The most important step in any exterior wood restoration or maintenance project is to prep the surface properly prior to staining. Armstrong Clark Wood Stains are quality formulated wood coatings with five generations worth of experience that will give your deck lasting beauty and protection.

To ensure you get the expected results from any of the Armstrong Clark Oil Based Wood Stain products it is essential that the wood surface is cleaned and prepped prior to staining.

The exterior wood surface being refinished needs to be free of any dirt, grime, gray wood fibers, and any old deck stain or sealer. Even new wood needs to be cleaned to remove mill glaze and contaminants. For newer or grayed out wood we highly recommend using Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner. This two-step powder system is specially designed to clean and prepare wood for new stain.

 

Armstrong Clark Prepping Instructions

For wood surfaces that have any old deck stains or sealers on them, we recommend the Restore-A-Deck Stain Stripper. This product is designed to break down and soften transparent and semi-transparent wood stains so they can be washed away.

This process of cleaning or stripping the wood will ensure that the Armstrong Clark Wood Stain will penetrate the wood and perform properly. Use the simple to follow step-by-step instructions for either RAD product for properly prepping the wood surface.

Applying a new coat of Armstrong Clark Stain (maintenance coat) over an old coat is made easy. Prior to applying a maintenance coat of any Armstrong Clark Stain, it is still important to clean the wood surface. It is not necessary however to remove the old Armstrong Clark stain, simply clean the surface using the RAD Wood Cleaner and any old Armstrong Stain that remains will bond with the new stain coat.

Following either the RAD Cleaner or RAD Stain Stripper is step two of the system. The RAD step two is a Wood Brightener that will counteract the causticity of the cleaner or stripper and will correct the pH level of the wood making it more acidic. This opens the pores of the wood and allows it to accept as much new stain as possible.

Once the exterior wood surface is ready following the prepping instructions allow 1-2 days for the wood surface to dry. With proper prepping you can expect the most from your new Armstrong Clark Oil Based Wood Stain. It will enhance the wood’s beauty and give you extended use for many years to come.

Ask Below for Questions on Prepping for Armstrong Clark Stains

Ask a Question or Post a Picture...
You are guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    melissa · 07/17/2019
    Pressure washed a very large, 20 year old deck (pine) and removed 99% of previous stain (no idea what was used). Is it still necessary to clean and brighten prior to staining?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Nan Larson · 07/12/2019
    Hi We are doing our cedar deck which has been stained multiple times with Behr Solid Barn Red. A number of boards have been replaced with new deck cedar. We are unable to remove the old stain from remaining boards with stripper. Do you recommend disc sanding or cob sanding, or soda sanding to remove the old stain? Also how long do we need to weather the deck once the stain has been removed? I am interested in a semi solid stain once we are ready.

    Thank you. Nan
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/12/2019
      Power sanding to remove. Let weather for 1-2 months after and then clean and brighten the wood for prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Nan · 07/13/2019
        Thank you for your reply. And some of your prep instructions you tell us that we have to leave the deck weather for 12 months before using semi-solid product. Please confirm that information. Thank you
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/13/2019
          The new wood does have to season 12 months before using a semi-solid color. 3-4 months if using a transparent or semi-transparent color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anthony · 07/08/2019
    Hello,

    I was just looking for some advice... I am new to the home owning group having just recently purchased a home and we were looking to fix the deck on the home we had purchased after noticing it peeling off. The deck is pressure treated lumber, and is about 11 years old now. The previous coating was an Olympic maximum solid stain (red) and under that there was another unknown gray stain (maybe?). I have been able to remove nearly all traces of the previous two stains with the superdeck stripper, pressure washing and sanding. My question is, do I need to get every last trace of stain off before applying this, as in stain attached to nails or stuck in between cracks? It is not possible for me to get in between some cracks as the boards are spaced too tightly in some areas (which I am going to try and widen with a circular saw) and trying to use the random orbit sander in some areas is chewing up the sanding pads. After doing this do I need to brighten and then clean and then sand again before applying the semi-transparent stain. Lastly I had a question about placing where it is splintering, is there a good way to remove those, as they are also chewing up the sanding pads. I still need to try and remove some gunk that has deposited between the boards but I was going to try a leaf blower and then just wait for good weather.

    Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/08/2019
      -Yes, you have to remove all if going with a semi-transparent.
      -Clean and brighten the wood for your last prep.
      -Sand the splinters off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Leahann · 07/05/2019
    I am using new dried kiln cedar deck boards in the Lowes HOFT slip fence. What prep do I need to do before staining with the TWP 200. Do I still need to use a cleaner and brightener before staining? I live on the beach in B.C. Canada
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/06/2019
      Yes, you have to weather and prep the new kiln-dried wood before using the Armstrong Clark. 1-2 months and then clean and brighten the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob · 07/03/2019
    Best product for pressure treated southern pine deck, last sealed 5 years ago with Sherwin Williams.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/03/2019
      The SW does need to be removed first. Once done, use any color in the AC that you like.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Janice Roudebush · 07/01/2019
    15-year old IPE deck, in good condition, last sanded and sealed 2 years ago with a different product (Sherwin Williams SuperDeck). (Some darker areas adjacent to trees at one end, either from shade or greater moisture, not sure.) I plan to use the Armstrong Clark products this time around. Sanding/RAD Brightening/one coat of Mahogany stain. OK? Also, how long does the Brightening wash need to dry before applying the stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/02/2019
      Strip and brighten to remove the SuperDeck. No need to sand. Wait for 48 hours to apply the stain. Just one coat.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Janice Roudebush · 07/02/2019
        Is there any reason not to sand instead of strip? My contractor seems to want to prefer to sand.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/02/2019
          Stripping is easier and sanding closes the wood pores so the stain cannot soak in as deeply.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joe B · 06/28/2019
    Looking for guidance on new R/S cedar fence. My cedar wood is at 0 to 7% moisture per my meter from the lumber yard, but with water test the smooth side will not take the water, mill glazing condition as stain industry calls it. The question is if I put up fence and wait 1 or 2 or 3 months to weather to point of accepting stain, won't I have to use the 2 step cleaner before staining? if that answer is yes then if the 2 step cleaner removes mill glaze as I believe I read, then can I just put the fence up, use the two step to remove glazing, and then dry and stain? Is it really necessary to wait months?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stephanie · 06/23/2019
    Hello, trying to strip paint and stain off a deck in northern Indiana so we can stain with AC semi-solid stain. We’re not having much luck using citrustrip to get all the layers off. Do we need to sand or use something harsher? We have ordered the cleaner/brightener pack, but I’m not sure we should use that after stripping? I don’t want to start mixing chemicals or damage the wood. Please advise! Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/24/2019
      Post a picture of what you are trying to remove.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Linda · 06/21/2019
    I purchased a home with a 15 year old mahogany deck that has never been stained or treated. Wood planks are quite dry, of course, and last winter due to heavy snows it developed mildew in some areas. Do I need to use both RAD and cleaner products prior to applying semi-transparent stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/21/2019
      Yes, you will need to prep with both.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dphil · 05/31/2019
    Hi. Live in wonderful New Jersey. It’s been 4 days since I restored my 1 yr old IPE decks. Rained for several hours everyday since. Have AC for hardwoods and don’t see much of a dry spell in forecast to apply. Is surface dry ipe fine to start applying and 3-4 hours after to set before rain hits it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Dphil · 06/03/2019
      What will be the preparation for the 12-18 month recoat on an IPE deck? What is the time of drying after rain or washing and product drying time before rain?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Armstrong · 06/04/2019
        Use the RAD Deck Cleaner for prep when recoating. You need 48 hours after the rain stops to apply and 6-12 hours after applying before a rain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/31/2019
      Need 48 hours after rain and 12 hours before rain after applying.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    carlb · 05/27/2019
    Can I apply both of the RAD products using low pressure on a power washer? If so, should I mix it more concentrated to compensate for the mixing with water in the washer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/27/2019
      No, they cannot be applied through a pressure washer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joanne · 05/20/2019
    Used restore deck stripper on a treated pine deck. It did not remove all of the stain. Should we sandand then brighten?a
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Deborah · 05/04/2019
    So I stained last year with AC and dont need to restain, but I do need to clean the deck. Soap and water is all that is needed?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    robert · 04/28/2019
    we stained our deck with transparent Armstrong stain about two years ago. Some of the deck is exposed to sunlight and weather the balance is not. I want to redo the deck in the same transparent stain. Do I need to strip and prep all of the deck or just the areas where is has weathered.? Please advise the procedure for prepping as well. Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin · 04/26/2019
    used ac transparent on redwood deck 3 years ago, looking pretty ragged, decided to go with semi transparent this time, I was just going to re-sand deck before applying, is that ok versus all of the clean and brighten products?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/26/2019
      Cleaning and brightening is the proper prep, not sanding. sanding can hinder the stain's ability to soak into the wood fully.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin · 04/25/2019
    I stain my deck every two years with AC. I’m between years . What is the best way to just clean the horizontal boards in the year I do not stain? Dawn etc?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Colleen Miller · 04/22/2019
    Hi, I have used your transparent stains in the past on my cedar sauna, cedar smimming pool and on a red west pine deck. I wish to now go with the semi-transparent stain. Is it ok if I clean and brighten or do I need to strip?

    Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dawn Austen · 04/12/2019
    I have a large pressure treated sienna brown deck, pergola and fence. It was built two years ago. I have ordered samples to try and a rad kit. Should I sand or is the kit prep enough before staining?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 04/08/2019
    It says to wait 1-2 days before staining, how long is too long to wait?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Wayne Reibold · 04/04/2019
    New 600 sf second story Cedar deck installed on my home early last summer, 4 months later cleaned it with Restore-A-Deck which left a clumpy mess on underside of deck, siding on house below, the patio and damaged some of the glass on the windows below per professional window cleaner.

    Stained with one coat of Armstrong Clark semi-transparent stain 4 months after installed.

    The deck stain still looks really good (no mold/mildew/gray) but since it only has one coat of stain on it I want to put another coat on this summer.

    What can I use to clean the deck and avoid the clumpy mess on the underside of deck, siding below, patio below and damage to windows?

    I'm thinking after this summer I should be able to clean/stain it every other summer.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/04/2019
      Use the RAD cleaner again but mix at half (about 2-4 oz per gallon) strength. Apply and lightly pressure rinse. The "clumps" you had before was from the removal of the oxidation/graying of the wood. When doing maintenance coats, you do not have this issue.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Wayne Reibold · 04/04/2019
        Thanks. So I should use the cleaner and brightener 2 step process each at half strength.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ray Hepworth · 03/31/2019
    Hello - I live in Toronto, Canada. Late last summer I used the Restore-A-Deck Kit to prep new cedar on our deck, railing, and pergola. I then applied a good coat of Semi-Trans Natural Oak to all surfaces. Over the winter I attempted to keep most surfaces clear of snow. Overall most surfaces look really good after the winter, however there are a number of spots on the floor where there is some peeling and/or discoloration. I remember reading last year that you should do a light coat at the start of Year 2. My question is what type of prep should I do before applying the year 2 coat? Please let me know before I finalize my order! Thanks for a great product, and the support you offer your community of users. Ray
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    r. m. falinski · 03/09/2019
    I am having a cypress garage door installed at my home in Northern Georgia that I would like stain with AC semi transparent exterior stain . I have seen a number of posts where it is adamantly stated that all wood must be allowed to weather before applying AC stains. Yet the Southern Cypress manufacturers association states "Cypress decking or siding should be finished promptly at the time of installation to protect against moisture absorption, discoloration from rain, and mildew." The manufacturer of the door also recommends finishing promptly. I am confused by this conflicting advice. What are the consequences of applying your product to wood that has not been weathered? Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jon chapman · 03/08/2019
    This picture is of ipe after cleaning and brightening and then rain. No stain. The customer would like this color. I tried a sample of mahogany but it makes it too brown. Is there a lighter red tone that will get it closer to the picture?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin Porter · 10/12/2018
    I think I may already know the answer to this question, but I have a Cypress deck in Eastern Missouri, that was previously stained with some unmentionable product and I have pressure washed the "majority" of the old stain off, but there are blotches where the old stain did not come up. Do I absolutely have to remove 100% of the old stain for AC semi-solid stain to correctly cover exposed wood and some wood with old stain still present, but "roughed" up with intense pressure washing?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/12/2018
      Yes, you need to remove the old stain. shoot for 95% or more.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Melanie · 10/05/2018
    Can I mix some Mildewcide into the semi-transparent?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/05/2018
      No need. The AC already contains the maximum amount.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    RON WADOWSKY · 10/03/2018
    I am in the process of refinishing my deck here in Northwestern PA, I have completely sanded down to bare wood all the decking and replaced about 10 or 12 boards with new pressure treated lumber. The new lumber has been exposed to the weather for about 3 1/2 to 4 months at this time and appears to be absorbing water now. I have purchased an Armstrong Clark Stain Kit which includes the cleaner and brightener. Originally I was going to apply the stain this fall but I am now leaning towards waiting until spring. I am considering this because since I need to clean and treat the deck before the stain I will need to clean and scrub again in the spring whether I stain or not. Will I do any harm or cause myself even more work by waiting to stain until the spring time?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/03/2018
      You will be fine if you wait until Spring. One Winter will not harm the wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        RON WADOWSKY · 10/03/2018
        Thank you, that was what I thought but just wanted your opinion
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom Shannon · 09/28/2018
    Should the deck be slightly damp before applying the cleaner solution with a sprayer? The instructions appear to indicate that, so I wanted to confirm before I start. FWIW-- I will be using a deck scrubbing brush and garden hose to rinse afterwards.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/29/2018
      It can be damp or dry when you start the prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    K. Lynch · 09/26/2018
    Will the RAD cleaner or brightener damage black metal spindles on the deck rails? (I think they are powder coated black.)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/27/2018
      Hard to say as the spindles are not all made the same. Best to test first. Typically there are no issues.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        K. Lynch · 09/28/2018
        I'm freaking out! After sanding the gray off my Ipe deck it looked beautiful...nice reddish brown coloring. Last night I used the RAD cleaner and brightener, and the gorgeous red colors seem to have been bleached right out! It's very light now with none of the warm tones. Will be using the mahogany stain on it but now I'm worried I won't get the warm red tones back. ?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    K. Lynch · 09/25/2018
    Hi. I installed an Ipe deck last August. I was going to stain it in the Spring but things got in the way and it didn't happen, so it turned grey. I sanded it last week with 60grit. Was going to clean and brighten Thursday and stain Sunday. Forecast says possible rain Saturday morning though. Do I have to have 2 full days of no rain before I can stain (and another day after), or if it looks dry Sunday can I still stain Sunday?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/25/2018
      Yes, you will need to wait 48 hours after the rain to be safe.