Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Review 4.8/5 (9)

by Deck Stain Help

Update 2019 for Armstrong Clark Hardwood Stain Reviews

Our customers who have used Armstrong Clark hardwood deck stain continue to be satisfied by the appearance and longevity of their deck stain projects. If you have used Armstrong Clark hardwood deck stain, we appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below and pictures of your completed projects if you have them. Any other questions on using Armstrong Clark, just ask below.


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 repels 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 than 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 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 Armstrong still had a decent amount of color. See the 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 wear 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: 8

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

The Difficulty of Reapplication: 9

– 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: ArmstrongClarkStain.com
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 Year
Stain Color Used:
Mahogany

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


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

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George
George

Wow….there’s a ton of info here, and elsewhere, much conflicting, on protecting IPE decking. I’m finishing an IPE deck in California foothills at 3100 foot elevation: it’s 600 square feet: it gets 100 degrees in summer, everyday for three months, and it gets a number of hours of direct sun. In fall and winter, lots of rain and even snow in winter.

I’ve read you should not sand IPE more than absolutely necessary.

I’ve read that Flood CWF Hardwoods, a water based sealer, held up better at the 1 year timeline than many oil based sealers in a test, as far as protecting from fading/greying. Your thoughts on this?

Aslo, it was said that the Flood CWF is easier to re-coat the following year, as you just clean with a “rewoodenate” product, pressure wash, and then re-coat with the CWF Hardwoods. And the water based sealer can be recoated immediately when wet.

I don’t want to have to strip any coating off my deck in the future, so I like the idea of waterbased sealers. So what are your thoughts on this? And is your recommending Armstrong Clark have anything to do with what you sell?

Mark
Mark

We used Armstrong Clark products to remove the previous wood stain and coating from our EPI wood steps for our Hot Tub. Once the steps were clean, sanded with 60 grit, and completely dry we applied Armstrong Clark Mahogany oil stain. The Risers are a dark rich Mahogany color, while the top of the Steps have an orange hew. We prefer the dark rich Mahogany color. Should we apply a second coat? See attached pictures. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Amy
Amy

We used Penofin on our IPE deck last year, and we were not happy with initial color and now it is faded back to a light brown/grey. We have a lot of Penofin cleaner and brighter left. Can we use that to clean/brighten then use Armstrong Clark stain or Messmers for hardwood?

Leah
Leah

We just finished building our deck in Red Balau. We live in Vermont and I am wondering which sealant is best. We want the natural wood color to show through, but to have good UV protectant. I know there is a difference between exotic hard woods and other wood so which would you recommend?

Sydney
Sydney

Installed 2×4 ipe tiles few weeks ago in Montreal Canada, supposedly they’re raw but top grade from Bolivia.
The installed picture is after a rain and i love that color but it reverts back to natural after it dries.
Now the more sites i read the more contradictory information I get on how to get that color and whether i should’ve applied it before exposing it to the rain and sun (I’m afraid i already see some splitting/checking i didn’t see beforehand)
Any advice i should do at this point to avoid more checking and get that nice color?

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dwymore
dwymore

Deck Stain Help

Hi .. I inquired on your site on May 22, 2018 about a southeast facing IPE deck in LA area w direct sun and summer heat. I had been using AC Mahogany but inquired if there was anything that lasted beyond 9 months. The advice was to use the restore a deck cleaner and brightener instead of sanding as the prep.
We did all this per instructions and then reapplied the semi transparent AC-M 2 days ago. It looks very blotchy and uneven . In some places the stain appears to have not adhered . There is no lustrousness to the stain. My painter says “I told you I should have sanded”.
Last displayed Photo 4 ..(761)is the old stain applied in 2014 with a rich look that rivals some of the pictures on your site .
Photos 1,2,3 are of the deck which was stained 2 days ago w pads and wiping off the excess after restore a deck cleaner and brightener was applied a week earlier ..
Do you have any comment why it does not look like your pictures of an AC-Mahogany stain ?….or for that matter even my pictures of my deck years ago with the same stain with sanded prep?
Thx so much for your site and feedback
DWymore

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Jared Wick
Jared Wick

You have a wonderful site. I have thoroughly enjoyed and learned tremendously from you. Refinishing ipe deck on bald head island off coast of NC. Any particular product work better surrounded by the ocean?

Steve
Steve

Can I use this over a Penofin stained deck? Context: just finished building and staining our brand new deck. Let my kid play on it with water and I’m already seeing grey stains in places where water has sat drying in the sun. Reading your review, I’m horrified what it will look like by summer’s end. Is it possible to do a second coat in a different oil-based stain to avoid the darkening and fading Penofin?

Greg Thompson
Greg Thompson

I have multiple sets of Jensen Leisure Ipe furniture . After using Jensen’s water based protectant several times, they have discontinued and are recommending Penofin Verde for protectant. Penofin is stating that all of the previous water-based Jensen product must be stripped. With 18 pieces this will take me months!!! Any advise on a protectant that I might be able to use that would compatible to use over the Jensen product??

GuyM
GuyM

i used the 3 part restore a deck products to strip brighten and stain my ipe railings last year. this year i attempted to clean my railings and the stain came off. I am very disapp0inted. I thought the restore a deck products were supposed to be top rated. I followed the process as described on this site. What happened?

Mark Danay
Mark Danay

I have had a IPE deck for quite a few years and have tried several products. In my opinion … Penofin looks by far the best and looks like furniture when you’re done. 3 months later its 50% gone. If you have nothing to do but stain your deck ever other month, great stuff. I used the regular Defy not realizing my retailer didn’t give me the hardwood stuff. Looked great for one year, ok the 2nd and probably would have looked great again had I done a maintenance coat. Next I tried the actual Defy hardwood product. Definitely didn’t last nearly as long as the regular stuff. Wanting something that could maybe last 3 years I tried this Armstrong oil based on the product reviews. This was the worse. It isn’t very semi, more of a solid which is fine but the stuff never drys and yes I did thoroughly mix it first. 3 months later using a garden hose to wash the deck off you are literally watching your sealant wash off too. Even walking on it 3 months later your white socks will turn red. This year I am back to Defy. Fortunately what is left of the Armstrong oil base comes off pretty easy.

Justi
Justi

How does the color compare to Messmer’s MH-500? Is it lighter or darker?

Donald Hiorth
Donald Hiorth

I am installing a tigerwood deck this summer. I was under the impression that you should not use a stain on the exotic woods, just a penetrating oil. This appears to be a stain, not an oil. So now I am a bit confused as to why you recommend it. Please explain.

Scott Matson
Scott Matson

I also have anther huge new ipe deck. Because of my bad experience on my first deck, I have let the new deck grey. At two years in the color is starting to darken.

Should I clean/brighten and try the Armstrong Clark? The house siding is cedar, so I don’t want to stain it with the deck treatment.

What is the recommended treatment for an untreated deck two years in?

Scott Matson
Scott Matson

Here is a pic of the current condition of the wood.

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Scott Matson
Scott Matson

I have a 450 sq ft ipe deck. Like many here I was using Penofin with great initial results, but quickly darkening, ruining the whole affect. Over the last 4-5 years I have just let it go.

This year I decided to try again. I power washed it gently and it looks pretty natural at this point. I’m going to try the Armstrong Clark Mahogany.

Do I need to use Restore-A-Deck and brighter on the freshly power-washed surface?

Thanks for the help. Great website.

Scott

Gary
Gary

Did the same thing in the past and you most definitely need to clean and brighten check out DIY tips on cleaning. I have had such good luck with this product that I called the company to rave about it and and one of the owners actually called me and thanked me.

Jim Miller
Jim Miller

I hired a company to build a large deck made of tiger wood (2000sq feet). They installed it during the winter months(Nebraska). They stained it in April with TWP. They did a sloppy job and the wood faded in a couple of months. They came back and cleaned the deck and stained it with Behr penetrating oil. Again the deck fade in a couple of months. Help. I don’t know if I can get the contractor to do it a third time but I felt all along they were using the wrong product. Now what?

Frank Lazcos
Frank Lazcos

I have a Cumaru deck that was oiled with IPE oil and it last 3-5 months so I am getting tired of re-coating it. Can I go over the oil when it fades a bit again with this product and use the same product for another section that has PT 2×6 lumber?

Laura
Laura

We just installed an Ipe deck inside our screen porch that is quite shaded, except for some outside steps. We would like to keep the natural deep reddish brown color of the Ipe. It should like AC Hardwood stain might be the way to go on this covered space. What color is most “natural” for Ipe? Also, is there any reason to go for Defy instead? And would you use a different product on the outside steps and handrail? We are hoping to get more than one year on the shady porch and just re-do the outside Ipe annually. Also, I presume we would need to clean the mill finish from the wood first? Thank you!

Dan
Dan

I have a 20 year old Ipe deck. I have periodically kept up with the staining. Every few years I have invested the time and energy into a full power washing and reapplication of Penofin. I love the richness of the color after the application, but it fades so quickly that I get discouraged. That is why I haven’t really kept it up on an annual basis. Too much work in a coastal New Eng environment. I have over 400′ of decking and a shower stall with about 500 sq ft of wall or 1000 sf ft of surface. So it is quite a project. (btw… no checked or warped boards after 20 years!)

But as I read this q&A thread and more about AC it sounds as if an annual application. I am considering a full power wash again this year and if the AC is as good as it sounds, next year with a good deck cleaning, I should be able to reapply the AC mahogany and refresh the finish??

I’d like to hear from those who reapply AC annually and their results. Does the rich hue jump out? Is AC the way to go?

Steven Alpert
Steven Alpert

I have Ipe patio furniture and I have used Penofin Verde in the past. I find that, in the Florida sun, it fades very fast, with most of the color gone in 3 months, and gray again in a year. It’s a lot of detail work to prepare and stain furniture, so I’d like the color to last longer. Would Penofin Hardwood formula work better than Penofin Verde? Or would I be better off switching to Armstrong Clark or Deckwise IPE Oil?

Perry
Perry

I have a large Tigerwood deck and have previously used IPE Oil. I love the look with the IPE Oil but it did not last a full year and the application process is tedious with all the wiping of the excess to avoid sticky spots. I would like to switch to AC as it seems to last a little longer and is easier to apply. Would the AC hardwood stain in Mahogany be appropriate for Tigerwood?

CWH
CWH

I have heard you should finish all 4 sides of wood planks prior to installation and by some that you should let the wood weather 6-8 weeks before refinishing. Which is correct?

Steve
Steve

New Ipe dock installed in South Carolina a month ago and would like to stain. Based on what I have read on this site, AC in Amber might provide the closest to natural color of the Ipe. Will Amber by itself provide the best color retention over the next year or should I mix with mahogany to get more pigment? My builder and local paint store have also warned against pressure washing as that potentially can raise the wood fibers. Advised to use a brush with cleaner and then light water pressure to rinse. With relative newness of dock, what cleaner should I use before staining?

John
John

Hello, i am working on restoring a large white oak picnic table for a client of mine. It has been treated with various stains over the last 6 or 7 years and none have lasted longer than 2-3 months. I am going to be replacing the table top and bench tops with new boards here in the next week or two and am trying to find the best stain i can to put on it, fully understanding that nothing is going to last forever and i will probably have to retreat the flat surfaces at least once a year. Mainly looking for best bang for the buck and ease of
re-applications over time. Any help/advice would be appreciated for the White Oak.

wizodd
wizodd

I am working a deck which was last finished around 1978 in a dark red oil paint which has worn off in high traffic areas, but is well bonded over ~50% of the deck. The deck itself is constructed out of 2″x4″ softwood (pine/fir.)

I just want to cover it & have it more even in color. Normally I’d hunt down the same oil paint, but they’re gone extinct.

Can this hardwood stain work on my circumstance?

Terry Blakely
Terry Blakely

What deck cleaner do you recommend for IPE when using the Armstrong Clark stain? Thank you!

edebruin
edebruin

I am going to apply the AC stain on my IPE deck. What happens next year when it has faded off in areas? do I have to clean the whole deck to get it all gray, or if I stain again without removing the old stain will it be blotchy?

robert ames
robert ames

Hello Deck Stain (and everyone),

Great site.

I am having a brand new deck/fence installed in Long Island, NY and am carefully reading reviews of stains.

The new wood I am installing is Meranti Mahogany from Speonk Lumber.

It seems from this site Armstrong Clark Hardwood stain is the way to go. A few questions, can I apply the stain to the brand new mahogany right after it’s installed? The Lumber Mill says the Meranti Mahogany is properly air dried and the wood can have stain applied without sanding…

Also, can somebody post pictures of the Amber and Mahogany colors of the AC Hardwood Stains..? I am not sure which will look better or a combination of the two. The portion of deck/fence I am installing is large, approx. 5,500 sq ft in the Hamptons, so I don’t want to screw it up as it is costing an arm and a leg.

Thanks!

Rob

Glenn
Glenn

We used Armstrong in Mahogany 3 years ago and it has lasted quite well but it’s time to make it beautiful again. We plan to use the same stain, so is there anything we need to specifically do besides cleaning the deck and then re-staining?

Christie
Christie

We have a Brizilian teak deck that is exposed to the elements as we live in Minnesota. What would you recommend as a good stain to use? We have tried the Penofin but it doesn’t seem to hold up very well.

Jan
Jan

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)?

Steve
Steve

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?

SLee
SLee

Hi,
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.

BobRad
BobRad

Hi,

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?

Thanks!

lizz
lizz

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?

Kevin
Kevin

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!

Lucia
Lucia

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?

Matthew Nowinski
Matthew Nowinski

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

Greg
Greg

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!

David
David

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?

James
James

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?

Jamie
Jamie

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??

Max
Max

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?

Carol
Carol

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!

Coach Mac
Coach Mac

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.

Tolga
Tolga

Coach Mac, Can you post a picture?

jjh guest
jjh guest

cleaner not stripper

Karen Sherman
Karen Sherman

I also would LOVE to see a picture! That's what I think I'm going to do too — combine the Amber with the Mahagony to soften the red tone. Thank you!

Coach Mac
Coach Mac

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!

Rachel
Rachel

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!

Cammy
Cammy

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
Cam

sfsurfer
sfsurfer

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.