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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    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?
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    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.
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    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!!
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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?
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    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.
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    Marty Zei · 06/05/2014
    installed pressure treated pine decking. how long before staining??

    thanks
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    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.
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    Administrator · 05/27/2014
    George:
    I have almost the same situation as the last poster. I will be reapplying your cedar stain over my fence which was last stained with your cedar stain 5 years ago. Some of the areas which I can't seem to get the stain off are a light cedar/tan color after cleaning the fence. Upon application of your cedar stain will the areas that cannot be cleaned off appear to be darker or blotchy or will they tend to blend in?

    If using the same stain and color it should blend in.
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    George · 05/26/2014
    I have almost the same situation as the last poster. I will be reapplying your cedar stain over my fence which was last stained with your cedar stain 5 years ago. Some of the areas which I can't seem to get the stain off are a light cedar/tan color after cleaning the fence. Upon application of your cedar stain will the areas that cannot be cleaned off appear to be darker or blotchy or will they tend to blend in?
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    ken morin · 05/26/2014
    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?
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    Administrator · 05/19/2014
    jeffryku:
    I'm in the process of re-staining my pressure treated deck. I've applied the RAD stripper, used a pressure washer to remove the old stain and used the brightener. However, I could not completely remove all of the old stain. How critical is it to remove 100% of the old stain? The old stain is SW Deckscapes oil based stain. The color I plan on using is similar, but different enough. I'm worried that the old stain may show through it some areas. After doing the 2-step prep process, the deck absorbs water even where there is some old stain. Do I still need to sand off the old remaining stain? If so, what method do you recommend for sanding?

    Thanks

    You want to shoot for 95% removal. If using a similar color than it should blend some.
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    Jeffry Adams · 05/19/2014
    I'm in the process of re-staining my pressure treated deck. I've applied the RAD stripper, used a pressure washer to remove the old stain and used the brightener. However, I could not completely remove all of the old stain. How critical is it to remove 100% of the old stain? The old stain is SW Deckscapes oil based stain. The color I plan on using is similar, but different enough. I'm worried that the old stain may show through it some areas. After doing the 2-step prep process, the deck absorbs water even where there is some old stain. Do I still need to sand off the old remaining stain? If so, what method do you recommend for sanding?

    Thanks
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    Administrator · 05/11/2014
    Mark:
    I just finished staining my new redwood deck with A/C transparent redwood stain by mistake. I meant to use A/C semi-sierra redwood. It gets a lot of sun and faces West. What is the best option for re-staining? Can I apply the Sierra semi-redwood over the existing transparent redwood, or should I strip the transparent redwood and start over with the semi-sierra redwood? Alternatively, I could wait 12 months when it is time to reapply and start over. Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Wait 12 months and apply the SR would be best and the easiest.
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    Mark · 05/10/2014
    I just finished staining my new redwood deck with A/C transparent redwood stain by mistake. I meant to use A/C semi-sierra redwood. It gets a lot of sun and faces West. What is the best option for re-staining? Can I apply the Sierra semi-redwood over the existing transparent redwood, or should I strip the transparent redwood and start over with the semi-sierra redwood? Alternatively, I could wait 12 months when it is time to reapply and start over. Any help is greatly appreciated.
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    Administrator · 04/11/2014
    You can pre stain with Armstrong. Wood needs to be installed first, weathered for 2-3 months, than prepped with the Restore A Deck Kit. You only need to stain the exposed wood and there is not advantage to staining all sides before install.
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    Ed Schinnerer · 04/10/2014
    What would be the proper preparation for new cedar decking boards that are to be stained on all sides before installation?
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    Administrator · 03/30/2014
    Bob, it would be best to use the RAD Stripper followed by the RAD Brightener. You do not need the cleaner if you are stripping.
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    Bob · 03/29/2014
    I stained my Ipe deck 2 years ago with a different product. The stain has faded but is not completely gone. I used the Restore-A-Deck kit prior to the first staining 2 years ago. I would like to use the Armstrong product but don't know if I can just use the RAD cleaner product I used the last time or if I have to strip it with the RAD stripping product. If I do need to strip it, after I use the Brightener, do I also need to use the RAD cleaner and brightener?
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    Administrator · 03/21/2014
    g. march,

    Use the Restore A Deck Stripper, light pressure washing, followed by the brightener to achieve a consistent prep for the AC stain.
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    g · 03/20/2014
    I stained my cedar fence 4 years ago and some parts are grey whereas other parts still look good. Based on this information which one of the cleaners/strippers would you suggest.
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    Administrator · 03/12/2014
    Dan, either would work and best to get the two colors to test first to see what looks good for you. Best to remove the IPE Oil first with the Restore A Deck Stain Stripper.