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
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Martin · 05/01/2017
    Is the stripper environmentally safe or will I risk killing the vegetation?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 11/11/2016
    Donaldl.jennings:
    I am installing new hardwood deck, supposedly Ipe but appears more like Garapa, hardwood but less dense. 1. Would sanding with 80 or 100 grit be advisable, or should I just clean it. 2. Do all four sides need to be sealed or just the top surface. 3. Would you advise waiting 2-3 months to seal or do at time of install?

    Install and let sit for a few months. Prep with our Deck Cleaner, no need to sand. Stain the exposed wood only.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Donaldl.jennings · 11/10/2016
    I am installing new hardwood deck, supposedly Ipe but appears more like Garapa, hardwood but less dense. 1. Would sanding with 80 or 100 grit be advisable, or should I just clean it. 2. Do all four sides need to be sealed or just the top surface. 3. Would you advise waiting 2-3 months to seal or do at time of install?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 10/05/2016
    Yes, it does help to clean and brighten after sanding. We suggest not using a finer grit then 80. 60 is better as the stain will soak in deeper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    lizheimerl · 10/04/2016
    We are sanding our 2 y.o. cedar deck, built-in benches and fence, in order to remove junky Cabot stain (stripped twice, but did not remove it all.) Should we use RAD cleaner and brightener after sanding, and before staining? If so, how long do we need to let the wood dry before applying stain? We've had many days of rain lately and it's hard to find a three-day window of dry weather. Also, we would like to finish off the sanding with 50 grit on the fence, 80 grit on the benches and 60 (or possibly 80) grit on the deck. Do you foresee any problem with this? Deck will be stained with ST Cedar; fence and benches will be ST Rustic Brown. Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/27/2016
    Elaine Fischer:
    Hello. I wanted to slap some AC on the worn spots on my cedar deck, which was stripped and treated with AC four years ago and touched up once since then. Is it too late now that we are into shorter days, damp nights? I'm not sure it's 100% dry.

    As long as the wood is dry when you apply and the temps are above 55, you should be okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Elaine Fischer · 09/26/2016
    Hello. I wanted to slap some AC on the worn spots on my cedar deck, which was stripped and treated with AC four years ago and touched up once since then. Is it too late now that we are into shorter days, damp nights? I'm not sure it's 100% dry.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/21/2016
    Dotsy29732:
    I plan to use the RAD Cleaner & Brightner before staining my new KDAT deck floor. Can the prepping be done at one time, or does wood need to dry between the clean & brighten steps?
    I read that only 1 coat of AC stain is recommended for KDAT wood, but read in AC Staining Instructions that if stain "penetrates within 30 minutes, another coat can be applied for added protection". Should I use 1 or 2 coats on new KDAT wood, in a full sun area?

    Best to do the Brightener right after you are done with the Cleaner. Just 1 coat for new KDAT wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dotsy · 09/21/2016
    I plan to use the RAD Cleaner & Brightner before staining my new KDAT deck floor. Can the prepping be done at one time, or does wood need to dry between the clean & brighten steps?
    I read that only 1 coat of AC stain is recommended for KDAT wood, but read in AC Staining Instructions that if stain "penetrates within 30 minutes, another coat can be applied for added protection". Should I use 1 or 2 coats on new KDAT wood, in a full sun area?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/13/2016
    See this about new decking:

    http://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/new-decking-and-armstrong-clark-stain
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kirk · 09/13/2016
    I have a new cedar deck that I would like to stain so it does not go to the gray color... I am looking at trying to keep the natural color as best I can. I ordered your samples and am liking the Semi Cedar color... With a brand new cedar deck am I doing the right thing trying to stain this or is it going to go to gray no matter what I do. Just looking for the best way to preserve the deck and try to keep a wood look versus the gray color. What steps, tips would give me the best results?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/11/2016
    LeEllen Phares:
    We stripped and brightened our ipe deck with RAD 5 days ago. Stained with AC mahogany stain 3 days ago (no precip between). There wasn't any pooling but the area exposed to sun is still slightly oily and the area that is covered still has a thick oily residue. We didn't wipe because it didn't pool but it's still wet. Took one step onto covered deck and left shoe print so we wiped that area with a dry cloth and left a (barely) noticable lighter area. There will be 100 people on this deck in 7 days for a wedding. What do you suggest? Wipe with oil soaked rags? Thanks for any help

    Try rising off the excess oil that did not penetrate with water. It should remove most. If you use rags as well, make sure to saturate any oil rags with water and lay flat to dry outdoors.