The TWP Stain Guide to Prepping a Deck in 2024

by TWP Help

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by TWP Help

The Official TWPStainHelp.com Guide to Prepping a Wood Deck

With wood decks maintenance is vital to the structural integrity of the wood. Cleaning, prepping, and staining a deck are the 3 main keys to deck care. With any deck stain, including TWP the prep work is crucial. No matter how superior the deck stain is it will not perform properly or give you the results you expect if the wood is not prepped correctly. The following is a TWP guide to prepping a deck that has never been stained or currently has TWP stain already on the wood. If you have a stain of a different brand, you will need to remove it with a stain stripper. See this for more info Switching to TWP Stains.

Cleaning the Deck for TWP Stains

Prior to staining with, TWP the deck needs to be cleaned thoroughly to allow for proper stain penetration. Use a quality wood cleaner like the oxygenated cleaner Gemini Restore-A-Deck. These types of cleaners are safer on the wood than bleach-based cleaners and will effectively remove dirt, mold, mildew, and grayed wood fibers. It is important to get back down to clean bare wood. Apply the wood cleaner as suggested by the label instructions. Let the cleaner dwell and soften up the pollutants before using a scrub brush or performing a light pressure washing.

If an old failing stain is present it must be removed. A wore down semi-transparent stain may clean off with an oxygenated cleaner. If the old stain is stubborn then you might have to use a wood deck stain stripper instead of a cleaner. Once the pollutants and any remnants of old stain are gone the deck should look new again.

Using a Deck Brightener with TWP

A deck brightener also called a neutralizer is the next step after cleaning. Because the cleaners and/or strippers are caustic in nature they need to be neutralized. Apply the deck brightener immediately after cleaning and according to the directions. Then allow it to dwell for several minutes before rinsing off with water. This will lower the pH level of the wood and make the wood grain “pop”. This acidic nature of the wood surface will allow TWP stain to dive deep into the wood and result in a more professional like finish.

Dry Time for TWP Stains

After cleaning and brightening the deck it needs to dry prior to staining. With a moisture meter, you want 15% or less moisture content before applying the stain. If you do not have a meter, typically 1-2 days of dry weather is adequate time for the wood to dry completely. Now the deck is ready for TWP stain. Following this TWP guide to prepping a deck will ensure the stain lasts longer, enhances the appearance, and performs as expected.

 

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Bill W.
8 days ago

Should have said the cedar deck and railings have TWP previously “applied” vs installed. 😇

Bill W.
8 days ago

I have a cedar deck (flooring) and railings that have TWP installed previously. In planning to refresh/reapply the next coat of TWP, I’d like to sand the top railings to get them smoother than they currently are. Where in the order of cleaning, brightening and power washing is the correct time to sand the railings and not cause any issues with the new TWP stain or other issues with cleaning and or brightening? Thanks much.

Jane
7 months ago

I applied cedar Twp to new cedarvdeck rails but the stain did not penetrate the wood. How can I prep the wood to accept stain?

 
Jim
7 months ago

I have black metal railing around my deck, two inches above the wood. See picture. I am using a sprayer to apply your RAD stripper and brightener. Is the deck stripper going to discolor or damage the railing? Are there precautions to take prior to spaying or should I apply the stripper close to the rail with a pad or brush to avoid overspray of stripper on to railing?

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mark gibertini
8 months ago

what’s the best way to prep a handrail and balusters previously stained with 100. I have a prep kit already, just wondering what’s the best way to apply to apply?

mark gibertini
8 months ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thanks for your reply is there a shelf life on your 115 stain? I. have a 5 gallon that is about 2 years old. I do plane on using a mixer before using. I haven’t opened the can yet.

Judy Fonda
9 months ago

I just submitted a comment but realized too late that my email was incorrect, it’s judy.fonda@yahoo.com (not Judy.fond@yahoo.com). Thanks

 
Judy Fonda
9 months ago

I have a cabana that was built 3 years ago with cedar and was never stained/sealed. The wood looked gray but once I started washing it was clear that there was a layer of what appears to be mud (very difficult to get off) and underneath that was a gray “weathered” layer. I’ve been aggressively power washing it for a week (wish I had learned about Gemini Restore a Deck before that!) and after going over the wood 3-4 times the portions I’ve completed are essentially back to raw. Should I still use Gemini Restore a Deck or am I good to move forward with staining? Can I use TWP 1500 (I’m in Raleigh, NC)?
Thanks for your guidance!

josh
9 months ago

I applied TWP 3 days ago to my deck and when I wipe a white cloth over the deck the cloth still shows some un-dried stain. I want to make sure this doesn’t end up on our shoes or the dogs feet. Do I need to use mineral spirits to clean up the excess that doesn’t seem to be drying.

The day I applied the stain it was hot. Maybe 80-85 degrees. Maybe the oil dissipated too quickly? I really just want it to be safe for the dog and it seems like it is not completely dry after 3 very warm days.

Thank you in advance.

Dan
10 months ago

Would I need to use the prep kit on the railings as well or just the deck boards? Prepping to restain w twp after 3 yrs

 
Lee
10 months ago

I have a 30 year old deck at our cabin. It has never had stain. I replaced some boards. I am not shooting for high quality professional looking finish…. (Wouldn’t go with the rest if the rustic cabin, HA!) But I do want coverage, and protection. I will power wash the deck. Is it absolutely necessary to use a cleaner and brightener for good coverage and staying power when using the TWP semi solid pro series? We are not going for profection look, , just good coverage and longevity.

Max
11 months ago

I have cleaned, but not yet brightened my 3 year old PT SYP deck. It has never been stained before. Gemini @ 6oz/gal, 10-15 minutes dwell time, then a light to moderate power washing. There is some gray remaining on the wood after this procedure, mostly around knots, and a little bit randomly. It is all thinned out you can “see through it”

Will the brightener take care of this? If not, do I need to go back and reclean, or will this stain OK? If I had to choose cleaning the deck twice, or living with some slight variation in stain evenness or color, I think I would live with some imperfections, but am unwilling to tolerate heavy showing, and certainly not compromised wood protection. Am I ok to stain over this prep job?

Thank you!

Max

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Max
11 months ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thank you for the prompt response! You guys rock!

Also, another quick question – What are the consequences of delayed brightening. I ran out of time and will not be able to finish cleaning and brighten for atleast a week. Is this OK, or is it critical brightening be done immediately?

Max

Scott
1 year ago

In Colorado I’d like to apply either TWP 100 or TWP 1500 to a large redwood deck that will be sanded and prepped. I don’t understand the difference between the two products and which would give me the best deck finish. I’d like to use semi-transparent redwood color.

 
Sue
1 year ago

We live in Canada so I understand there are different environmental laws here than US. We stained our deck with TWP 200, 205 California cedar tone about 3 years ago. It’s been great but we need to restrain it now.
1) What do we need to get to prep the wood?
2) Would you recommend we switch to a different TWP product for decks (allowed in Canada) and if so, is the prep any different?
3) What is the best temperature to restrain the deck?
4) How long does it take to ship to Canada. Winter is fast approaching so it may need to wait until spring.
Thank-you for your help!

Sue
1 year ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thanks for your quick response to all questions!

Sandra
1 year ago

I am preparing my deck for its first sealing. I am almost finished with the 1st part of the Gemini kit. However, the directions say to apply the 2nd part immediately after the first. I am one person and it is taking me more than 1 day to get through the 1st part. Is that a problem? Also, I am adding a screened in porch beginning next week. My intention was to clean and prep existing deck prior to construction, then do a quick clean, followed by applying the stain, after the project is complete. The project should be completed in about 3 weeks. Does this make sense? If not, what would you recommend? Also, this is a second story deck, so I intended to seal both top and bottom (cleaning both).

George
1 year ago

I recently cleaned and brightened my white cedar deck in the PNW.

This is the the third year out of where I have done this and per recommendation from this site, re-applied TWP over the prior TWP stain.

However, this year, I got some funny “fuzz” on parts of the deck. Can I just stain over rhe “fuzz” or take some other action first?

I have attached a photo of the “fuzz” and the deck in general.

Thank you.

George

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John Kerr
1 year ago

After applying 1500 how long does it need to be before the deck can see water again? Trying to plan around the weather.

Anna
1 year ago

I have read through your advice articles but still need some clarification about MAINTAINING a TWP 1500 series stained cedar deck located on the N coast of Oregon.
First, after deck has been properly stained, how many years until it should be stained again? I’m thinking every other summer?
Second, when planning to stain again with exact same TWP series and color, to properly prep we just use the Gemini cleaning kit, dry 48+ hours and then stain with TWP single coat?
Third, in between staining years, what is the best product to use to simply clean (but not prep for stain) the surface of the deck that will safely remove mold, algae or dirt without stripping the TWP 1500 series finish?
Thank you in advance for your reply!

Anna
1 year ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thank you! So don’t use any deck cleaning products such as “wet & forget” or other surface cleaners? Just dish soap water and a soft bristle brush?

Steve
1 year ago

Can we use the Restore a Deck to prep our deck (currently has TWP100 on it) and then is there a problem if it rains before we can stain it with TWP 100 again? We understand it needs to dry to 15% or about 2 days of dry weather. Thank you!

Steve
1 year ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thank you!

 
Chuck
2 years ago

Purchased a house very old and neglected deck, pt pine, greyed, mildew etc. Found an old can of Thompson’s under house and could feel remanentes of sealer. I have stripped with rad and brightened. I now have a bad case of the fuzzies. Current plan is to sand with 80 grit on an orbital brighten, and stain. Good plan?
Any need to wait beyond the 48 hrs the deck needs to dry after the final brightening to stain?

How did I get so many fuzzies? The stripper and the pressure washer removed a lot of material- is this just the nature of using them on a degraded deck or did I just over do it with pressure washer? The thing is I found fuzz even where I didn’t have direct access with the pressure washer wand.

Sandy
2 years ago

I applied TWP 100 to pine barn doors last year after allowing the new wood to age 12 mths. The doors have faded and appear to need a 2nd coat. I know you recommend Gemini cleaner and brightener but will that remove the existing coat of stain? Obviously, being vertical doors, they don’t get the same level of dirt that a deck floor would and I really don’t wont anything that would remove the existing stain. I went with TWP with the understanding I can clean and stain over top of the previous coat. In a previous reply to kelliG you stated the cleaner brightener would remove the stain.. Thanks!

Last edited 2 years ago by Sandy
KelliG
2 years ago

I’m getting ready to re-stain the rail top and floors of my deck with TWP 1500. The spindles and vertices don’t need it. Which power wash product shall I use if I plan on power washing everything? If I can’t get a TWP product because of timing, which one is recommended that can be purchased at a local retail store?
Thanks for your help!

KelliG
2 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

So this won’t take away my existing stain?

KelliG
2 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Ok good to know! Thanks!

 
Sheila
2 years ago

Do I rinse ?

Sheila
2 years ago

I used the Gemeni Restore a deck it turned my deck green

Sheila
2 years ago
Reply to  Sheila

Do I rinse

Sheila
2 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thank you 😊

Patricia
2 years ago

I just sanded our 10 yr. old 300 foot cedar decks.
Is it necessary to use cleaner before the brightener on newly sanded wood?
Is sanded wood treated the same as New wood?

 
Casey
3 years ago

Stained my deck a few years ago with 100 series pecan. Prepping to restain it, but want to go with cedar tone this round. How would this work?

Casey
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Dang! Was hoping I wouldn’t have to strip it? Any way around not having to strip it?

Casey
2 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Gotcha. If I just went with pecan again would I still need to strip?

N. Cummings
3 years ago

I applied series 1500 TWP stain in 2017. The deck needs restaining. Should I use Gemini Restore-a-Deck prior to restaining? Thanks.

N. Cummings
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thanks. How much of the original stain will this process leave on the boards?

Dugan
3 years ago

What can be done to avoid the long wait times for “new wood”/”smooth wood” applications, i.e. 4-12 months? Can the mill scale be removed by rough sanding or rough sawing the surface?

Linda D’Amico
10 months ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Even if it is not untreated wood-yellow pine?

Linda D’Amico
10 months ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Also, our porch is on an A-frame two-story so we can see the underside. Is weathering it for a year enough to deal with the underside that is not exposed to direct sun?

Linda D’Amico
10 months ago
Reply to  TWP Help

The underside is my porch roof! All new wood is going up.
Not pressure treated, new pine you suggest leaving untreated?

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Judy
3 years ago

Forgot to add photos for question do I need to remove old stain completely before cleaner/ brightener steps?

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Judy
3 years ago

I have a different big box store transparent stain ( cedar tone) on my cedar deck. I have spent 2 days sanding it off with a belt sander. What a job! I have removed 85 % of previous stain ( killing my muscles) Each surface has been sanded but still some stain remaining. Does it all need to come completely off? Will the cleaner remove any of the previous stain? ( got the cleaner/ brightener also from you folks. Maybe I have to do the stripper or power wash too? Ugh

Kathryn Epps
3 years ago

I power washed fence before I read about this product. Can I skip steps one and two? Took me a million hrs already to pw 1400 sq ft fence. It looks clean and bright to me.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kathryn Epps
Kathryn Epps
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

The one problem I see is surface is hairy in places as a result of washing too close.

 
Teresa Beaird
3 years ago

I cleaned, brightened, and stained our deck last summer. Overall it still looks great. We have a few areas that are a bit green. What’s the best way to clean that will not remove the stain. I can’t go through that entire process again this year. Thanks!

Todd Durham
3 years ago

I applied TWP stain on to a new deck 2 years ago. Now after 2 applications of step 1 cleaner, I still have a lot of black mildew. What’s your recommendation for next step to remove the mildew? I’d like to reapply same stain after this prep stage.

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Donald lloyd
3 years ago

What is the shelf life of twp 100 series pecan

 
Leonard Stambler
3 years ago

The instructions for Step 2 call for 1 cup of powder per gallon of water. The label says the 2 lb container will make 5 gallons of Step 2. The container does not hold 5 cups of powder! What is the correct concentration for Step 2?

Leonard Stambler
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

My deck is 400 square feet and my sprayer holds 2 gallons so I have no need or desire to mix all gallons at one time. Your label says that the product weighs 32 ounces which means I should be mixing 6.4 ounces of product for each gallon of water. My container of Step 1 weighed 32 ounces for both the product and the container. My container for Step 2 weighed 30 ounces for both the container and the product. In other words neither container contained the correct net weight of product in accordance with the label. Please send The missing product.

Dan
3 years ago

Hi, i have a 10 year old pt deck that was only sealed once (water-based and failed). The gemini cleaner brightener/pressure wash mostly cleans up the gray and black weathered wood, but doesn’t really get back to a bare-wood look on the decking. So, will the stain still take and look ok? i’m using the Rustic TWP 1500 series stain. Do I have to sand also to get back to the fresh wood? Also, I’ve been advised that stain/seal frequently fails because the underside of the decking wasn’t sealed and allowed moisture to erode adhesion from below. I had been thinking therefore that I would clean/bright/pressure wash/stain the deck as is, then turn all the boards over and do same, thereby sealing all the wood top and bottom. Is this step really necessary? I have 1500 sq and it’s already a lot of work.

MyJean
3 years ago

Forgot to add photos- before and after

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MyJean
3 years ago

I have a western red cedar deck built last August. The step one restore a deck was applied with a mop, soaked for 15”, and then rinsed, and the brightened applied. We live along the coast so the temperatures are in the low 60’s. The section of the deck this morning now looks blotchy and uneven; under the eaves one color, and the rest a “calico” effect. I’m hesitant to apply TWP tomorrow. Should I have applied with a garden sprayer instead of a mop? I used a pressure washer to moisten it but a hose to rinse. What tool do you suggest for a scrubber? I have 4 sections of decks, including stairs so I want to get it done properly.
Thank y’all!

MyJean
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Is 48 hours the maximum time before the stain is applied?

MyJean
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Hmm. What is the maximum time ??

MyJean
3 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thank you. That changes everything!

Catherine McCabe
3 years ago

If I use the RAD stripper do I need to also use the Gemini cleaner and brightener before I stain?

Vicky
3 years ago

This is the first time I have owned a home with a deck. I replaced all of the deck bords with new cedar. If I’m reading the articles right, I should wait 12 mo the before cleaning and staining, yes?

 
Stefanie Hobson
4 years ago

I just finished cleaning and power washing (step one of Gemini kit). I’m left with a fuzzy look ok much of the dimensional lumber. Can I still brighten and stain?

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warren watkins
4 years ago

We have a 4-yr old, 400sq ft deck of treated pine 2x6x8ft. Also have 13 boards that have been stored under a front porch. When new, used a product called Rescue-it, a type of solid paint-type stain. There are several places where the deck boards have rotted and need to be replaced. I can use the stored boards to replace the rot – no new wood is needed. Then plan to take the remaining deck boards and flip them over to the unstained underside of the deck. I would use the Restore-A-Deck Cleaner/Brightener system first to get the deck ready for stain. Can I treat this wood as ‘seasoned/dry’ wood and proceded to apply two coats of TWP stain, or do I need to follow the steps for new wood decks? Thanks!

Paul Heinecke
4 years ago

I am using Step 1 stripper and step 2 brightener on my log siding. It will likely be over 2 weeks from the strip/bright stage, then sanding, then staining. Do I need to brighten again prior to staining?

 
Liisa
4 years ago

Hi, my deck hadn’t been sanded in 10 years so sanded with 60-80 grit. Can I just do wood brightener step, let dry, then stain? Or do I have to use the cleaner step then brightener? If it’s raining today, Sunday, is drying all day Monday and Tuesday safe to start staining Tuesday afternoon or should I wait until Wednesday? Also, how long does freshly stained deck have to be dry before it’s safe for rain? 12 hours? 24 hours? Last, if I mix the 100 series Pecan and clear to lighten it some, it should still have enough pigment to protect from graying right? I’m thinking 50/50 mix. My deck is full sun.
Thanks

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Liisa
4 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thank you! What is dry time after stain application before it’s safe to get rained on?

Michael Ward
4 years ago

Hello. I have a question regarding when to reapply 1500 series stain. I initially applied 1500 series to my deck after completely sanding off previous products in the spring of 2019.. I was very happy with the results and with the product’s performance during the “deck” season of 2019 here in CT. The deck seems to have developed some mild staining (mildew?) on some of the planks in the meantime. The planks still seem to “bead” water when it rains even though the color may have faded a bit since last year. My question is when might it be best to apply a “refresher” coat of your product to spruce things up a bit and provide added protection. I am concerned that trying to apply such a coat now will not penetrate (as the water is beading after all) and dry on the plank surface…which I understand to be a real problem. I have included photos of the application to my decking, the first photo from 2019 (without the stone shows the initial application. The seconf photo (with the stone) shows the current 2020 condition of the stain with some of the typical mild black staining that can be found elsewhere on the deck in some places (maybe where water “stands” after the rain?). What is your folks’ advice for the re=application of your product in these circumstances? Very happy with your product and the results and I DON’T want to mess it up by reapplying inappropriately. THANKS!!! Michael from CT 🙂

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D&S
4 years ago

Hello! What’s the difference between the Safe Strip stripper (1 step; no brightening step needed) and the Restore-A-Deck Stripper & Brightener? We would be stripping one light coat of TWP 100 Series stain that was applied improperly. Can we get by with the Safe Strip product to prep for the re-stain, and avoid the 2nd brightener step? The TWP stain coat was misapplied about 6 months ago and the wood is now just over a year old. It’s not in terrible condition; the stain just wasn’t completely brushed in like it should’ve been. Would either stripping product/process work, or is there a compelling reason to do the more onerous (i.e., more time-consuming & expensive) 2-step stripping/brightening process? Thank you for your helpful & generous advice!

 
Courtney Williamson
4 years ago

I power washed half of my deck to see if it would be sufficient or not. Do I need to remove every bit of old TWP if I am reapplying the exact same one?

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Courtney Williamson
4 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

So I don’t need to do anything else beforehand?

Chris
4 years ago

Hi, curious if there’s any change when applying the cleaner and brightener to vertical surfaces? I cleaned/brightened/stained my cedar deck last fall, though I was not able to get to it all. I have the stairs left to do as well as the band boards that wrap around the entire deck, these band boards are the “vertical” surfaces I am referring to. Just curious if there’s any other guidance with these vertical boards since the cleaner/brightener won’t sit on top and work like they do with the horizontal boards.

Another topic, do I need to protect the previously stained wood from the cleaner/brightener? Cover with plastic before doing the surfaces that I was not able to get to last fall?

Chris
4 years ago
Reply to  TWP Help

Thanks – can I apply the cleaner to wet wood? As in it rained and the wood is still wet, but I’d still like to start the job.

Matt M
4 years ago

I just received your stripper, brightner and 1500 stain. I’m replacing the deck boards this weekend with red cedar. I’m leaving the rest of the deck in place, but will need to strip it. Should i do it all at once after i install the new cedar? Will the stripper hurt it? Or should i strip it now and then brighten and stain everything later?

 
George Robinson
4 years ago

In the summer of 2019, I properly prepped and applied one coat of TWP stain on my pine deck, installed in October 2018. It is now time to apply the second coat of TWP. The deck wood looks in great shape. What do I need to do before applying the second coat of TWP stain? Do I have to use a cleaner since the previous stain was applied only a year ago? If so, what do I need to use to prepare for the second stain application?

M Roberts
4 years ago

Hi,
TWP1500 has been purchased. I’ve read a lot but still unsure.
Please advise stain process for the flw:
A) Phoenix, Az — temperature range 30-120 degrees
B) 150 sq ft deck + 2 steps in full sun
C) guessing pine with no mold or mildew.
D) original stain: existing stain is approx 4 years old. brand unknown. guessing semi transparent applied to new wood. see photo #1 for our starting point.
E) We inherited the deck so some answers are unknown.

1) Deck sanded 6 weeks ago – photos 2 and 3. Did we sand enough? See photos attached. Should we keep sanding until all previous product is gone? Read that too much sanding will undermine stain penetration.
2) Then power wash?
3) How many coats of stain?
4) Is it ok to use exterior wood filler product prior to stain application?
5) And then should we repeat same process every 2-3 years or just add a coat of stain?

We appreciate your generosity…thank you in advance. With your guidance I believe we can do it right the first time!

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