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
    Steve Jacobs · 05/07/2021
    Are the prices in USD only?  Or when I provide a Canadian address, is it showing CDN$?
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    ln · 05/06/2021
    hi!  is this stain too fancy for pressure treated lumber?  I know nothing of these things so apologies for my ignorance.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/07/2021
      Fancy? Most people have pressure treated wood and the AC works great on it.
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    Paul Zychowicz · 05/04/2021
    If my white cedar is kiln dried should I still let the wood weather?  If so, how long?
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    Paul Zychowicz · 05/04/2021
    I was going to stain my cedar wood (both sides) before installing, is this not recommend? 
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      Armstrong · 05/04/2021
      No, you cannot pre-stain. Install, weather, prep, and stain only the exposed wood.
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    Ron n · 04/30/2021
    Why is your recommendation contrary to what the hardwood decking suppliers seem to always recommend, in sone cases even require? I'm a new home builder for 30+ years. Have built many hardwood decks for customers during that time and the hardwood suppliers have always urged me to oil decks as soon as they are installed, even if customer plans on letting decking eventually weather to silver/grey patina. They say oiling it one time, right away (in addition to applying end grain sealer during install) is critical for the decking to properly acclimate the first year. My painting sub has always done this within a month of install with zero problems (immediate or long term). The three products he told me he has used in past is Deck wise, penofin and messmers. I am looking for a darker tint for my personal deck (Batu) and was interested in the fact that you have 3 color options for hardwood. Why does it seem you are the only manufacturer to so strongly suggest that I wait 1 year to apply? 
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/30/2021
      When to stain a new deck has nothing to do with the wood suppliers suggestions but the stain manufacturer known recommendation on what will work or not. The wood suppliers have no idea as to what stain brand and type you are using. All stain brand manufactures will require a waiting period and prep for new wood. If you stain it prematurely, it will potentially have issues with drying, curing, and premature failure leading consumers to blame the stain product.
      Just an FYI, IPE Oil, Penofin, and Messmers all suggest to weather and prep. FYI, IPE Oil is Messmers relabeled.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Christine · 04/29/2021
    I had my new deck stained last June with your semi-transparent Natural Oak. I feel that it needs another coat in some areas. Do I need to clean & brighten the whole deck? I believe it just wasn't done properly the first time. Not sure whether to just do boards or do everything. Posts look ok and the part of the deck that is covered looks ok. Just the two sides that are not covered.  
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/29/2021
      Clean and brighten all is correct and then stain.
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        Christine · 04/29/2021
        So stain everything even though some looks ok? Also, will this be an every year thing? I thought it would be every 2-3 years.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 04/29/2021
          Yes all is best. Not with new wood as the above article explains.
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            Christine · 04/29/2021
            OK but it says the floors and horizontal boards?
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              Armstrong · 04/29/2021
              Yes, you can do all the floors only if you want. You cannot spot do the floors.
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    Marianna · 04/29/2021
    How much a gallon . what are the color selections 
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    Marianna · 04/28/2021
    I have a 25yr old deck..no matter what we use it does not hold up .Used solid stain.Hve to do every year in area near back door ...will this work and colors ??
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/28/2021
      To be able to use the AC you will have to sand off all of the old coatings 100%. Have you done this?
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    Scott · 04/28/2021
    What is the shelf life for AC deck stains?  I ask only since i want to purchase a 5-gallon bucket & estimate that i will have possibly 2 gallons left for future use after initial staining.
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    Jesse j · 04/27/2021
    I am installing a new ipe deck and have heard mixed reviews on the topic of pre-oiling your ipe. Especially the underside. At first it sounded like a no-brainer. More sealing the better. But after further thought it seems as if you seal the underside it could hold moisture in the wood, especially if you skip a year or two on oiling the topside. I live in the northwest and we have issues with decay from too much moisture. Just curious as to your thought on this subject. Thank you,Jesse
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/27/2021
      No need to seal all sides and yes, it can create issues.
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        Jesse j · 04/27/2021
        Thank you for the timely response. 👍
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    Phil · 04/25/2021
    New pressure treated deck last August is it ok to stain now. And is the driftwood gray a good color to kinda match our darker gray house
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    Russell · 04/19/2021
    We have a new screened in deck and we want to stain the floor using a semi transparent stain. Do we have to prep the floor even though the floor is covered and not directly exposed to the sun?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/19/2021
      Yes. it has to weather and be prepped.
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    Nate · 04/16/2021
    I have seen it listed somewhere before, but can't find it now.  After cleaning/ brightening/power washing the deck, the wood should be dry before applying the new stain.  I do have a meter. What moisture percentage should the wood be at when staining? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/16/2021
      You do not need a moisturizer meter. Just wait two days after prep or rain to stain 
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    Nate · 04/15/2021
    One more question for one last project for this year :)
    I am replacing the vertical boards on my front steps on my porch that are made of 1x8 cedar, rough side facing out. The rough side can be stained right away per the instructions on this site, but what about the smooth back side that doesn't show? Should I do anything with that? paint it with a primer? It's not real easy to see, but the previous vertical boards on the steps bowed over time and I was wondering if that was from the unstained back of the cedar getting/staying wet and swelling, causing the board to bow outward. That's why I was wondering if I could or should do something with the smooth unseen back side of the wood before installing it that may help, and hoping it's nothing like putting the boards out for months to weather the mill glaze off in order to stain the backside. Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/16/2021
      Leave the back side alone. No stain or primer. Needs to breathe.
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    Jeff raschke · 04/14/2021
    What will happen if I mix a semi-sold with a semi-transparent stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/14/2021
      It is not suggested to do this. It could have issues with even application.
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        JEFF RASCHKE · 04/14/2021
        I have a gallon of both semi-solid and semi-transparent and about 200 sq ft or so of half 10 year old and half 10 month old treated deck. I'm determined to use them both. Although it may not turn out even,  will it otherwise work if I mix them together? 
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          Armstrong · 04/14/2021
          We highly suggest to not do this as it may not cure or dry correctly.
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    Gail · 04/10/2021
    We installed this cedar gate/fence (see attached) last September and would now like to stain with your oil based wood stain. We waited so the wood could be exposed before staining. Do you feel it necessary to do any prep before we stain, i.e sanding etc?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/10/2021
      It is rough sawn wood, so you can stain now without prep.
  • 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!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/09/2021
      No pictures but a stain will not cover pressure washing marks. 
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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!
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/02/2021
      You cannot strip off a paint/solid stain so you will have to sand it off.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Nate · 04/10/2021
        Have people tried paint stripper? I was wondering if that would work.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    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.