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
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/12/2015
    Chris Jones:
    Hi, last fall I used your cedar seme-transparent stain to cover newly installed cedar deck boards. I am impressed with the finish, but we live under a lot of trees. There are some areas with surface mildew or mold. What is the procedure to prep these boards for a maintenance coat, thanks.

    Use the Restore a Deck Kit and light pressure washing for your prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chris Jones · 06/11/2015
    Hi, last fall I used your cedar seme-transparent stain to cover newly installed cedar deck boards. I am impressed with the finish, but we live under a lot of trees. There are some areas with surface mildew or mold. What is the procedure to prep these boards for a maintenance coat, thanks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/09/2015
    Billymo:
    I'm prepping my mahogany deck with your products. So far so good. There are a few small spots I need to hand sand. What grit sandpaper do I use on my mahogany deck?

    60-80 grit paper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Billymo · 06/09/2015
    I'm prepping my mahogany deck with your products. So far so good. There are a few small spots I need to hand sand. What grit sandpaper do I use on my mahogany deck?
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    Administrator · 05/27/2015
    Kevin Bartley:
    I have a 7 year old Ipe deck that we have used multiple applications of Penofin for hardwoods. Love the color but hate how quickly it fades. Current finish is 2 years old and deck has turned gray and has dark areas in the exposed area and 50% of color in the covered area.Please recommend product and process for cleaning and preparing surface for an application of the Armstrong Clark Mahogany Stain for Hardwoods Thanks

    Prep with the Restore A Deck Kit in the top menu.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kevin Bartley · 05/26/2015
    I have a 7 year old Ipe deck that we have used multiple applications of Penofin for hardwoods. Love the color but hate how quickly it fades. Current finish is 2 years old and deck has turned gray and has dark areas in the exposed area and 50% of color in the covered area.Please recommend product and process for cleaning and preparing surface for an application of the Armstrong Clark Mahogany Stain for Hardwoods Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/25/2015
    Sharlene:
    we had our deck stained with your product and it's still not dry. It looks dry, and if you touch it at first it feels dry but if you rub your finger you get a ton of stain on it. It's all over my shoes and I won't let anyone walk on it as it will track into my house !! When is it going to dry? Got stained 2 days ago...

    Rinse off the excess oil by flooding the deck with water then rinsing.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sharlene · 05/24/2015
    we had our deck stained with your product and it's still not dry. It looks dry, and if you touch it at first it feels dry but if you rub your finger you get a ton of stain on it. It's all over my shoes and I won't let anyone walk on it as it will track into my house !! When is it going to dry? Got stained 2 days ago...
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/17/2015
    Jose negron:
    So I plan to use the restore a deck cleaner and brightener on my one year old deck. After cleaning the deck do I need to wait for it to dry before brightening or can I go right into the brightening process once I wash off all of the cleaner?

    Apply the brightener as soon as you are done with the cleaning. No need to let it dry.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jose negron · 05/17/2015
    So I plan to use the restore a deck cleaner and brightener on my one year old deck. After cleaning the deck do I need to wait for it to dry before brightening or can I go right into the brightening process once I wash off all of the cleaner?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/07/2015
    larry:
    Can I use this product for cedar shakes roof.

    Yes you can.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    larry · 05/07/2015
    Can I use this product for cedar shakes roof.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/19/2014
    anand.a.deshpande"][quote name="opwdecks"][quote name="anand.a.deshpande:
    Hi,
    Yesterday we applied a semi-solid stain to our house (exterior). The tone is too dark. I tried with sample earlier which were semi-transperant . We used (80% red-wood 20% cedar) together. Is there a way to tone the shade down?[/quote]
    Sorry but you cannot lighten or tone down a color. You can remove it and start over.[/quote]

    If I have to remove the stain which is very fresh will i have to use only power wash u recommend Stripper and then Wash

    Yes you will need to Stripper and pressure washing to remove. Use the brightener when done.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anand Deshpande · 09/19/2014
    opwdecks"][quote name="anand.a.deshpande:
    Hi,
    Yesterday we applied a semi-solid stain to our house (exterior). The tone is too dark. I tried with sample earlier which were semi-transperant . We used (80% red-wood 20% cedar) together. Is there a way to tone the shade down?[/quote]
    Sorry but you cannot lighten or tone down a color. You can remove it and start over.


    If I have to remove the stain which is very fresh will i have to use only power wash u recommend Stripper and then Wash
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/18/2014
    anand.a.deshpande:
    Hi,
    Yesterday we applied a semi-solid stain to our house (exterior). The tone is too dark. I tried with sample earlier which were semi-transperant . We used (80% red-wood 20% cedar) together. Is there a way to tone the shade down?

    Sorry but you cannot lighten or tone down a color. You can remove it and start over.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anand Deshpande · 09/18/2014
    Hi,
    Yesterday we applied a semi-solid stain to our house (exterior). The tone is too dark. I tried with sample earlier which were semi-transperant . We used (80% red-wood 20% cedar) together. Is there a way to tone the shade down?