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
    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
  • 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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tibor · 08/12/2020
    I am building a garden wall using white oak that I planed and shaped to size. 1X6X10 should I also waite the 3-4 months before applying AC Exotic. I live in Canada so after the winter I should prep with AC cleaner and brightner and then apply AC Exotic. How long approx. will AC last on a vertical wall.
    Thank You
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/12/2020
      Yes, wait until Spring to prep and stain with the AC. You should get 2-5 years on a wall.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Vince · 08/11/2020
    Have just installed garapa dock. What is best stain to preserve natural color, and can I apply immediately or is there need to let wood dry. It came from South America.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/11/2020
      You have to weather and prep as the article explains. Use one of the three hardwood colors for Garapa.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 08/10/2020
    So I get it, you need to let Cedar Season for 3 months before staining, even if it is dry. My concern is my Cedar Deck (floor and steps only) will be completed in mid August, that would take it to mid November. I live in Minnesota and am concerned about leaving the wood untreated over the harsh winter.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gerry · 08/09/2020
    Thumbs for your technical advice. Your answers are very prompt and to the point. What is outstanding is that you even answer on the weekends. Kuddos.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 08/09/2020
    I have a solid oak front door that the exterior was painted with a solid color stain probably 20 years ago. The solid color stain is chalking and looks like it will come off fairly easy. I would like to strip off the solid stain and restrain with AC semi rustic brown. What would be the best way to to do this?
    Thank you.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/09/2020
      You cannot strip off a solid paint or stain fully so best to sand it all off.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Greg · 08/09/2020
        I was hoping to strip off as much as possible and finish with sanding. Is there a paint stripper you would recommend for this?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 08/10/2020
          Sorry, but we do not know of any strippers that will remove a paint, even a little.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Gerry · 08/09/2020
    I've installed my deck 2 weeks ago. It's clear cedar which was planned and stacked over 8 months ago. The wood was covered with a tarp with air circulating at both ends. I was planning to stain it in 4 weeks. Is this ok? Should I prep the wood?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/09/2020
      No. You have to weather exposed after install for 3 months or more as the article explains and prep as well.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stuart Clutterbuck · 08/08/2020
    I’ve read I’m able to stain within 2 weeks of strip/brightening.
    in that time (About a 10 days) I expect regular foot traffic on the area.

    1- I assume that’s fine to have foot traffic?
    2- what do I need to do when ready to stain.. just brush off or clean again? (Hope not!)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/09/2020
      1. Yes as long is it not tracking mud/dirt.
      2. Depends if dirty or not? If not, just stain or use a leaf blower to remove dust, etc.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Stuart Clutterbuck · 08/09/2020
        I covered lot of it with rugs. I assume I can spot clean a couple of areas with soap if it gets mud where needed then wait a couple days and stain.
        please confirm.
        thanks

        quetion 2: regarding the furriness Of the wood in spots after stripping... can I spot sand those furry boards? Is it necessary? The site says nothing about that nor does directions on RAD cleaner as a warning.
        please advise because it’s a let down this happened to the beautiful mahogany without warning. Hopefully it’s nothing.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 08/10/2020
          If a little dirty, then just give all the wood a good pressure wash rinse two days prior to stain. Wood fuzziness does not happen from the cleaner but when you remove the oxidation or dried wood cells. Iy is usually not a big deal but you can lightly hand sand if you want.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chris · 08/08/2020
    My new cedar deck is seasoning as prescribed. Is it ok to attach it in the meantime?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/08/2020
      Not sure what you mean?
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Chris · 08/09/2020
        I would like to screw it down while it is seasoning for the 3 months before staining. Is that a problem?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 08/09/2020
          No issues. The deck/wood needs to be fully installed and then weathered and prepped before staining.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Peter M Smith · 08/07/2020
    Installing a new all cedar deck. Is it still recommended to wait a few months befor staining or can I clean and brighten the cedar and then stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/07/2020
      You need to weather and prep. Does not matter the wood type.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ed · 08/07/2020
    I am curious about what the last person said about “fuzz” or “furriness” too after stripping and brightening. What causes that? Is it from brushing too hard or leaving the agents on too long. I’d like to minimize that in the future if possible. Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/07/2020
      It is part of the process of removing the stain from the wood fibers. The harder the strip, the greater chance of this happening. It is not really a big deal anyhow as it does not show typically when stained.