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
    Steve McCarthy · 06/16/2022
    Our redwood deck is about 20 years old, last stained with Superdeck.  I have stripped and brightened one small part.  The power washing after stripping and the washing after brightening seemed to bring out so much yellow liquid that I wonder if I am removing tannins/oils that should not have come out.  The wood now has a furry look which I can probably sand off but should I have used a lot less prep chemicals?

    Also, should I have used a brush vs. sprayer on the balusters to save product?

    Finally, how important is it to avoid sunlight?  We waited this time until dusk but ran out of time to finish the job before it got dark.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/17/2022
      You are stripping it correctly and you are not removing the tannins. Spray on the stripper and pressure wash off. Sunlight does not matter when stripping, just keep it wet while working. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Talk2tana · 06/02/2022
    I am going to be staining new column wraps on my carport.  They are treated pine.  I am a little unsure about the instructions.  Do I need to wait 6 months after installation to stain?  (I got this thinking from reading the can... where it says -"New Wood Weathering" and the chart -"Time Listed Is From Date of Installation"
    Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    FJK · 05/25/2022
    My wife striped the rear Ipe deck an power washed  then stained with Armstrong Mahogany solid. She is planning to wash and power scrub before she re-applies the same Armstrong Mahogany solid stain. I think she is going to remove a good prior coat with her plan. I understood that a gentile (non-power) soap/cleaner scrub  is all that's required then 2day drying before the new coat of Ipe Armstrong Ipe Mahogany solid stain. I need your thoughts before we argue over this, PLEASE!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Frances · 05/22/2022
    Hi, I am in the course of stripping the paints off my deck and will replace some of the boards. However I am unable to tell what kind of woods and hence what stain I should use.  I will prep the deck first by RAD cleaning kit before applying the stain. Would semi-transparent stain be suitable? Kindly advise. Thanks in advance! 

    Frances
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/22/2022
      Yes any of the Armstong Clark colors or transparencies will work. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Janice · 05/17/2022
    I have a 30+ year old pressure treated deck.  I used a Cabot product called Deck Correct a couple of years ago,  which is now peeling off all over the place.  I live in Vermont - harsh winters and lots of moisture.  My contractor says he can just pressure wash the horizontal surfaces to remove  the Deck Correct (it's really like a paint) and then use (your) stain.  The wood is old but still in good shape other than dried out!  My question is - Is pressure washing sufficient or must the restore-a-deck product be used also?   Thank you. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/18/2022
      You cannot strip off the Deck Correct and you cannot pressure wash it all off. It has to be power sanded to remove.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Janice Stearns · 05/25/2022
        Also can it be applied with a roller?  THanks!
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Janice Stearns · 05/25/2022
        So just  power sanding and then use the stain?  Is an orbital sander okay or does it need a band sander?    I purchased 5 gallons of cedar semi transparent.
        Thank you.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 05/26/2022
          You will need heavy-duty sanding equipment to remove the Deck Correct. It is not easy to sand that product off. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeanne · 05/14/2022
    I have new hemlock siding where I used a water based stain that looked more like paint than stain.   Possibly I should have sanded it first?  I have removed that stain over much of it (arduous task!) by sanding and a sample patch of oak semi transparent shows the wood grain.   I am considering  the stripper on any remaining unsanded portions…because of noise considerations for my neighbor?  Do I need the brightener on all?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/14/2022
      Yes, you have to brighten but if it looks like paint, then it cannot be stripped.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Doug · 05/03/2022
    Is it necessary to sand old deck tp remove previous Cabot stain or does the Restore-A- Deck to the trick?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ann Shields · 03/10/2022
    How much pressure should I use in the pressure washer when removing the preexisting stain - using your Restore-A-Deck products - on my cedar deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Randy Young · 01/20/2022
    I have previously used Cabot Cedar Wood Toner on my two cedar porches. But I want to switch to Armstrong, just because it can be applied in sunlight. I plan on using the RAD cleaning system. Will this 2-product cleaning system remove all the old Cabot product to allow the Armstrong stain to penetrate and adhere to the cedar wood? How long will the Armstrong stain last? I plan on selling my house next year. Will it need to be touched up before putting my house on the market? The porches are 20 years old. Cabot Wood Toner had been reapplied about every 2 years. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/20/2022
      You will need the RAD Stripper/Brightener Kit for prep, not the Cleaner. AC typically lasts 2-3 years, maybe longer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Caren · 11/10/2021
    I think the spots on my exterior glass door are overspray from the Restore a Deck product used last summer. Windex and rubbing alcohol are not getting it off, I have not tried with mineral spirits or razor blade yet. Is there a preferred method for removing these spots, if that is what it is?  Thanks 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/10/2021
      The prep products do not harm glass so not sure what it is.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad C · 09/28/2021
    Have 4 yr old redwood deck previously stained/sealed with Behr Redwood Semi Transparent Stain/sealer (from Home Depot) - planning on sanding (to remove what is left of old stain and blemishes) and need info on what to do after sanding.  Do I use the RAD and pressure wash? How long to let it dry out after washing?  I plan to use the Semi Solid Redwood Sequoia product.  Also what is the best way to apply this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/28/2021
      Yes, use the RAD Prep kit after the sanding. Let dry for 48 hours and then stain. Use stain pads and brushes for best results.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Brad C · 09/28/2021
        When you say prep kit is that the stripper and cleaner and brightener or which combo?  Do I need to use the stripper since I have sanded the deck?  Based on above info sounds like sand, cleaner and brightener.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 09/29/2021
          Clean and brighten since you already removed the Behr.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad C · 09/28/2021
    Have 4 yr old redwood deck that was previously stained with the Home Depot Behr Semi Transparent Stain about 3 years ago.  Planning on sanding (to help remove stain and blemishes) and then need advice on what to do before applying your Semi Solid redwood Sequoia product - using RAD/pressure wash and how long to dry.  Also what is best way to apply this stain.  Thx, Brad
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marilyn · 09/09/2021
    I noticed some threads of the wood surface started peeling back when we were using a stripper on the deck. Should we sand in that case? We already stripped and brightened.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dee · 07/30/2021
    My outdoor deck is redwood, installed over 35 years ago.  My question: Can I use Armstrong Clark Stain on this deck if I sand off the paint on it (the paint is old too!)? I would like to obtain the natural look/finish again!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/30/2021
      As long as you remove all of the paint, then yes.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jonathan Libber · 07/05/2021
    I am about to re-stain my deck.  The previous two coats were Armstrong  Sierra Redwood semi-transparent stain.  This third coat is the same stain.  I plan to first use Wood Cleaner followed by deck brightener.  How long do I have to wait in between rinsing off the cleaner and then applying the brightener?  Can the deck still be wet from the cleaning when I apply the brightener, or does it have to be 100% dry?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/05/2021
      Brighten as soon as you are done cleaning while the wood is wet. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Denise Zitzmann · 06/13/2021
    My deck was stripped, and brightened and is now drying.  In several days we will use the semi solid stain. How do you determine whether your deck needs to be sanded, and what grit sand paper should be used?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/14/2021
      Do not sand. Just stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Denise zitzmann · 06/14/2021
        There are spots where there is still stain snd the grain seems roughed up.  Sending photos.  Will be using semi solid stain. 
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Denise zitzmann · 06/14/2021
          Stain still remains is spots and where a storage box was kept on deck.  
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 06/14/2021
          That is old stain that did not come off with the stripping. You should give it one more go with the stripper and then the brightener. Shoot for 95% removal or more. A little bit of old stain is okay as it will blend.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Wayne · 06/12/2021
    I am about to clean and brighten my yellow cedar deck that was installed In August 2020. If it rains on the deck between prepping and staining, will that be a problem? Or, will it be okay if Allow two days of drying after the rain and before staining? Would it be better to wait for three or four consecutive dry days for prepping then staining? Thanks. 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/12/2021
      Rain does not harm the prep. Wait 48 hours after rain to let the wood dry before staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Noni · 05/31/2021
    There seems to be conflicting information for new deck prep. Your website and your answers to questions states one should use the "Restore-A-Deck Wood Cleaner," however, your brochure "General Instructions- Surface Preparation" section states to "wash with a mild scrubbing using a mixture of 1 qt. bleach, 3 qts, water, with a maximum of a 1/4 cup of liquid dish soap per gallon. Rinse thoroughly and/or light pressure wash." Which is the preferred method. I have a redwood deck that was installed July 2020. Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/31/2021
      Best way is to prep with the RAD Cleaner and then the Brightener kit.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    gertrud · 05/30/2021
    We have a 1 1/2 year old pressure treated deck and would like to stain it now with Armstrong Clark semi  transparent wood stain. Do we have to clean AND brighten before staining? Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Nikki · 05/14/2021
    Can I use dish soap and water to remove excess stain. If so how long after application 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/15/2021
      No, that will not remove excess stain. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 05/05/2021
    We are working with an older cedar deck. Last year we stripped, cleaned, brightened (with “Restore”) and then stained with your “Natural Tone” stain.  
    We want to do a maintenance coat this year. There is one area on the deck that after being stained was under an outdoor carpet. This area has developed black spots (refer to the picture). The rest of the deck doesn’t have the spots.
    1) How should we proceed? 2) Should we not have a carpet on the deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/05/2021
      Looks like the rug being wet caused mildew under the carpet and on top of the stain. We would suggest not using it but if you do, try removing the rug after a rain and let it dry out before putting it back. This should help reduce this from happening. This year, clean and brighten for prep and then one coat of stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kp · 05/03/2021
    I cleaned/brightened my ipe (I think) deck and I have some areas with tannin bleed, do I need to rerinse and/or brighten and let dry again before staininf or will the stain spread out the tannins to make them not noticeable? I am staining with Armstrong-Clark Amber.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/03/2021
      Try the brightener again but it looks more like water stains than tannin stains. They will still show when stained.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    G. Anderson · 04/19/2021
    I stripped, brightened & applied one coat of A/C hardwood amber oil stain to my mahogany last June. the finish now "looks" like there isn't any, and appears "dirty." In June I plan to apply another coat. Prior to re-staining, should I use your deck cleaner AND re-brighten, or just the cleaner & power wash?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/19/2021
      Use both cleaner and brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    A. Chuang · 04/19/2021
    I have a seven year old mahogany deck that needs refinishing, and the company I hired is willing to use your products but is not familiar with them. They propose to power wash the deck and sand to remove all the old stain (don’t know what the builder used, but it appears a solid red in the patches that haven’t weathered). Can they then move directly to applying your hardwood oil stain, or do they need to apply a prep product first? And their estimate includes applying two coats—is that appropriate, or should only one coat be used on mahogany? Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ron Platt · 03/29/2021
    I have a 4 year old ipe deck that I stained (twice) with Seal Once/C2 water-based stain. It failed miserably twice. Do I have to remove/strip the Seal Once prior to prepping and staining with Armstrong Clark stain for ipe decks?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John Matthews · 03/12/2021
    My 4 year old pressure treated deck has received Natural Tone twice. Last year, following the container instructions we cleaned with a bleach solution then applied the second coat. this year we want to apply Natural Oak. What prep steps must we do
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Julie · 11/25/2020
    I stripped, brightened, and applied one coat of cedar semi transparent AC stain this fall to my deck. The color is reading too orange for my liking. Can I try applying a darker color over the existing coat next spring, or should I strip, brighten and start over with a new color. Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/25/2020
      You would need to strip and brighten for prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    nancy · 11/01/2020
    I used the restore a deck system to clean and brighten deck. Looked great, by the way. Then, our deck stayed too wet to stain and now it's been raining off and on. Has been a week since cleaning. Looks like we may have 7 days of 65-70 deg weather. If I make sure there isn't obvious dirt on deck, can I still stain in a week? Also, if I have till Spring, do I have to use the brightener again or just cleaner?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/01/2020
      Yes, you can stain this week. If you wait until Spring, you would have to clean and brighten for prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Teresa · 09/20/2020
    Hello,

    I have a tiger wood deck that is about 10 years old that has not had any maintenance for last 5 years or more. There was a lot of mildew so just finished power washing (tried scrubbing first). Pictures in shade and some sun attached. I am not sure if I should use your strip and brightener or cleaner and brightener now before staining. After this next step will I need to sand it before staining with mahogany. Thanks for your help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/20/2020
      Try the cleaner and the brightener. Sand only if needed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Russell · 09/15/2020
    I just replaced my old cedar deck with new 5/4 Cedar Board decking . Do I wait a year to stain it ?