suggested using a solid stain (AKA acrylic flat paint), however, we tested a small portion of our deck and it seems that dirt is going to show very easily and we are concerned that the solid stain will not wear well. Realizing that unlike many semi-transparent stains, this stain is water based, which is ideal for our east facing deck that is exposed to full sun much of the day, my question is whether every bit of paint must be removed to use this water-based semi-transparent stain? And if yes, would you still recommend a water-based, or would it be better to use an oil based if we were to hand sand every remaining bit of remaining paint off?

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Diane
Diane

We live in the high desert of Central Oregon so get extreme UV conditions and plenty of snow — and we have 2 challenges right now that we’d appreciate advice on:
1. Existing deck (about 14 yr old cedar) has been completely sanded (using 50-grit) of its previous Penofin (would not recommend) coating and ready for new stain. If we choose Restore-a-Deck, which is what we’re leaning toward, do we still need to clean and/or brighten, or can we just go for it, applying it on dampened wood, as suggested?
2. A NEW step down deck, also in cedar, is being installed this summer; it will NOT be exposed much at all to weather/UV as it is going to have a solid roof over it entirely. From what I’ve read, it sounds like one should wait for some time to stain new wood, but HOW LONG would that likely be when it’s positioned under such a roof – Is there any easy for amateurs to assess that? Thanks!

Dave Henderson
Dave Henderson

Can I buy restore a deck in Canada specifically London or Windsor Ontario? Or Chatham

D. Lee
D. Lee

Where can I purchase this product in CT?

Mark
Mark

I just purchased cedar for a pergola build, not pressure treated. I’m new to the world of outdoor wood and have a few questions based on what I’ve read thus far:
1. Is the aging process just a matter of moisture content since the cedar isn’t pressure treated?
2. I understand the need to wait to stain, but I also don’t want to end up with grey wood. Is it possible to use RAD this year before an Ohio winter, say in October?
3. If so, is it just a matter of using the prep materials then staining?
4. Is there a concern that stain won’t protect areas beneath hardware, butt joints, etc. from water damage?
5. UV protection is important to me, but I also would like the cedar’s natural colors to shine (or maybe become a bit more red, if anything). Is RAD light walnut a good fit for me? Or should I be looking at a different brand?
6. Is it helpful to fill knots with epoxy before staining?

Lastly, what does your experience say about using marine grade finishes on outdoor wood projects (e.g. Totalboat sealer + marine varnish)? I was leaning towards a system like that but worried the reapplication/maintenance would involve too much work.

Carolyn
Carolyn

We would like to restore and stain our dock on a lake in South Carolina. I was concerned about the animals in the water, turtles, fish, ducks etc. Are the RAD cleaner and stain safe for the lake? The cleaner would get in the water the most when rinsing.

Carolyn
Carolyn

We want to restore and stain our dock over a lake in South Carolina. I am concerned about the animals in the water like turtles, fish, ducks etc. Are the RAD cleaners and stains safe for wildlife in the lake? The cleaner would get in the water the most when rinsing.

Roy
Roy

I applied Behr stain & it lasted one year on ocean front deck. Do I have to remove old stain to apply this or just sand peeling and bare spots.

Helen Bonham
Helen Bonham

Can I have a color sample sent to me for the natural and cedar transparent stain?

Sue
Sue

Your review states that you can prep and stain the same day, but the package for the brightener says to wait 48 hours and stain within 2 weeks. I’m confused

JACKIE
JACKIE

Will this finish be safe on a pool deck that is wet and can be slippery with wet feet

JACKIE
JACKIE

I am considering this product for a pool deck. The old findish was slippery when wet. How will this product perform with bare feet

Denise
Denise

Since my Tigerwood deck has never been stained, can i just use the RAD cleaner and Brightener without the stain and do it every year? I am afraid if i use the RAD LIGHT WALNUT semi water stain on the Tigerwood it might not look much like Tigerwood. You recommended 1 coat but what would happen if i did not stain it at all?