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

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
    jrutenbar · 12/04/2018
    Two questions, 1) Can I use the chestnut semi transparent stain on IPE? 2) I am building a new deck and temperatures are and I want to prestain the boards before installing them. Can I prep them by sanding versus leaving them outdoors to weather?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 12/05/2018
      1. No, it is not one of the colors designed for IPE. Use the Mahogany.
      2. No. The wood has to naturally weather and cleaned/brightened for the prep. Do not sand for the prep as the will create issues with stain absorption into the wood.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        jrutenbar · 12/07/2018
        I really want to pre-stain the decking before installing as the ends will stick under the siding on both sides for most of the deck as it is between the house and a freestanding garage. So if I install unstained I will not be able to stain the ends and it will be messy staining up close to the siding. When you say sanding will create issues with stain absorption into the wood, what are the issues?, as I tested this approach on a number of boards and did not see any problem yet? I'm interested in getting the decking installed now versus waiting, so allowing it to weather is not really an option I want to do. If I end up having to re-stain in the summer, I am ok with that. What do you think?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 12/09/2018
          You cannot pre-stain or speed up the natural weathering process. Staining without following the correct directions will most likely result in premature product failure and curing of the stain. This could lead to wearing of the stain and or rubbing off on clothes and shoes. There is not a way to speed up this natural weathering process. The ends cuts are very absorbent though. You can go ahead and stain those end cuts that will be near the house/garage. Then install the deck, let it naturally weather for the 3-4 months, and then stain the exposed deck wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jeff Woodward · 11/08/2018
    I am building an old fashion (no nails) post and beam style 14 X 26 ft. cover out of rough cut cedar for our airstream. Any advice for staining the cedar ceiling?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/08/2018
      Nothing more than what is stated in the article. Rough sawn can be stained right away as long as it is clean and dry.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    dave Johnson · 11/07/2018
    Hi, We installed a new redood deck in august and seem to be running out of time to get it finished before winter. We're now considering letting the deck go unfinished over the winter and stain in the spring. It's my understanding that this will be fine, letting it weather a bit more. Will it be alright to let it go unfinished over the mild sacramento CA. winter? We have already bought 10 gallons of your stain, cleaner and brightener, but the days are getting short and the dew is pretty severe all morning.

    Looking forward to your response,

    thanks, Dave Johnson in california
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/07/2018
      Yes, no issues waiting until Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jayson · 10/25/2018
    Im building a deck out of kiln dried (kdat) pine. How long should I wait before staining.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/25/2018
      About a month after install for KDAT. Clean and brighten the wood for prep and stain with 1 coat of the AC.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    al · 09/10/2018
    we are going to install new redwood smooth cedar shiplap siding. For convenience and cost we wanted to get it factory finished on all 6 sides which is what our lumber dealer thinks is best. Can Armstrong be used for that as a final coat or primer coat? Or does it have to be used only later after install? What would be the best techniques for that?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/10/2018
      Only after install. Wood needs to weather and be prepped.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alison · 09/09/2018
    I am installing a new ipe deck on a dock in Florida. So many distributors of ipe recommend sealing immediately after installation with ipe oil or similar product to protect wood and prevent color change. Some sites recommend sealing both sides of wood before installation with oil and also sealing cut ends with wax. Could you please address these suggestions? As I mentioned, my dock is in Florida and currently it is raining almost daily. Also, I want to try to prevent my wood from cupping. Also, how should I clean it after it is installed. The area around the dock can get muddy. Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ben Shryock · 09/02/2018
    We've installed a post and beam outdoor cedar structure with rough sawn wood. It's been there a month or two. The wood is clean and dry - will we need to use the Cleaner and Brightener in this situation?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    evie · 09/01/2018
    My 3 month old covered porch floor is made out of regular (not treated) tongue and groove pine. Should I let it set without stain for a harsh Pennsylvania winter?

    evie
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/02/2018
      You can do it now. Prep first and only one coat of the AC.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alan · 08/28/2018
    Thanks for your quick response. I have one final question. As a retired cabinetmaker, my experience with stain has been, apply (oil base stain), let stand and wipe off excess. On a deck that would be quite a chore. Is deck stain excess wiped off, or allowed to stand?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Alan · 08/28/2018
    I have just installed a green redwood deck. The wood had stains and markings so I sanded it with 180 grit sandpaper. I now know that was a mistake. How long should I wait before staining do I have to sand with a more coarse grit paper? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. If I wait until spring, will the rainy weather of winter raise the grain sufficiently for the stain to penetrate? I suspect I will choose a semitransparent stain.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      manny · 08/28/2018
      it depends. its its already dry from sitting around at the lumber yard you can paint it right away. my wood was dry already and i painted it like 3 weeks later, i did the water test - if you throw water on it and it doesnt bead but seeps in its ready for painting. Also look at your wood after a rain storm - if it shrinks and expands which mine did means its already super dry because its taking in water. As for grit i like my wood to have lots of texture and such so rough parts and smooth parts make it look purty like! I also dont like to sand pressure treated anything cause it super toxic - and the stain worked super well. Armstrong is bascially the best stain.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Armstrong · 08/28/2018
        Sorry but, no, you cannot stain right away. It has to weather and be prepped. This will remove the mill glaze and open the grain of the wood. It is not about moisture content but the porosity of the wood and new wood cannot be stained right away. Doing it too quickly and not following the directions can result in premature failure or improper curing.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/28/2018
      Wait the 3-6 months before final prep and staining as the article states. The sanding of the marks will be fine as the natural weathering will even it out.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Neil · 08/12/2018
    A few months ago I stained my new cedar deck with your Cedar Stain, it looked fantastic. We have several mature oak & hickory trees in our yard. Now I need to clean the deck, oak trees are very dirty. Last night I tried cleaning it using a garden hose and a push broom, no luck.
    What do you recommend using to clean my newly stained deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/13/2018
      Try some dish soap and warm water to see if that helps. Our cleaners would be too aggressive as they are used when prepping for reapplication.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Paul · 07/20/2018
    I installed a new 2nd story Doug Fur deck 60 days ago in Montana. Got your natural stain today. Do I have to sand the deck or is just cleaning enough? Also, should I stain the underside?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/21/2018
      Clean and brighten the wood for the prep is the proper way, not sanding. No need to stain undersides.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David S · 07/09/2018
    Another question. The deck I'm about to stain is about 2 feet off the ground so no one will ever see the underside. Should the bottoms of my cedar deck boards be stained at all? Is there is a need for that. Also, my joints are pressure treated lumber. Should those be stained? I'm just not sure if staining them (or using another product) will protect them from rot and/or extend their life. Thanks, David
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/10/2018
      No need to stain the undersides or framing.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David S · 07/09/2018
    Hello - I purchased new western red cedar boards from Home Depot (i.e. there were stored inside) over the weekend. I prepped them yesterday with a couple Woodrich products I had (1st the "wood cleaner & mild stripper" followed by the "wood brightener & neutralizer"). Today they are out in the sun drying and I was planning on staining the boards tonight. (I wanted to stain before I install them so I could get to the sides of the boards easier). Is my plan ok, or should I let the boards sit out / dry out in the climate for a few weeks/months first and then prep them again before staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/10/2018
      You will need to let them weather for 3+ months and the prep again.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        David S · 07/10/2018
        Thank you for your reply. Is it just a matter of moisture content? If so, what percentage does it need to be under? I think 20% right? What if the boards are already below that - do I still need to let them weather for 3 months?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/10/2018
          No, it is not a matter of moisture content. The wood needs to season exposed for the 3 months. After the slight oxidation, you will prep to remove the mill glaze. This will allow the stain to soak incorrectly.

          There is not a way to speed this natural process up or avoid the weathering.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            David S · 07/10/2018
            Thank you again for the replies - they are very helpful. Two final questions on this topic. Since I have already prepped once with a cleaner/mild stripper followed by a brightener/neutralizer, what steps should I take in 3 months. Both products again?

            When I'm ready to stain, I will be using the Rustic Brown semi-transparent. In 3 months, I'll be concerned about maintaining a 50+ degree temperature (especially overnight). Since you say 3+ months, is it fine to let the wood weather over the winter and then stain in the spring - that could be 9 months from now. Thank you!
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 07/10/2018
              Yes, both products again. Waiting until Spring is okay as well.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chris · 07/05/2018
    I am putting down new cedar boards. The decay on the old boards was at the joists. So I would like to coat the bottoms of the boards, at least at each joist and board ends.

    Can I cut the boards and leave them in place without attaching them until seasoned?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jimbo · 06/23/2018
    I have figured out how much stain I need based on your calculator, but my deck sits on a slope, 10 ft off the ground at highest and about 5 feet at lowest. I have about 550 square feet of lattice beneath the deck. How much more stain do I need and should I stain both sides of the lattice? The deck and lattice is all new wood - deck is ecolife, kiln dried pine. I live in Charlotte, NC. thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/23/2018
      Only the exposed side of the lattice. About 3 gallons for the lattice. Just one coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    PRH · 06/09/2018
    What is used to clean the brushes and sprayer after staining?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Matt · 06/02/2018
    I’m replacing my deck since I just moved in and notice the decking wasn’t protected underneath and that’s where dry rot was found and the reason to replace, can I sand the cedar to speed up the process to stain sooner using AC
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/03/2018
      Hi Matt,

      No, sanding will not speed up the needed weathering for new wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Matty · 05/19/2018
    I am staining pressure treated wood. I have many delicate trees and flowers around the deck. Aside from using chemical brighteners can I sue anything else to clean the deck? Will baking soda work? Or or just a good scrub Andy wash. Please tell me how I can do it without using any chemical brightener or 'enviro' brighterner. Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/19/2018
      The Restore A Deck Cleaning Kits are Eco-Safe and would be your best option. Baking soda would be no good.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    shawn · 05/08/2018
    Not sure if this changes anything, but I just had my cedar lumber milled from old telephone poles 50-60 years old, so it’s goid and dry!! Do all the same prep tips apply? It’s rough-cut and went one path through the router. But still not smooth! It’s completely built, but I just had it cut about 3 weeks ago. And different suggestions? Or just follow the basic directions? Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/08/2018
      If not smooth you should be okay to stain now.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Lezlie Brannan · 04/30/2018
    What kind of brush do you recommend for application?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/30/2018
      Try a deck stain pad for best results.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Manny · 04/30/2018
        The pad is the best but dont put it too thickly that it drips off and have a brush there to push it into tight corners. Also put plastic on the ground i totally stained my concrete driveway too.....
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Robin · 04/25/2018
    Can I stir the Armstrong stain with a paint stick to mix it before use or do I need something else?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/25/2018
      Paint stick will work but we like paint drill mixers. Attaches to your drill.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sharon · 04/19/2018
    Day time temperatures in my location over the next week range from mid 60's to low 70's. Night time temperatures range from mid to high 40's. Is this suitable for cleaning and staining my deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mat · 04/07/2018
    another question - i built my deck around a tree with pressure treated wood. The deck wood looks pretty good - can i skip the cleaning and brightening aside from a pressure wash or cleaning using a enviromentally friendly dish soap? I dont want all the chemicals to damage the tree (i planted 5 years ago). What would happen if i stained after just using a pressure wash? Will it still penetrate and hold? Last year as a test i stained some tables i made out of pressure treated wood without anything and it seems like the stain did pretty good and penetrated deeply.
    please advise
    thanks
    Mat
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/07/2018
      You have to prep correctly with the cleaners and they will not harm the tree. Eco-safe. The prep products help the stain to soak in deeper, will make your job easier, and you will use less pressure.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    matty · 04/06/2018
    i built a deck made of pressure treated wood last july 2017. When should i stain it with the armstrong stain? Can i stain it now? Its been nearly 9 months. Im up in canada. For prep can i just pressure wash it rather than use checmical cleaners? Please advise
    thank
    Maty
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/07/2018
      Yes, you can stain it now. Use a deck cleaner while pressure washing so you do not damage the wood. Apply the brightener after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Thomas · 03/12/2018
    What happens if I stain “semi transparent” in 40 degree weather?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 03/13/2018
      Since it is below the suggested temperature range, you will run the risk of the stain not drying and curing correctly.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Thomas · 03/13/2018
        If the temp is 50 plus during application , will it be ok if the temp dips in the 30s at night?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 03/13/2018
          Cannot drop below freezing overnight. At least a few hours of drying in the 50s.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Helen · 03/06/2018
    I stripped and brightened a cedar deck in 2015. I want to re-stain. Your site says I can restain without stripping. Do I have to clean and brighten before re-applying?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kim · 03/05/2018
    Can this oil stain be applied over old latex stain? We're planning to sand and power wash the decks. The flat surfaces are peeling and flaking, the posts and face boards still have good color and coverage.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 03/05/2018
      No. The old latex will need to be removed 100%. Once removed, you can use the Armstrong Clark.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Roger Boldizsar · 01/08/2018
    We will be installing a new PT Pine to a flowing dock in Alabama. What stain would you suggest to apply to keep the wood deck from becoming too hot to walk in the summer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/08/2018
      Make sure wait and prep as the directions state. Use a lighter color for less potential of heat retention. Example colors would be Natural, Cedar Tone, Semi-Transparent Cedar.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike · 11/03/2017
    How long does your semi-transparent deck stain last/remain effective if in an unopened can? You have no dealers in Canada so I was thinking about ordering twice as much as I need to do the recommended light top-up in 12 months. thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/04/2017
      Unopened cans will last a few years as long as they are stored in a temperature controlled room. Always stir well before using.