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
    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.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stuart Clutterbuck · 08/07/2020
    Hi. I followed protocol exactly for stripping and brightening. There were many tough spots so I stripped several areas twice and then brightened. Some boards are a bit rough ‘fury’ if you will, but I guess that’s just normal. Here’s photos ... if I can get confirmation I’m ready for stain.
    here’s photos prior to and after process.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 08/06/2020
    Can I stain New Cedar Deck with Semi Transparent immediately after install if moisture content is low?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/06/2020
      No. Please read the article above as it explains what to do.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    pat swatzel · 08/01/2020
    i have been told to use shark skin on my new cedar deck. Recommended so my armstrong semi stain will work better? Do you know that product? why would this be necessary
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    pat swatzel · 08/01/2020
    why is my deck sticky after 2 days using 1 coat on new wood
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Manny · 08/01/2020
      I had that i applied it way too thick. I just left it and it eventually dries off but then some comes off. Oh well. Learned my lesson. Better thin application
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/01/2020
      That would depend on many things. How you prepped, did the wood weather, how thick did you apply, etc?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Todd · 07/31/2020
    Which application is recommended for rough sawn hemlock, roller or a pump sprayer?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/31/2020
      Brushes or stain pads. Do not roll and it is too thick to be sprayed with a pump sprayer. You could use an airless sprayer.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    chrisitina · 07/27/2020
    Can we sand the new redwood deck with 80 grit instead of using the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener?
    Our scenario would be wait 2 months since installed, power wash, sand and stain? We purchased kiln dried redwood and have done a sample test already and the stain seemed to dry. We want to use semi-transparent natural cedar tone. We live at 3500 feet in the Sierra foothills not too far from Sonora and our deck is in full sun.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/27/2020
      No, you need to open up the pores with the Cleaner and Brightener and sanding does the opposite. Just one coat.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Christina · 07/27/2020
        OK, we will use the RAD but before we decided to use AC my husband sanded with 120... so we have to sand with 80 right? Before we use the RAD?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/27/2020
          Correct. He sanded too fine and the stain will not absorb well.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mike · 07/23/2020
    hi , i need a clear or transparent stain/ sealer for my 1 year old IPE deck (250 sq ft) what do you recommend?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Angela · 07/22/2020
    We are having a very wet summer. After a rain how long do we need to wait to apply our stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg H · 07/16/2020
    Central Florida resident. Installed new PT southern pine planks 3 months ago. Still too early for semi-solid stain? Or should I stain w/ semi-transparent for now and put semi-solid next time. Remember I live in Florida. :)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/17/2020
      You need to wait 12 months for new wood to weather if using semi-solid. You can do the other colors now after prep. Just one coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John P Worby · 07/13/2020
    followed all instructions for cleaner & brightener then semi-trans natural oak less than 2 weeks after 80-90s temps full sun numerous areas developed sap surfacing and actually crystallizing. No sap surfacing until boards were prepared and stained. I am looking for any explanation/answers on why this happened. Will be replacing boards.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/13/2020
      Sap leaching from the wood cannot be prevented or stopped and happens on its own. The stain and or prep products do not cause this to happen. More than likely having a newly prepared and stained surface the sap leached out on its own due to the high temps.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        John P Worby · 07/13/2020
        Thanks for your quick response. Is this also happening because of sub-standard pressurized wood? My supplier wants to blame the stain/process.Supplier not willing to replace wood. Is this just a case of no-fault
        Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 07/13/2020
          Really it is just the pine wood in general. Pine is a sappy wood and once in a while, it will leach out on deck boards. No way to predict or prevent. Does not matter the grade of the PTP and it is not the supplier's fault.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            John P Worby · 07/13/2020
            Thanks for your input. Time to just bite the bullet.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Matt S · 07/12/2020
    Is there a minimum application temperature? If so, how long of a time period is needed above that temperature?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 07/12/2020
      Do not apply below 50 degrees and it cannot drop below that for about 4-8 hours after.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dave R · 06/29/2020
    I applied a single coat to my first outdoor piece using Brown Walnut hardwood stain. The wood is a combo of mahogany and eucalyptus. Its been weathered after i stripped whatever Pottery Barn put on it and then i used the cleaner and then brightener as per instructions. After waiting 2 days post rinse off i applied stain using a roller for the big areas and a cheap foam brush for the hard to reach parts.

    When the roller or foam brush is loaded i get a heavier coat and some dripping marks - for those areas i went back over with the brush to remove the streaking and where i saw heavy wet puddles. I read on the AC website that for hardwood furniture i should wipe down the stain after 60 mins?

    Furniture and sitting surfaces applied with these colors must have the stain wiped off 60 minutes after application.


    Can i let this all dry for a day and then use a clean rag to wipe up any remaining wet excess the next day? Or for furniture using this hardwood stain should i be wiping after 60 mins?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/29/2020
      Removing excess stain a day later is okay.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jordan · 06/27/2020
    Does this apply to fencing as well?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 06/27/2020
    Thanks!, How long do I need to wait after sanding before clean & brighten / staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/27/2020
      You can prep right after the sanding. Stain 48 hours later.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    David · 06/27/2020
    I needed to sand off the old stain from my deck. Stripper was not ok, because the deck is painted underneath, Can a semi-transparent stain be applied directly to the sanded wood? Or do I need to treat it with the water and bleach mix first?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/27/2020
      Clean and brighten for the final prep. Not bleach.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joanne · 06/23/2020
    Which of your semi-transparent stains offers a "Wet Look" ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/23/2020
      Amber would be closest to a wet look.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Dan · 06/17/2020
    I have a cedar roof deck over a membrane roof in the Pacific Northwest which has been untreated for the last 4 years. Two questions:

    Parts that get little/no direct sunlight have turned a bit green. Should I pressure wash those before cleaning?

    Is there any concern about interactions between the membrane roof and the cleaner or stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Patti · 06/16/2020
    New P/T deck, planning to wait 3-4 mos (or longer) to stain. I think my preference might be semi-solid (wait 1 yr) over semi-trans. Should I go ahead and apply semi-trans in 3-4 mos. to protect the deck and then, if I do decide I want semi-solid, apply that 8-9+ mos. later? I assume I use RAD C&B before each application and assume I can put semi-solid over semi-trans. Either option, 1 coat each? Thanks.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/17/2020
      No, just do the semi-solid in 12 months. You cannot apply the semi-solid over the semi-transparent. Just one coat.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Patti · 06/17/2020
        Follow-up question ... At one point, trying to maintain my old deck, I ended up using a solid, water-based stain that caused a crapload of peeling problems. I thought that was because it was water-based. I want to avoid peeling, preferring the stain to wear/fade. So, an oil-based semi-solid will also be prone to peeling rather than wear/fade you get from semi-trans? Thanks.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Patti · 06/17/2020
        Okay. Just to be clear, though (forget my proposed timeline above) ... are you saying if someone stains semi-trans they can't change their mind down the road and apply semi-solid? I assumed you'd be able to so long as the deck was prepped with RAD. I'm not talking right away, but after some (how much?) time passes. Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 06/17/2020
          You can change but you will need to strip it off for proper penetration.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Greg · 06/16/2020
    Im putting in a new deck and have a few questions. I live in Austin, TX.

    1. How long should I wait until staining? I here 60 days or even longer (listed above and mentioned in other areas), but its already in the mid to upper 90s here so is weather factored into the equation. Waiting 3-4 months seems like a long time before staining especially in the Texas Heat.
    2. With a new deck do I need to use the Restore a Deck cleaner and Brightener?
    3. What is best way to sample? If I need to wait awhile I'm assuming that has an impact on how the stain will look when its applied and I shouldn't sample now. If so do I wait until I'm about to stain entire deck and should I use the restore and brightener before putting sample stain on or does that not matter?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/16/2020
      1. 3-4 months is correct.
      2. Yes.
      3. Wait until weathered and prepped to sample a spot. It will be more true to color.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    April · 06/15/2020
    Hi! We just finished our deck in South Georgia. Our deck is pressured treated pine and is in full sun all day. It’s been 90 degrees almost everyday. How long do we need to wait before can we stain it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/15/2020
      Just as the article states above.

      -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.
      -Once the wood has been exposed, use the Restore A Deck Cleaner and Brightener Kit for prep.
      -Let the wood dry for 2 or more days after prep.
      -Apply 1 coat of the Armstrong Clark Stain. Do not over apply.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Anne · 06/06/2020
    Hello,
    I have a cedar fence that is 2-3 years old. It has never been stained or painted. I was planning to clean, brighten, and stain with a semi-solid or hardwood stain. I am trying to get as close to a black as possible. (I’m looking for the darkest color with the least red) . I want to hide most of the grain but not all. Is the espresso semi-solid the best one to use? Is there a hardwood stain color I should also consider?

    Also, as far as maintenance, the website states a light coat of stain may be required in a few years. Will I need to prep with cleaning and brightening or can I just lightly re-stain in the future?

    lastly, part of the fence has been sanded to remove some splattered paint. Is there any concern about the sanded areas not blending? Should I try to roughen those areas if they are too smooth?

    thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/06/2020
      Yes, use the Espresso. You always have to prep when reapplying. If you sanded then yes, the stain can be lighter in color there.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Paul · 06/01/2020
    Hello. I am refinishing my redwood/cedar outdoor deck. I live in Wyoming where the elevation is 5,200'. The deck was finished with a solid dark brown stain. I sanded everything down to just the bare wood. Do I need to treat this as a "new wood" and wait 2-3 months from when I sanded it, then use brightener and stain?
    Or should I brighten it now and stain it?

    How many coats of stain?
    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/01/2020
      Treat like new wood. Clean and bright for prep after waiting a few months. 1 coat.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jason · 05/28/2020
    Installing new pressure treated pine deck in next week or so and will be covering half of it with a pavilion. Will the two areas age noticeably different while waiting for stain due to separate sun exposure?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/29/2020
      It will be fine after weathering and prepping it.