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
    david r · 05/10/2020
    Hi - I am refinishing an outdoor furniture set that is a combo of mahogany and eucalyptus woods. I am sanding down to the bare wood to remove prior finish and stain. Do I have to treat this as “new wood” and let it weather for a few months?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/11/2020
      It would help if you let is sit for a month or two and then clean and brighten for final prep.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Dave R · 05/11/2020
        The instructions refer to "let it sit outside" without any protection. Just to confirm - this approach means leaving the bare wood exposed to rain and sun to weather it correct? Also, is there a recommended sanding grit you recommend i go up to? I was thinking 180....
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    Darren G · 05/04/2020
    I installed a treated pine deck near Philadelphia last fall and now ready to stain. There are a number of open knots. Should I use wood filler before staining, and if so would a semi-solid cover the touch-ups? Or is it better to leave them open. My concern is more rot than splinters.
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      Armstrong · 05/04/2020
      No, do not use wood filler. It will not work and will not blend with the stain. Just leave them as is.
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        Darren G · 05/04/2020
        Thank you. Should I use semi-transparent or semi-solid over the open knots?
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          Armstrong · 05/04/2020
          It does not matter. Whatever you like.
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            Darren · 05/04/2020
            The deck is less than a year old, is semi-solid an option? The data sheet warns against it.
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 05/04/2020
              Sorry, only semi-solid if the wood is older than 1 year.
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    Doug T · 05/01/2020
    I just finished installing a new cumaru deck a couple of weeks ago. Part of the deck will host a hot tub that will be delivered soon. You recommend waiting 3-4 months before finishing. Should I have the hot tub installed, wait the 3-4 month period and ignore the fact that I can't stain under the tub? Or is there some way I can prep the deck early and finish the whole thing now before the hot tub is delivered?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/01/2020
      No need to stain under the deck so just do it all later.
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    Christopher Tina · 04/30/2020
    So I am installing a cedar deck tomorrow and I live in Az. Right now it’s about 95-100 degrees and will get hotter. Does the fact that I live in a desert climate shorten the initial step of letting the wood dry and settle before adding stain to it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/30/2020
      No, you still have to wait and prep.
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    Jerry · 04/25/2020
    My deck was built with pine pressure-treated wood last June (2019). I am now ready seeing a bunch of splits and cracks in the wood that I did not see for the first few months and I am ready to stain. What kind of stain and sealant is recommended for new wood? Is your stain a sealer as well or do I have to purchase that separately? I had a contractor stop by to give an estimate and tell me the other day I need to use solid stain because the wood has now dried out, but after researching, I am seeing different advice and don't know what to do. It is a huge expense for us to pay to have this done so I don't want to have to pay so much every 12-18 months to have the deck restained. I believe this was the other reason the contractor recommended we use solid stain. What do you recommend?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/26/2020
      Splits and cracks are normal for exterior wood decks and are not a concern or issue. The AC stains work well for all decks. Any color that you like. Just prep and stain as the article above explains.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brian Zimmerman · 04/08/2020
    So after prepping and staining with AC semitransparent the first time it says to do a light coat in 12-24 months. Before u apply this second “maintenance coat”, do you prep again with RAD cleaner and brightener?
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    Ron Herrschaft · 04/08/2020
    Hi,

    Installed new Cedar deck 2 years ago. After a year we did the restore a deck and Brightener. Than applied Armstrong semi transparent cedar tone stain. Deck looked great for a couple months. We live near Interstate and I believe the deck gets a lot of dust. The dust turns the deck dark. I'm thinking the stain is oily and the dust adheres to the stain. What recommendations can you make for future cleaning, maintenance and restaining.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      manyy · 05/02/2020
      if you put it on too thick it did that with my deck. I just slopped it on and it came out like that because alot was penetrating but also alot was drying on the surface. I dont mind the colour myself but try putting it on thinner next time - see if that helps
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/08/2020
      For prep, use this: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-stripper

      Try a slightly darker color like the Natural Oak.
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    GP · 01/28/2020
    Hello, I have new cedar siding that needs to be stained, do I have to use the deck cleaner and brightener for siding, or can I just apply the semi-transparent stain directly?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/29/2020
      You have to weather and prep with the cleaner and brightener as the article explains.
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    paul · 01/22/2020
    I am using kiln dried wood for decking. does this change any instruction for prep/time to weather before staining?

    Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/22/2020
      Same steps for prep and application but you do not have to weather as long. 1-2 months should be sufficient.
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    Georgia · 01/21/2020
    Is this product suitable for a marine environment? I have mahogany seats on a dinghy. They were treated with Epiphanes but I have stripped all off to bare wood.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 01/21/2020
      AC is not suggested for seating areas.
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    Sanders · 12/28/2019
    I live in New Hampshire and am installing a new enclosed unconditioned porch (about 300 sf) with mahogany decking and fir posts. Installation is happening in January, so there will be snow outdoors and we could track that along with some mud onto the deck in the first few months. I'd like to protect/ seal the decking and fir posts and am looking for recommendations for products and timing. Is transparent or semi-transparent better? Any recommendations for mahogany? Should I seal the wood before installation to protect the underside (it's an enclosed deck with roof and window/ screens along the outside, but "exposed" underneath") or wait for it to "oxidize"?
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    Mike · 11/15/2019
    I live in a dry mountain climate and installed my deck just before winter started. How long after installation of Tigerwood decking before I should stain. Also my wife likes the natural color so should I just use a clear coat?
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    Jon · 10/29/2019
    Could I get a reply to my question please?
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    Jon · 10/24/2019
    I installed a new PT deck 2 years ago. Prepped with bleach/water/dish soap mixture per AC institutions last Wednesday Stained with chestnut semi transparent stain on Friday. We unexpectedly received .25” light rain about 8 hours after staining. Color appears washed out now. Can I put another coat on now without any additional prep?
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    Craig · 10/22/2019
    What happens if I use RAD cleaner and brighter on 2-3 month old cedar and then stain it with AC semi transparent natural oak?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/23/2019
      It may or may not fully soak in if it has not weathered correctly. It has a lot to do with how much UV exposure.
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    Greg · 10/20/2019
    I’m installing mohagany deck railing top board hand rail is 5/4 x6. What is the best stain to use
    I’m looking for the deep burgundy / Merlot look
    will a clear stain bring out that color???
    mid not what stain will I do not want to use a solid stain. Thx
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    Zip · 10/15/2019
    I am building a grill cart for a Weber kettle grill out of new wood red cedar. The cart is 36 inches high, 56 inches long and 34 inches deep. Did I read correctly that I don't need to sand the cedar boards before staining it? Would you recommend any other initial preparation for staining? Do I need more than a gallon for this project? Thank you for your help!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/15/2019
      Hello,

      The new wood needs to season for 3-4 months and be cleaned and brightened for the prep. This is explained in the above article. One gallon is enough.
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    JenLogan · 10/02/2019
    I have a new screened porch with tongue and groove pine (more like a sun room with moulding down to the floor). It will be impossible to clean and brighten the boards because there is no way to properly rinse the boards. Can I sand the boards and apply the stain without cleaning and brightening. We have an attached deck that I can properly prepare, but will they look different?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 10/02/2019
      Sanding does not properly prep new wood. Most just rinse the water through the door.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        JenLogan · 10/04/2019
        I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your answer. Sanding does more what?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 10/05/2019
          Typo. Sanding does not properly prep new wood.
          • We will reply to your comment shortly
            Jenlogan · 10/05/2019
            What happens if we are unable to remove all of the cleaner and brightener?
            • We will reply to your comment shortly
              Armstrong · 10/05/2019
              Rinse as well as you can and you should be fine.
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    Heather · 09/25/2019
    Also, how long can you go between prep and stain if the weather isn't cooperating before you have to prep again?
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    Heather Lee Jones · 09/25/2019
    Also, how long can you go after prep if the weather doesn't cooperate before needing to prep again?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Heather · 09/25/2019
    New deck (Treated Pine). Coming up on the 4 month mark and need to stain before the weather gets too shifty. If I stain with the AC transparent cedar this season, can I "darken" portions of it with a different AC stain hue (looking at the semi-transparent the sierra redwood) without stripping next season and just doing prep and brighten? Going for a two-tone look.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/25/2019
      Yes, you should be able to do that.
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    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.
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    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?
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    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.
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    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
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    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?
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    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.