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
    Karl · 11/25/2020
    I'll be using a semi-solid stain on post and beams 8"X12" over my entryway. Should I wait similarly months, as if it were a deck? It was installed a week ago and I need to also wait for some warmer temps. It's in the mid to upper 30s for a while...maybe 'til spring (Montana). At what temps can I apply the semi-solid stain? Thank you,
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/26/2020
      One year is what is suggested when using the semi-solid colors. Above 50 degrees.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Nichole Weatherly · 11/20/2020
    What about kiln dried pine? Still wait 3-4 months?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/20/2020
      1-2 months if kiln dried and then prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Prh · 11/21/2020
        I wouldn't think it is required for kiln dried lumber. I'm not sure how you are going to use this kiln dry lumber but if you think that this is g
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 11/21/2020
          Yes, you have to weather and prep kiln-dried wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason Ransom · 11/13/2020
    I used pressure treated Yella Wood for deck. On their website it’s says stain Yella Wood as soon as water soaks into wood. Don’t wait months. Just check with water to see if it beads or soaks in. If it soaks in its ready to stain!! Are you ok with this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/13/2020
      No, needs to weather and be prepped.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David Stewart · 11/03/2020
    I have a new Ipe deck that has weathered for 4 months, has been cleaned and brightened with restore a deck and is ready to be stained with Armstrong Clark Mahogany stain. My question is after brushing on the stain do I leave it alone or do I wipe off excess as I proceed?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/04/2020
      Leave it alone. You can back wipe if needed any excess the next day.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    GT · 10/21/2020
    In July, I installed a new board on board 7' Japanese cedar privacy fence with cedar cap. After waiting almost 4 months, I would like to stain with RAD ST Cedar Tone or AC ST Cedar. I have already cleaned with 30 second cleaner (before I knew about RAD Cleaner) and power washed to remove mill wax and very light mildew/dirt buildup and think I am ready to stain.

    1) Do I need to use RAD Brightener if my color is good?
    2) I plan to use a Graco electric airless sprayer with a .013 tip, but need to know if this is the recommended tip size for either the RAD (water based) or AC (oil) stains?
    3) Any preferred recommendation on the RAD vs AC for this application?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/21/2020
      1. Yes.
      2. Yes, that tip would work.
      3. Both would work very well.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robin Rabiroff · 10/15/2020
    I am just finishing screwing down new cedar pro deck on my 48'x 18" deck. We live in the PNW. Semi-trans vs trans as far as longevity and life of the wood. Also will the transparent natural require more frequent applications?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/16/2020
      Transparent colors have less pigment and will thereofore fade faster than semi-transparent colors.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Yoram Wolberger · 10/08/2020
    Hi, Do I need to use the RAD prep on a new Pressure Treated Dough-Fir deck construction, that was installed 6-8 months ago and was out in 80F-105F over 6 - 8 months? I sanded/buffed it with 3M pads and would like to keep the Pressure Treated red coating as much as possible. Can I just stain now with your semi-transparent Sierra Redwood?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/08/2020
      You will need the RAD prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Yoram · 10/10/2020
        Thank you for the quick reply. Would the RAD cleaner remove also the essential chemicals/preservatives that protect the Pressure Treated Lumber? Would it change or remove the reddish coating?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 10/11/2020
          It does not remove the chemicals that are deep in the wood.
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    Jeremy · 10/06/2020
    Is the semi transparent stain color chestnut ok to use on walnut wood
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary · 10/05/2020
    We have a newly installed garapa wood deck. Should we oil it right away?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/05/2020
      No, follow directions in the above article.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kyle · 10/01/2020
    I have two questions for you as I prepare to stain today.

    1) I cleaned/brightened on Tuesday evening. It will be about 38-40 hours between prep and staining. Is that enough time? It was mid 80’s here yesterday.

    2) After preparing it my dog got a few muddy paw prints on it (of course). I tried to clean it off with a dry rag but I can still see them. Is there a good way to clean them off on the day of staining? Sanding? Or will the stain cover them?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/01/2020
      1. Hard to say. 48 hours is what we suggest.
      2. Wipe them off with a wet rag.

      Might want to wait until Friday to stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mary Ann · 09/27/2020
    Installed new deck floor with Yellowood Pine pressure treated kiln dried Contractor was repairing and cleaning existing painted white railing and pressure washed them using a cleaner not bleach. Now Ive got these light spots all over the deck. Also have a red crayon mark used to measure a wood cut that spread into wood. Will these all clean up once the we do the final prep steps with brightner and pressure washing before staining? They are doing final work next week. Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeremy · 09/20/2020
    I just had a new deck installed a couple of months ago and the weather is starting to turn cooler now. We live in St. Louis just to give you some additional info about our climate. Should I wait to to stain it early next spring or try and stain it in the next 2-3 weeks? Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Evelyn · 09/16/2020
    What is mill glaze?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/17/2020
      A wax that gets on new wood when it is cut at the mill.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Cristina · 09/16/2020
    Hi, we just had a back stairway built out of redwood and pressure treated posts. I would like to use the Black Walnut Semi-transparent stain. It has been 1.5 months since it was built. Should I wait another 1.5 months before staining? Also, what product should I use to prep?

    thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/16/2020
      Yes, you have to ait at least 3 months as the above article explains. It also explains how and what to use for prep. Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Paul R. · 09/14/2020
    Dear AC,

    I've made a picnic table with bench seats out of wood. I want to use one of your transparent stains. Assuming I follow all the prep instructions, is your stain ok for outdoor wood furniture including seating? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/14/2020
      Yes as long as you follow the directions for new wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Paul R. · 09/14/2020
        Dear AC,

        Thank you for the quick reply. I ordered some sample stains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeannette Polowski · 09/11/2020
    Does 2 years in the garage count as waiting to adjust for climate. New red Balau deck put together this year after having the wood for 2 years. I’m noticing that the exposed portion is losing the deep color, but the covered portion is staying darker. Any suggestions for when to stain and how to keep the color true to the original red Balau ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/12/2020
      No, it has to be built and exposed to outside elements. Wait the 3+ months and then prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff · 09/05/2020
    Hello. New cedar deck, built and sitting in place about 3 months. Is it ok to now sand with 80 grit, the use your prep kit, wait 2 days then stain? or do I have to wait 3 months after sanding?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/06/2020
      If you sand, do not use more than 60-80 grit. Do that first and then clean and brighten. 1 coat of stain 48 hours after prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Donna · 09/02/2020
    What if leaves fall on the stain while it is drying? We just had new PT KDAT wood installed, and it needs to be stained in the next month or two.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/03/2020
      Leaves will not harm it as it is drying.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mark · 08/30/2020
    I have a 20 year old red cedar deck. I had to sand it to remove a prior stain. Do I need to let the deck weather prior to staining?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    A. Tomas · 08/28/2020
    I want to put semi trans Rustic brown on a red pine pressure treated deck. It’s weathered for 2 seasons so super ready for stain. I’m curious I bought samples from you guys and like the look of the rustic brown So I know that’s what I want but not any darker than that! So Iam Worried next season after I brighten and clean the deck Again, followed by the maintenance coat, will the deck get even darker???I don’t want it to get to dark. Will each maintained coat get super darker each time. Or does the brightner and cleaner mellow the color out so you can maintain close to the original color?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/28/2020
      It will not get darker as long as you prep correctly first.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Steve · 08/26/2020
    Hello, I am about to install new mahogany decking and looking to use the AC Hardwood/IPE Semi-Transparent Stain in Amber. I have 2 questions:

    1. Do you have any images of the amber color on mahogany decking? I can get a sample, but a quick image will be fine for my purposes.
    2. I live in New England and 3 months from when its set to be installed will be the beginning of December, bringing on the cold weather (too cold to stain). What is your suggestion for the application of the product and longevity of the wood?
    Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/26/2020
      1. We do not. Best to get samples for testing.
      2. Wait until Spring to prep and stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 08/25/2020
    Just stained new cedar deck with AC Semi Transparent Cedar Stain. Some of the stain soaked in within an hour and some areas took longer to soak in. Should I apply a second coat a few days later or wait until spring and give it another coat?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ryan · 08/24/2020
    I installed a new redwood deck a couple of months ago. Coming up on the 3 month mark when I will stain before the rain starts in the Pacific Northwest. With the recent heat, the wood has really dried out, MC down to 2-4% throughout the deck. Had some light cracking in areas from the shrinkage. I was planning on sanding it a little to smoothen out the light cracking/splinters. Would you recommend I still use the Deck Cleaner and brighten, as well as sanding? And if so, do I use the Cleaner/Brighten before or after the sand? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/25/2020
      Yes, you need the prep products. If you sand, do that first.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lindsay · 08/23/2020
    We used the semi-transparent cedar on our front cedar porch. We had to replace our entire back deck and used pressure treated wood. When we tested the same stain on it, the color was very light and yellowish. What color would you recommend using on the pressure treated wood to better match the front porch (cedar wood with semi-transparent cedar)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/24/2020
      It is not possible to match new pressure treated wood to older cedar wood. It will stain differently and lighter no matter what.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stuart Clutterbuck · 08/22/2020
    After staining mahogany porch, is it ok to walk on it in 24 hours? Furniture?
    thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/23/2020
      About 24 hours, just make sure it is dry.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ian · 08/22/2020
    I have a new, micro sienna (pressure treated) wood deck. The wood is very new and green. Are the prep instructions the same as for cedar (let it dry out, deck cleaner, etc)?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/23/2020
      Yes, weather and prep as the article above explains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stuart Clutterbuck · 08/22/2020
    Hi again. So I’ve been waiting on and off with rain. Today was the day but thunderstorm out of nowhere came through. Can’t win.

    issue is now I’m at 15 days since strip/bright. I have covered porch so wet only around edges and a foot in in some spots.

    So I wait 3-4 more days (rain dependent) even though I’m over the 2 week frame?

    Or because it’s only edges try to dry those areas?

    if not brighten again?

    Your help is much appreciated ... please advise.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stuart Clutterbuck · 08/21/2020
    This process just keeps getting more difficult. Stripped, brightened, then had to wait 12 days due to weather, time, etc. I put rugs back on deck to protect in meantime.
    Now it appears I have stains from rain wherever edge of carpets were, all around.
    i scrubbed with bit of water last night and dried it quickly but not all stains are gone.

    do I now use soap on these water mark spots and spot clean? Then dry quickly with rag bc I have to stain tomorrow.

    Or maybe they won’t even come up when I stain it bc they are so light?
    help please I’m going to pull my hair out.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/21/2020
      Not sure what will remove that rug stains but yes, you should try to remove them as they will probably show when stained.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Melissa · 08/14/2020
    Do you recommend only one coat of stain for 4 month aged rough sawn hemlock? Application tips? Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/14/2020
      If rough sawn, you can do two light coats applied wet on wet. Use a stain pad or brush.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Leonard · 08/12/2020
    Do you still recommend waiting to stain the deck if we use kiln-dried decking?