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
    Armstrong · 04/09/2021
    Test
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    Nate · 04/08/2021
    I stripped and brightened these cedar posts using Restore-A-Deck with the additives.  I left some power washing marks on the wood, as the stain was a little tough to remove as it was a semi-solid stain and I was probably a little too aggressive with the power washer in a few spots.  Will these markings disappear when staining it with Armstrong-Clark Semi-Transparent Sierra Redwood?  If not, is there something that can be done before staining? Thanks!
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      Armstrong · 04/09/2021
      No pictures but a stain will not cover pressure washing marks. 
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    Nate · 04/05/2021
    The gable brackets were delivered today (picture of one of them). They are rough sawn, so I would like to stain them before installation, getting all the wood covered. My Amstrong Clark Stain is arriving tomorrow, and my house is ready to put these on this week! Is there any test I need to perform on it to make sure the wood is dry enough to take stain? Do I put a drop of stain or water on one of the hidden sides to see how it soaks in? The wood seems fairly fresh. I know that they make these brackets to order, so it was just put together. Thanks!
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      Armstrong · 04/05/2021
      You can stain the rough sawn now.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Nate · 04/05/2021
        Is there a preferred method to stain rough sawn cedar timbers? I was just planning to brush it on. For new rough sawn timbers, it this a one coat only or wet-on-wet for Armstrong-Clark stain. Thanks!
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          Armstrong · 04/05/2021
          Brush or stain pad. Home any coats depends on how much the first coat absorbs and if a second is needed.
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    Nate · 04/02/2021
    This is another deck I need to refinish. (Attached picture) Will restore-a-deck stripper work on a painted deck (attached picture) or does it need to be sanded?
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      Armstrong · 04/02/2021
      You cannot strip off a paint/solid stain so you will have to sand it off.
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    Nate · 04/02/2021
    I will be stripping my deck rails using restore-a-deck with the two additives and brightening using the restore-a-deck brightener. The decking is timbertech composite decking. Are there any concerns with the stripper or brightener falling on the composite decking? Do I need to cover it in plastic or something?
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      Armstrong · 04/02/2021
      It should be fine but rinse well when done to remove all the soap and dirt.
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    Sue · 03/27/2021
    The web site states you can purchase sample stains, but I don't see where to place an order?
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    Jason · 03/26/2021
    Have a pressure treated pine deck, built last June, been waiting for weather and prep as suggested. Leaning towards semi-solid, but worried about rub off when sitting on steps as some have mentioned elsewhere. Is this a legitimate concern and we should go with semi-transparent? The comment about not meant for furniture has us concerned.
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      Armstrong · 03/27/2021
      As long as it is not over applied and fully soaks in, it should not be an issue.
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    D · 03/13/2021
    I am ready to prep my 1 1/2 year old never stain deck. About six boards at the edge of it has been exposed to sun and rain and have now a grey color than the rest of the redwood.
    My question is should I sand the whole deck to obtain an even color before applying the Armstrong prep solution? I want to achieve and even color once I stain it. Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 03/14/2021
      Do not sand but clean and brighten for prep.
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    Kate · 03/10/2021
    Hi,
    We built our pressure treated fence 2 years ago, last summer we prepped and did a single coat of stain. We are planning on doing a second coat this summer, do we do the full prep of cleaner and brightener?
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    cindy nemish · 02/14/2021
    i am installing a porch floor, pressure treated pine. Does your semi solid stain include a wood conditioner or should i treat with a wood conditioner first to prevent blotches?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 02/15/2021
      Hello,

      You cannot use a conditioner prior to applying the AC stains.
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    kyle brock · 01/10/2021
    I have new east texas cedar wood fence. Wanting to keep rich color and also light color in wood. I have sampled other stains, but after a few weeks there is a burnt orange look to wood ( do not want that). Any suggestions for wood prep and AC stain/sealer. have attached picture. Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/10/2021
      You cannot maintain the current color as your stain must be tinted for UV protection. All AC Stains are tinted. You could try the Natural as that is the lightest tinted color. Prep and wait are explained in the article above.
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    Bob Kweller · 12/31/2020
    want to use a stain -immediately after construction of a Pavilion on my back deck. The stain would be for the interior covered celing. would not be touched after staining-and not be in any sunlight.

    Ok not to wait?

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    Colleen · 12/09/2020
    i know a lot of these questions are redundant, but here we go...new pine (not pressure-treated) tongue and groove ceiling above the porch in a new build....builder wants to stain it now....looks like we should wait?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 12/09/2020
      Yes, wait and prep as the article explains.
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    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.
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    Nichole Weatherly · 11/20/2020
    What about kiln dried pine? Still wait 3-4 months?
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      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
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          Armstrong · 11/21/2020
          Yes, you have to weather and prep kiln-dried wood.
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    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?
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      Armstrong · 11/13/2020
      No, needs to weather and be prepped.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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?
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      Armstrong · 10/08/2020
      You will need the RAD prep.
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        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
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    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.
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    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.
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    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
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    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
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    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.
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    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!
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.