Best Semi-Solid Wood and Deck Stain Reviews 5/5 (4)

This post was updated on January 18, 2023

What is the Best Semi-Solid Deck Stain?

See our Deck Stain Facts section with over 150 simple Q&A articles that answer all the questions that you have regarding deck staining, cleaning, and prep.

TWP Semi-Solid Stain in Cedar Mulch

TWP Semi-Solid Stain in Cedar Mulch

We have been using deck stains now for 25+ years and reviewing them on since 2012. In the past 5+ years, we have used more and more of the semi-solid stains and colors. The major reason is that the higher the solid content, the better the UV protection from fading. One caveat, the semi-solid stains need to be fully penetrating and unfortunately, that is not the case for many brands.

Semi-Solid wood and deck stains allow the wood grain to show slightly and if they truly soak into the wood grain, reapplying is much easier down the road. One issue is that not all semi-solid stains are penetrating but rather film on top of the wood like paint. Stains that film on top of the wood will have a tendency to peel and will be harder to re-coat or remove down the road and will be prone to peeling and wearing. We have found that the only decent Semi-Solid Wood and Deck stains are the oil-based versions as they will penetrate into the wood grain as long as you prep properly and do not over apply. Stay away from any of the Semi-Solid Water-Based Stains as they will be prone to peeling and are much harder to apply. This would include the Semi-Solids from Behr, Cabot, Olympic, Pittsburgh Paints, Valspar, etc.

The Best Semi-Solid Deck Stains are

  • TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series Semi-Solid Stain
  • Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid Stain

See below for more information on each brand.

Note: Our Top Semi-Solid stains are all penetrating when prepped properly and applied properly. Do not skip the prep steps or over-apply, as this will lead to failure of the deck stain at a much faster rate!

TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series – Best Overall Wood Deck Stain Brand

TWP Semi-Solid Stain

TWP Semi-Solid Stain Website: TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Solid Oil-Based. Full Curing Wood and Deck Stain. 30 Custom made semi-solid colors. Easy to apply. Excellent mildew resistance. Clean and re-coat as needed for maintenance. Based on the TWP 100 Series that has been around for 25+ years.
Cons: Newer to market so might be hard to find.  Only available in 35 States.
Consumer Star Ratings: 4.9/5 (6) Review (On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
See Review Article Here: TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series Review


Armstrong Semi-Solid Clark – Easiest to Apply Semi-Solid Deck Stain

Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid Website: Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid
Pros: Very easy to apply. Paraffin and Curing Oil Blend. Full Curing Stain. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada. Able to clean and re-coat as needed for maintenance.
Cons: It can take a few days or longer to fully cure. Only 5 semi-solid colors.
Consumer Star Ratings: 4.7/5 (1) Review (On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
See Review Article Here: Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid Stain Review


Semi-Solid Deck Stain Photos

Semi-Solid Deck Stain Review Video –

Questions as to what brand of semi-solid stain you should use?

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Steve J
Steve J
8 months ago

Been looking for a semi solid black oil based stain to finish only the vertical parts of our deck, as the floor is already composite. Can anyone recommend one that would be worth using?

1 year ago


We live in Houston, Texas–about 2 ½ years ago we used TWP 101 Cedartone Natural on our treated pine deck that is partly shaded and partly in full sun. The shaded area still looks great, but the sun exposed areas look dry and weathered–clearly it is now time to redo. A few of the boards have rotted through, and we have had them replaced with new treated pine.


1. Would there be an advantage to using your new product–Semi Solid Stain rather than the Series 100 since wood takes a beating in the Houston heat and sun? Would it be more durable?

2. If so–hopefully–we wouldn’t have to strip, just power wash, clean/brighten–is that correct????

3. The new wood repaired areas were added early in November 2021, and we will probably wait until at least March before beginning this project to give the new wood time to weather. Is there anything else we should do in order that these replaced areas blend in color-wise with the older decking?

4. What would we do about the shaded area that still looks good? This area runs continuous with the area that is exposed to sun?

5. Also with this new product–is it recommended to do the wet on wet application or will it even necessary to do a second coat since we originally used your product?

6. If we decide to go with the Semi Solid Stain what color most closely matches Cedartone Natural?

1 year ago

Two more questions:

  1. We preciously used TWP 101 on our deck. I just read on your site that there is a TWP 100 series Pro. Is that more of a label change rather than enhanced product?

As stated above we live in Houston, TX–would using the semi-solid be
better than the Pro for our situation?

2. If we go with the Semi-solid–what are the maintenance requierments?
Do we still have to strip and brighten for future coats or is cleaning
and brightening sufficient?

1 year ago

Hello, Does your Semi-solid Pro-Series come in White?

1 year ago

Is there a good semi solid deck stain that will adequately stain ipe?
Being a hardwood I’m concerned it will film on top as you mention and become a problem?

1 year ago

Hello, We want to stain a 300ft, 8ft high ( with lattice and stringers on top ) cedar/redwood privacy fence, and were thinking about going with the semi-solid stain because we don’t want to have to renew the stain every couple of years. I just spoke with an associate at Armstrong who said the semi-solid stain is good up to only 2 years. I thought that the solid pigment in the stain would keep the fence looking good for longer than that. I know a lot depends on variables in location and climate, but do you have an opinion on the longevity of semi-solid stains for fencing? We were hoping to not have to redo the stain for at least 5 years. Or can you recommend another stain that may last longer. Thanks.

Christine Land
Christine Land
1 year ago

Out deck is 20 yrs old. Once we sanded it down to the wood and used a semi solid deck stain from Cabot. It last 2 yrs, but by year three it needed more work. We replace boards that are in bad shape every other year. The next time we stained it we used a solid color acrylic deck stain by Cabot. It lasted 2 yrs before needing more stain. We are not interested in totally sanding it down again. What is the best solid deck stain and prep. We will probably be replacing the entire deck within the next 2-3 yrs.

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