Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain Reviews 2022 4.8/5 (17)

by Deck Stain Help

This post was updated on January 13, 2022

Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

We have been using deck stains now for 25+ years and reviewing them on DeckStainHelp.com since 2012. Our favorite stains have always been penetrating semi-transparent stains as they last for 2-3 years, do not peel, and can be cleaned and reapplied without the heavy lifting of power sanding and insurance scrapping.

Here is a list of our Top 5 semi-transparent penetrating wood and deck stains.

 

The 5 Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stains are

  • TWP 100 Series Semi-Transparent Stain
  • Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Stain
  • Armstrong Clark Semi-Transparent Stain
  • TWP 1500 Series Semi-Transparent Stain
  • Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain

See below for more information on each brand.

Penetrating semi-transparent deck stains allow the wood grain to show, and if they truly soak into the wood grain, reapplying is much easier down the road. One issue is that not all semi-transparent 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.

Note: Our Top 5 semi-transparent 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!

1. Restore-A-Deck – Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain and Sealer

Restore A Deck Wood Stain ReviewWhere To Find On Google: Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Stain
Pros: Damp Wood Application – It can be applied the same day as the prep. Penetrating Semi-Transparent Water-Based. Easy water clean-up. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada. Excellent mildew resistance. Able to clean and recoat as needed for maintenance.
Cons: Only 5 colors.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.5/5 (46)
DeckStainHelp.com Review (On a Scale of 1-10): 8.625
See Review Article Here: Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain Review

How To Restore Your Deck All in One Day – DeckStainHelp.com

2. TWP 100 Pro Series – Best Oil-Based Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

TWP Stain Reviews

TWP Stain Reviews

Where To Find On Google: TWP 100 Pro Series
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Transparent Oil-Based. Full Curing EPA Registered Stain. 10 semi-transparent colors. Easy to apply. Excellent mildew resistance. Clean and re-coat as needed for maintenance.
Cons: Only Available in 35 States. See TWP 1500 for Low VOC version.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.5/5 (40)
DeckStainHelp.com Review (On a Scale of 1-10): 8.69
See Review Article Here: TWP 100 Series Review

3. Armstrong Clark – Easiest to Apply Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

Armstrong Clark Wood Stain RatingWhere To Find On Google: 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.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.4/5 (59)
DeckStainHelp.com Review (On a Scale of 1-10): 8.5
See Review Article Here: Armstrong Clark Stain Review

4. TWP 1500 Series – Best VOC Compliant Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

TWP 1500 Series RatingWhere To Find On Google: TWP 1500 Series
Pros: Complaint in all 50 States. Penetrating Semi-Transparent Oil-Based. Full Curing EPA Registered Stain. EPA Registered Wood Preservative. Able to clean and re-coat as needed for maintenance.
Cons: Takes longer to dry than the TWP 100 Series
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.3/5 (24)
DeckStainHelp.com Review (On a Scale of 1-10): 8.5
See Review Article Here: TWP 1500 Series Review

5. Defy Extreme Stain – Best Water-Based Semi-Transparent Deck Stain

Defy Extreme Stain Review

Defy Extreme Stain Review

Where To Find On Google: Defy Extreme Semi-Transparent Stain
Pros: Penetrating Semi-Transparent Water-Based. Nano-technology for deep penetrating. Zinc oxide prevents mildew better than most brands. Allowed in all 50 States and Canada. Able to clean and re-coat as needed for maintenance.
Cons: It can be harder to apply than other brands.
Consumer Star Ratings:  4.1/5 (52)
DeckStainHelp.com Review (On a Scale of 1-10): 8.47
See Review Article Here: Defy Extreme Stain Review

Best Semi-Transparent Deck Stain Photos

Top Deck Stain Reviews Ratings


Do you have questions as to what brand of semi-transparent stain you should use on your deck?

Please ask below, we are here to help!

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

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Donna
Donna
3 months ago

WE LIVE IN WISCONSIN.GOT A NEW DECK WITH PRESSURE TREATED WOOD LAST YEAR AROUND A POOL.NEED TO INSTALL UPPER DECK NEXT YEAR. HAVE ALWAYS USED OIL SEMI-TRANSPARENT.WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND TO USE AS A STAIN AND SEALER.

Anjana
Anjana
4 months ago

We live in New York. We got new deck done with pressure treated wood in first week of August,2021. Our question is: should we stain the deck in first week of October or it is better to wait till next spring? Our concern is that our deck would not have protection during the winter / snow months.

David
David
4 months ago

What is best stain/sealer for Cypress siding? Siding is planed and shiplapped. I want a Redwood or Mahagony stain with high UV protection. Should both sides be sealed, and oil or water base? Thanks

David
David
4 months ago

Should underside be sealed

Travis
Travis
4 months ago

Our deck was stained with semi transparent Sherwin-Williams waterborne superdeck three years ago, overall no peeling but there is beginning to be some wear. We want to protect and if possible restore some of the color. Can you reapply semi transparent over the top of the existing stain, or better to use a clear sealer instead?

travis
travis
4 months ago

oops, too late – we pressure washed then applied a light coat of SW stain over top of the original. Will see if it peels. Really appreciate all the good info on your site but was left wondering: besides periodic cleaning, is there any way to *maintain* a deck stained with semi-transparent stain other than to remove/restain – sounds like no?

Nancy
Nancy
4 months ago

What would be the best stain for a log home in Missouri? We have used an oil-based product called WOODGuard HoneyBase; but seems to leave a dripping stain after it rains.

Nancy
Nancy
4 months ago

Thank you. Does the TWP 1500 series have a similar honeybase color? (light orangish yellow)

Nancy
Nancy
4 months ago

Which color do you recommend?

Darlene L Demuth
Darlene L Demuth
4 months ago

I just built a cedar front porch. I stained it in March 2021 with Shermin Williams Super Deck modified-oil formula Transparent Stain in Natural. One coat as per instructions. This porch gets full sun for 8 hours a day. 5 months later (August) it has faded considerably and has areas where it looks like the stain was not absorbed at all. I would like to restain it with something that has the most UV protection with a darker tint, but still want the natural look of the cedar to show through. What do you suggest? And would I have to remove that first coat of Super Deck before re-staining?

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Daniel W Bigger
Daniel W Bigger
7 months ago

Do you have a review or knowledge of rodda’s rural manor stain?

Ed Avis
Ed Avis
7 months ago

I have a 10 year old pressure treated deck and the initial application (1 year after it was built) was with a solid stain. The solid stain did not hold up well and had to be removed and reapplied every year. I just had the deck professionally sanded and it looks great! I’m now ready to apply a semi-transparent natural or cedar stain and am considering a few options. Any suggestions?

Christine Aguilar
Christine Aguilar
7 months ago

We have been in our home for three years. The front porch was I believe painted just before we moved in. Pictures are attached. What is the best way to put a semi transparent stain on and what is the best product. There is a green film on the edges near the railing.

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Sherri
Sherri
8 months ago

Can I use Defy Stripper and Defy Brightener and then Restore-A-Deck Stain?

Scott
Scott
8 months ago

I am building a fence with rough-sawn redwood. I am refacing a cinder block wall so will not be able to stain the back side once installed. I’ve had the lumber in my garage for 2 weeks can I stain it beforehand? Southern California-temperate climate. Any suggestions?

Brenda Tinker
Brenda Tinker
8 months ago

I live in Jenks Oklahoma. I am in the process of stripping my deck. It has silkens oil base transparent stain. I have a 15 year old Red Wood deck in good shape. The size is 17’ by 20’.
Spring is always raining here.
What is your best suggestion for Stain.
I want transparent and a light color.
I am using DEFY wood cleaner to strip and DEFY brighter.
Confused on a wood stain.
I am 68 years old. This is a big project for me alone. Help.
Thanks
Brenda

Shonda
Shonda
9 months ago

Hello from Charlotte NC. We recently moved into a home with a deck that was previously stained in a semitransparent SW product. The product is wearing through, some treads are showing weathering. Also in a very damp environment so we have mildew. Is it true that I can not use semitransparent again? It is the lightest application of stain, in a gray color that shows the natural grain of the wood. (pressure treated wood) Looking for clear guidance on the proper process to prep, restain and seal this deck before it gets worse. It’s mostly stairs and a small landing.

Thank you!

Brian
Brian
9 months ago

Hello from Ontario, Canada
Looking for stain recommendations.

Full Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade: Full Sun in afternoon, Shade in morning
Wood Type: Pressure Treated
Mold or Mildew Issues: No
The reason for Previous Stain Failure: No stain failure, 2 Year old deck, not stained
Previous Coating? None – Looking for Semi-Transparent Stain

Dennis
Dennis
9 months ago

Good day, I’ve recently built a pergola and a deck/treehouse, using native western red cedar logs, both living and standing-dead in addition to milled pine. I stripped bark from the living cedar logs and used as is(posts mostly). I want to use a clear sealant/stain in able to see the cedar patterns. I was leaning toward ‘Ready Seal’. What can you recommend? Thank you for your time and cooperation this issue.

Marcus
Marcus
11 months ago

I have an older deck that is in good condition. It appears to have been stained previously with a solid color and then the color appears to have been removed (I can see small areas of remaining stain in various locations).

I wanted to clean/refinish it with semi-transparent stain but have been told that since the deck is older, it would be a problem (color wouldn’t be consistent and given the random stain spots, it would look splotchy).

Therefore, are my only two choices a solid stain again or a clear sealer? If so, I’d prefer not to use a solid stain for aesthetic reasons. Any cost-effective tips on making the deck look as good as possible while protecting it with a sealer or other product?

Phil
Phil
1 year ago

We stain large amounts of fence board and cedar siding

We currently use ready seal because of how easy and goof proof it is

Is there any other products on the market that I can roll on and stack wet before installing, like I do ready seal?

Ricky Herring
Ricky Herring
1 year ago

What is your preference, oil or water based and why? For reference, I have a pressure treated deck I built several months ago and am finally getting around to the staining. Currently has no finish.

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

I built a new cedar deck in 2017. In 2018, I stained it for first time using Ready Seal semi transparent stain. It has faded badly and I will restain in 2021. I am considering TWP 1500. Can I just clean deck and apply the TWP 1500? Do I need to use some other product first? The deck gets full sun in summer near Chicago.

John
John
1 year ago

Used Minwax penetrating stain and Minwax Melmsman Spar Urethane on my porch beams and deck but it is really losing it’s color and peeling rapidly. Can I use one of the Restore-A-Deck Semi-Transparent Deck Stain and Sealer on my porch? Also, I know that I will have to get rid of the peeling problem but will the Restore-A-Deck penetrate with the existing stain still engrained in the wood?

John
John
1 year ago

Are you saying that I need to remove the entire layer of wood that has been stained or that I need to remove just the layer of Spar Urethane on the wood?

John
John
1 year ago

Okay thanks

Robin Keeney
Robin Keeney
1 year ago

We live in Missouri and in the process of having our front porch rebuilt with smooth western cedar flooring, posts, and railing. The floor is done and the contractor said the wood is dry and he suggested we stain or seal it right away. We had always heard we need to wait. Can your please give us advice?

Timothy Howell
Timothy Howell
1 year ago

Im lookong to keep the new fresh pinkesh look to my new Ceder adarondak chairs. What would you recommend. I know fir UV protection it will need some pigment. Iv looked at valspar 4 season and a few others at lowes and home depot… what are your thoughts about the best “clear” ssealer with UV protection.

Christian
Christian
1 year ago

I’ve been reading articles posted on this website over the last couple of weeks, thank you for all of the information, very helpful.

My question: I am trying to track down the best semi-transparent grey stain for our redwood fence, to match the color/trim of our home, but I feel like I am going in circles. I’ve narrowed the search down to two:
1) RAD, Cottage Grey: https://www.restore-a-deck.com/restore-a-deck-wood-stain/restore-a-deck-wood-stain-5-gallon/flypage.tpl.html
2) Armstrong Clark, Driftwood Grey: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/armstrong-clark-stain-5-gallon

Others in the running include: Wood Defender Fence Stain (Charcoal Grey) and Defy Extreme (Driftwood grey)

While I realize you have the top deck 5 stains listed in this article, I am wondering if this list changes for fences.

Thank you in advance!

Christian
Christian
1 year ago

Thank you for responding so quickly!

bearo7
bearo7(@bearo7)
1 year ago

Hi have a question if I have a deck stained 3 years ago that has faded some spots still show color other spots you can see the wood can I give it a new coat of the same stain or do I have to strip all of it. Thanks

bearo7
bearo7(@bearo7)
1 year ago

Flood CWF-U.V. semi transparent

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bearo7
bearo7(@bearo7)
1 year ago
Reply to  bearo7

Flood CWF-U.V. semi transparent

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Angie Daniels
Angie Daniels
1 year ago

First, let me say what a WONDERFUL Site you have! I have found it to be The Most Informative on Stains & Sealers. Thank you for the time you spend on sharing your knowledge & experience.
My info…
We live on a Lake in Central Mississippi.
Very Hot, Dry & Humid Summers, Wet & Cold Winters w/a lot of North Wind off the lake.
Our deck and Boat Ramp is Fully exposed, Penna-treated Pine. The House is Western Cedar Lap Siding, Full Sun.
The siding however, turns dark, almost black when untreated. Is this due to mildew ?
It cleans up beautifully to a light blond/orange tone which we would like to keep as close to the natural look as possible.
We just recently purchased the house and Neither the Deck nor Siding, Which are both approximately 8yrs old, have ever been treated.
Question 1- Best Clear Sealer or Transparent stain for Deck?
Question 2 – Best Semi-Transparent Stain for the House Siding?
Thank you for your suggestions.
A Grateful Southern Gal,
AngieDale

Kristen
Kristen
1 year ago

We live in Central/Northern Virginia & have replaced all of the horizontal boards on our deck. We plan to use an Armstrong Clark stain for those after about 3 months.

We want to paint the spindles white – they are not new & are currently stained dark brown. What is the best thing to use to make the spindles white? Would we look for a solid stain?

Thank you!

Gary Welch
Gary Welch
1 year ago

Your list of top-rated deck stains is much different than the list published by Consumer Reports, and a local deck-staining business strongly recommends the Sherwin-Williams SuperDeck product. Why the big differences in these ratings?

Heidi
Heidi
1 year ago

We have a composite deck but new deck posts. Since they are not smooth can we stain immediately? Is there a specific stain we should use?

james
james
1 year ago

we just had a deck built. we were told when we stain it use a semi- transparent stain. we were also told not to seal it??
When we shopped for a semi-transparent stain they all had sealer in it. Is that ok. what should we do.
we live in the South east ( western north Carolina )

Larry
Larry
1 year ago

What transparent stain to use on western red cedar ?

Tommielee
Tommielee
1 year ago

Is Cabot transparent tinted stain good for a redwood deck

Steph
Steph
1 year ago

Hello from Southeast Alaska! We get a lot of rain and fairly mild wet winters. We are building a deck from rough cut cedar 2″x 6″ that we have had drying in the garage for about nine months. We have begun planning the wood so we can start building. First question..
Do we need to clean or use a brightener to remove the mill glaze? We get conflicting answers.
Also, we have been told we should build the deck and let it season for several months or up to a year, then use a brightener, then stain?

Susan L Richards
Susan L Richards
1 year ago

We have older Rhino composite decking material. We power washed it – using much too strong power and now it has removed the finish in many areas. What is the best stain to use to restore it. I don’t want anything that may chip or peel down the road. It does need to cover those light areas however. Also, is water based or oil based best for this?

mark miller
mark miller
1 year ago

Thoughts on Olympic Elite semi-solid

Tump
Tump
1 year ago

Hello. I’m in the process of removing an opaque stain off of my deck from previous owner. The wood seems to be a soft wood.
The vertical portions of the deck have the stain fully in fact where as some of the horizontal parts were more weathered and the stain has deteriorated.
I started off using pressure washer and stain remover but that barely removed anything and left the wood looking damaged…
From there I went to another part of the deck and started sanding with a belt sander and oribital sander (only 40 grit works to get it off)
Now it’s coming off good and I’m systematically going board by board and getting the stain off the best I can (which is almost completely).

Problem is the stain is sitting in the cracks and in screw holes/top of screws.

For getting these little bits off what should I use? I don’t want to apply anything and risk it not adhering because I’ve left bits of old stain behind

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Mary Ellen motto
Mary Ellen motto
1 year ago

Hello. Would like to seal/stain my 10 month old deck. I would like it to look natural or just a shade darker than the natural pine that it is. Purchased Behr clear, tried it on a small spot, appears to have a yellow/gold tint, which I do not want.
Any suggestions on what to use?

Mary ellen Motto
Mary ellen Motto
1 year ago

My husband would like to stay away from oil based. Do you have any other suggestions?

Mary ellen Motto
Mary ellen Motto
1 year ago

Thank you. I will look into both. Hopefully get a sample or 2 to try.

Jake
Jake
1 year ago

Good afternoon, I am wanting to restain my deck. I applied Armstrong Clark semi-transparent two years ago and want to freshen/darken it up (with same stain). How do I prep…just a cleaner? brightener? both?
thanks.

Thanks for the help 2 years ago!
-Jake

Freddie
Freddie
1 year ago

Restaining and sealing an 18 year old redwood deck in San Francisco receiving filtered sun most of the day. Last time I stained it was 10 years ago. The stairs to the deck are made of pressure treated something. I pressure Washed it and cleaned with a generic wood outdoor cleaner [Scotts]. Wondering if 1) should I sand the the hand rails since there are patches of algae and uneven spots and 2) should I use a brightner 3) what stain to use for Deck AND stairs

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Freddie
Freddie
1 year ago

I have a brightener [Cabot] . What should I get for stripping?

Bob Degrand
Bob Degrand
1 year ago

I applied Pittsburg brand Paramount semi transparent stain to my 12 x 13 ft cedar wood deck!
It was the first application to my deck which had recently been installed. It is a South facing deck and receives full sun. Unfortunately, after the first year the stain faded away and left more than 70% of the wood grey. The small shaded areas were about half faded! I am looking for a more resilient semi transparent to use and would prefer to not use a semi solid since I like to see the grain. I understand it only lasts a couple years…but the Paramount was very expensive and very disappointing! Your thoughts…please!

Bob Degrand
Bob Degrand
1 year ago

Thanks…but the TWP ,they have different types of stains….what number?

Bob Degrand
Bob Degrand
1 year ago

Sorry, I noticed the numbers associate to color. I will need the Cedartone 101.
Can I powerwash the remaining areas of the previous stain without using a stripper….please! I also could use a hand sander with medium grade paper to avoid marking the 2 year old cedar …? I want to stay clear of strippers…both wood and human!

Bob Degrand
Bob Degrand
1 year ago

Gotcha…no powerwash. 60-80grt sanding! Final question….the cedar wood I had replaced on my horizontal 12 x13 ft deck….it’s about 21 months old….how do I determine on 1 or 2 Applications..(wet on wet)? Have a holy Easter…be safe!

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