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The use of  a wood deck brightener is needed for two main reasons. The first is that wood brighteners are designed to restore the wood's pH balance to neutral after using a deck cleaner or a stain stripper. The second is that the deck brightener will lighten the wood color making the stain look better and last longer when applied.

Applying a deck brightener is the easiest step in the restoration process and the most fulfilling. The results are almost immediate in that you will be able to see the wood lighten in color right in front of your eyes. Brighteners will improve the durability of the stain as well. Please see picture below:

how-to-brighten-deck

How to brighten a deck:

  1. The deck will need to be cleaned first with a wood cleaner or stain stripper. It is normal for the caustic in the cleaner or stripper to darken the wood's pH balance. Make sure that the wood is thoroughly wet and rinsed from dirt and debris. The wood brightener should be applied as soon as possible.
  2. Wear protective clothing, gloves, and eye wear.
  3. Mix deck brightener concentrate according to directions.
  4. Applying the wood brightener with a pump sprayer is the easiest way. Thoroughly saturate all wood. No scrubbing or pressure washing is needed. Take care to minimize over spray onto any plants and aluminum siding/trim.
  5. Wait 10-20 minutes. You will see the wood lighten in color noticeably. Rinse all wood when done.

If you have any deck brightening questions please ask below. All questions are typically answered within a day.

Comments (8)

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Jan, several weeks could create issues. Best to stain within a couple of weeks after prepping so the wood does not oxidize again. You could just sweep or use a leaf blower to get off dirt.
TheSealerStore , October 09, 2013
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We are planning on using a combo cleaner/brightener on our redwood gazebo before re-staining. We may have to wait several weeks before we have a chance to get to the actual staining part of the job after completing the cleaning & brightening stage. I know the wood has to be completely dry when we stain, so I don't want to "rinse" any dirt off right before we start staining. Would it be OK to clean & brighten, let dry, wait a few weeks, then "brush or wipe" off any excess dirt, & then do the staining?
Jan , October 08, 2013
re: Questions for redwood decks
I would use the Restore-A-Deck cleaner and brightener for both of these decks. As for a water based stain, I would look at the Defy Extreme Stain. Thanks
TheSealerStore , August 03, 2012
Questions for redwood decks
Hi there: I could use some expert advice. #1: I have a 10 yr old redwood deck that is surrounded by a landscaped garden. It has only been treated with Thompson's water seal over the years. It is now pretty gray and I would like to pep it up a bit with a cleaner and/or brightener but I REALLY don't want to hurt the plants. What can I/should I use? #2: I also have a redwood roof deck that has been built over a brand new low slope modified bitumen roof. The deck is one year old and has not been treated to date. It is kind of dirty from fog and street dirt however it seems to lighten up a lot with just some scrubbing and plain water. What deck wash would be safe to use in this situation if water isn't quite enough? FYI - neither of these decks has a big mold problem, both are in San Francisco. Any recommendations on what to seal them with? I am not impressed with the Thompson's but I do like a natural look. I should probably also mention that the roof deck railings were treated last year with a water-based fire retardant product (Flamestop II). This may mean that only the deck surface can take an alkyd sealing product and, if so, what water-based product should I consider for the rails? Thank you so much for your help. Lori
Lori , August 02, 2012
re: should I sand
Did you pressure wash when using the cleaner. That would help remove the gray. I would not sand unless all else does not work.
TheSealerStore , June 28, 2012
should I sand
I put a cleaner and brightner on an IPE deck. It still looks a little gray. There are a couple of spots where there were pots on the deck and those areas look new. Would sanding take the rest of the gray off and should I take the time.
D. Johnson , June 28, 2012
re: brightening
You can just rinse with a garden hose after using the brightener.

It will not hurt the wood to leave the brightener on but depending on the brand of stain it could the stain's longevity.
TheSealerStore , September 06, 2011
brightening
Do most people use a garden hose to rinse off the deck after brightening?And is it important to spend alot of time getting all the brightening soution off?In otherwords will it hurt the wood if left on. Thanks
Doug , September 06, 2011

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