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
    Armstrong · 09/16/2014
    sheryl baldwin:
    We have sanded our deck taking the top layer off to smooth out the boards and get down to a healthier layer on the redwood prior to applying the semi-transparent. Do we still need to do any of the cleaner or brightener steps above?

    Yes you should.
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    sheryl baldwin · 09/15/2014
    We have sanded our deck taking the top layer off to smooth out the boards and get down to a healthier layer on the redwood prior to applying the semi-transparent. Do we still need to do any of the cleaner or brightener steps above?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 09/12/2014
    william krejci:
    I have a cedar deck that is approx. 6 months old. What should i do in prepping it for staining. Thanks!

    Use the Restore A Deck Kit for the prep of the new wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    william krejci · 09/12/2014
    I have a cedar deck that is approx. 6 months old. What should i do in prepping it for staining. Thanks!
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    Administrator · 09/07/2014
    Gordon:
    How long can the can of semi transparent stain sit around before it needs to be reshaken/mixed?
    G

    You always need to stir before using.
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    Gordon · 09/05/2014
    How long can the can of semi transparent stain sit around before it needs to be reshaken/mixed?
    G
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    Administrator · 08/18/2014
    John Eisenbeil:
    On a 25 year old deck with apparent moderate re-staining, 2 deck boards required replacing due decayed knot areas. The remainder are solid though weathered and cracked a little in spots. Is there a way to prepare the 2 new boards for staining so as the colors match somewhat, realizing the newer wood will absorb stain much differently than the old? I expect additional coats would create shiny spots.

    You cannot get new wood to match old wood. They will be lighter in color not matter what.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John Eisenbeil · 08/17/2014
    On a 25 year old deck with apparent moderate re-staining, 2 deck boards required replacing due decayed knot areas. The remainder are solid though weathered and cracked a little in spots. Is there a way to prepare the 2 new boards for staining so as the colors match somewhat, realizing the newer wood will absorb stain much differently than the old? I expect additional coats would create shiny spots.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 08/14/2014
    Andreas Kanon:
    What is your recommendation to prepare a new Redwood deck before staining it?

    Let season for a couple of months and prep first with the Restore A Deck Kit.
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    Andreas Kanon · 08/14/2014
    What is your recommendation to prepare a new Redwood deck before staining it?
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    Administrator · 08/09/2014
    Chris Miller:
    No, the wood is not rough sawn. It is brand new Western Red Cedar though. I wonder if I need to clean it and restore with Restore a Deck product or something else?

    Wait a month to dry then prep with the Restore A Deck Kit.
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    Chris Miller · 08/08/2014
    No, the wood is not rough sawn. It is brand new Western Red Cedar though. I wonder if I need to clean it and restore with Restore a Deck product or something else?
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    Administrator · 08/08/2014
    Chris Miller:
    Hi,

    I just bought 5 gallons of the semi transpartent Cedar staing from AC. I have a brand Western Red cedar fence installed a week ago. How long to I have to wait to stain it with AC?

    Is the wood rough sawn? If so you can stain right away.
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    Chris Miller · 08/07/2014
    Hi,

    I just bought 5 gallons of the semi transpartent Cedar staing from AC. I have a brand Western Red cedar fence installed a week ago. How long to I have to wait to stain it with AC?
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    Administrator · 08/02/2014
    philip racicot:
    I have a mahogany wood on my front porch that has been previously coated with a polyurethane/marine varnish coating what do I have to do to prepare this wood to use Armstrong Clark mahogany wood stain

    You must sand all the poly off first before proceeding with using a penetrating stain like AC.
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    philip racicot · 08/01/2014
    I have a mahogany wood on my front porch that has been previously coated with a polyurethane/marine varnish coating what do I have to do to prepare this wood to use Armstrong Clark mahogany wood stain
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    Administrator · 07/22/2014
    Kristy:
    After you use the brightener, and wood pores are open what is the maximum time you can wait to stain the deck? If I can't get to it in 1-2 days?

    A week or two should be fine.
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    Administrator · 07/22/2014
    Connie Lambert:
    When prepping a deck with worn out semi transparent stain that will need stripping do I use the deck wash then the stripper and brightener or strip and brighten and then wash or skip the wash altogether if I'm stripping and brightening? Confused

    You do not need the cleaner if you are stripping. Strip and brighten.
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    Kristy · 07/22/2014
    After you use the brightener, and wood pores are open what is the maximum time you can wait to stain the deck? If I can't get to it in 1-2 days?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Connie Lambert · 07/02/2014
    When prepping a deck with worn out semi transparent stain that will need stripping do I use the deck wash then the stripper and brightener or strip and brighten and then wash or skip the wash altogether if I'm stripping and brightening? Confused
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    Administrator · 06/22/2014
    Peter Reed:
    Our new cedar deck has aged 3 months (southwest exposure, Bay Area). To test readiness yesterday I stained a leftover piece of decking. It soaked in and dried within 30-60 minutes, so I'm ready. Will the RAD cleaner and stripper remove construction marks and marks made from use of deck over past 3 months?

    P.S. Stained piece of test wood looks great! Thanks!!

    It will not remove the stamps on the mills. Use the cleaner and brightener for the prep. Not the stripper.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Peter Reed · 06/22/2014
    Our new cedar deck has aged 3 months (southwest exposure, Bay Area). To test readiness yesterday I stained a leftover piece of decking. It soaked in and dried within 30-60 minutes, so I'm ready. Will the RAD cleaner and stripper remove construction marks and marks made from use of deck over past 3 months?

    P.S. Stained piece of test wood looks great! Thanks!!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/16/2014
    David Clayton:
    I may have missed this but your tips talk of cleaning and brightening but do not mention sanding.

    I have a cedar deck and have stripped off an old solid stain. Should I sand and then clean and brighten or the opposite order?

    Also, is it possible to clean and brighten too much? I just ordered your RAD kit but have previously cleaned with a Behr product and am not impressed with the result, the surface is blotchy, s so am thinking to clean again.

    If you want to sand it would best to do it before the cleaning and brightening. You cannot clean to much.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Clayton · 06/13/2014
    I may have missed this but your tips talk of cleaning and brightening but do not mention sanding.

    I have a cedar deck and have stripped off an old solid stain. Should I sand and then clean and brighten or the opposite order?

    Also, is it possible to clean and brighten too much? I just ordered your RAD kit but have previously cleaned with a Behr product and am not impressed with the result, the surface is blotchy, s so am thinking to clean again.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mikey · 06/11/2014
    I have a pressure treated deck that is 5 years old and I used Thompson's water seal on it. I now want to stain it a dark brown color to match my siding. I used Behr products to remove the water seal, both the stripper and the brightener. Do I have to do anything else before I can use your stain. Thank you, Mike
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    Administrator · 06/11/2014
    kathie:
    curious…my Behr stain has chipped off after a couple of months…can i just sand the finish completely off…and then use your stain…i have available messmer's wood and deck cleaner as well as their brightener. however i am thinking i should use that after using your product when i want to maintain the deck down the line. I am thinking that your product will not make it so i will need to sand my deck again and that i will just maintain it by cleaning it and adding another coat of your product..is this correct?

    After removing the sanding of the Behr you should use the Gemini Restore Kit as prep. You can clean and reapply down the road without sanding.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    kathie · 06/10/2014
    curious…my Behr stain has chipped off after a couple of months…can i just sand the finish completely off…and then use your stain…i have available messmer's wood and deck cleaner as well as their brightener. however i am thinking i should use that after using your product when i want to maintain the deck down the line. I am thinking that your product will not make it so i will need to sand my deck again and that i will just maintain it by cleaning it and adding another coat of your product..is this correct?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 06/05/2014
    Marty Zei:
    installed pressure treated pine decking. how long before staining??

    thanks

    Wait 2-3 months after install. Clean and brighten with the Restore A Deck before staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marty Zei · 06/05/2014
    installed pressure treated pine decking. how long before staining??

    thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Administrator · 05/27/2014
    ken morin:
    Have applied a semi- transparent sample stain to an area of about 4x4. Should I use your stain stripper on it before applying one of your semi-transparent stains on the deck?

    yes so it does not stand out. Brighten as well when done.