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Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Review4.39/5(3)

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

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:

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.

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306 Responses to “Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Review”

  1. Scott says:

    I've just installed a new poolside cedar deck in Ontario. From the comments on this site I'm sold on AC. But should I go with the Transparent Cedar or the Semi-transparent Cedar? Any comments on the pros and cons of each? Thanks much.

    • Semi-trans will hold color longer than transparents.

      • Scott says:

        Thanks DeckStainHelp! Another thought I had is to leave the cedar uncoated and simply clean/brighten it every spring — or even more often. Will that keep it at its natural light-reddish color, or will it turn grey anyway? Are there major downsides to doing it this way, other than maybe less-rich color?

    • charles says:

      scott, did you find a place to buy this in Ontario?

    • aventures says:

      Hi Scott, We just bought a cedar gazebo and are looking to buy the Armstrong Clark Wood semi-transparent stain but it seems that you cannot buy in Canada. Were you able to find a way to buy it in Canada or elsewhere? Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tim709 says:

    Built a new red cedar deck aprox. 2 months ago. I have learnt the importance of cleaning and wood brightening a deck before staining it thanks to this website. We will be buying the Defy cleaner and wood brightener for the prep work.
    We have decided on a semi transparent stain because we love the look of the wood grains but would also like to avoid the re application every year. We live in Southern Ontario with a southern exposed deck.
    Looking for your help with a deck colour, my wife and I like the rustic brown color but do not want an orange or yellow look. Are we making a mistake buy choosing this color? Any other suggestions? Would Defy be a better choice for our location?

  3. Gord says:

    We are getting warm sunny weather, followed by some rain every couple days. How long must the AC semi transparent, cure before it can withstand some rain. I guess I am asking if I apply early in the morning and we get some evening rain will it be OK? Can't seem to find this on the AC website.

  4. Rob says:

    Thought I would share my experience with Armstrong Clark Stain. We have a 20 year old house and one of our projects was to convert our cottage style front porch, complete with white picket railing, into a more modern looking front deck entry. Consequently, a mix of old wood and new construction along with very extreme temp ranges over 100 degrees to below zero with snow and ice. The products we had used previously were acrylic based and failed miserably.
    I called the 800 number on the Armstrong Clark website and the phone was answered immediately by Jake Clark, president of the company! We spent a good 10 minutes talking about my project and my home's location, which he was familiar with having visited our nearby resort. He finally said, " you know, I'm going to send you a box of samples so you can check out both the semi-transparent and the semi-solid along with some colors." And, true to his word, within a couple of days I got this box of samples in the mail. Just in testing colors I knew we would be thrilled with the product. I called back after my wife and I agreed on the best look and ordered a couple of gallons of semi-solid in Oxford Brown. Again, process and service over the phone was super easy and personal. The stain shipped out that very day and we had it 2 days later. I had been concerned about how messy a mail order of stain might turn out to be, but it was packed perfectly, arrived in great shape, super fast and at what I consider a good price. The stain went on very easily. I am really impressed with how much pigment is in the semi-solid. It really tied in the look of the old wood and new construction making a uniform appearance with a really rich look. The oils penetrated the wood and I look forward to seeing how much better this is going to last over the coming winter. In short, great company, great product, super service. I just could not be more pleased and have recommended them to friends and family.

  5. Bob says:

    Once opened and half used, how long can 5 gallon bucket be good for? Can I use it 2-3 years from the opening?

  6. Jeff Schroeder says:

    Just finishing up new redwood deck with doug fir posts/beams. I want to use the AC semi-transparent or transparent stain, and you indicated we should let the deck dry for 2-3 months with that product. That will be rainy season and winter up here in the mountains. (It is hot and dry now – no rain). Would it be ok to use the AC stain after a month of drying to beat the rains, or should I let the deck weather thru the winter? A contractor told me it would damage the wood to let it go thru the winter w/o stain. Appreciate your thoughts on it. Thanks for a great website!

  7. Joe says:

    We. Live in central Michigan and have 2, 7 year old ceder decks that have never had anything on them. I power washed it last week and it looks good. Do we have to use a brightner? The decks are stacked and on the west side of the house so we have both lots of sun and partial shade. What stain would you recommend?

  8. Byn says:

    We just had a cedar privacy fence installed and are considering whether to stain or let it weather naturally. I like the look of stain but am uncertain about committing to the upkeep and maintenance required if we stain… Comments/ suggestions welcome. I personally am leaning towards staining as this fence was an investment and I'd like to increase its longevity. I need some guidance regarding when to apply stain, what application method to use( brush, sprayer, etc), and whether transparent, semi-transparent, or solid provide the best protection- especially from long, harsh winters and high winds. We live in Sioux Falls, SD and our fence receives full sun and partial shade. I do like the look of wood grain showing through as much as possible, but would probably opt for the best protection over aesthetic if it came down to it. Finally, a main consideration is when to apply the stain. The fence was installed in mid August- does the fence need to 'sit' a while before being stained, and if so, for how long? The winter here starts early ( I hope we make it to November with no snow), and temps could definitely be freezing by then. I want to compromise the stain by applying in suboptimal conditions, by applying too soon, or waiting too long. We can wait until next Spring to stain, but I'd be concerned about exposing the untreated fence to a long Sioux Falls winter. Or is this not a concern? Also, how long do I need to wait to apply stain after a rain? I appreciate your help- this is a great site.

    • Staining a fence is good for the wood and fence stains will last 4-6 years with a good quality product. Most fence wood is rough sawn and that means it can be stained right away. If so go ahead and stain now with the TWP 1500 Series for this.

  9. Tanya says:

    We applied AC semi-transparent cedar to our old deck 4 days ago. Deck was sanded first to remove all old stain, then prepped with RAD cleaner/brightener. We applied really thin layer, and it was dry to touch within 10 min. There was no rain since the application – basically the ideal weather.
    But the whole deck is still leaves reddish marks our hands or rags. I would expect the oils to be fully absorbed by now, but it's not the case.

    Is there anything we can do now other than wiping the whole deck? It's about 500 sq.ft to deal with.

    Thanks for any tip!

  10. Peg says:

    We have a 3 story apartment building near downtown Chicago. The back porches are made of pressure treated wood and are located on the north side of the building. They were built 27 years ago and have not been treated since. We want to power wash, stain and seal them. Can you tell me the products and steps you would recommend?

  11. colin says:

    Can you place another coat of stain on a cedar deck one week after the first application. There is one area that seems a little lighter than the rest of the deck. This area was applied while the sun was on it. thanks

  12. Karen says:

    I live in Seattle (North Capitol Hill/ Montlake/ Arboretum area), and I have 2 samples of TWP and 2 samples of Armstrong-Clark Deck stain, if anyone wants them-FREE (I ordered these for testing and only used them once). I have:

    Armstrong-Clark RedWood Tone
    Armstrong-Clark Semi-Transparent Sierra Redwood

    Just call Karen at 206-328-4047 if you want to come by and pick up these samples.

    • iraseigel says:

      Karen – Bainbridge Island here. I'm considering the Armstrong-Clark Redwood because vs TWP it says it requires only 1 coat, which is a huge difference in labor and time. And I've been SO disappointed in the Home Depot and Lowe's products (Behr in particular, which gets the top rating on Consumer Reports). Would you care to share any thoughts on your comparisons between the products you've tried?

  13. Kirsten says:

    Looking for help with color choice for cedar deck. I'd like to mimic the look of a mahogany deck. Tried samples of TWP. Rustic was too red and I wasn't happy with Pecan either. Would Armstrong Clark Mahogany be a good choice?

    • You cannot get cedar to look like Mahogany wood. Maybe somewhat close. You would need to start mixing colors. A combination of Rustic Brown and Mahogany might work.

    • Kirsten says:

      Thanks for your help. I'm still struggling about which stain would be best. Considering TWP, AC and Defy. The cedar deck is sanded to 100 grit which I'm now worried will make penetration more difficult. I will not be able to re-sand to 60 grit before the rainy starts. I have spent countless hours hand sanding and never want to have to do that again so picking the best stain possible is very important. Mold is a big issue as the deck will have lots of rain over the majority of the year. I also want to be able to reapply easily every 1-2 years. What do you suggest? Do I really need to re-sand? should I leave the wood untreated till next summer and then sand to 60 again?

      • Try washing lightly with a deck cleaner and a pressure wash rinse. This will remove any sand dust and swell the wood grain for better penetration. For deck with mold issues, look at the Defy or TWP 100 Series. TWP is a little easier to reapply in the future.

  14. Roy Pakett says:

    I have used Armstrong Clark for the past two years and am NOT very happy with it. My deck is in direct sunlight and have a major problem with mold and mildew. The deck turned almost black which gets on our feet and is tracked in to our house. We had little rain or humidity this season in the Northeast (Long Island) so I am very surprised at the poor results. I will clean it in the spring and find another brand.

    • Sorry to hear as we never had this issue on 100\’s of decks we have used AC on. If the mold is on top of the stain as you say (tracks into house) then nothing can stop this from occurring. Stains can prevent mold from growing in the stain but no deck stain on the market will stop mold from laying on top of it. Mold con grow on top of any surface. Most likely you will continue to have a similar issue when you switch brands as it may be related to your particular weather or a pollinating tree nearby. Pollen seems to be the number one cause of mold growth.

    • infinitequery says:

      I purchased two 5 gallon cans of this product based on recommendation of someone at this site and only used 1- 5 gallon can so spent twice as much as needed. Now this product is looking awful. It went on beautifully and looked OK but very dull for 10 months or so but now it seems to be very patchy. We were disappointed at how dull and lifeless it made the deck look and this new issue is depressing. I don't understand how a product that worked so well for most users is failing so abysmally for our 1000 ft. of decking.

      • Looking at your old comments it seems that you had Behr on the wood previously and you had trouble getting it all off? Usually prep is the number one reason for failure.
        You also mentioned that the AC was dull? AC is a penetrating stain and does not have a shine. This is normal for decking stains.

  15. Stuart says:

    We have a 9 year old pressure treated deck, which has been stained 2 or 3 times over its life, which I just sanded to bare wood and then applied armstrong clark amber stain. I am not liking the result so much…the color of the deck actually looks slightly greenish (through the amber color) in the sun. Worse than that, the deck boards actually turn very green when they are wet. Definitely not what I was hoping for. So, my question is how can I fix this? I suppose that I could sand the deck again…but how challenging is that going to be given that the AC stain is "penetrating"? Alternatively, how difficult would it be strip the stain at this point given that it has been on the deck for only a week? Or, could I try applying a different, more opaque, AC stain on top of the existing stain…? If I wanted to try this last option, how long should I wait until I give it a shot? Thanks…

    • You can strip the Amber AC with no issues with a product like the Restore A Deck Stripper. Brighten when done. I would not apply a semi-solid AC on top. Not sure what would make it green as there is not green tint in the AC products. Can you post a picture in our forum?

  16. Brian Mulkerne says:

    Excellent stain! Very smooth consistency and the blend of oils was quickly absorbed into our ten year old deck. We selected mahogany and the color was perfect for what we wanted. Unfortunately I underestimated how much we would need, but their delivery was quick and convenient. I also am very appreciative of the information available on this site as it helped me to learn about st6ain and choose the best one for my needs.

  17. william says:

    I stained my new cedar deck 3 days ago and the weather has been fine but it still feels sticky now. I used Armstrong Clark semi-transparent (amber). Is it because I applied too much? I can wipe off some areas with a rag. Should I remove it with mineral spirits as suggested by someone online? Really need help here!!! Thanks a lot.

  18. Nicolas says:

    The cost estimates don’t include shipping, which are relevant since the products can’t be bought locally.

  19. Jackman says:

    I have 4 month old 14" x 25" wood deck. I live in central Virginia. What stain do you recommend? I'm going to wait until next March/April to do any staining.


  20. Brad says:

    I have a very old Redwood deck in California Sierra foothills (full sun, snow). It was last treated with Armstrong's Weather Shield – Clear about 6 years ago. It has held up fairly well, but definitely in need of stain. Does it matter which AC product I use now (and then for subsequent stainings)? Do I merely need to clean and brighten?

  21. Brad says:

    Actually, a second question tagging onto my prior…the previous product was 350 VOC, is the newer 250 VOCs equally as effective, or would it be better to acquire one with a higher VOC (which I could do in neighboring Nevada, I believe)?

    • Armstrong Clark only has one version of VOC and it is currently 100 VOC and compliant everywhere. They switched to the current formula a couple of years ago and we did not see any difference in performance or application. Prep with a deck cleaner and would brightener will work for reapplying.

      • Brad says:

        Thanks…after doing a little more research, I believe the contractor who did the job 6 yrs ago used Sikkens Cetol SRD – Cedar (VOC <550). There still are some areas with residual stain, especially on front porch railings. Would I need to strip that or just prep as mentioned?

  22. Guus says:

    I live in Northern Virginia and just stained our deck with Armstrong Clark transparent. This after several weekends of flipping old boards, sanding, Restore-A-Deck and power washing. It's been fun!

    Should I put a second coat of the stain before the winter?

  23. J Freburger says:

    The very best stain I have ever used and I have just about tried them all. I am now an Armstrong-Clark fan forever! Easy to apply and coverage was great. Looks awesome and is standing up to the wear and tear of snow shoveling. (I live in Maine) A little pricey but you only get what you pay for, and this stain is well worth it.

  24. Ellen says:

    We have a commercial passenger boat decked with Douglas Fir. We've just done work on the decks, adding new caulking between the boards and sanding the boards down, replacing those areas that had rot or large splinters. This is used on the Chesapeake Bay with heavy foot traffic for 7 months. We don't have time to allow a complete refinish since we're busy when the weather is nice. So, what deck sealer/stain would be best where we can touch up as needed and not have to do a strip down in the middle or late in the season? We'd need the product to be quick drying and ready for traffic within 2 days of applying or touch up. We also wash the decks down with fresh water daily after use (using Simple Green). We've had bad experiences with all kinds of products and have let these decks turn silver gray and thus have needed these repairs. Penofin was bad. Flood's deck product was bad. And there were more. Will A-C be the best choice in semi-transparent?

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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.