Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Review

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain is an oil-based stain backed by  5 generations of experience in the exterior wood stain industry. Armstrong Clark is offered in 3 different versions: Trans parents, Semi-Transparent, and Semi-Solid Colors.

Armstrong Clark Wood Stains are composed of drying and non-drying oils that separate during the application process. The drying oils cure and protect the exposed surface of the wood from natural weathering and UV radiation while the non-drying oils condition the interior of the wood by lubricating the wood cellular structure.

Armstrong Clark Stain Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

- The Armstrong Clark showed a rich deep enhanced color after application. The natural grain of the wood showed throughout the deck surface. The Mountain Cedar color was a “tannish” cedar color.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 8

- The Armstrong Clark Wood Stain in the Mountain Cedar offered better then average UV protection. When using a semi-solid stain we expected to achieve excellent UV protection and the Mountain Cedar delivered. We would expect that the semi-transparent and transparent colors to offer slightly less UV protection due to the lesser amount of solids.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

- Armstrong Clark Wood Stain had little to no peeling. The only wearing of the stain was on the steps. This most likely was the result of the homeowner’s dogs.

Armstrong Clark Mountain Cedar

Armstrong Clark Mountain Cedar

Cost Per Square Foot: 9

- Armstrong Clark sells for $41.99 per gallon for the semi-solids ($36.99 for semi-transparents). This is an average price for a quality deck stain. We found that Armstrong Clark has one of the best square foot coverages. For our 600 square foot test deck, we used only 2.5 gallons of stain for the required one coat. Final appearance was even with no noticeable bare spots.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 7

- The Armstrong stain did have some very minor mold spores on top of the stain. On further inspection is seemed that the mold was not growing in the stain and could easily be wiped off with a wet towel.

Ease of Application: 9

- Extremely easy to apply! Armstrong’s manufacturer states that their stain can be applied in direct sunlight. We tested our application at 90 degrees in full sun. We did not experience any flash drying or unevenness of the stain. No noticeable drips on the vertical railings. We were pleasantly surprised at how well the semi-solid applied with a garden pump sprayer.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8

- The Armstrong Clark Wood Stain in the Mountain Cedar darkened slightly in color from the original application. Most likely due to the high solid

content of the semi-solid stain.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

- Armstrong Clark Wood Stain would be an easy product to re coat after a light cleaning. The stain does not darken and penetrates extremely well. Key factors when it comes to reapplications.

Overall Score Armstrong Clark Stain at 2 Year Period: 8.2

- Armstrong Clark performed at a high level after the two year mark. Our favorite aspects of the stain were the ease of application and the coverage rate. There was very little to no peeling of the stain and color shifting was acceptable. We would expect that applying a maintenance coat would be easy with a wood cleaning and wood brightening.

Product Information:

More Info:
Cost: $36.99 per Gallon, $184.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Transparent, Semi-Transparent, Semi-Solid – Oil-Based
Available Colors: Transparent Natural, Transparent Cedar, Transparent Redwood, Semi-Trans Cedar, Semi-Trans Rustic Brown, Semi-Trans Sierra Redwood, Semi-Trans Amber, Semi-Trans Mahogany, Semi-Solid Mountain Cedar, Semi-Solid Woodland Brown, Semi-Solid Oxford Brown, Semi-Solid Sequoia
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 1 Coat
Coverage Per Gallon: 200-250 sq. ft
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:

Location of Deck: North Carolina
When Tested: April 2010
Deck Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 600
UV Exposure: Full Sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 
Mountain Cedar

*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.

193 Responses to “Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Review”

  1. Joe Pake says:

    I'm installing kdat syp t&g on a covered porch this month in coastal nc. It suggests the wood be stained before installation on all sides, then another coat right afterwards. What stain do you recommend? Also, should it be sanded after installation before the other staining for a better finish? Thanks, Joe

    • Joe, you need to follow the advice of stain brand manufacturer as to what they suggest for new wood. Most want you to wait for it to weather after install. Please read this article: Staining New Decks

      • Joe Pake says:

        yellawood brand kdat syp t&g covered porch flooring instructions state not to let the wood get any water on it and to apply a oil based stain or paint primer on all sides before it's installed, then another coat immediately after installation is complete. I was considering using AC oil based semi-solid stain as the coat before the wood is installed. Will that give me adequate uv and water protection, along with the color? I get confused about all the recommendations, for uv protection, sealers, stains, etc. Again, would you suggest a light sanding to improve appearance before the second coat of the AC semi- solid stain? Does the AC semisolid stain give me all the protection the porch requires? This is my first porch project and I'm trying to follow the wood manufactures instructions. Thanks, Joe

        • Joe Pake, best to follow the advice of the stain manufacturer when it comes to what they suggest as to when you can apply their stain to new wood. AC suggests 2-3 months for waiting after install. No need to sand and all you need is one coat of the AC for newer wood. Nothing else will be needed.

  2. Travis says:

    I read in a paint forum that one contractor in NJ was having issues with mildew using Armstrong Clark. He claims this stain doesn't hold up that well in warm, humid climates. I have to order 10 gallons of stain for my deck so before I drop $400 on stain I want to be sure I have the best for my specific deck. For a newly built red cedar deck – facing NW – in MN, would you recommend Armstrong Clark or TWP 1500?


  3. Bruno says:

    Hello, thanks for the detailed review. I have a fence made of pressure-treated pine. I don't know how old but it seems it was never treated. I have had to replace some elements (some balusters and some 2×4 rails), so now I have a mix of old and new. I have pressure washed, so the difference is not as apparent, but still the old wood is a bit darker and probably a lot more porous. I like the color it is right now, and would like to keep it that way. What type of AC stain would you recommend? I'm tempted by natural tone transparent or cedar tone transparent. Or should I consider something like semi-transparent cedar. I don't want something too red or too dark.
    Thanks for any advice!

    • Bruno, the lighter the color the faster it will turn gray from UV protection. Tones will last 1-2 years while semi-transparents will last 2-4 years on vertical fences.

  4. Charlie says:

    Great site you have here. I have a new home being constructed and am going to stain the cedar porch posts and cedar gable decorations and pergola. I was wondering if armstrong would be the best product for it. Im more worried about UV protection because there is no way water could sit on it for long. Also since these are so high up on the house, Im trying to find a longer term solution for staining to reduce maintenance. How long should i wait to apply stain and do I need to wash it first since it just came from the lumber yard. Thank you so much

  5. Kirk says:

    Wow ! is the 1st word everyone says about my Sierra Redwood stained deck by Armstrong Clark.. Deck is all pressure treated using micronized copper azole, you know that yellow wood with green marks haha. Does everything it says it does except " on extremely humid days" , then it will games and make you blend forever. Other than that, i got a deck that looks like pure mahogany. tyvm

  6. Dario says:

    Is Armstrong Clark that is shipped to Canada oil based?

  7. Dan says:

    Just finished removing Behr that had peeled over 70% of my deck by sanding the entire surface. I believe I got it all off now. Can I just apply Armstrong Clark to my deck now or do I still need to prep with something else?

  8. Tom K says:

    I have my pails of Rustic Brown ready to go. My deck has been cleaned. I used Olympic cleaner, and it looks really good. It has been drying for 24 hours. I want to give it another day or two to dry. Unfortunately, we are expecting a passing storm tomorrow. Should I then wait another 3 days from the end of the rain?

  9. Chris says:

    I live in Washington State – lots of rain. My wood deck was stained 2 years ago with one coat of Sherwin Williams Deckscape – waterbased. i would like to restain the deck. Do I have to powerwash the deck or can I just clean it with RAD cleaner? The only area with a little green mold is under the BBQ grill. I am considering TWP 1500 or Defy Epoxy Wood Stain. What else would you recommend? Thanks.

  10. Wilson says:

    I have new PT deck, built mid-June. My plan for the end of August is to use RAD cleaner/brightener then apply one coat of Armstrong semi-tran cedar. The man doing the work has done many decks but never used these products. He is very skeptical that an oil-based strain can be sprayed on with a pump sprayer. He says what he has used before has been too thick for a sprayer. His usual procedure is to brush stain on the railings then use a stain pad on the decking, working in the stain so it's even and there are no splotches. That probably works, but spraying seems much faster, which means I'd expect a lower price from him. Can you and other Armstrong users confirm that spraying produces excellent results without a special nozzle being on the sprayer.
    Also, the deck is 20' x 14', with railings and three steps. Is two gallons of the Armstrong enough or should I order three?
    Thanks – Wilson

  11. Jane says:

    #1.) I think I read that I should NOT sand my 1yr old PTP deck prior to staining. How, then, do I remove the stamped markings on the new wood?
    #2.) Our 1 yr old untreated deck includes 850 sq ft of floor, 6×6 posts, 8 in wide hand rails and a partial pergola. Please recommend the best order for staining? Start high- as in top of pergola?, Start low- with the deck floor, hand rails?
    Thank you- Jane

    • Jane, try a deck cleaner and wood brightener. If a year old the stamps should come off. Always start high and finish last with the floor. You will need to tarp the deck when doing the pergola.

  12. Northeaster says:

    I just used TSP+Oxyclean to clean a deck in preparation for sanding it to remove 2yr old Behr stain that is coating some areas of the deck (on other areas it has flaked off). After cleaning I rinsed it off with copious amounts of water.

    1. Do I need to use a brightener right away, or can I sand it next week, then clean it again, and then brighten? (or will the high pH of the TSP damage the wood if I wait?).
    2. I can't find the 'good' brighteners in stores so it may take a while to acquire online. What makes a brightener good? Is it just dilute oxalic acid?
    3. What kind of sander is best: orbital or drum?

  13. Leanne says:

    Hello,we built a new western red cedar deck with pergola and are looking for a transparent stain to seal/protect and to maintain the 'wet look" but do not wish to add colour. We live in Ontario, Canada and the deck will be in hot sun in the summer and extreme cold/snow in the winter. Wondering if the Armstrong Clark transparent stain is a good option? Thank you!

  14. Albert says:

    I just tried samples of the transparent cedar tone and semi-transparent cedar on my cedar deck. My wife finds the semi-transparent to dark and prefers the transparent one by far. What is the pros/cons of the transparent one vs. semi-transparent? (Location: Montreal)
    Thanks for the help

  15. Ken T. says:

    Just installed a cedar pergola and privacy screens in Philadelphia, PA. Love the natural look but also want protection. Research seems to point me to Armstrong Semi Transparent, but I am concerned that the finished product may change the look of the wood too much. Never stained before, does this product significantly change the color of the wood? Also, the pergola was installed 2 months ago – should I use a wood cleaner, and/or wood brightener or is that overkill? Thanks for the input!

    • Ken T, all stains which change the look. Clears will not but they also do not offer UV protection from graying. All new wood should be prepped first. Cleaner and brightening will help the stain to work and penetrate better.

  16. Judy J says:

    We used Behr and have now spent $600.00 to have the 1000 ft. of deck cleaned with a heated chemical treatment. There are still some small patches od the grey Behr present. Will Armstrong Clark oxford brown cover this or must it be sanded off. Is the professional cleaning enough or do we still need a cleaner and a brightener? Will ten gallons of Armstrong Clark Oxford brown cover this much decking? how to store leftover stain if We could use it for a light re application next year

    • Judy, you cannot cover or mask a different stain. It may blend it some but best to test first. If not you should sand. It should be plenty of stain. Keep lid closed so there is not evaporation and it will last.

      • Judy J says:

        Thank you for the reply, just to clarify- brightener needed or not after Envirowash heated water/chemical cleaning? After sanding -Sweep it clean or hose off with water?

  17. Ken says:

    Hi, This is a great site for info. I have a 20 yr old PTW deck that has been poorly maintained with no sealer or stain left on it for past 5 years. 1250 sq ft total with 800 sf under a covered porch and 450 sf in direct sunlight/partial shade. Have replaced about 100 sq ft of the covered 800 total (almost all in the same area of covered porch) with new PT and left all other parts untouched. I will be using the RAD system soon and then want to stain with AC stain, or maybe TWP brand. The replaced PT is now 1 year old. Will the stain look close in color for the replaced boards that are mixed in along with the older boards under cover, and would a semi-transparent be OK or should a semi-solid be better. I like the semi-transparent as it should show more grain, but wife thinks a semi-solid might blend in the color better on both the new and older boards where they intersect. Thank you in advance for your help as it is greatly appreciated. Ken

    • Ken, wife is correct. New wood will not blend very well with old. Semi-solids will do a better job of hiding this. Use AC in a semi-solid.

      • Ken says:

        Hi. Thanks so much for the quick reply. Color choice is limited to Mountain Cedar in AC semi-solid and other colors are all too dark for us. We really were hoping for a lighter cedar tone color. I mentioned that all the replaced PT boards intermixed with the old boards (all are under covered porch) were now 1 year old. So does that make them still too new to be able to use a semi-transparent on them to blend in the color with the older boards? We like AC for the ease of use and one coat application, but like the more color choices of TWP which are all semi-trans.Thank you again for your help. We are in our 60's and are first time deck cleaners & stainer's , so ease of use is a consideration. Thank you and we really appreciate all the great advice. Ken

  18. Jim T says:

    OK…just re-stained my girlfriend's 1500sf IPE deck. Pressure washed first (deck had not been stained or cleaned for 3 years.) then applied Armstrong Mahogany. It went on like a dream in very hot weather/direct sunlight (90F). Very easy clean up. Drying time was 36-48 hours. I'll be interested to see how it lasts through the fall and winter (Pacific NW). I'll plan for a recoat in June. I enjoyed the look of the pressure-washed exposed wood grain but the Mahogany stain makes the deck look like a million bucks! No more Penofin. Of course, the downside is tracking down an Armstrong dealer!

  19. Christina says:

    I live in Western Washington and our rainy season has started. There will most likely not be more than 1 or 2 dry days at a time until June 2014. I am having a custom cedar smooth plank fence with attached arbor installed tomorrow. The fence is from freshly cut locally grown cedar. I would like to seal the fence and keep the natural beauty of the cedar. Keeping the natural color and preserving it are my goals. I don't want it to gray. It looks like the semi-transparent cedar is a possible choice. Is that a good choice? How long do I need to let the wood age before I seal? How many days or hours does it need to dry after rain before I can seal it? If I can't seal it this winter, how do I protect it from fading for the next 9 months until I can seal it?

  20. Jeffp says:

    What a great site! After reading your information on AC, I called the company and received great advice from Mr. Clark himself. Looking forward to trying the product. For Oregon and Washington residents, the product is available at Rodda stores

  21. John says:

    So much information. I found this site by searching for solutions for cleaning/staining my Mahogany deck. Live in PA. Have a 800-900 sf mahogany deck. It's about 5 years old. 400 sf under cover and 500 sf with SE exposure. I've been using Cabots translucent stain but I'm having to clean, scuff and retreat 2 to 3 times a year and every 2nd year I have to lightly sand the whole thing with an orbital to get rid of the dirt/black discoloration on the section NOT under cover. It's beautiful when done but man what a job! How do you recommend I proceed going forward to clean, stain, maintain and with what frequency?

    • John,

      1. remove the Cabot with a deck stain stripper. We like the Restore A Deck stripper for this.
      2. After wood is dry, apply one coat of the AC in the Mahogany.
      3. Apply a yearly application of the AC. Make sure to prep first with a deck cleaner (not stripper) before reapplication.

      If you ever need to remove in the future, it is much easier to use a stain stripper instead of sanding.

  22. christy says:

    Thanks for the informative website! What technique do you recommend for applying AC stain to outdoor stairs leading up to a deck? (Horizontal surfaces only.) I have no experience staining, but I have prepped the stairs and purchased the stain. I am concerned about the hazards of oily rags. If I use a plastic ground cloth under the stairs, will it be a fire hazard? Thanks!

  23. H.Robison says:

    I just finished building a floating redwood deck, over a cement patio in my back yard. Half of the deck is covered and the other half is exposed to sun, weather, etc. The deck also is right up against our pool, so water will be tracked onto the deck. We live in San Diego, CA, pretty temperate climate, little rain but a lot of sun in the exposed area. I am leaning towards Armstrong Clark stain; would you say that this is the best option? Also, I would like the color a little more brown, any tint suggestions? And, lastly, the deck has been finished about 3 weeks, how much longer should it "weather"?

    • H.Robinson, best to let it weather for another month or two and prep first to remove the mill glaze. A deck cleaner will do this. AC would be a good choice. The Rustic Brown is a nice color for the AC.

  24. Heather says:

    Looking to use the Anderson Clark stain on our deck, mainly b/c of the "ease of application." I see a garden sprayer was used, did you dilute the stain? Did it clog the sprayer?

    • Heather, you never should dilute stains as this will ruin the formula. You can spray the AC through a higher quality pump sprayer. Make sure the sprayer has a \”fan\” tip. It does not clog the sprayer.

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