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
    Armstrong · 06/08/2017
    dennis:
    just put stripper down on wet deck and waited 1/2 hour and tried pressure washer on it, not taking the old stain off

    What stain brand and type of stain are you trying to remove? Feel free to reply to your email with a picture.
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    dennis · 06/08/2017
    just put stripper down on wet deck and waited 1/2 hour and tried pressure washer on it, not taking the old stain off
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    Armstrong · 06/04/2017
    moscarwhite:
    Regarding my last question w/ the 1 year old deck with the mold:

    1) should I use the RAD kit first and then pressure wash, or pressure wash the deck first and then use the RAD kit?

    2) what can be done to prevent the mold so I don't have to repeat this process again next spring?

    Thank you

    !. Use the RAD while pressure washing.
    2. There is a product called Wet and Forget that you can use after the stain dries. It should help.
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    mdub1 · 06/03/2017
    Regarding my last question w/ the 1 year old deck with the mold:

    1) should I use the RAD kit first and then pressure wash, or pressure wash the deck first and then use the RAD kit?

    2) what can be done to prevent the mold so I don't have to repeat this process again next spring?

    Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 06/03/2017
    moscarwhite:
    1 year old redwood deck was prepped w/ RAD kit at 4 months of age (last Sept) and stained w/ AC natural stain a few weeks later. The deck looked great for a few months - then the mold took over and covered the entire deck after the heavy rainy season in Northern CA this past winter. I plan to pressure wash the deck to remove the mold. I also plan to use RAD kit again before re-staining. I may also re-sand the deck if needed.
    1) Does the deck need to be re-sanded?

    2) What is the proper sequence for RAD kit, pressure washing, and sanding (if necessary)?

    3)How long should I wait after pressure wash/RAD kit/ sanding before staining the deck?
    Thank you.

    1. Deck does not need to be sanded.
    2. About 2 days.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mdub1 · 06/03/2017
    1 year old redwood deck was prepped w/ RAD kit at 4 months of age (last Sept) and stained w/ AC natural stain a few weeks later. The deck looked great for a few months - then the mold took over and covered the entire deck after the heavy rainy season in Northern CA this past winter. I plan to pressure wash the deck to remove the mold. I also plan to use RAD kit again before re-staining. I may also re-sand the deck if needed.
    1) Does the deck need to be re-sanded?

    2) What is the proper sequence for RAD kit, pressure washing, and sanding (if necessary)?

    3)How long should I wait after pressure wash/RAD kit/ sanding before staining the deck?
    Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 05/29/2017
    jajmco:
    Full sun exposure in Orange County NY. deck is cedar, what is the best staying to use? We are looking at the transparent and semi-transparent

    When in full sun, the semi-solid would be best. Next best would be the sem-trans.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim Osborne · 05/29/2017
    Full sun exposure in Orange County NY. deck is cedar, what is the best staying to use? We are looking at the transparent and semi-transparent
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim osborne · 05/29/2017
    I have cedar decking and pressure treated railings. All surfaces have been fully sanded, do you recommend any pre stain treatments to these surfaces?
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    Armstrong · 05/22/2017
    Steve Frasca:
    How does stripper work. After application with pump sprayer what is required to remove old stain, i.e., Cabot Australian Timber Oil? Is there scrubbing or sanding required or do you just wash off? Thanks. Steve

    Apply the Stripper and pressure wash off. Rinse and apply the brightener. Rinse this after 10 minutes.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve Frasca · 05/22/2017
    How does stripper work. After application with pump sprayer what is required to remove old stain, i.e., Cabot Australian Timber Oil? Is there scrubbing or sanding required or do you just wash off? Thanks. Steve
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 05/01/2017
    Carol W:
    I sanded our ipe deck last year, then applied Penafin Marine Oil. I'd like to try the AC mahagony this year. Do I need to use the RAD stripper or can I just use the cleaner before the Brightener.
    Thank you.

    Use the stain stripper for the prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Carol W · 05/01/2017
    I sanded our ipe deck last year, then applied Penafin Marine Oil. I'd like to try the AC mahagony this year. Do I need to use the RAD stripper or can I just use the cleaner before the Brightener.
    Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 05/01/2017
    David Martin:
    Is the stripper environmentally safe or will I risk killing the vegetation?

    If you cover plants and rinse well when done, you should be okay.
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    David Martin · 05/01/2017
    Is the stripper environmentally safe or will I risk killing the vegetation?
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    Armstrong · 05/01/2017
    David Martin:
    I have been pressure washing (2000PSI at close range, about 25ft2/ hr) a Penofin coated cedar fence ( 1 coat on new wood 18 months ago). I am afraid of using any cleaner/stripper products because of the greenery along the entire fence line. I'd rather have a less than perfect finish than kill the roses. The wood looks and feels clean but I'm not sure if this will be enough. Your comments would be appreciated.

    The Penofin does need to come off. If your method is not removing it completely, then use the Stripper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Martin · 05/01/2017
    I have been pressure washing (2000PSI at close range, about 25ft2/ hr) a Penofin coated cedar fence ( 1 coat on new wood 18 months ago). I am afraid of using any cleaner/stripper products because of the greenery along the entire fence line. I'd rather have a less than perfect finish than kill the roses. The wood looks and feels clean but I'm not sure if this will be enough. Your comments would be appreciated.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 04/27/2017
    Monika:
    I have a new deck built a year ago. I would like to use your armstrong clark semi transparent stain on it. What do I need to do to prep it?
    Thanks

    Prep with the Restore A Deck Kit.
    https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-kit
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Monika · 04/27/2017
    I have a new deck built a year ago. I would like to use your armstrong clark semi transparent stain on it. What do I need to do to prep it?
    Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 04/25/2017
    Mark C:
    Our porch has had several coats of penefin. Last year we pressure washed and then used a different oil product similar to yours, but was unhappy with the durability. Should I use the RAD cleaner or stripper before trying your mahogany stain?
    Thanks

    Use the RAD Stain Stripper for the prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mark C · 04/25/2017
    Our porch has had several coats of penefin. Last year we pressure washed and then used a different oil product similar to yours, but was unhappy with the durability. Should I use the RAD cleaner or stripper before trying your mahogany stain?
    Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 04/24/2017
    Rob C:
    I have a 3 year old cedar fence in Toronto and have used penofin yearly but not happy with the black (either tannin or mold) staining. I have used a cleaner to remove all of the black staining and then brightened. Some of the existing penofin is still present can I use your product overtop or does the penofin have to be stripped.

    Needs to be stripped. Penofin is easily removed with the Restore A Deck Stripper and pressure washing. Brighten after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rob C · 04/23/2017
    I have a 3 year old cedar fence in Toronto and have used penofin yearly but not happy with the black (either tannin or mold) staining. I have used a cleaner to remove all of the black staining and then brightened. Some of the existing penofin is still present can I use your product overtop or does the penofin have to be stripped.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 04/06/2017
    Kathy Catalano:
    I have a redwood deck, and plan is to use your stripper/brightener and then stain. How long is it okay to go without staining after stripping/cleaning since deck will be exposed? How long does the stripper/brightener take to dry? How long does it take for shipping if I bought these products from you (i.e., stripper/brightener and stain)? Thank you.

    Shipping depends on where you live. 2-5 days in the US. After preping, wait 2-3 days to stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 04/06/2017
    Sullivan Brown:
    We just bought a house with an Ipe wood deck. It is grey, but in good condition. Can I just pressure wash it to prep for AC stain or do I need to buy a deck cleaner to prep it?

    Using the cleaner with pressure washing will result in a better appearance and prep for the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kathy Catalano · 04/06/2017
    I have a redwood deck, and plan is to use your stripper/brightener and then stain. How long is it okay to go without staining after stripping/cleaning since deck will be exposed? How long does the stripper/brightener take to dry? How long does it take for shipping if I bought these products from you (i.e., stripper/brightener and stain)? Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 03/03/2017
    RogerGEwing:
    Can I use a borate solution (BoraCare) on my deck prior to staining with AC semi-transparent stain in order to control algae/mildew growth? Thanks

    The PDS says it creates a barrier for termites. This could also stop the stain from soaking into the wood grain. We would highly suggest a test area to make sure the AC is able to penetrated into the wood grain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    RGEwing · 03/03/2017
    Can I use a borate solution (BoraCare) on my deck prior to staining with AC semi-transparent stain in order to control algae/mildew growth? Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 02/27/2017
    Sandy:
    New #1 western cedar deck installed 3 weeks ago. Contractor said cedar has been kept indoors and can be stained now. Do I need to prep or can I just stain? Just ordered 5 gal. of Rustic Brown.

    You cannot stain it right away. See this article about new wood:

    http://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/new-decking-and-armstrong-clark-stain
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sandy · 02/26/2017
    New #1 western cedar deck installed 3 weeks ago. Contractor said cedar has been kept indoors and can be stained now. Do I need to prep or can I just stain? Just ordered 5 gal. of Rustic Brown.