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

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
    Ron Jones · 06/19/2018
    I have stripped/ brightened and sanded my deck one week ago, however rain is forecast in the 40 to 60 % range. I have purchased the semi transparent natural oak. My question is what would be the worst case scenario If it rains within 24 hours after application?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/19/2018
      It can handle a rain 12-24 hours after application.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bryan · 06/18/2018
    Armstrong-Clark

    I built a small (SYP) deck last fall and purchased the A-C stain and 2-step prep kit. 3-weeks ago. I was amazed how clean the prep kit cleaned the wood of all the dirt//etc.

    We did have a lot wood 'fuzzies" however and what appears to be a very white, lace-like glaze over the deck. We were careful not to let the cleaner/brightener dry on the wood; so, we are a little dumbfounded as to determine what the white glaze might be and how to get it off.

    Any comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

    Bryan
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/19/2018
      That is a result of the wood fibers being overly oxidized from the UV in the last 9 months. Might need to sand them off now. Try a floor buffer from a rental place and their sanding pads. It should come right off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Irene · 06/03/2018
    Two years ago we stained our deck and wood picnic table and benches with Armstrong Clark Semi-Trans Cedar stain. We used the Restore-A-Deck kit before we stained the deck and furniture. I started cleaning the mildew off the picnic table and the stain started coming off. Before we use the Restore-A-Deck kit should we also strip the stain or is the two step Wood Brightener enough to prepare the deck and furniture?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/03/2018
      Hi, you need to use both the cleaner and the wood brightener for the prep, not just the brightener.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Irene · 06/03/2018
        Yes, I am ordering the kit with the cleaner and wood brightener. I will go ahead and place our order and not order the stripper. Thanks for your quick reply!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alicja · 06/02/2018
    I have a brazilian tigerwood deck. I have put one coat of the mahogany stain on. What do I need to do before applying again this year? Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sean · 05/31/2018
    I’m restoring a deck that is 15 years old and quite neglected. I’ve power washed everything, which made a big difference. I now have lots of wood fibers now that I intended to sand before staining.

    I read tonight that if it rains between the time I sand and apply the stain, that I will have to start over. My deck is 900 square feet and I’m doing all the work myself. It will be impossible to sand and stain without some rain as this will take me a couple of weeks.

    How concerned should I be able rain on freshly sanded wood before getting to stain? I do intend to brighten after sanding and before staining.


    Thank you!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/01/2018
      No that is not true. Rain has no effect on the prep besides just letting the wood dry for another 48 hours.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Sean · 06/01/2018
        Thank you! I couldn't figure out how in the world I could prevent the rain for a few weeks and the deck is way too large to tarp.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ken · 05/31/2018
    I’m thinking the stain was by Cabot.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ken · 05/31/2018
    We have a rough sawn cedar fence that’s 6 years old. We previously used a transparent oil based stain, not sure of the name, something Australian. How would we prepare our fence for your semi transparent stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ben · 05/24/2018
    We have a 7 year old treated pine deck, have applied a waterproofing oil similar to Thompson's twice (year 2 and year 4), and now we've decided to go with a semi-transparent. After pressure washing and taking loose slivers off with an orbital sander, I came across your product and ordered it (and it arrived today). In the meantime I was surprised to notice that water still beaded if I tossed a small amount onto the deck when dry (any significant rain hasn't beaded in a while) - so I promptly got some stain stripper from our hardware store and gave the deck a good cleaning this evening. Now as I review your website and deck-prep tips, I'm kicking myself for not just ordering the RAD stripper/brightener when I purchased the stain. Do I have to worry about any problems, or have to consider anything else since I used this other product. It was called Natura Safe Strip - exterior paint and stain stripper.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/25/2018
      Hard to say. Please post a picture of the current condition.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ben · 05/26/2018
        You can see a few spots where I had thrown a bit of water on to test for beading.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 05/27/2018
          It looks stripper enough for staining but you should brighten the deck first.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Ben · 05/27/2018
            Thanks a ton for the good advice and quick replies. Considering that we appear to have a window of good weather early this week, busy schedules, and that we'd have to order the brightener, I think we'll live with a darker look and get the job done asap. Please let me know if I'm overlooking something. Thanks again for the help.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 05/27/2018
              You should be okay but you might want to check and see if a local store has a brightener. It will help the appearance.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lisa · 05/14/2018
    It is time to stain my deck again. I used AC semi-solid the last time. You all recommend to use the Restore-a-deck 2 part kit but do I need to pressure wash it before using the cleaning kit? Could I pressure wash instead of the kit?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/15/2018
      You pressure wash while using the kit. Both need to be done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Paul Cooper · 05/02/2018
    I have a 2-year old red balau deck that has mesmers deck stain on it (applied last summer), should I sand off the old stain before applying your product or is stripping it sufficient prep? If your stripper is ok should I also use the brighter as well?
    Also for a “wet look” what product would you recommend?
    Thanks,
    Paul
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    sehr · 04/26/2018
    I'm about to re-stain my hardwood deck with your amber stain. I called one of your suppliers and they said to prep it to just wash it with dawn soap. Do I need a brightener? It was not mentioned so I go the feeling it should not matter, but what I've read online says to use a brightener.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dan · 03/26/2018
    Just purchased new Redwood for fences. Boards will be weathered for two-three weeks. Is that long enough? Planning on Sierra Redwood semi-transparent stain. Clean and Brighten needed? Thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bobgray · 03/24/2018
    I have a 6 year old treated pine deck, stained 5 years ago (not A-C, not sure of brand). I have sanded deck down to bare wood and intend to pressure wash it. It is very dry (central Texas). Do I need to to use any of your prep products prior to staining? Do you reccomend Semi transparent or semi Solid?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 03/24/2018
      Light pressure wash will help open the grain of the wood after the sanding. Apply just one coat of the AC. Either semi-trans or semi-solid.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    rrindfield · 02/20/2018
    I want to refinish some teak deck chairs that are grey. Can I use the 2 step deck cleaning process and then finish with a teak oil?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    chris · 11/13/2017
    this ipe is not for a deck, it is t+g soffit that has to be installed in a week, should I sand with 80 ?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    chris · 11/13/2017
    how should I prep new ipe
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/13/2017
      Wait a couple of months to season the wood and then use this to prep:
      https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-kit
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        ee · 06/05/2018
        Do we also need to sand? Or just doing the deck prep kit enough? In which situation do we want to sand? I stained my IPE deck 2 years ago (clear no color) and now colors is gray but the surface is smooth and nice I want to give it the "Amber" color that you sell.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    kit gill · 11/09/2017
    More info for "Can I put the armstrong clark rustic brown over sanded treated lumber. I stripped four coats of paint off a small porch. It's old and so not perfect and I don't expect it to be. It will be "rustic?"
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/09/2017
      As long as the wood is free of the old paint and you do the final prep of the Restore A Deck Kit. This will help the stain to soak in deeper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    kit gill · 11/09/2017
    Can I put the armstrong clark rustic brown over sanded treated lumber?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tim · 10/22/2017
    I had a cedar deck installed one year ago. The installers said to leave it for one year and then seal it. What prep do you recommend and which stain? My goal is to keep it as close to the natural color that it is right now but maximize protection. Also, how often will I need to redo this and how long will the leftover sealant last? I have around 450 square feet and I'm thinking a 5-gallon drum might be too much, but if I could save it for a couple of years for a 2nd coat, maybe that would be a good idea. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/23/2017
      Prep with the Restore A Deck Kit. You can use any color you like. Redo every 2 years. Shelf life is 12 months for an opened container.
  • 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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/05/2017
      The wood can be wet when you do the prep. No issues.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Riz · 10/07/2017
        Yes but no clean and brightening needed before stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          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.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Riz · 10/08/2017
            Thank you very much! Stain arriving Tuesday, finish up prep and then stain next weekend. Appreciate the help :)
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Annie · 09/29/2017
    How do you apply the prep products on the deck and especially on upright spindles and on a pergola?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/30/2017
      Use a pump sprayer to apply the prep products.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.