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 be 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.

 

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 pours 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

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sean · 10/05/2017
    Hello. I have a new (5 month old) Cedar deck. I just used the Restore-a-deck cleaner and brightener and now I have wood fuzziness. I see a lot of varying opinions on what to do about the fuzziness prior to oiling from sanding to using an orbital floor buffer. What does AC recommend? If sandpaper what grit? Should the whole deck be done or only those boards most affected?
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      Armstrong · 10/05/2017
      Only if needed, light buff off the excess wood fibers with 80 grit paper. You will need to do all so it stains evenly.
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    Stephen Broderick · 10/05/2017
    Do it matter how wet the deck is before you begin the stripping/brightening process. We are expecting heavy storms for 2-3 days. Once they stopped, I wanted to strip/brighten and then let the deck dry out before staining. Thanks.
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      Armstrong · 10/05/2017
      The wood can be wet when you do the prep. No issues.
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    Riz · 10/04/2017
    I have about 10 year old pergola which I sanded to expose bare wood (which is completely dry), Do I need to clean and brighten it as well even after sanding it down to bare wood?
    Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/05/2017
      You should be okay to stain it now since it is vertical wood.
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        Riz · 10/07/2017
        Yes but no clean and brightening needed before stain?
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          Armstrong · 10/07/2017
          Sorry. Yes, you should lightly prep to remove any sand dust and this will also help to open up the pores of the wood for the AC stain to soak in deeper.
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            Riz · 10/08/2017
            Thank you very much! Stain arriving Tuesday, finish up prep and then stain next weekend. Appreciate the help :)
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    Annie · 09/29/2017
    How do you apply the prep products on the deck and especially on upright spindles and on a pergola?
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      Armstrong · 09/30/2017
      Use a pump sprayer to apply the prep products.
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    Armstrong · 08/29/2017
    Matt_R:
    If I have put on a coat of AC a year ago and want to do another coat this year do I need to do both RAD cleaner and brightener?

    Original coat has held up well but a bit faded on the horizontal boards of the deck, so would like to bring back the great original color. Would be using same color as the original application.

    Using both is best.
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    Matt_R · 08/29/2017
    If I have put on a coat of AC a year ago and want to do another coat this year do I need to do both RAD cleaner and brightener?

    Original coat has held up well but a bit faded on the horizontal boards of the deck, so would like to bring back the great original color. Would be using same color as the original application.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/27/2017
    Trent:
    In May of 2016 we had a screened in porch built with pressure treated lumber. In the Fall of 2016, we stained the porch. While the wood wasn't as dry as we would have liked, we wanted to stain before it went a whole year with no stain. We used your cleaner, brightner, and cedar semi-transparent stain. When is it best to do a maintenance coat? I'm not sure how deep it penetrated the first time. I'm wondering if the cleaner will take most of the stain off before the maintenance stain coat? And if the overall color would go deeper with second coat of stain? Guess just looking for your advice/experience as restaining our porch is a big job. Thanks.

    For a maintenance coat, use the Restore A Deck Kit: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-kit
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Trent · 08/27/2017
    In May of 2016 we had a screened in porch built with pressure treated lumber. In the Fall of 2016, we stained the porch. While the wood wasn't as dry as we would have liked, we wanted to stain before it went a whole year with no stain. We used your cleaner, brightner, and cedar semi-transparent stain. When is it best to do a maintenance coat? I'm not sure how deep it penetrated the first time. I'm wondering if the cleaner will take most of the stain off before the maintenance stain coat? And if the overall color would go deeper with second coat of stain? Guess just looking for your advice/experience as restaining our porch is a big job. Thanks.
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    Armstrong · 08/24/2017
    BNB:
    4 weeks ago I had a redwood fence installed. The vertical boards are rough cut, the horizontal 2x6 and 1x4 boards on the cap are not. Planning to stain in the next couple weeks with semi-transparent, will any preparation be necessary?

    You should be okay as long as the wood is clean and dry.
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    BNB · 08/23/2017
    4 weeks ago I had a redwood fence installed. The vertical boards are rough cut, the horizontal 2x6 and 1x4 boards on the cap are not. Planning to stain in the next couple weeks with semi-transparent, will any preparation be necessary?
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    Armstrong · 08/15/2017
    Faye Forhan:
    Have your your stain and brightener...and ready to go but I put what I thought were stainless hinges on new cedar window frame and when they got wet made a black "iron?"stain will the cleaner brightener remove that???? any suggestions if not they are aabout 2 by 3 inches not solid black but smeary looking. Thanks

    That is rust must likely. The brightener should help with it but whenever it gets wet again, it will rust.
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    Faye Forhan · 08/14/2017
    Have your your stain and brightener...and ready to go but I put what I thought were stainless hinges on new cedar window frame and when they got wet made a black "iron?"stain will the cleaner brightener remove that???? any suggestions if not they are aabout 2 by 3 inches not solid black but smeary looking. Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/13/2017
    Peter C Meyer:
    If I use wood stripper, should I use wood cleaner first? One year old deck with oil based/acrylic stain in place.

    If using a stain stripper, you do not need to use a cleaner. Brightener after the stripping.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Peter C Meyer · 08/12/2017
    If I use wood stripper, should I use wood cleaner first? One year old deck with oil based/acrylic stain in place.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/04/2017
    James W.:
    Love our AC deck stain in Sequoia (on redwood). First applied, then easily reapplied 2 years ago. But now the house was painted, and we're wondering if we can change to a different AC stain. Steps?
    Thinking Oxford Brown or possibly Walnut.

    Strip and brighten for the prep to switch:
    https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-stripper
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James W. · 08/03/2017
    Love our AC deck stain in Sequoia (on redwood). First applied, then easily reapplied 2 years ago. But now the house was painted, and we're wondering if we can change to a different AC stain. Steps?
    Thinking Oxford Brown or possibly Walnut.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 07/25/2017
    Faye Kennedy:
    About to purchase natural tone stain for new cedar sided building. Sided over the winter months on dry days (Oregon weather)and some of the wood is faded (slightly gray) compared to the protected parts of building, I guess it is due to rain splattering up on bottom 3 boards and the eave boards either from sun or water dripping off of the roof. Should I use deck brightener(restore a deck) you sell on the faded boards or just clean with the bleach mixture. No sign of mildew just not as bright reddish as the rest of the building. The splash back on the bottom boards if thats what caused the gray is mostly from gravel around building no obvious mud splatters. Its now been sided and sitting there for about 2 months. Have a power washer if needed. Thanks so much for your help, biggest project I have ever done.

    You will need both the Restore A Deck Cleaner and the Brightener Kit for the prep while pressure washing.

    All the wood needs to be prepped to remove the mill glaze and any oxidation that has occurred.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Faye Kennedy · 07/25/2017
    About to purchase natural tone stain for new cedar sided building. Sided over the winter months on dry days (Oregon weather)and some of the wood is faded (slightly gray) compared to the protected parts of building, I guess it is due to rain splattering up on bottom 3 boards and the eave boards either from sun or water dripping off of the roof. Should I use deck brightener(restore a deck) you sell on the faded boards or just clean with the bleach mixture. No sign of mildew just not as bright reddish as the rest of the building. The splash back on the bottom boards if thats what caused the gray is mostly from gravel around building no obvious mud splatters. Its now been sided and sitting there for about 2 months. Have a power washer if needed. Thanks so much for your help, biggest project I have ever done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 07/18/2017
    Tom123:
    How would you recommend using your product on teak furniture previously treated with teak oil?

    As long as you prep by removing any Teak Oil, you can use the Armstrong. Strip it off with this:
    https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-stripper
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    Tom123 · 07/17/2017
    How would you recommend using your product on teak furniture previously treated with teak oil?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 06/30/2017
    richard Robbins:
    I've got a pine board and baton house last stained no less than 15 years ago with an oil stain - blue/grey - the second coat following the original one appied some 10 years before that . It's fading a bit and it seems time to re-stain. even after I've started power washing the stain is holding
    1. in addition to cleaning - which I was planning with simply continue powerwashing - is stripper required? if so, is Restore -a - Deck the product of choice? what's the coverage per container of the powder?

    Is this blue-gray stain a semi-trans or solid color.? To use the AC you will need to remove the old coating but how to remove the old coating depends on the type and brand it is.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    richard Robbins · 06/29/2017
    I've got a pine board and baton house last stained no less than 15 years ago with an oil stain - blue/grey - the second coat following the original one appied some 10 years before that . It's fading a bit and it seems time to re-stain. even after I've started power washing the stain is holding
    1. in addition to cleaning - which I was planning with simply continue powerwashing - is stripper required? if so, is Restore -a - Deck the product of choice? what's the coverage per container of the powder?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 06/27/2017
    Alan R:
    I saw the video of a guy using a nice brush head to apply his stain - what kind of brush head is that attached to the pole?

    Soft bristle car wash brush.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alan R · 06/26/2017
    I saw the video of a guy using a nice brush head to apply his stain - what kind of brush head is that attached to the pole?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 06/24/2017
    patricia:
    south and east deck very weathered with some newer replacement boards/covered deck have hardly any wear. i used ben/moore arborcoat and last years coating is terrible. i understand from research that i'll have to sand off all in order to use your product??? also, the south logs are very damaged by sun-how much sanding needed??? will a plastic garden pump work for spray application? i'm new to this maintenance in hot sierras--thanks for the help

    Yes you will need to remove the BM Arborcoat and to remove any sun damage. The AC should not be pump sprayed. Best to use an airless sprayer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    patricia · 06/24/2017
    south and east deck very weathered with some newer replacement boards/covered deck have hardly any wear. i used ben/moore arborcoat and last years coating is terrible. i understand from research that i'll have to sand off all in order to use your product??? also, the south logs are very damaged by sun-how much sanding needed??? will a plastic garden pump work for spray application? i'm new to this maintenance in hot sierras--thanks for the help
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 06/20/2017
    gardnvarcher:
    I have a cedar fence, 7 years old, never stained, looks pretty good yet. I live in western Nevada, fairly dry and sunny. What is the best prep and stain for this fence?

    Prep with the Restore A Deck Kit and stain with the Armstrong Clark in on of the semi-transparent colors.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    gardnvarcher · 06/19/2017
    I have a cedar fence, 7 years old, never stained, looks pretty good yet. I live in western Nevada, fairly dry and sunny. What is the best prep and stain for this fence?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 06/18/2017
    shilohbandana:
    I used Armstrong Clark stain on a new deck two years ago with beautiful results. I am now ready to apply a maintenance coat of the same AC stain on the areas that are most exposed to the direct hot Tennessee sun. I understand that I need to use the RAD Cleaner first, but I am not totally clear as to whether I also should use the Brightener as well prior to restaining......can you please clarify this for me. Any other advice also welcome.... Thank you, i'm a big fan of your products ! Rob J.

    Best to use both. Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robert Jackson · 06/18/2017
    I used Armstrong Clark stain on a new deck two years ago with beautiful results. I am now ready to apply a maintenance coat of the same AC stain on the areas that are most exposed to the direct hot Tennessee sun. I understand that I need to use the RAD Cleaner first, but I am not totally clear as to whether I also should use the Brightener as well prior to restaining......can you please clarify this for me. Any other advice also welcome.... Thank you, i'm a big fan of your products ! Rob J.