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
    Mike · 11/15/2019
    I live in a dry mountain climate and installed my deck just before winter started. How long after installation of Tigerwood decking before I should stain. Also my wife likes the natural color so should I just use a clear coat?
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    Jon · 10/29/2019
    Could I get a reply to my question please?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jon · 10/24/2019
    I installed a new PT deck 2 years ago. Prepped with bleach/water/dish soap mixture per AC institutions last Wednesday Stained with chestnut semi transparent stain on Friday. We unexpectedly received .25” light rain about 8 hours after staining. Color appears washed out now. Can I put another coat on now without any additional prep?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Craig · 10/22/2019
    What happens if I use RAD cleaner and brighter on 2-3 month old cedar and then stain it with AC semi transparent natural oak?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/23/2019
      It may or may not fully soak in if it has not weathered correctly. It has a lot to do with how much UV exposure.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 10/20/2019
    I’m installing mohagany deck railing top board hand rail is 5/4 x6. What is the best stain to use
    I’m looking for the deep burgundy / Merlot look
    will a clear stain bring out that color???
    mid not what stain will I do not want to use a solid stain. Thx
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Zip · 10/15/2019
    I am building a grill cart for a Weber kettle grill out of new wood red cedar. The cart is 36 inches high, 56 inches long and 34 inches deep. Did I read correctly that I don't need to sand the cedar boards before staining it? Would you recommend any other initial preparation for staining? Do I need more than a gallon for this project? Thank you for your help!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/15/2019
      Hello,

      The new wood needs to season for 3-4 months and be cleaned and brightened for the prep. This is explained in the above article. One gallon is enough.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    JenLogan · 10/02/2019
    I have a new screened porch with tongue and groove pine (more like a sun room with moulding down to the floor). It will be impossible to clean and brighten the boards because there is no way to properly rinse the boards. Can I sand the boards and apply the stain without cleaning and brightening. We have an attached deck that I can properly prepare, but will they look different?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/02/2019
      Sanding does not properly prep new wood. Most just rinse the water through the door.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        JenLogan · 10/04/2019
        I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your answer. Sanding does more what?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 10/05/2019
          Typo. Sanding does not properly prep new wood.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Jenlogan · 10/05/2019
            What happens if we are unable to remove all of the cleaner and brightener?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 10/05/2019
              Rinse as well as you can and you should be fine.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heather · 09/25/2019
    Also, how long can you go between prep and stain if the weather isn't cooperating before you have to prep again?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heather Lee Jones · 09/25/2019
    Also, how long can you go after prep if the weather doesn't cooperate before needing to prep again?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heather · 09/25/2019
    New deck (Treated Pine). Coming up on the 4 month mark and need to stain before the weather gets too shifty. If I stain with the AC transparent cedar this season, can I "darken" portions of it with a different AC stain hue (looking at the semi-transparent the sierra redwood) without stripping next season and just doing prep and brighten? Going for a two-tone look.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/25/2019
      Yes, you should be able to do that.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Janet · 09/04/2019
    I recently stained my pergola with semi-transparent stain but got some on the patio stones below. Any recommendation on how to get it out of the stone? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/04/2019
      Try a graffiti remover cleaner from the local paint store.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Renee · 08/31/2019
    If I'm installing kiln dried western red cedar, do I still have to wait for months to stain it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/01/2019
      1-2 months for kiln dried and then prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ed · 08/29/2019
    I just had a gate and section of fence installed that's Western red cedar. I plan to stain it with Sierra Redwood to match the existing lower section of fence you see on the right hand side of the photo. I just want to confirm that I should wait 3-4 months, then prep with RAD Cleaner and Brightener. I ask because the cedar store owner said to stain right away, and that the cedar is already kiln-dried. Also, 3-4 months will put me in the rainy season. Is it okay to subject to the rain before I get to stain it? Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/30/2019
      When kiln-dried, wait 1-2 months and then prep. Thanks!
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Ed · 08/30/2019
        Okay, thanks. So with new wood, do I need to use the brightener too in the RAD kit?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mike · 08/29/2019
    I am sanding a yellow cedar deck that was installed three years ago to get the grey wood and mill finish off as well as some leftover semi-solid that is still on the knotts. After I finish the sanding do I need to let it sit prior to stain and or apply any cleaner before stain? tHanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/29/2019
      Yes, clean and brighten for prep and then you can stain. Do not sand with a finer grit than 80.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    James Landa · 08/14/2019
    One final question. While I am waiting 3 months for the deck to cure, Is it Ok to put furniture back on and use it as I would normally before its stained? Thanks Jim
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim landa · 08/13/2019
    2 weeks ago in Sonoma County CA, I installed a 1,650 SF con heart redwood deck. I would like to install a spa to sit upon it. Do I need to wait 2 to 4 months for the deck to cure and be stained before I install a spa upon it? Or since the deck will not be exposed to the elements but covered by the spa, can i install it now and stain around it after? Your comments?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/14/2019
      Install spa now and stain around it when time is the correct way.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    George · 08/08/2019
    I have recently refinished a deck with pressure treated kiln dried after treatment pine. The deck with benches is about 1,000 square feet with 36 feet of railings 3 feet high. How much cleaner and stain will I need?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shawn · 08/07/2019
    I’ve been using AC semi-transparent cedartone stain on my cedar dock. I’ve noticed, however, that black areas and blotches are forming apparently under the stain. Is this mold/mildew? I stained the wood immediately after purchase and prior to assembly of the dock. I like the look of this stain and a lot of research went into selecting it. But the black areas really detract from the appearance and look very ugly. Is there something I can do to fix this?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/07/2019
      Post a picture. It could be mildew, rust, other things. AC does contain a mildewcide to prevent eh growth of milder in the stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Melissa · 08/07/2019
    Hi, We started to installed a new pressure treated deck about 6 months ago and finished the entire project about 2 months ago. I am looking for a natural look, no color change really (I am ok with weathered look). What I want is to protect the wood from direct sun and water damage . Which of your products would you recommend?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Patrick Whelan · 08/04/2019
    Last summer we installed cedar decking from a local mill on Cortes Island, BC. It was sanded and stained 3 sides before installation.

    Hoping for maximum life, should I re-coat the tops this year? If so what prep should be done? I don't want to disturb the original coat but want the second coat to bond.
    Also, is it an advantage to coat all 4 sides or should the wood be allowed to "breathe" from the bottom. Storage only below.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/04/2019
      No need to stain all sides. If the coating looks good on the tops then do nothing this year and recoat next year.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    GP · 07/27/2019
    I am building a new pergola with Western Red Cedar. Unfortunately, some of the boards are different ages and slightly different colors. I tested the amber stain on two boards of different ages and there is a difference in color. I don't mind some variation in color, but would using the cleaner or brightener first, before staining, reduce the variation? The intent is to stain prior to assembly.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/27/2019
      It may help some but the main difference it porosity. More absorbent means darker.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        GP · 07/28/2019
        Will letting the newer wood sit outside for several months before application reduce the difference in color?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    George · 07/26/2019
    I just resurfaced an old deck using pressure treated pine kiln dried after treatment. How long should I wait to stain. I assume I should clean before to get the mill sheen off. Correct? I would like a natural wood color and grain to show through but have some uv protection too. Do you suggest transparent or semi-transparent. I will be ordering some samples. Do you have any suggestions of which ones? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/26/2019
      Wait 3+ months and prep as the articles explains. Go with semi transparent.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brian · 07/23/2019
    I just installed new floor PT decking but left my original stained railing with lattice. I live in Pittsburgh and deck is in mostly sun. Two questions.

    If I wait 3-4 months we would be in late Oct/Nov and weather could be iffy by then. Should i stain it then or wait till spring? Looking at transparent natural tone.

    How should I clean the older railing/lattice before I stain this as well?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/23/2019
      Waiting until spring will be fine if the weather does not cooperate in October/November. If the stain on the lattice and railings is a different brand of stain, then it will need to come off. If the stain is AC, then clean and brighten for the prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dawn · 07/19/2019
    Hello, We installed an Ipe deck a few weeks ago (finished at the end of June). We live in CT and the deck is fully exposed to the sun most of the day. None of the painters we can find are familiar with Ipe, so I was so happy to find your product and website. The deck is already fading slightly, so I want to be sure I understand exactly what needs to be done. (1) Were going to use your mahogany semi-transparent stain, so we wait until September or October, use the clean and prep, wait two days (making sure it doesn’t rain over those two days), and then apply a light coat of the stain. Is this all correct? I’m so afraid it will turn gray over those months, and I’ll never get the brown color back, even using the stain. (2) On the ends of some of the boards, there are dark stains from oil the builder said was put on at the saw mill when it was cut. Should those areas be sanded so it looks like the rest of the wood or will the clean and prep remove that discoloration? But sanding shouldn’t be done on the entire deck, and it doesn’t need to be power-washed before the clean and prep; it just needs to be swept prior to that step, correct? (3) What is best to use to apply the stain, a brush or a sponge and no wiping of the stain should be done? (4) Finally, this whole process will have to be repeated every 12 months? Thank you for your help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/20/2019
      1. Yes, correct.
      2. Spot sand off now.
      3. Apply with stain pad, No back wiping.
      4. Yes.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Dawn · 08/02/2019
        I have one more question. If I had to wait until April or May (10-11 months) to prep/stain my new Ipe deck, would that be ok or is it too long to wait because I’m using the semi-transparent stain?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 08/02/2019
          You will be fine to wait until Spring.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Dawn · 07/20/2019
        Thank you so much for your help
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kelly · 07/12/2019
    I have two separate decks. The one deck is two and a half years old PTP. We stained with semi-transparent Cabot. The newer deck is just over a year old and has not been stained yet. We are planning on stripping the old deck of Cabot for the AC. Do I need to by separate cleaner for the new deck or can I just use the stripper/brightener on the new deck too to prep it to stain both decks?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/12/2019
      Use the Cleaner, not the Stripper for the unstained deck.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Christine · 07/12/2019
    We have just installed a large deck in NC. It is PT wood. It was started on June 14 and completed July 6. Painter is recommending staining in mid August. Sounds like too soon. Some concerns are about stamping on some of the wood. Can we sand that off? And, if we wait to stain, the leaves falling and leaving imprints on wood (my sister had this problem). House is a light tan color and I was thinking of mahogany?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/12/2019
      Sand stamps now, let weather for 3+ months, clean and brighten, then stain.

      Try some sample colors: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/samples
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Christine · 07/24/2019
        Forgot to mention that part of the deck is covered. Do I need to wait longer since that area doesn't get much sun/rain like the uncovered part? Can I stain all at once?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brian · 07/11/2019
    I have a 16'x25' deck which I recently added 4' to included in the deck size. I also replaced 7 16' boards in the older portion of the deck. I have planed and sanded each board with 50 grit grit sand paper using a belt sander. Can I use semi transparent stain now or do I have to wait? The deck gets full sun all day long.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/11/2019
      Wait for 1-2 months. Clean and brighten for final prepping of the wood. Stain with one coat of stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Brian · 07/12/2019
        Thanks. When restaining in a couple of years. What prep is needed?
        Would the process be different if I decided on a solid stain?

        Thanks again
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/12/2019
          AC does not come in a solid stain. Prep by cleaning and brightening for reapplications.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Doug · 07/05/2019
    I had a raised deck stained with Benjamin Moore oil based penetrating stain and I made a mistake of not removing the mill glaze everywhere. I did however sand some areas. A harsh winter latest the semi transparent stain is peeling especially in areas when my sand paper became dull. I want to use AC now and the Ben Moore guys are telling me to sand my entire deck again both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

    Im reading here that restore a deck cleaner and brightness remove the mill glaze? If I use the stain remover product from restore a deck before the cleaner and brighter would that bring my cedar deck back to a stage where I can apply AC without sanding?

    i also have a paver patio underneath my deck and want to avoid damaging the pavers with harsh chemicals, any advise how to do the proper prep for my situation ?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Nick · 07/02/2019
    You said that I should do a light coat in 12-24 months to just the floors or horizontals surfaces. Do I need to clean the deck before I do the light coat? If so, do I use the restore a deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    steve · 06/29/2019
    I recently ordered and received a gallon of AC semi-transparent cedar stain and see in the instructions on the can it is suggested to call you if the deck to be stained has less than 18" ground clearance. Mine is a "floating" deck on 2"x6" cross members which sit on a sealed rubber membrane on an enclosed balcony . There is a sufficient drain outlet to rain gutters and no air circulation problem .
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/30/2019
      You will be fine after the wait and prep.