Armstrong Clark is a penetrating oil based stain that will soak deep into the wood grain offering protection from UV graying and water. The advantages to a penetrating deck stain is that they will not peel but rather fade over the years. The key though is proper prep before applying your AC especially if your wood is new.

New "smooth" wood should not be stained right away with Armstrong Clark. A few things need to happen first:

  • The wood should dry out in the climate
  • Exposed layers of wood cells should oxidize slightly
  • Mill glaze needs to be removed
  • Prep after waiting will remove both oxidation and mill glaze

New Decks and Armstrong Clark Stain Tips

The best advice is to not stain your new smooth wood too soon after install but follow these steps:

  1. Install wood and let sit outside for 3-4 months or more if using a transparent or semi-transparent color. If using a semi-solid color, you should wait 12 months.
  2. Once the wood has been exposed, use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kit for prep.
  3. Let the wood dry for 2 or more days after prep.
  4. Apply 1 coat of the Armstrong Clark Stain. Do not over apply.

To maintain your new coat of AC you will most likely need to a light coat in 12-24 months to just the floors or horizontals surfaces. In the future, you will need to reapply AC every 2-3 years for most scenarios or as needed based on your particular traffic and weather.

Important Note: Rough Sawn cut wood can be stained right after install as long as the wood is clean and dry.

If you have a question on prepping your need wood or deck, feel free to ask below.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John P Worby · 07/13/2020
    followed all instructions for cleaner & brightener then semi-trans natural oak less than 2 weeks after 80-90s temps full sun numerous areas developed sap surfacing and actually crystallizing. No sap surfacing until boards were prepared and stained. I am looking for any explanation/answers on why this happened. Will be replacing boards.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/13/2020
      Sap leaching from the wood cannot be prevented or stopped and happens on its own. The stain and or prep products do not cause this to happen. More than likely having a newly prepared and stained surface the sap leached out on its own due to the high temps.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        John P Worby · 07/13/2020
        Thanks for your quick response. Is this also happening because of sub-standard pressurized wood? My supplier wants to blame the stain/process.Supplier not willing to replace wood. Is this just a case of no-fault
        Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/13/2020
          Really it is just the pine wood in general. Pine is a sappy wood and once in a while, it will leach out on deck boards. No way to predict or prevent. Does not matter the grade of the PTP and it is not the supplier's fault.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            John P Worby · 07/13/2020
            Thanks for your input. Time to just bite the bullet.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Matt S · 07/12/2020
    Is there a minimum application temperature? If so, how long of a time period is needed above that temperature?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/12/2020
      Do not apply below 50 degrees and it cannot drop below that for about 4-8 hours after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave R · 06/29/2020
    I applied a single coat to my first outdoor piece using Brown Walnut hardwood stain. The wood is a combo of mahogany and eucalyptus. Its been weathered after i stripped whatever Pottery Barn put on it and then i used the cleaner and then brightener as per instructions. After waiting 2 days post rinse off i applied stain using a roller for the big areas and a cheap foam brush for the hard to reach parts.

    When the roller or foam brush is loaded i get a heavier coat and some dripping marks - for those areas i went back over with the brush to remove the streaking and where i saw heavy wet puddles. I read on the AC website that for hardwood furniture i should wipe down the stain after 60 mins?

    Furniture and sitting surfaces applied with these colors must have the stain wiped off 60 minutes after application.


    Can i let this all dry for a day and then use a clean rag to wipe up any remaining wet excess the next day? Or for furniture using this hardwood stain should i be wiping after 60 mins?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/29/2020
      Removing excess stain a day later is okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jordan · 06/27/2020
    Does this apply to fencing as well?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 06/27/2020
    Thanks!, How long do I need to wait after sanding before clean & brighten / staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/27/2020
      You can prep right after the sanding. Stain 48 hours later.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 06/27/2020
    I needed to sand off the old stain from my deck. Stripper was not ok, because the deck is painted underneath, Can a semi-transparent stain be applied directly to the sanded wood? Or do I need to treat it with the water and bleach mix first?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/27/2020
      Clean and brighten for the final prep. Not bleach.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joanne · 06/23/2020
    Which of your semi-transparent stains offers a "Wet Look" ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/23/2020
      Amber would be closest to a wet look.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dan · 06/17/2020
    I have a cedar roof deck over a membrane roof in the Pacific Northwest which has been untreated for the last 4 years. Two questions:

    Parts that get little/no direct sunlight have turned a bit green. Should I pressure wash those before cleaning?

    Is there any concern about interactions between the membrane roof and the cleaner or stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Patti · 06/16/2020
    New P/T deck, planning to wait 3-4 mos (or longer) to stain. I think my preference might be semi-solid (wait 1 yr) over semi-trans. Should I go ahead and apply semi-trans in 3-4 mos. to protect the deck and then, if I do decide I want semi-solid, apply that 8-9+ mos. later? I assume I use RAD C&B before each application and assume I can put semi-solid over semi-trans. Either option, 1 coat each? Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/17/2020
      No, just do the semi-solid in 12 months. You cannot apply the semi-solid over the semi-transparent. Just one coat.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Patti · 06/17/2020
        Follow-up question ... At one point, trying to maintain my old deck, I ended up using a solid, water-based stain that caused a crapload of peeling problems. I thought that was because it was water-based. I want to avoid peeling, preferring the stain to wear/fade. So, an oil-based semi-solid will also be prone to peeling rather than wear/fade you get from semi-trans? Thanks.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Patti · 06/17/2020
        Okay. Just to be clear, though (forget my proposed timeline above) ... are you saying if someone stains semi-trans they can't change their mind down the road and apply semi-solid? I assumed you'd be able to so long as the deck was prepped with RAD. I'm not talking right away, but after some (how much?) time passes. Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 06/17/2020
          You can change but you will need to strip it off for proper penetration.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 06/16/2020
    Im putting in a new deck and have a few questions. I live in Austin, TX.

    1. How long should I wait until staining? I here 60 days or even longer (listed above and mentioned in other areas), but its already in the mid to upper 90s here so is weather factored into the equation. Waiting 3-4 months seems like a long time before staining especially in the Texas Heat.
    2. With a new deck do I need to use the Restore a Deck cleaner and Brightener?
    3. What is best way to sample? If I need to wait awhile I'm assuming that has an impact on how the stain will look when its applied and I shouldn't sample now. If so do I wait until I'm about to stain entire deck and should I use the restore and brightener before putting sample stain on or does that not matter?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/16/2020
      1. 3-4 months is correct.
      2. Yes.
      3. Wait until weathered and prepped to sample a spot. It will be more true to color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    April · 06/15/2020
    Hi! We just finished our deck in South Georgia. Our deck is pressured treated pine and is in full sun all day. It’s been 90 degrees almost everyday. How long do we need to wait before can we stain it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/15/2020
      Just as the article states above.

      -Install wood and let sit outside for 3-4 months or more if using a transparent or semi-transparent color. If using a semi-solid color, you should wait 12 months.
      -Once the wood has been exposed, use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kit for prep.
      -Let the wood dry for 2 or more days after prep.
      -Apply 1 coat of the Armstrong Clark Stain. Do not over apply.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anne · 06/06/2020
    Hello,
    I have a cedar fence that is 2-3 years old. It has never been stained or painted. I was planning to clean, brighten, and stain with a semi-solid or hardwood stain. I am trying to get as close to a black as possible. (I’m looking for the darkest color with the least red) . I want to hide most of the grain but not all. Is the espresso semi-solid the best one to use? Is there a hardwood stain color I should also consider?

    Also, as far as maintenance, the website states a light coat of stain may be required in a few years. Will I need to prep with cleaning and brightening or can I just lightly re-stain in the future?

    lastly, part of the fence has been sanded to remove some splattered paint. Is there any concern about the sanded areas not blending? Should I try to roughen those areas if they are too smooth?

    thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/06/2020
      Yes, use the Espresso. You always have to prep when reapplying. If you sanded then yes, the stain can be lighter in color there.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Paul · 06/01/2020
    Hello. I am refinishing my redwood/cedar outdoor deck. I live in Wyoming where the elevation is 5,200'. The deck was finished with a solid dark brown stain. I sanded everything down to just the bare wood. Do I need to treat this as a "new wood" and wait 2-3 months from when I sanded it, then use brightener and stain?
    Or should I brighten it now and stain it?

    How many coats of stain?
    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/01/2020
      Treat like new wood. Clean and bright for prep after waiting a few months. 1 coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 05/28/2020
    Installing new pressure treated pine deck in next week or so and will be covering half of it with a pavilion. Will the two areas age noticeably different while waiting for stain due to separate sun exposure?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/29/2020
      It will be fine after weathering and prepping it.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 05/27/2020
    So only I coat is needed with your product?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 05/26/2020
    Yes. Color will be different on the pine compared to the Mahogany.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kelly · 05/26/2020
    I installed a new redwood deck in the fall and let it set over the winter. I’m planning on using the cleaner/brightener. Do I also need to sand or power wash prior to stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/26/2020
      No need to sand. You pressure wash while doing the prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Kelly · 07/04/2020
        When I apply the cleaner brightener with power washer at the lowest setting, allow to set. Then rinse with straight water for 30 min using what setting? I have 4 spray tips, the yellow one states fir decks at 2300 psi or white delicate at 2100 psi. Also, if I’m using the sprayer at the lowest setting to apply the cleaner and brightener....do I also need to scrub the deck with a bristle brush?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/05/2020
          You pressure was off the cleaner not just rinse. Most use the white or green tips. You do not apply the prep products with the pressure washer but a pump sprayer.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            kelly · 07/05/2020
            Now I'm really confused. Above it states to pressure wash while doing the prep for the new deck. I apply it with a pump sprayer? Let that set? wash off the cleanser for 30 min with power washer. Then brightener also with pump sprayer? And wash that brightener with water for 30 min with power washer.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 07/06/2020
              You pressure wash off the cleaner until you are fully done with the cleaning. There is not a time frame on that step. The rest is correct. All instructions are very clear on the containers of prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chester · 05/22/2020
    I'm installing a pine pressure-treated(yellow wood) deck. Will this work on this type of decking. Never used this before used the old green type.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Woody · 05/19/2020
    Hi! Just finished installing kiln dried cedar. The uprights and cross beams on the pergola are all raw kiln dried cedar. Decking is incence cedar and 1 stair is western red. We plan on using restore a deck cleaner and brightener for the decking, but do we need to use that on the raw stuff too? And how long should we wait? We live in Firestone Colorado.

    Thank you in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/20/2020
      For kiln dried, wait about 1-2 months and then clean and brighten all for prep. Just one coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Yvonne currier · 05/13/2020
    Hello, I just installed a kiln dried Doug Fir deck do I need to let that age a little before staining? Also I have a upper deck that my support beams are grey and molding. I have painted in the past but the rain just beats it up. Can I clean with restore a deck and then stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/14/2020
      Yes, age as the article explains. You can clean and stain the undersides if you want.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    david r · 05/10/2020
    Hi - I am refinishing an outdoor furniture set that is a combo of mahogany and eucalyptus woods. I am sanding down to the bare wood to remove prior finish and stain. Do I have to treat this as “new wood” and let it weather for a few months?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/11/2020
      It would help if you let is sit for a month or two and then clean and brighten for final prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Dave R · 05/11/2020
        The instructions refer to "let it sit outside" without any protection. Just to confirm - this approach means leaving the bare wood exposed to rain and sun to weather it correct? Also, is there a recommended sanding grit you recommend i go up to? I was thinking 180....
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Darren G · 05/04/2020
    I installed a treated pine deck near Philadelphia last fall and now ready to stain. There are a number of open knots. Should I use wood filler before staining, and if so would a semi-solid cover the touch-ups? Or is it better to leave them open. My concern is more rot than splinters.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/04/2020
      No, do not use wood filler. It will not work and will not blend with the stain. Just leave them as is.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Darren G · 05/04/2020
        Thank you. Should I use semi-transparent or semi-solid over the open knots?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 05/04/2020
          It does not matter. Whatever you like.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Darren · 05/04/2020
            The deck is less than a year old, is semi-solid an option? The data sheet warns against it.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 05/04/2020
              Sorry, only semi-solid if the wood is older than 1 year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Doug T · 05/01/2020
    I just finished installing a new cumaru deck a couple of weeks ago. Part of the deck will host a hot tub that will be delivered soon. You recommend waiting 3-4 months before finishing. Should I have the hot tub installed, wait the 3-4 month period and ignore the fact that I can't stain under the tub? Or is there some way I can prep the deck early and finish the whole thing now before the hot tub is delivered?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/01/2020
      No need to stain under the deck so just do it all later.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Christopher Tina · 04/30/2020
    So I am installing a cedar deck tomorrow and I live in Az. Right now it’s about 95-100 degrees and will get hotter. Does the fact that I live in a desert climate shorten the initial step of letting the wood dry and settle before adding stain to it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/30/2020
      No, you still have to wait and prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jerry · 04/25/2020
    My deck was built with pine pressure-treated wood last June (2019). I am now ready seeing a bunch of splits and cracks in the wood that I did not see for the first few months and I am ready to stain. What kind of stain and sealant is recommended for new wood? Is your stain a sealer as well or do I have to purchase that separately? I had a contractor stop by to give an estimate and tell me the other day I need to use solid stain because the wood has now dried out, but after researching, I am seeing different advice and don't know what to do. It is a huge expense for us to pay to have this done so I don't want to have to pay so much every 12-18 months to have the deck restained. I believe this was the other reason the contractor recommended we use solid stain. What do you recommend?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/26/2020
      Splits and cracks are normal for exterior wood decks and are not a concern or issue. The AC stains work well for all decks. Any color that you like. Just prep and stain as the article above explains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brian Zimmerman · 04/08/2020
    So after prepping and staining with AC semitransparent the first time it says to do a light coat in 12-24 months. Before u apply this second “maintenance coat”, do you prep again with RAD cleaner and brightener?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ron Herrschaft · 04/08/2020
    Hi,

    Installed new Cedar deck 2 years ago. After a year we did the restore a deck and Brightener. Than applied Armstrong semi transparent cedar tone stain. Deck looked great for a couple months. We live near Interstate and I believe the deck gets a lot of dust. The dust turns the deck dark. I'm thinking the stain is oily and the dust adheres to the stain. What recommendations can you make for future cleaning, maintenance and restaining.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      manyy · 05/02/2020
      if you put it on too thick it did that with my deck. I just slopped it on and it came out like that because alot was penetrating but also alot was drying on the surface. I dont mind the colour myself but try putting it on thinner next time - see if that helps
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/08/2020
      For prep, use this: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-stripper

      Try a slightly darker color like the Natural Oak.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    GP · 01/28/2020
    Hello, I have new cedar siding that needs to be stained, do I have to use the deck cleaner and brightener for siding, or can I just apply the semi-transparent stain directly?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/29/2020
      You have to weather and prep with the cleaner and brightener as the article explains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    paul · 01/22/2020
    I am using kiln dried wood for decking. does this change any instruction for prep/time to weather before staining?

    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/22/2020
      Same steps for prep and application but you do not have to weather as long. 1-2 months should be sufficient.