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.

Ask a Question or Post a Picture...
You are guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • 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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kim · 06/25/2019
    Thanks for all the info on your site. So what do you recommend doing if I am refinishing my deck (for prep I’m using the diamabrush to sand and be rid of behr deck-over currently there, then using RAD brightener) and replacing a board or two that has warped? I can’t wait the 3-4 month to do the whole deck with semi transparent or 12 mos for semi solid on these two or three planks, as I’d like to get the deck done now. Thanks for your help.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/26/2019
      If you go ahead and stain without weathering or prepping the few new boards, you will have to apply another coat to those new boards next Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Eric Hewko · 06/13/2019
    In late December 2018, built cumaru fence in South Florida. 390 linear feet. Going to stain both sides on most of fence. Total stain surface is 3750 sq ft. How much mahogany stain do I need. How much/many Restore a Deck Cleaner and Brightener kits needed? Instead of the Cleaner/Brightener, can we prep with 1 part bleach/3 parts water, with some soap? What is turn around time for shipping? Intend to spray stain and then brush, any suggestions Thanks
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/13/2019
      Do no use bleach for prep, use the RAD Kits. Bleach is bad for wood. You will need:

      4-5 of the RAD Cleaner/Brightener Kits.
      12-15 Gallons of the stain. This will vary based on the wood porosity.

      Shipping to FL takes about 3-5 business days.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Eric Hewko · 06/13/2019
        Is the Stain estimate for one or two coats.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 06/13/2019
          One coat for cumaru. Coverage for exotic hardwoods is between 300-400 sq feet per gallon.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Armstrong · 06/13/2019
        AC cannot be pump sprayed, you can use an airless sprayer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave F · 06/10/2019
    I am cleaning my 12 year old deck with a Diamabrush tool made for removing all old paint and stains. This tool leaves a like new wood surface when done. Would this surface then be ready for your semi solid AC deck stain?

    I have replaced several of the deck boards and I see that you recommend waiting 12 months before applying your semi solid deck stain to new treated lumber. I noticed that it is OK to apply to rough sawn wood right away. The surface that the Diamabrush leaves is not rough sawn, but it also is not smooth.

    Here's my question - If I were to "rough up" the surface finish of the new treated wood deck boards with the Diamabrush, would this reduce the time I would have to wait before staining the new deck boards?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/10/2019
      Yes, it would definitely help. Can you post a picture?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Andy · 06/03/2019
    I have new treated lumber railing with a Trex deck and top cap on the railing. The decking and railing were installed last August, And they have been through a northern Ohio winter. Will the cleaner and brightener harm the Trex decking? Is it too early to go ahead with the cleaner and Breitner and then stain, or must I wait until August (12 months from installation).
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/03/2019
      No, the prep products will not harm the Trex. You can prep and stain now unless using the semi-solid.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Andy · 06/03/2019
        I am sorry, I should have clarified that I did plan to use the semi solid stain. I take it from your response that I will need to wait until August (a full 12 months) to stain the railings, despite the somewhat harsh weather of Cleveland
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Allen · 05/29/2019
    We are using a #4 rough sawn pine for our board and batten siding. Most will be out of direct sun, however, one gable end will be exposed to full sunlight.

    #1. Should we let the siding age & weather before applying any stain?
    #2. What product is the best to use on the #4 rough sawn pine?
    #3. What maintenance can we expect if using your product?
    #4. Do you recommend using a sealer?

    Thanks in advance!!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/30/2019
      1. If rough sawn you can stain right away.
      2. Any color that you like will work.
      3. Clean and recoat as needed.
      4. No, you can not apply a sealer over a deck stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Loren · 05/28/2019
    I live in a historic home in Northern Virginiaon and have newly installed a tongue and groove mahogany floor on my covered porch. I love the color and wish to maintain as close to possible the original look. It’s covered, but the edges and steps are exposed to the sun and elements. I'm looking at your hardwood/ipe stain, but curious how long I should wait. I'm concerned the wood will age unevenly, with the exposed parts fading more severely than the coverd areas. If I hand sand the surface can I apply now, or would I still need to wait?

    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/28/2019
      3-4 months and then prep with the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener kits. This will even out the aging if any. You cannot apply now.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Chad · 05/27/2019
    Hello, I replaced and expanded my pressure treated deck last summer. Planning to stain with one of your semi-transparent products this summer, but we’re debating on the right color. I ordered 4 samples so far, and comments are open for Facebook friends. My question is: how much of a commitment is the color selection? When I stain it again in 3 years, can I change the color easily or would it involve a lot of sanding? Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Curly · 05/22/2019
    Can I use a percarbonate based cleaner rather than the oxalic acid based RAD product on a 10 month old pressure treated pine deck?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/22/2019
      Restore A Deck Cleaner is a sodium percarbonate based cleaner, not oxalic. It is much more effective than other brands.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    sue · 05/19/2019
    We just installed one month ago, a pine pressure treated deck and want to use your gray semi-transparent stain to finish. I understand we need to wait 3-4 months to apply. The railing on the deck is 4x4 pt posts which we intend to run horizontal ss wire in between. Could we stain the posts now? prior to installing the stainless cable and tensioners? do you know of any effect that the stain will have if in contact with the stainless hardware? Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/19/2019
      No, you have to wait. If you get any stain on the cables, wipe them clean right away. It will come off.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Shannon · 05/02/2019
    I am making new exterior shutters and have decided on tongue in groove kiln dried pine deck flooring for the wood. Do I need to wait to stain? I was hopingto stain before assembling the batten and board syle for best protection for the wood. I also need to clean the wood to get the mill glaze off? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/03/2019
      Yes, 1-2 months of exposed weathering for kiln dried wood. Prep as well first to remove the mill glaze.