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

This post was updated on May 11, 2024

I am Scott Paul, a leading exterior restoration contractor and business owner with over 30 years of experience in exterior wood. My reviews and help tips are based on my history as a wood restoration contractor and actual hands-on testing, all designed to present you with the top product choices. See here for more info about me.

What is the Best Semi-Solid Deck Stain?

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

TWP Semi-Solid Stain in Cedar Mulch

TWP Semi-Solid Stain in Cedar Mulch

I have been using deck stains for 25+ years and reviewing them on since 2012. In the past 5+ years, I have used more and more 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 reapplying is much easier down the road if they truly soak into the wood grain. One issue is that not all semi-solid stains penetrate the wood; they film on top of the wood like paint. Stains that film on top of the wood will tend to peel and will be harder to re-coat or remove down the road. They will also 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 the wood grain as long as you prep correctly and do not over-apply. Please avoid Semi-Solid Water-Based Stains, which 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.

My 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: My top Semi-Solid stains are all penetrating when prepped and applied properly. Do not skip the prep steps or overapply, as this will lead to the deck stain’s failure much faster!

TWP Semi-Solid Pro-Series – My 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, which has been around for 25+ years, the low-VOC version is allowed in all US States and Canada.
Cons: Newer to market, so might be hard to find.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.9/5 (6)
My Rating(On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
My 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: Straightforward 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 cure fully. Only 5 semi-solid colors.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.7/5 (1)
My Rating (On a scale of 1-10): 8.5
See My Review Article Here: Armstrong Clark Semi-Solid Stain Review


Semi-Solid Deck Stain Photos

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

Please ask below, I am here to help!

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.

Related Deck Stain Help Articles & Reviews

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 months ago

What application method should I use to apply TWP deck stain to a deck that is 12 feet wide and 60 feet long?

8 months ago

Is Diamond Vogel semi-solid oil stain a good choice for the wood beams over my deck? How would you rate it? I live at 7700 feet in Colorado so sun is intense

10 months ago

Please confirm-

Only a solid stain would blend this for a uniform look. Try the Restore A Deck Solid Stains.

Restore A Deck Solid Stains.

Is this an oil stain product? (As I just applied Sikkens/PPG oil stain in teak color.

If so, where could I purchase?

The semi- solids- TWP Pro or Armstrong Clark would not help? 

I have not found ANY solid oils, except Cabot which have horrible reviews…

Please advise. Thank you!!!

10 months ago

I bought and used Behr deck stain, simply because that’s what Home Depot sells. What better stain brand and type could be compatible, if I simply remove all loose stain (There’s not a lot) and thoroughly clean the existing stained deck, without stripping all of the stain?

10 months ago

Help! In the past I have used Sikkens oil stain & been happy with the result. Not sure if PPG I just applied is the same teak formula or not… … but since the deck now has some newly replaced boards & boards of various age— the deck looks like a patchwork quilt- hate it!

Would like a uniform look so I was hoping to find a Great oil solid stain to apply over the Sikkens/PPG…. but I seem to be looking for a unicorn… Is there such a product?

If not, would the semi- solid oil stains you recommend get a more uniformed look?

Rae Greenberg
Rae Greenberg
11 months ago

Does your review of best semi solid oil stains (TWP and Armstrong Clark) also apply to restaining cedar clapboard siding? It was previously stained about 10 years ago with a Cabot oil based semi solid stain. Is TWP available in NYS in Grey color?

Bill Generous
Bill Generous
10 months ago

Please explain why switching brands requires the removal of the prior stain if both were semi-solid oil based and assuming the colors are about the same? I’ve got rough cedar house siding where Cabot semi-solid oil based stain was used and I’d like to switch to a better brand. Removing the prior stain from the house siding sounds like a lot of effort and expense.

Steve J
Steve J
1 year 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?

2 years 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?

2 years 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?

2 years ago

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

2 years 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?

2 years 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
3 years 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.

Questions or leave a review, please comment!x