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
    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
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    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.
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    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
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    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
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    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.
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    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!
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    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?
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    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.
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    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?
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    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!
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    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.
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    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?
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    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
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    Doug Such · 03/30/2016
    How long do you need to wait before you stain a new cedar fence?
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    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.
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    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
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    Administrator · 03/13/2016
    Sonya:
    6 year old ipe deck. Used Cabot timber oil in Jaffa brown first year then 2 years later used low voc Cabot timber oil in mahogany flame as Jaffa brown no longer available. Do I need to strip deck prior to applying your mahogany product? If so, must I apply with pressure washer or can I use scrub brush with high pressure garden hose? Weather is unseasonably warm. Want to get a jump on this project. Thanks!

    Yes you must remove the old stain first. Apply stripper with a pump sprayer then pressure wash off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sonya · 03/12/2016
    6 year old ipe deck. Used Cabot timber oil in Jaffa brown first year then 2 years later used low voc Cabot timber oil in mahogany flame as Jaffa brown no longer available. Do I need to strip deck prior to applying your mahogany product? If so, must I apply with pressure washer or can I use scrub brush with high pressure garden hose? Weather is unseasonably warm. Want to get a jump on this project. Thanks!
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    Administrator · 01/04/2016
    Carl kling:
    I bought rough cut oak boards for a new fence. Can I use your product on this project. Can I stain the board before I build the fence. The boards have been in my garage since they were cut 2 months ago.

    Since it is rough cut you can stain now. Make sure the wood is clean and free of any dirt.
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    Carl kling · 01/03/2016
    I bought rough cut oak boards for a new fence. Can I use your product on this project. Can I stain the board before I build the fence. The boards have been in my garage since they were cut 2 months ago.
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    Administrator · 11/01/2015
    Jean:
    I'm a little confused. I was told that I do not need to prepare new shingles by a salesman at Armstrong. I am planning to put on Western REd shingles on a house in Maine. Please advise how to prep and the best product to use. I was advised no need for prep and semi-transparent oil would be best.

    If I used transparent--what are the pros and cons?

    If at some point I wanted to paint over with a primer and paint how would I need to prep and with what?

    Thank you,

    Jean

    New cedar shingles are typically "rough cut" and do not need to be prepped to remove mill glaze that is on new smooth decking. Only reason to prep would be to remove dirt or remove oxidation/graying. If you do not have either then you can go ahead and stain right away.

    Transparent colors will fade faster then a semi-transparent.

    If you decide to paint later on then you should strip off the AC and brighten the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jean · 10/31/2015
    I'm a little confused. I was told that I do not need to prepare new shingles by a salesman at Armstrong. I am planning to put on Western REd shingles on a house in Maine. Please advise how to prep and the best product to use. I was advised no need for prep and semi-transparent oil would be best.

    If I used transparent--what are the pros and cons?

    If at some point I wanted to paint over with a primer and paint how would I need to prep and with what?

    Thank you,

    Jean
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 10/11/2015
    Karen:
    Hi there
    We paid someone to stain our deck. It is great that they used your products but the deck was wet from rain on the day they applied. And it then rained again within 1-2 hours of the application. They came back to put another coat on; however there were puddles of water formed on the deck and wood appeared wet to me. I let them know I was concerned that the first coat did not cure properly. They assured me there was nothing to worry about.
    Can you please advise about this?
    Do you think we should put another coat on in the Spring?

    Hard to say if there is an issue or not. I would not apply a coat now but wait and address the situation in the Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Karen · 10/10/2015
    Hi there
    We paid someone to stain our deck. It is great that they used your products but the deck was wet from rain on the day they applied. And it then rained again within 1-2 hours of the application. They came back to put another coat on; however there were puddles of water formed on the deck and wood appeared wet to me. I let them know I was concerned that the first coat did not cure properly. They assured me there was nothing to worry about.
    Can you please advise about this?
    Do you think we should put another coat on in the Spring?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/15/2015
    Olivia Fleming:
    Our Cumaru decking was installed 11/2014; the contractor used Ipe oil on it. We're at a lake in N C and get a lot of sun. It has greyed since then. I understand that you suggest RAD wood cleaner and brightened.

    Do we need to use a stripper to remove the Ipe oil? What happens if we don't?

    Thank you.

    Yes you should use the Stripper and the brightener for the prep. The Ipe Oil needs to be removed.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Olivia Fleming · 09/15/2015
    Our Cumaru decking was installed 11/2014; the contractor used Ipe oil on it. We're at a lake in N C and get a lot of sun. It has greyed since then. I understand that you suggest RAD wood cleaner and brightened.

    Do we need to use a stripper to remove the Ipe oil? What happens if we don't?

    Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/13/2015
    Paul DiPirro:
    I recently added an treated syp extension to both sides of my existing syp treated deck and I sanded the one year old paint from the existing deck. What do I use to prep it for staining and will the stain color be uniform because I'm combining 2 year old sanded wood with 6 month old new wood

    New wood and older wood will stain differently when using the AC. The newer wood will be lighter in color. Prep all wood with with a deck cleaner and wood brightener first.