Armstrong Clark Stain Review 2024  4.5/5 (21)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Reviews 2024

Here at DeckStainHelp.com we take pride in the fact that we have become the Internet’s number one reference for exterior wood deck restoration topics. Our customers who have used Armstrong Clark wood deck stain continue to be satisfied by the appearance and longevity of their deck stain projects. If you have used Armstrong Clark wood deck stain, we appreciate your input, so feel free to leave a comment below and pictures of your completed projects if you have them.


Armstrong Clark Deck Stain Review

Armstrong Clark Deck Stain

Armstrong Clark Stain RatingImportant Note: This is our 2nd Review of Armstrong Clark Stain.

See Here for First Review: Armstrong Clark Stain Review

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 has nondrying conditioning oils that separate from the drying side of the formula. These oils penetrate deep into the wood fiber where the wood’s natural oils used to be.

This process rejuvenates the wood. The drying oils stay at the surface, lock in the conditioning oils and create a dry to the touch barrier. Armstrong’s formulas also contain vegetable oils, transparent oxide pigments, water repellents, mildewcide, and solvents.

Armstrong Clark Stain Ratings (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 9

– We used the Rustic Brown color for our deck. We have used this color many times and really like the look of this. It is mostly brown with a hint of red when applied. Very even appearance after full drying.

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain Photos

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 8

– We used a semi-transparent color for our second test of the Armstrong Clark. In the first test (2010) we used Mountain Cedar which is a semi-solid color. The Rustic Brown did well but the UV protection was a little less. This is normal for semi-solid colors to have better UV protection and is not related to Armstrong.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

– Armstrong Clark showed no signs of peeling. Slight wearing in the high-traffic areas. Overall AC penetrates deep into the wood grain so peeling was not expected.

Cost Per Square Foot: 9

– Armstrong Clark sells at $49.99 for semi-transparent colors. The coverage rate for AC is better than most brands. We used two gallons for 2 coats on the 300 sq. foot deck. AC suggests only one coat but we like to apply two coats to older decking.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 7

– We had minor issues with black mold on the stain. This was mostly on the top of the bench surrounding the deck.

Ease of Application: 9

– We love the way that Armstrong applies. Being that it is a hybrid of both curing and non-drying oils, it is easier than most for the application. In general, the easiest stains to apply will be the ones that contain all non-drying oils. The issue we have found is that these stains types (Ready Seal and Timber Oil Brand) will not fully dry or cure at the surface resulting in a non “seal” of the exposed wood. We tested our application at 90 degrees in the full sun and it still dried evenly. We used a deck stain pad for application.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 8

– The AC does not darken in color from UV. It fades through the years. The only darkening was the small amount of mold on the bench.

The Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

– Cleaning with a deck cleaner and light pressure washing will be all that is needed for another coat.

Overall Score Armstrong Clark Stain at 2-Year Period: 8.25

– Armstrong Clark has been one of our tops stains to apply for the past 6 years. We really enjoy the way it applies and the ease of application. The coverage rate is excellent as well. Our customers who have tried the Armstrong Clark have stayed with the brand when it was time to reapply.

Product Information:

More InfoArmstrong Clark Stain
Cost: $46.99 per Gallon, $249.99 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:

Deck Wood Type: Cedar Decking
Deck Square Footage: 300
UV Exposure: Full Sun
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 
 Semi-Transparent Rustic Brown

*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.


Armstrong Clark Wood Deck Stain Review Video

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

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

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Rose
Rose
1 year ago

Used AC on my covered porch 2 yrs ago. Has darkened near outside edges. Can I just clean, brighten, and re-apply a stain? Do I have to use AC again or can I switch?

Chuck Paine
Chuck Paine
2 years ago

I used TWP on my red cedar fence, and it darkened to a dingy brown after a few years. Will Armstrong Clark last better without darkening?

Karen
Karen
2 years ago

What is the best stain for a 2 year old cedar deck in Texas that had Thompsons sealant applied when new?

Karen
Karen
2 years ago

I’m ready to order the AC Mountain Cedar Semi-solid stain. I scrubbed the 13 mo. old treated pine deck (1500 sf) about 2 months ago. Do I need to reclean and brighten? How important is the RAD Brightener that corrects the wood PH? We live in central Texas so it’s humid and hot and the wood dries out quickly.

Karen
Karen
2 years ago

Will you please confirm I need to clean and brighten again, even though I did so 2 months ago?

Bob
Bob
12 days ago

How long can I wait from cleaning to staining?’ I’m finding it hard to find a contractor to do cleaning and staining and gaps between each can be 2 weeks (at best). TIA

judith harvey
judith harvey
2 years ago

Planning on using AC semi solid Oxford for my railings and stairs that are cedar. How should we maintain the stain. We live on Long Island/NY and our village is on the bay. Lightly power wash 1 or 2xs/year? Thank you for any suggestions. Judy

Joe
Joe
3 years ago

Hi, I have been trudging through the numerous reviews trying to identify the best way to preserve the color and hard work of the garden arbor I just built. It is 100% cedar and the Colorado sun can be brutal very quickly. I just finished it and I want to seal/stain it before it starts to gray. What do you recommend fo the strong sun? Flood CWF? If so, which one? Or a TWP natural tone? My impression was that the oil-based was better for durability and weather protection. I was originally looking at the Cabot Australian Timber Oil but based on your site, I am reconsidering. Any information is helpful. Thanks!

Joe
Joe
3 years ago

Thanks! I forgot to add that it was all reclaimed wood that was sanded for the arbor. Does that change your recommendation?

melanie bancheri
melanie bancheri
4 years ago

I live in NW New Jersey and have a 17-year-old mahogany deck. The deck gets full sun for most of the day, up until about 3:00 in afternoon. We have used a few different products over the years but nothing has really given us more than a year of good coverage. Right now the deck has a lot of splintering, peeling (of old finish) and rotting. We are replacing the rotted boards currently. Recently saw your website — and want to get your advice on restoring this deck properly. My contractor wants to use Sikkens Cerol. Your thoughts please. Thank you!

Michael Bell
Michael Bell
5 years ago

I live on a floating home in Portland OR and used this on a new cedar deck after 9 months of natural weathering. I used a cleaner and brightener before staining. I looked at all the reviews, Defy, beher, TWP etc etc. I choose AC for its oil base and ease stated ease of use and future staining. I am very happy with the choice. I used a semi trans and it looks awesome. Very easy to apply with a roller, took about 3 hours for it start drying which I like knowing it was getting into the pores of the wood. Next day it was dry. I highly recommend AC for your deck.

Corinne Ashe
Corinne Ashe
5 years ago

Is it slippery in winter

Ted Hebert
Ted Hebert
6 years ago

what is the best rated clear stain for a Mahogany deck? thank you,

ted

sunshineman6869
sunshineman6869
4 years ago

Excuse me for cutting into this post, but are telling this person that if he uses a “clear” AC product that has no tint, he will not get any UV protection? I am a newbie here, but I have not seen that in the reading I have these past 3 months.
This is a real question I have, please answer

deeMatrix
deeMatrix
6 years ago

Excellent site and info. I am in NJ and have a 20 year old 475 sq ft PT pine deck that had Behr Premium solid stain on it that after several solid stain layers over the years started to peel so recently drum sanded down decking to bare wood which looks great. Going for a two-tone deck now so am looking at AC semi-transparent natural oak or rustic brown. I would do the Deck Restore clean and brighten first as recommended and then my questions are:

1.) looking at the decking at night with overhead lighting (not apparent during daylight) notice some slight variation paths where used drum sander cross grain since some boards were slightly cupped so curious if I first need to vibrate finish sand entire deck to ensure all gone otherwise would show up through the AC semi stain?

2.) being that the decking is 20+ years old but in really good shape would I need to do two (wet-on-wet) coats or just one for now and then second coat next spring?

3.) Being that I had to completely drum-sanded deck surface to remove solid stain do I need to wait before staining?

Thanks in advance for your sage advice.

deeMatrix
deeMatrix
6 years ago

Thanks for input. Having second thoughts about whether to go AC semi or perhaps keep with solid stain for decking and go with Flood Pro.

I spoke to a Flood tech and he indicated if we do go solid since I already sanded decking with a drum sander and belt sanded the board edges near railings that I likely have a glaze on surface making it harder for their acrylic stain to adhere to.

So he recommended to help avoid future peeling concerns to clean the deck now to remove any mold/contaminants that may have gotten pushed down into wood with prior sanding efforts in getting Behr solid stain off. He indicated he would then sand decking again with an oscillating or pole sander at 60 grit (80 grit could be used but on edge of what he would ever recommend) which would get rid of any glaze and to then stain right after that final sanding with 2 coats of their Flood Pro at least 4 hours apart.

In reading the info on this site about sanding/cleaning it always mentions to clean after sanding to open pores. Confused, any input?

S.G
S.G
6 years ago

We have a mix of old (20 years) and new pressure treated wood to stain. Deck gets some sun during certain hours, but near a tree line so more shade (half of it is in an enclosed porch if that matters). I would like to complete the staining by the end of summer if possible, including on the new wood. Armstrong site implies that their stain can be applied to new wood in a month or two, but there are no local retailers for Armstrong (or TWP ) near us in Northern Virginia.

Can you recommend some other stains that are more widely available? I can find Flood and Ready Seal and some others from the well known paint and big box stores – would these work well as well, especially considering the new wood, shade and timing aspects noted before?

Thank you.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

Brand new deck. Atlanta GA, full sun. Built from PT SYP. 400 sqft. No prior stain.

Lauralee
Lauralee
7 years ago

Where do I buy Armstrong stain?

Jerome Bakken
Jerome Bakken
7 years ago

On the product description it said that: "Wood must be at least 1 year old before applying Armstrong-Clark's semi-solid colors."
Is that also the case with the semi-transparent colors?

Eric
Eric
7 years ago

I have a 3year old IPE deck that I was previously oiling with Penofin Marine. I recently stripped and brightened the deck with restore a deck products before applying Armstrong Clark Amber hardwood stain. I'm concerned with how the product is looking only a week after application. It seems a bit splotchy in areas and it seems many of the boards are starting to lose the stain color already.
I applied the stain using a 3" brush.
I have pictures if you'd like me to send them to you.
Thanks!

Eric
Eric
7 years ago

I'm not sure how to post a picture in this forum.
How much square footage should I get per gallon of AC Hardwood on an IPE deck? At this point, should I re-strip/brighten, sand and reapply AC?
Thanks!

Ron
Ron
7 years ago
Reply to  Eric

I had mediocre result with AC IPE Stain, just a year ago. My entry is nearly six years old, the first 4-5 years of which Messmer's was used, so I wanted to try AC based on stated reviews. I stripped and brightened and followed application direction. Looked good at first. Only the occasional UPS guy and rare solicitors use the deck in addition to the daily mail delivery/retrieve use. I will try to post before-and-now pics on the form, for you to get a sense of what I'm talking about. I would say the product performed poorly on wear and tear. It's also obvious that a bit of water dripping from the gutter onto the finish, is not a good thing either. I'm in a very mild climate in San Francisco Bay Area, my rating in a word: disappointed. I will try the Superdeck Exotic Wood Stain and see how it goes. Advice: resign yourself to doing this annually for your IPE, if you want the look you know you want, regardless of product and their claims!

Pam
Pam
7 years ago

can I use ac over cabots? its been 4 years when I applied cabots semi solid oil stain

Deena
Deena
7 years ago

We have just sanded our deck. What would be the next step before applying the stain?

Bart O'Sullivan
Bart O'Sullivan
7 years ago

I'm about to use a floor sander on our Ipe Deck. Why would I still need to clean and use a brightener if I'm down to clean bare wood? The five year old deck has never been treated with anything and I used counter sunk stainless steel screws with plugs so the sander should do a great job. All the boards are still as straight as the day they were put down, but a few boards have cupped some and the floor sander is my only option for evenly flattening the boards.
Thanks

Shortstroke61
Shortstroke61
7 years ago

What is the best stain for a Yellawood deck in South Carolina?

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

Love your site!!!!!!! We have a 960sf deck new ( 2 years old ) and 1000' of dock and pier (10 years old) in the Charlotte, NC area. Both are pressure treated pine. Used Sikkens cedar on our dock and pier at our old house. Looked beautiful the first year, but was a bit too orange for me and didn't look nearly as good the following year. For this new project I am looking for a stain that is brown (not too dark) but don't want orange. Looks like AC rustic brown might be a good choice. What are your recommendation for PT pine semi-transparent stain that has a nice brown tone without being orange?

Here is a link to pictures of the deck, dock, and pier: https://www.behance.net/gallery/30791815/Mooresvi

Jim
Jim
8 years ago

I have a 4 yr old mahogany deck in full sun in DC. First stained it with Sikkens Cetol Dek Finish (2 coat system). Looked good after one year, but started to dis-color badly after two years … so I sanded the deck back to bare wood and tried a coat of Penofin Hardwood stain. Bad idea! After four months the deck's color had darkened significantly and after one year it was nearly black. Recently sanded the deck back to bare wood again, so my choice now is to try yet another stain (maybe the TWP stain you recommend) or simply do nothing and let the wood go through its natural greying process. Any thoughts?

Cathy
Cathy
8 years ago

Great info!
Put a small PT pine deck last fall. Partial shade area in western NY.
Looking at the Armstrong ( color) just need a second opinion.

Kendall
Kendall
8 years ago

I have a 25 year old deck. It is actually in pretty good shape. I am power washing and scrubbing it now. I am shocked at how good it looks. My question is; due to the wood being very dry, will I need to use a lot more stain because it is going to suck it up? I do intend to use 2 coats. I am unclear if this is a stain and waterproofing product also? I am going to use a semi-transparent. Deck is in full afternoon sun, faces west. There is a lot of mold that I am scrubbing off, if that matters.

Tad
Tad
8 years ago

I applied the Armstrong Clark Stain (Transparent Natural) to a new cedar fence in June 2014 and two years later I am underwhelmed by the appearance of the sections that are exposed to the sun.

Do you have any suggestions as to whether this is typical for this stain and timeframe? Can I restore the exposed sections without completely stripping and starting from scratch?

Thanks

Tad
Tad
8 years ago

Thanks, do I need to both clean and brighten ie the Restore-a-deck kit?

Tad
Tad
8 years ago
Reply to  Tad

I'm also wondering how Cedar Transparent or Cedar Semi-Transparent would look next to the Transparent Natural panels that don't need cleaning.

Albert
Albert
8 years ago
Reply to  Tad

I used the AC semi-transparent cedar last year on my new cedar and found the color too orange…. Im not the expert but if you liked the color of the transparent stain you may want to clean and apply a coat every year vs. a colr you may not like as much and apply every other year …..Im stuck here and not sure what to do….

Katzaw
Katzaw
8 years ago

Very happy with the product. I wish it was easier to source in NJ. The popular opinion here is that Cabot is the best and Wolman is most prevalent I'm glad I "convinced" my contractor to special order the Armstrong Clark. It has held up very well..

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