One thing that separates professional wood contractors from the pack is the type of products they use. And one of the most popular brands for professional wood contractors is Armstrong Clark.
Armstrong Clark’s Beginnings
Jake Clark came from a paint and coatings background, which was where he’d worked since 1974. At that time, the available products for wood were dry sealers that were applied to dry wood.
But he felt that went against common sense. “If your hands are dry and chapped, you put on a non-drying conditioner. Not a drying coat. The same holds true with wood,” he explained. “Wood deteriorates because it dries out, cracks and curls.”
In 1989, he teamed with his roof coating material supplier, Jim Armstrong, and founded the Armstrong Clark company. He applied what he’d learned from his manufacturing and contracting experiences to create a sealer that actually gave wood the treatment it needed.
The result was a different kind of product - one that incorporated non-drying oils that separated from the dry parts of the formula (e.g., linseed oil, water repellants and pigments). This allowed the non-drying components to seep into the wood while the dry components sealed the wood at the surface, locking out water. And this mixture of oils is one of the things that professional contractors love about Armstrong Clark’s products.
Beth Borrego of See Dirt Run!, Inc. in Germantown, Maryland, has been in the wood restoration industry since 1999, and uses Armstrong Clark products much of the time. “Armstrong Clark’s blend of both non-drying oils and drying oils is good for the wood, and also makes it more durable,” she explained. “Our company believes in selecting products for jobs based upon the circumstances present at each job. Armstrong Clark’s
products have the ability to meet specific needs. Many decks need a moisturizing oil, but most lack the amount of drying oils needed to provide greater durability. When you add to that the support you get from Armstrong Clark, it’s a win win.”
Steve James, who has been in the cleaning industry with his brother for
17 years, is now the Armstrong Clark Midwest distributor. He discovered Armstrong Clark when he began looking for a stain with better longevity than what he was using, and that would also be easy to maintain every two to three years. He tested several different finishes before deciding that Armstrong Clark was what their customers were looking for. “Armstrong has semi-transparent and semi-solid finishes that, when applied correctly, will never peel, flake or chip. They simply fade over time, which makes maintenance easier for the contractor or homeowner,” he added.
“I like that Armstrong Clark’s products are oil-based, easy to apply, hold up well, and look beautiful,” added Mark Cummins of Thunder Wash Pressure Washing in Elverson, Pennsylvania, who has been in the cleaning industry for 20 years. “Plus Jake Clark is a great guy who is also always willing to go the extra mile.”
Working with Jake Clark
Armstrong Clark has become a leader in wood sealers for the pressure washing and wood restoration industries, and Jake Clark has made many great friendships along the way. “I really like this industry,” he explained. “It’s a great bunch of hard-working people who are dedicated to their craft.”
Armstrong Clark has had several companies come on board as product distributors, which helped ensure faster delivery of the product to customers. “I met Jake Clark a few years ago at a convention. We both had a mutual interest in working with each other,” explained Michael Hinderliter of PowerWash.com. “I had heard great things about his products, and great things about Jake as well. It’s been a very easy, mutually-beneficial relationship.”
Besides having a great product, Jake Clark is known among industry members because of his fantastic customer service and his personal interest in helping his customers. “What I like about Jake is that he is always quick to personally respond with any questions that contractors or DIY’s have about his products,” said Jason Reider of WaterDog Restoration in Dover, Pennsylvania. “His customer service is top notch and unmatched.”
Earlier this year, Reider landed a $3,000 contract because of a referral from Jake Clark. “He not only talked a potential customer through what to do and expect, he took the time to refer that customer to us,” Reider explained. “I don’t know of too many stain manufacturers or owners that would personally look for a qualified local contractor to help out a potential customer.”
“Jake is one of the most personable business professionals that I know,” added James. “He is an honest, hard working guy who takes care of his customers. He is one of the few business owners that makes himself available to his customers for questions and concerns... . And he’s also not a bad golfer!”
“Plain and simple,” Reider concluded, “Jake and the Armstrong Clark stains are the definition of quality.”