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
    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.
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    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?
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    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.
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    Paul DiPirro · 09/12/2015
    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
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    Administrator · 07/28/2015
    Alison James:
    Hi, we just had a new redwood deck installed end of July in Eastern Washington State. Just 160 sq. ft. It faces south and will get a lot of sun. Seems like we should use a semi-solid stain for best UV protection? Which colors would you recommend for use on redwood to still enjoy the wood appearance? Also, timing -- our best calendar opportunity to apply a finish is mid-late September i.e. 6 weeks from now. (Work/seasonal issues.) Is that a long enough period to wait? Should we still use the cleaner first? Many thanks for your help!

    Please see this about new wood:
    http://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/new-decking-and-armstrong-clark-stain

    Just one coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alison James · 07/28/2015
    Hi, we just had a new redwood deck installed end of July in Eastern Washington State. Just 160 sq. ft. It faces south and will get a lot of sun. Seems like we should use a semi-solid stain for best UV protection? Which colors would you recommend for use on redwood to still enjoy the wood appearance? Also, timing -- our best calendar opportunity to apply a finish is mid-late September i.e. 6 weeks from now. (Work/seasonal issues.) Is that a long enough period to wait? Should we still use the cleaner first? Many thanks for your help!
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    Administrator · 07/22/2015
    Howie Hall:
    Hi, I've used Armstrong semi transparent redwood color stain twice on our redwood deck. We love the color and the look, however on both occasions when someone sits on the wood the color of the stain comes off on their clothes. The first time I used the stain the problem didn't start for nearly 2yrs so I figured it was time to refinish. I did and this time it happened only 6mo. later. I've stripped and "revived" the deck using Superdeck products. The deck is 20yrs old and in great shape as I've refinished it every 2yrs or so. What am I doing wrong now?Thanks, Howie Hall

    AC is a penetrating and fully curing stain, which means it should not do this. Did you "back wipe" the stain? You should not and this could create potential issues with the curing.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Howie Hall · 07/22/2015
    Hi, I've used Armstrong semi transparent redwood color stain twice on our redwood deck. We love the color and the look, however on both occasions when someone sits on the wood the color of the stain comes off on their clothes. The first time I used the stain the problem didn't start for nearly 2yrs so I figured it was time to refinish. I did and this time it happened only 6mo. later. I've stripped and "revived" the deck using Superdeck products. The deck is 20yrs old and in great shape as I've refinished it every 2yrs or so. What am I doing wrong now?Thanks, Howie Hall
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 07/20/2015
    wendy:
    If I sanded an old deck to remove all old paint etc do I still need 1 -to use a stripper and neutralizer on it or
    2-do I use a cleaner and neutralizer???

    Not sure what y next step is?
    Its old cedar with new replacements mixed in…I sanded it all…..

    Just the cleaner and brightener kit as long as you have removed all of the old paint.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    wendy · 07/19/2015
    If I sanded an old deck to remove all old paint etc do I still need 1 -to use a stripper and neutralizer on it or
    2-do I use a cleaner and neutralizer???

    Not sure what y next step is?
    Its old cedar with new replacements mixed in…I sanded it all…..
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 07/10/2015
    TerryM:
    We have a two year old cedar deck (near Toronto). Last summer I used the RAD two-step cleaning system on the un-stained cedar and sanded the deck before applying two coats of the A&C Sierra Red Wood stain. This gave a pretty rich dark red wood colour. This summer, the deck was looking like it needed a cleaning and a maintenance coat (some of the stain was wearing thin). So I used the RAD cleaner and to my surprise a significant amount of stain came off the deck - it acted almost like a stripper. Any thoughts on why this may have occurred? Can I apply a maintenance coat of the same stain or should I be doing something else beforehand?

    The RAD kit should be used when reapplying the stain. It is not a stripper but a very effective cleaner. It can remove stain sometimes if "thin". I would go ahead and finish the prepping and apply a coat of the same to the deck.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    TerryM · 07/09/2015
    We have a two year old cedar deck (near Toronto). Last summer I used the RAD two-step cleaning system on the un-stained cedar and sanded the deck before applying two coats of the A&C Sierra Red Wood stain. This gave a pretty rich dark red wood colour. This summer, the deck was looking like it needed a cleaning and a maintenance coat (some of the stain was wearing thin). So I used the RAD cleaner and to my surprise a significant amount of stain came off the deck - it acted almost like a stripper. Any thoughts on why this may have occurred? Can I apply a maintenance coat of the same stain or should I be doing something else beforehand?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 07/08/2015
    Charlie:
    I have an old weathered deck with some grease stains from a grill and bird suet. What is the best way to prep the deck before staining? Will the RAD Stripper remove the grease?

    Sorry but nothing will remove the grease stains completely out of the wood. It is in too deep. You can still clean and brighten the deck for regular prep then stain over the grease spots. It may blend a little better.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Charlie · 07/08/2015
    I have an old weathered deck with some grease stains from a grill and bird suet. What is the best way to prep the deck before staining? Will the RAD Stripper remove the grease?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 07/03/2015
    Cindy Browne:
    Do you sell restore a deck products at your retail stores?

    At our store in Bloomfield Hills, MI we do.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Cindy Browne · 07/02/2015
    Do you sell restore a deck products at your retail stores?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 07/01/2015
    carla morgan:
    I have applied a water proofing to deck. can I now apply the stain

    You would have to remove the water proofer first.