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Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Review 4.79/5 (8)

Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Reviews

Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain

Armstrong Clark Hardwood StainA high solids pigmented finish made from heavy and light bodied oils specially formulated for application on unpainted hardwoods. Heavy bodied oils provide water repellency. Extra pigments provide enhanced color retention on hardwoods. Light bodied oils combined with solvent penetrate into the wood. Armstrong’s Semi-Transparent Hardwood Finishes repel water, retain color longer and reduce the frequency of re-coats on maintenance intensive hardwoods.

Important Note: Testing for Exotic Hardwood Deck Stains

Exotic hardwoods such as IPE are extremely dense and difficult to penetrate. These wood types when stained, will always fade faster the other woods such as Cedar, Redwood, and Pine. Testing will be changed to 1 year instead of 2 years for exotic hardwoods.

Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain

Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 9

– The Armstrong Clark in the Mahogany color had a very rich look on our IPE test deck. We applied one coat at the Mahogany color enhanced the natural colors of the IPE with a reddish brown color. The stain did not film on the surface but absorbed into the wood.

Preventing UV Graying at 1 Year Mark: 8

– We found the the Armstrong Clark in Mahogany outperformed all other Hardwood deck stains when it comes to color retention on Ipe. Many of the stains we tested had lost the color within 8 months while the Armstrong still had a decent amount of color. See picture below for a sample board that we tested.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 9

– Armstrong Clark Hardwood stain did not peel on our test deck. A small amount of wearing was noticeable around the door. Armstrong penetrates very well into IPE wood.

Armstrong Clark Mahogany

13 Months AC Mahogany

Cost Per Square Foot: 8

– Armstrong Clark retails for $43.99 per gallon for the hardwood colors. We used 1 gallon of stain for our 300 sq. foot IPE test deck. This is very reasonable for a quality stain.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 8

– We had a small amount of black mold growing on the stain after 13 months. Very minor but worth noting.

Ease of Application: 9

– We are fans of the AC stain when it comes to application. Absorbs deeply, spreads far, and dries evenly. Less excess stain to back wipe then other hardwood deck coatings that we have tested.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 9

– As you can see from the picture above, the Armstrong in the Mahogany fades in color and does not darken or turn black.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

– The AC would need to be cleaned with a deck cleaner to remove the small amount of mold and any dirt or grime. Once this was done a light coating of stain would need to be reapplied to restore the color and prolong the graying better.

Overall Score Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain at 2 Year Period: 8.5

– Thus far we have yet to test or see a hardwood deck stain perform better than the Armstrong Clark on IPE when it comes to fading. We have also used the Amber color that they offer. It does fade a little faster than the Mahogany but still has excellent overall color retention.

Easy to Apply, Excellent color retention, No issues with reapplication on an annual basis.

Product Information:

More Info:
Cost: $43.99 per Gallon, $224.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Oil-Based Stains for Exotic Woods
Available Colors: Hardwood Amber,  Hardwood Mahogany
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 1 Coat
Coverage Per Gallon: 200-300 sq. ft on exotic hardwoods
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 4-12 Hours
Cleanup: Mineral Spirits
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in All 50 States
More Info: Product Data
Manufacturer: Armstrong Clark

Test Deck Stats:

Deck Wood Type: IPE
Deck Square Footage: 300
UV Exposure: Full Sun
How Many Years Tested: 1 Years
Stain Color Used:

*All products tested and results are from our experience. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

Please Rate This Product. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

65 responses to “Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Review”

  1. Ali says:

    What's the difference between this review and the Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Review?

    They have slightly different scores. It's not immediately apparent, what's the difference between the two.

    • Ali, This review is for Hardwood decking such as IPE and Mahogany. These woods are very dense and we only test them for 1 year. The other review is for wood types such as cedar, redwood, and pressure treated pine.

  2. John OLoughlin says:

    I plan on using the Clear coat product on my IPE 2500 sq ft deck. I have applied various oil basd clear coat brands & find that they only last 1 yr at best. I pressure was the surface, which removes the dirt & other materials on the surface. The wood normally turs gray upon cleaning & when I apply the clear oil based products, the color of the wood reappears. Will the AC clear perform the same & what would the approximate life expextency be before recoating? Basically full sum 75 % of the day, Texas Hill Country.

    • John, IPE wood requires annual maintenance. You will not get a stain to last two years on IPE unless there is a roof over the deck. The Mahogany color in the AC has showed us to hold color longer then any other stain that we have tested or used on IPE. Still will need to be done annually but it will look better then the others for that period.

  3. Jules says:

    Can you use the hardwood stain on PTP, and if so would you get a better stained deck board…..just asking as your rating iis better for this than the regular stain

  4. Marie says:

    We hope to build a new garapa deck. Wondering if AC Hardwood Stain would be a good choice? It looks like they only offer two colors – mahogany and amber. We would like to darken the garapa somewhat – we don't want the "yellowish" tint. Which color do you think would work best? Would the mahogany be too dark?
    Or do you think we should instead consider Woodrich Hardwood Wiping stain?
    A main criteria for us is ease of application and re-application. With both of these products, we can re-apply in upcoming years without having to strip prior applications, right?
    Thanks for your informative website.

  5. Donna, Penofin does not have linseed oil and that is not reason for the darkening. I would look at the AC Amber or possibly IPE Oil.

  6. Geno says:

    What is the optimal temperature range for applying most of these stains — 65 to 80 degrees? My fear is that if I try to apply one when the day is too hot, it will set up too quickly, resulting in a mottled appearance. I ask because it's hot here (Sacramento area) in the summer, so this may affect when I plan to take time off work to stain our large ipe deck.

    • Geno, 45-90 degrees seems to be the norm. It is true that certain stains will dry faster in the heat. Try Armstrong Clark. It says you can apply in full sun and high heat without issues.

  7. Heidi says:

    I have an IPE deck in Connecticut, western facing with sun from 10 am on.. I have used the Penofin product in the past, loved it when first applied, but then it turns black.. Stripped the deck last year. This year cleaned and brightened it. Looking for a product that won't turn black which would you recommend.

    • Gael says:

      Heidi, I have the same problem with Penofin, it turns black every year, a real pain. Called Penofin they told me I was doing something wrong, I used Penofin last year applied it in the spring when the temp was less hot when I used it before, it turned black. I'm switching this year and trying the Armstrong Clark. was wondering what you used.

  8. Rob says:

    I forgot to include my email address in my post concerning oil vs. AC hardwood stain for Ipe.

  9. Toni says:

    I live in portland oregon and have around 1400sf of cedar deck that is 17 years old. Several months back had some boards replaced and have sanded down entire deck and am now prepared to stain. I was wanting to use the armstrong clark mahogany but after watching a video on someone in Kansas who used it on a 1200sf deck and it turned out orange. Any comment as to why? and should I still proceed after viewing that nightmare? Can you make a recommendation to me? All parts of deck receive some sun about three months of the years and remainder is rainy.

    • Toni, the color of the stains when applied to a deck will vary widely based on the wood type. The video you mentioned showed a customer applying the Mahogany color to a pressure treated deck I believe, not an exotic hardwood deck as the Mahogany stain color is intended for. You cannot get the look of IPE or Mahogany wood when you apply the AC Mahogany to say a Cedar or Pressure Treated pine deck. It will enhance the natural color of the wood type to which it is applied, hence the dramatic difference. This is not the fault of Armstrong but rather the customer who applied the stain not understanding that colors will vary.

      I would get a sample of the stain from Armstrong to test first.

  10. Dar says:

    What is the best method to apply this to an IPE outdoor deck and is there a recommended cleaner to use for best results?

  11. betsy says:

    I forgot to mention in the previous post. How do I prepare this deck? My boyfriend says pressure wash and then penetrating oil, such as Penofin

  12. Drew says:

    Will the Amber work well on teak furniture? It seems like it will yield the desired honey tone color that we are looking for.

  13. sfsurfer says:

    How long does it take for the AC mahogany stain to dry? I applied to an Ipe deck by pad, back brushed and 24 hrs later wiped excess off with rag. There are no sticky spots or puddles and it looks great, but it's been 4 days with no rain and 50-80 degree weather in San Francisco and when I walk on it or wipe it with a rag there is still residual stain on the surface. Kind of a pain because it's all over our shoes and we aren't using our beautiful deck as much as we'd like. Any suggestions much appreciated.

  14. Cammy says:

    Hi, we have a mahogany deck that we stained with sikkens 2 years ago . It peeled almost 10 months later but have decided to re-stain now with Armstrong. How do we get the deck ready for the Armstrong? What is the process…do we need to sand and pressure wash…help

    Thank you

  15. Rachel says:

    Which stain stripper is recommended for a tiger wood deck? We have remnants of sickens (applied 5 years ago) left on our deck after using FLOOD cleaner and power washing. Will a wood brightener also be needed? We have a stamped concrete patio and pool below the deck. Thanks!

  16. Coach Mac says:

    We live along the seacoast north of Boston and have roughly 1500 sq feet of ipe decking. Disappointed with a variety of stain products we purchased a combination of the amber and redwood hardwood stain which we mixed to soften the reddish color. Worked like a charm and have to say this is easily the best product I've ever worked with. I spent several days powerwashing and stripping the decks with a combination of oxygen bleach and tsp. I then used a sander to lightly clean up any spots that required a little extra attention. A few dry days and it was time to finally stain. I have to share that this is an absolutely outstanding product. The coloring was perfect; the ease of application and results so far have far exceeded any product I've used previously…and it's not even close. Outstanding stains!

  17. Coach Mac says:

    I should clarify that the combination we used was a 50/50 mix of the Mahogany & Amber stains. I mistakenly called it redwood, probably because the Mahogany has fairly strong reddish tones. After coming across a few others who suggested the mix, we decided to experiment. For customers staining IPE, who want a bit richer tone, I can vouch that mixing the Amber with the Mahogany softens the reddish tones. Just wanted to clarify.

  18. Carol says:

    We live north of Boston, MA and have a teak deck maintained almost annually (14 years) with Cabot Australian Timber Oil, which we would like to replace with a new stain system. Several questions: Is teak considered an IPE and are we better off with a hardwood stain, if so what is your recommendation? Is the semi-transparent product the best option? Should we remove the ATO with a cleaner such as Restore-A-Deck or the Cabot Cleaner? Power wash or not? Appreciate your insights and help very much!

    • Teak is a hardwood like IPE but not the same. You do want a hardwood stain. You strip, not clean the old stain off. Use a stain stripper and brightener after. Use a pressure washing while stripping.

  19. Max says:

    So I live in Western MA and I just replaced my steps with batu stair tread. I didn't stain the wood because I read here its best to leave it exposed to the elements for a bit. So my plan is to pull the boards up 2 months after installation and stain all 6 sides with this product. Since the wood is bare should I have to use the restore a deck products? Would it also be prudent to coat the exposed edge grain with anchor seal 2?

  20. Jamie says:

    Mahogany tongue and groove flooring was installed two weeks ago on our little used, covered, west exposure front porch here in NE PA. A neighbor used TimberOil brand stain. Now that I have read many other reviews on your site for hardwood decks I am getting more confused. What would you use? TO, AC, Defy, Penofin??

  21. James says:

    Just installed ipe deck. Have coated a small portion so far with oil, but am disappointed with the look. The wood has significantly reddened with he oil. Would like to keep more of a brown look. Any thoughts?

    • Did you use the Mahogany color of AC? If you stick with AC then try adding some Rustic Brown color into the Mahogany. IPE is a reddish brown color when stained, hard to get a straight brown with AC.

      • James says:

        I am sorry. I did not use the AC brand, I used the penofin instead. The red look is starting to fade a little as it dries. We only put it on the handrails and a small area around the grill as it looked too red once we put it on.

  22. David says:

    I have a 2 year old cedar and tigerwood pergola that was stained with cedar tone Defy Hardwood stain 1 year after it was built. I used this product as Defy recommended it for use on both hardwoods and cedar and while I'm happy with the quality of the product on the tigerwood it definitely darkened the cedar much more than I expected it to (at least on the rough sawn areas). I'm now thinking of restaining with the AC hardwood stain in amber. What steps would be required to do this? Also, is the AC a comparable product to Defy in terms of quality and life expectancy?

    • The Defy and AC are different in that Defy is water based while the AC is oil. Both are similar in durability though. The issue is if you switch you will need to strip off the Defy and brighten the wood. While this is possible it can be slightly difficult to remove Defy from vertical wood. You would need a stain stripper such as Defy Stain Stripper and a pressure washer to remove. Before you proceed you might want to find a sample of the Amber to make sure it is the color you want and it does not end up being the same as the Defy. Issue is that rough sawn is very absorbent and will always darken more so because of it.

  23. Greg says:

    I am installing a new IPE deck in the next two weeks. Located in central Virginia and it will get direct sun (South/SW facing) 75% of the day. Should I wait until after the winter to apply a sealer/stain? Sounds like AC Mahogany is the way to go. Also, is it recommended to use end grain sealer upon cutting/installing the decking? Have read that this is a good idea to prevent end checking/splitting. It was also recommended to me to sand with 80-grit paper before sealing, but others say sanding is unnecessary and will prevent the stain from being absorbed. Thanks!

  24. Matthew Nowinski says:

    I live in Pinole, Ca. 94564. I am looking for the closest distributer of: Armstrong's hardwood oil "Mahogany".

  25. Lucia says:

    I liked the look of new untreated ipe. Which color is more likely to get that look, mahogany or amber? How many gallons do I need for one coat on a 500-550 square foot deck?

  26. Kevin says:

    Can anyone post a picture of AC Mohogany and Amber on IPE/Cumaru side by side? I'm planning to use AC stain on my cumaru siding, but I'm not sure which color to go with. Based on the pictures from the manufacturer website, the Mohogany looks much darker color than amber.I'm curious how much darker does it make. Thanks!

  27. lizz says:

    I used outdoor bleach to clean my pressure treated wood deck, do I need to apply anything else before I stain it? also is there a stain to which color pigment can be added to produce a non wood look?

    • AC does not make a solid stain with will mask the wood grain. You will need a solid color stain if you do not want to see the \”wood look\”. Use a wood brightener after the beach wash.

  28. BobRad says:


    I've been using Pennofin Hardwood on my Mangaris/Merbau deck. It lasts maybe three months, and the fading and greying of the wood is unacceptable. I'm going to be switching to A/C stain next. What stain do you recommend for Merbau and exactly how do I prep the deck and remove remainder of the Pennofin?


    • Prep with a deck stain stripper and pressure washing. Brighten when done. This will restore the color before applying the AC. Keep in mind that your wood type requires maintenance annually or sooner. You will lightly fade though the year.

  29. SLee says:

    Currently using a transparent AC stain on my stripped/sanded/cleaned/brightened deck. The stain looks and apples great!
    My issue is, I ran out of stain halfway through application. Having to order more and that taking a few days, the dried stain and newly stained area has a line of demarcation that is pretty obvious. I have applied a second coat over everything since, in hopes that it would blend. No such luck.
    Any advice would be helpful.

  30. Steve says:

    I had an IPE deck with cedar railings/lattice built this past June. I would like to stain the IPE with the AC Mahogany. Any suggestions on what stain to use on the cedar to compliment the AC Mahogany?

  31. Jan says:

    I have a mahogany door that faces North and is under a large (but high) overhang. The door does not get any direct sun exposure and we live in a very high humidity region on a Bay in the Florida panhandle. The conditions are a recipe for mold. I have used Australian Timber Oil and the appearance is pleasing. However, I have to clean AND sand it every 8-10 months due to mold growth. I have also used a marine product, Dek Olje by Awatrol Marine, which did not even last as long as the ATO. Would you recommend the Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain or the Defy for Hardwood to combat the mold growth for this application or would you recommend something completely different ( I do want a natural wood look and no glossy appearance)?

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.