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
    Administrator · 06/24/2016
    Doug McCabe:
    I used your product to stain my PT pine deck in 2010. I am going to stain again using your product in 2016. Question is: do I strip or simply clean as indicated above? I live in New England and my PT deck sees all types of weather. Thus, I am not sure if there is a lot of stain remaining on the surface. Any suggestions are appreciated. Also,many downsides to using one of your darker hardwood stains on my PT deck? My wife likes the colors. My original stain from 2010 was semitransparent. Thanks!

    It would be best to prep with the RAD Stripper/Brightener kit for this. As do the colors, the Hardwood colors are on IPE wood. They will not look like that on PTP. We do have samples for you test test on our site.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Doug McCabe · 06/24/2016
    I used your product to stain my PT pine deck in 2010. I am going to stain again using your product in 2016. Question is: do I strip or simply clean as indicated above? I live in New England and my PT deck sees all types of weather. Thus, I am not sure if there is a lot of stain remaining on the surface. Any suggestions are appreciated. Also,many downsides to using one of your darker hardwood stains on my PT deck? My wife likes the colors. My original stain from 2010 was semitransparent. Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/20/2016
    Judd Sires:
    I just finished staining my deck with Mountain Cedar semi solid with very good results. I should have gotten a color sample however because it just isn't what I was going for. Could I use a different color semi solid such as Oxford Brown as a "maintenance coat" in a year or two without a huge color variance?

    You would have to remove and start over so it will show the proper color. Use the stain stripper we sell and pressure washing.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Judd Sires · 06/19/2016
    I just finished staining my deck with Mountain Cedar semi solid with very good results. I should have gotten a color sample however because it just isn't what I was going for. Could I use a different color semi solid such as Oxford Brown as a "maintenance coat" in a year or two without a huge color variance?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/19/2016
    Mike Andrews:
    I have a 10 year old pine boat dock deck. It was treated with Thompson's Sealer about 5 years ago but it has almost completely worn off. What products do I need to re-store and re-finish this deck.

    The Restore A Deck Stripper Kit for this. Stain with the AC after removal.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike Andrews · 06/18/2016
    I have a 10 year old pine boat dock deck. It was treated with Thompson's Sealer about 5 years ago but it has almost completely worn off. What products do I need to re-store and re-finish this deck.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/13/2016
    Tim:
    I see several answers where you say new decking (SPF or cedar) needs to season for 3-4 months, and also be cleaned with RAD Cleaner.

    Is this because you are assuming the new wood is >15% moisture content, or are there other reasons the new wood should be seasoned before staining?
    In other words, if my new lumber is kiln dried and has moisture content below 15%, and then I "clean" it, am I good to go, or do I still need to let it sit for several months before staining?

    Wait 4-6 weeks for kiln dried wood and prep to remove the mill glaze with the RAD Kits. Just 1 coat for this.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tim · 06/13/2016
    I see several answers where you say new decking (SPF or cedar) needs to season for 3-4 months, and also be cleaned with RAD Cleaner.

    Is this because you are assuming the new wood is >15% moisture content, or are there other reasons the new wood should be seasoned before staining?

    In other words, if my new lumber is kiln dried and has moisture content below 15%, and then I "clean" it, am I good to go, or do I still need to let it sit for several months before staining?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/23/2016
    David kraft:
    First we planed than we sanded with sand paper. The new 2x6s came out great. The new 4x4 posts turned black. The existing 2x12 was planed and then sanded. Looked like new, but it turned black or just real dark. Could it be that by the time we got to the 4x4s and 2x12s we were using the bottom of the stain can?

    There is no black colorant in the stain so that is not possible. it is most likely one of these things:

    1. Rust stains is black in wood. Was any steel wool used?
    2. Tanin stains from the wood itself.
    3. You over sand/planed the wood to the point that it "burned" the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David kraft · 05/23/2016
    First we planed than we sanded with sand paper. The new 2x6s came out great. The new 4x4 posts turned black. The existing 2x12 was planed and then sanded. Looked like new, but it turned black or just real dark. Could it be that by the time we got to the 4x4s and 2x12s we were using the bottom of the stain can?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/23/2016
    David kraft:
    Just applied Armstrong oil base natural stain on new redwood and the color turned black. Same was true with newly sanded redwood. But, some came out just fine. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong.?

    David kraft

    The AC does not turn back so it has to be something else that is causing this. How did you prep and sand? What did you sand with?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David kraft · 05/23/2016
    Just applied Armstrong oil base natural stain on new redwood and the color turned black. Same was true with newly sanded redwood. But, some came out just fine. Can you tell me what I am doing wrong.?

    David kraft
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/21/2016
    Richard Koenig:
    I have cedar trim and garage doors on my home in Colorado. They were originally stained with a semi-transparent stain when the house was built 4 yrs.ago. The garage doors and areas facing south or west had to be redone 2 yrs. ago and need to be again. I am thinking of using your semi-transparent stain. What kind of prep will it need and how will it hold up to the elements here.

    Thank you

    Prep by using the Restore Deck Stain Stripper. apply and pressure wash off. Apply the Restore Wood Brightener. You should get a few years on vertical wood in your area.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Richard Koenig · 05/20/2016
    I have cedar trim and garage doors on my home in Colorado. They were originally stained with a semi-transparent stain when the house was built 4 yrs.ago. The garage doors and areas facing south or west had to be redone 2 yrs. ago and need to be again. I am thinking of using your semi-transparent stain. What kind of prep will it need and how will it hold up to the elements here.

    Thank you
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/13/2016
    Susan:
    I have a very old 20+ year deck. the contractor came by and wants to sand it all down, and then use Sherwin Williams SuperDeck with a primer, which I am not at all interested in. Based on the reviews, and the fact that I will need a semi solid, Yours is the best choice.

    My question is: is sanding an acceptable way to prep the deck with your product? It is old and in bad shape. if so, are there any additional steps prior to staining?

    Thanks-
    Susan

    Over sanding can reduce the stain's ability to penetrate into the wood grain. If you sand, use 60-80 grit paper. After the sanding, use the Restore A Deck Kits for final prep. This will remove any sand dust and allow the stain to penetrate better.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Susan · 05/12/2016
    I have a very old 20+ year deck. the contractor came by and wants to sand it all down, and then use Sherwin Williams SuperDeck with a primer, which I am not at all interested in. Based on the reviews, and the fact that I will need a semi solid, Yours is the best choice.

    My question is: is sanding an acceptable way to prep the deck with your product? It is old and in bad shape. if so, are there any additional steps prior to staining?

    Thanks-
    Susan
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/09/2016
    Rose:
    HI, I saw that you answered this question regarding someone who had kiln-dried red cedar decking and said that there is no need to do the underside or ends of the deck boards. Is this your recommendation for any cedar decking, whether or not kiln-dried?
    Thanks!

    Yes, no need to stain undersides.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rose · 05/09/2016
    HI, I saw that you answered this question regarding someone who had kiln-dried red cedar decking and said that there is no need to do the underside or ends of the deck boards. Is this your recommendation for any cedar decking, whether or not kiln-dried?
    Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 04/27/2016
    Daniel Druding:
    My wife and I replaced all the 2x6 deck boards on our deck that are pressure treated. They are really wet so I thought I would wait until Sep. to apply your product. Correct tell me if this is the right thing to do. Also will I have to clean the new wood and if so what should I use to do this with?

    Yes you need to wait and prep. See this about new decking and AC stains:
    http://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/new-decking-and-armstrong-clark-stain
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Daniel Druding · 04/27/2016
    My wife and I replaced all the 2x6 deck boards on our deck that are pressure treated. They are really wet so I thought I would wait until Sep. to apply your product. Correct tell me if this is the right thing to do. Also will I have to clean the new wood and if so what should I use to do this with?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 04/18/2016
    Yves Leroux:
    I will buy the RAD Cleaner to prepare my 10 months new cedar deck. With the RAD Cleaner, do i need to clean with pressure wash? or just apply the RAD Cleaner with water and broom/brush?

    You will need to use a pressure washer or heavy scrub and rinse. Pressure washing is easier and faster.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Yves Leroux · 04/17/2016
    I will buy the RAD Cleaner to prepare my 10 months new cedar deck. With the RAD Cleaner, do i need to clean with pressure wash? or just apply the RAD Cleaner with water and broom/brush?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 04/17/2016
    Justin Morris:
    I applied your Armstrong Clark transparent redwood stain to my 3 month old redwood deck a little over two years ago with little prep except brushing and hosing it off. The deck is a wrap around almost 750 SF, one area at the porch is covered and still looks great. The rest of the deck is in direct sunlight for more than half of each day and had faded badly by the end of the first summer. By this spring it is blotchy and starting to gray where the stain appears to have come off. We are in East Napa county and the climate is considered Mediterranean. My questions are what would we the best method for prep and what would be the best type of stain for my conditions? Thank you in advance, Justin!

    It would be best to remove all since it is uneven and start over. Using the Restore A Deck Stain Stripper will do this. Apply and pressure wash to remove. Neutralize with the Wood Brightener after. The transparent colors will have less protection from UV damage than the semi-transparents. Semi-solid colors will offer even more protection. We would suggest moving to a semi-transparent or semi-solid.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Justin Morris · 04/17/2016
    I applied your Armstrong Clark transparent redwood stain to my 3 month old redwood deck a little over two years ago with little prep except brushing and hosing it off. The deck is a wrap around almost 750 SF, one area at the porch is covered and still looks great. The rest of the deck is in direct sunlight for more than half of each day and had faded badly by the end of the first summer. By this spring it is blotchy and starting to gray where the stain appears to have come off. We are in East Napa county and the climate is considered Mediterranean. My questions are what would we the best method for prep and what would be the best type of stain for my conditions? Thank you in advance, Justin!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 04/09/2016
    Jan:
    We had the mahogany stain applied to our IPE deck last year. I think they didn't follow the instructions because the color was very uneven. I'm going to put another coat on this spring. Do I need to use a special cleaner, or can I just use some soap and water before applying another coat?

    Use our Restore A Deck kit for the prep. This will help to ensure a good surface for your new coating.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jan · 04/09/2016
    We had the mahogany stain applied to our IPE deck last year. I think they didn't follow the instructions because the color was very uneven. I'm going to put another coat on this spring. Do I need to use a special cleaner, or can I just use some soap and water before applying another coat?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 03/30/2016
    Doug Such:
    How long do you need to wait before you stain a new cedar fence?

    Rough cut wood or smooth wood? Rough sawn can be stained right away. If smooth wood, see here:

    http://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/new-decking-and-armstrong-clark-stain
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Doug Such · 03/30/2016
    How long do you need to wait before you stain a new cedar fence?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 03/25/2016
    Clean and brighten for the prepping of the wood. Stain with the AC after a few days of drying. Look at the semi-trans or semi-solid colors.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stephen Brown · 03/24/2016
    I installed a cedar deck last year, but was not satisfied with the stain I had put on it. I even sanded off the mill glaze before staining. Because of some cupping of the boards and the stain that was flaking off in places, I recently sanded off the cupping effect and the stain is gone too. With these conditions, what preparation and products do you recommend? Thanks,
    Steve