This post was updated on January 18, 2023
Why Use a Wood Deck Brightener?
Deckstainhelp.com remains committed to being your number one reference for deck restoration professional tips and industry news for 2023. It is important that when done applying a wood brightener that your rinse the wood well with water to achieve maximum results.
As always, we appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below.
Exterior Wood Deck prep is key to the longevity and appearance of the deck stain brand that you choose. Prior to staining the surface needs a good cleaning and or stripping of previous coatings. A properly prepped surface will ensure proper adhesion and stain penetration into the wood grain. Cleaning or stripping a wood surface prior to staining will also enhance the beauty of the wood and give you a better end result. The downside to a caustic cleaner or stain stripper is that it raises the pH level of the wood and makes it appear darker in color. The way this darkening of the wood is reversed is to simply apply a wood brightener. This mild acid formula known as deck brightener or deck neutralizer cancels the condition of the caustic soaps and restores the wood’s pH balance to a more neutral or acidic state. This also “brightens” the wood and enhances the wood grain.
One issue we have noticed in recent years is not rinsing the wood brightener well when done. Failure to rinse the wood well after using a wood brightener will leave the wood in a low pH balance and in a highly acidic state. This will, in turn, create possible deck application issues with the overall appearance and the spottiness of the deck stain.
We did some test boards that show the results of not rinsing the wood brightener well using the Restore A Deck Wood Stain in Dark Walnut, Both test boards were applied with the wood damp to the touch after the prep.
-On the left, you will see the RAD Stain after rinsing the Wood Brightener for 20-30 Minutes.
-On the right, you will see the RAD Stain applied to the wood without rinsing the Wood Brightener.
As you can see, there is a clear chemical reaction that shows poor adhesion and appearance.
To summarize, it is very important that when done applying a wood brightener that your rinse the wood well with water to achieve maximum results and appearance. We suggest rinsing with water from your hose or pressure washer for a minimum of 15-30 minutes. This does not matter what brand of deck stain you are using.
How To Brighten A Deck Video – DeckStainHelp.com
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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.
We used a stain stripper followed by brightener on our 1500+ foot deck last weekend. We’ve since sanded the whole thing to remove some furring and any residual stain. It looks great and planned to re-stain today. However it’s rained overnight so we know to wait another 48+ hours to dry, and we’ve noticed that when wet it feels kind of oily to the touch, and wonder if the brightener hasn’t been properly enough removed?
We spent ages (a couple of hours) rinsing it off after it was first applied. Should we rinse AGAIN using rags/brushes to further scrub, or is this oily feeling normal?
Thanks for any advice!
It should be fine and the brightener does not leave the wood oily.
Hi. So if you haven’t rinsed the brighter we’ll enough… did so for 15 minutes and it has rained since and stain is steady/patchy when applied, what can you do to remedy?
That would depend on the stain brand. You may be able to do a light cleaning and recoating, strip and recoat, or sanding with a buffer and recoat.
This website provides great guidance. Thank you for keeping it up to date. A question about brighteners: The article above says “We suggest rinsing with water from your hose or pressure washer for a minimum of 15-30 minutes”. Does that mean 15-30 minutes for every square foot … or total rinse time for an average-size deck?
Average size deck.
If you feel you didn’t get deck brightener rinsed out well enough the first day, can you re rents it the next day to make sure?
how to get rid the smell of chloride from sodium hypochloride 12%? for wood bleaching
You cannot do anything besides water rinsing. It goes away after time.
= cleaner method?do you recommend the 2 step proceedure vs the all in one brightener
2 step is the correct way?
Once the wood brightener is rinsed with water, how long do I need to wait before I can stain?
Depends on the brand of stain you choose. Typically 48 hours unless it can be applied to a damp deck.
I have power washed a tigerwood deck. It has only had clear ipe oil on it one time (faded in a matter of months). Do I need to use a brightened on the deck before applying a stain (defy in natural pine).
David, bethesda md
We’ve completed cleaning/brightening our deck that was installed 9 mos ago. We’re ready to stain but it’s rained once, we’ve got a little dirt from dog paws, the birds seem to have a vendetta against us and bombed our clean deck repeatedly, plus the neighbor’s tree dropped some more buds when it rained. We just want to sweep up the loose stuff and hose off the rest. Is it necessary to wait very long if we just do a quick hosing and wait for it to appear dry? We get direct sun for most of the day.
We used the Behr deck wash and are using Behr semi transparent stain. With limited days we have to work on it together and watching the weather, we’re trying to get it done so it has time to dry after. Plus we have to keep our dogs off of it.
Thanks for any advice
You have to wait 48 hours after any wetting of the wood to apply the Behr stain. You should return that anyhow, it has issues: https://www.deckstainhelp.com/behr-deck-stain-review/