Armstrong stain offers a wide variety of color choices in an oil based semi-transparent penetrating formula. It should be noted that with any brand of wood stain, colors cannot be guaranteed. Colors and tones can vary depending on the wood type, the age of the wood, the condition of the wood, wood prep, and stain application.

Armstrong stain colors currently include Natural Tone, Cedar Tone, Redwood Tone, Cedar Semi, Sierra Redwood, Rustic Brown, Mountain Cedar, Sequoia, Woodland Brown, Oxford Brown, Mahogany, Amber, and Driftwood Gray.

Armstrong Clark Stain Color Help

As a general rule, the lighter the color, the more transparency it will have. This means that more of the wood’s natural grains will show through, which can have an influence on the final appearance. Darker colors will reflect more of the actual stain color but will still allow some of the wood grain to show through because it is a semi-transparent finish.

It is also worth mentioning that the darker the color the more resistant it is to UV fading. Darker colors have more pigment, which is what resists harmful UV rays. Lighter colors, will still provide adequate sun protection but not as much as the darker stain tones.

To be exactly sure how a certain Armstrong color will look on your wood surface, you can order a color sample. Apply the Armstrong color sample in an inconspicuous spot. Allow the stain to dry for several days to see the finished result. Order as many Armstrong color help samples as you would like. It is a good way to find the right color for your wood surface. There is nothing worse than staining a whole wood structure only to decide you do not care for the color.

With so many factors determining how a particular Armstrong color will look in its final appearance, it is wise to use the color help samples to find the tone you like. You should only need the Armstrong color help initially. Once the deck is stained you can keep it maintained with the same color unless you decide to change colors at some point.

Armstrong Clark Stain Colors Horizontal small

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Michael Paulson · 03/28/2020
    I had my deck sealed by Seal KC, they use a sealant stated to last 25 years to prevent wood rot. Will semi solid work and what do I need to do to make it work. Mike
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      Mike · 03/28/2020
      Wood continues to shrink as it ages creating new checks or expanding existing checks. Sealants make it harder fir eater to get in but they also make it harder for water to get out. Water and the various bio bugs that cause rot AND UV will still get at the wood
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 03/28/2020
      For the AC stain to work correctly the wood most be porous. If the sealer they applied repels water and nothing can soak in then a deck stain like the AC will not work.
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    Michael Paulson · 03/27/2020
    Can I use garden sprayers to apply to my deck? can this be applied on wood that is not completely dry? Thanks Mike
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      Armstrong · 03/27/2020
      No, the AC cannot be applied with a pump sprayer and the wood must be completely dry before applying.
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    Elaine Crum · 03/21/2020
    Several years ago we stained our Treated Lumber deck with the Sequoia and have re-stained once. The color
    is a little red for us and would like to redo with the Oxford Brown. Any suggestions? Also after all this time
    we still have some red on bottom of shoes and clothing if someone sits on deck! Could staining a different
    color help? Thanks for your input!
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      Doug · 03/21/2020
      I mix Armstrong stains within the same stain family to get the exact color I want. It has worked very well, no problems with it.
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      Armstrong · 03/21/2020
      You would have to strip it off and start with a bare wood deck to help with this color change and the color rub off. Use this kit: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-stripper

      FYI, Oxford has a slight red to it. You may want to look at the Espresso semi-solid. It is a darker brown.
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    David Navroth · 11/08/2019
    Can I use Oxford Brown (semi-solid color) on IPE or do I need to choose from Amber, Mahogany or Black Walnut?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 11/09/2019
      No, you cannot use a semi-solid for IPE wood.
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    Armstrong · 10/14/2019
    The only reason it would be that dark as if you did not brighten correctly or you have internal discoloration in your wood. Basically the wood itself is causing it to be dark in color, not the stain samples. Stains olny enhance the wood grain. Try to apply brightener again heavily and then leaving it on to dry without rinsing.
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    Kim Kuda · 09/26/2019
    I used Olympic Honey Gold on my new front stairs ! I want something a little darker ! What should I do ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/26/2019
      Strip it off with the Restore A Deck Stripper and Brightener Kit.
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    Anna · 08/18/2019
    Does semi-transparent stain (Cedar) hold up significantly better to sun and weather conditions than transparent (Cedar Tone)? We live in a climate that is hot and dry in summer, some snow in winter, with a lot of wind year round.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/18/2019
      Semi-transparent colors will have better UV protection than a transparent color.
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    Bob A · 08/06/2019
    Hi, I have a 28 year old PT deck of approximately 500 square feet. The deck is in NY and faces northeast. Half is covered; have is not. The uncovered boards are weathered. The covered boards are in surprisingly good shape. During winter, ice and snow accumulate on the uncovered portion and last though the winter. (the deck will be stripped and brightened before staining.

    1. Based on the age of the deck and the condition of the uncovered portion which stain would be preferred semi-solid or semi-transparent?

    2. I did a test on the uncovered portion and found that the boards soak up stain. Based on the age and condition of the deck and the difference between the covered and uncovered portions, how much stain should I expect to need.

    3. Any other suggestions?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/06/2019
      1. Semi-solid will gove longer UV protection.
      2. About 3-4 gallons for the one coat.
      3. Make sure to remove all of the previous stain. It looks thick in areas so you may need to sand as well to remove.
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    Ed · 07/28/2019
    How can I get a semi transparent color sample and cost?
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    Nancy O · 06/22/2019
    My deck is 18 years old and was treated in 2013 with Armstrong’s semi-solid oil based in Woodland Brown (which is actually (unfortunately) fairly red). When the deck was cleaned and retreated in 2015, the folks who did the work did a terrible job. This week the deck was cleaned using a pressure washer. The stain on the deck surface mostly came off and, as you’d expect, the stain on much of the horizontal surfaces didn’t come off leaving a rather varied and splotchy looking surface. What is the best way to finish treating the entire deck and rails? I assume changing colors is not an option?? Will the color look this varied after retreating? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/23/2019
      At this point, it would be best to remove all so it is even and you can switch colors if you would like. use this kit while pressure washing: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/restore-a-deck-stripper
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Nancy O · 06/23/2019
        If I stay with the same color (I don’t want to use a stripper due to all the plant life under and around my deck) can I apply it to the deck as is? Can you apply more than one coat on the deck surface?
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 06/23/2019
          It may dry slightly uneven based on the current prep but, yes, you can do a coat. Only one coat.
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    Laura Morgan · 06/16/2019
    My deck is 10 years old. The last owner never cared for it. The wood is very very dry. I tested some of your product and the wood drank it in. I’m wondering now if it doesn’t need more oil? I don’t want to add a second coat, as that would make the color too dark. But the wood still looks so dry. Should I add mineral oil or something over the stain? How can I care for this neglected wood?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/16/2019
      Hello, no, that is not possible. AC already contains as much oil as needed. You cannot apply more oil or a sealer over it.
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    Sandra Denney · 06/13/2019
    I would like to know if your stain will work on a pine ceiling in an outdoor barbecue area. The pine is new wood. You indicate not to sand less than 80 grit. Is this the same on pine? Do I use the RAD cleaner first? I plan to order samples of transparent natural tone and cedar tone, semi grey. Do you have any other suggestions? Is a urethane product needed to complete the project? Also, can I stain this new wood right away? Thank you.
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    evl · 06/05/2019
    I am living in Canada. Is there any chance to save money on shipping of two saples? It costs $16 but I have to pay $26 to get one. What colour would match best to this? (pease see pic)
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/05/2019
      Sorry but no, we cannot ship the samples for less. Maybe Sequoia for the color. You will need to remove the current stain fully.
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    Ed · 05/26/2019
    What color mix creates Amber?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/27/2019
      Amber is a color. You cannot create it by mixing other colors.
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    Kristin · 05/22/2019
    I have a pressure treated pine deck that has been weathering since July 2018 in central AL. It gets some sun but is partially shaded by some trees. I will be ready to stain it soon. I'm looking at your driftwood but it appears more blue than grey. Wondering if that is a function of seeing it on the computer. Otherwise, I was thinking natural oak. My house has grey siding on it.
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    Joe Graaff · 05/22/2019
    Hello; just got referred to your product. I have a two level wood deck--I think it is pine but not sure. The previous owner stained it a red cedar look three years ago and it is in bad shape. The deck touching sunlight is all faded and dried out which causes furniture marks.

    Can you recommend the best method and stain for returning the deck to its natural wood color we could stain a darker brown, such as chestnut or espresso?


    Thank you very much.

    Joe Graaff
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/22/2019
      The current stain will need to come off. Best to post a picture so we can determine the best way to do this.
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    Todd · 05/06/2019
    Will the black walnut last as long as the semi solid expresso on treated pine in full sun in SC, about what would the difference in time be before needing to be recoated? Also, I was going to put black walnut on the ceiling inside my carport. SInce it is out of the sun would I ever really need to recoat it?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/06/2019
      They will last about the same. 2-3 years. Probably will not need another coat on the ceiling since there are no UV issues.
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    Mr. Stuart Allyn · 05/05/2019
    Given the swatches are on different woods, which is more yellow, which is more red?
    the swatches are misleading when on different wood.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 05/05/2019
      Colors will vary based on wood type and age. Having the same wood type does not mean it will always turn out the same color. Best to order samples to test on your wood so you are certain the appearance. Samples are in the main menu.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Stuart Allyn · 05/04/2019
    What's the difference between the Semi-transparent Cedar and the Amber?
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    Fred · 04/29/2019
    Hello and thanks for your willingness to help. I built a pool deck and finished the project the first week of August last year so it's about 9 months old. I think I want my finished color to be Woodland Brown, but your instructions say that Semi-Solids are not for decks for less than one year. So, I'm wondering if I should hold off until August or maybe go with a Semi-Transparent like Natural Oak now and then next year go ahead with the Semi-Solid Woodland Brown? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/29/2019
      Either way is fine. You could start off with the Rustic Brown now.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Michelle · 04/20/2019
    Hello. We live in on the central west coast of Florida—our summers are hot (typically 85/90 degrees), with heavy rains most afternoons; our winters are relatively mild, with the coldest temps dipping to 40 degrees. We are currently building our 10-year old a fort in the back yard using pressure-treated pine (from Lowes) and are looking for a rugged stain that will repel dirt and [slippery] mildew. Would your semi-transparent stains be good for this?

    Also, since there will probably be a half-dozen kids playing on this deck (and running up and down the stairs) most days – is there anything we can add to the stain to help give the deck and stairs a bit more GRIP for safety?

    As far as colors, we are looking for a semi-transparent stain in a grayish-brown (preferably low VOC) that would allow the fort to blend in with the oaks - which color would you recommend to get that color on PT pine?

    Lastly, the oaks drop a lot of debris (pollen, buds and leaves), which I’m sure will be happening during the staining process. Once the stain is dry, will we be able to scrape off the debris – or will it be permanently stuck in the stain?

    Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/21/2019
      See here about new wood: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/new-decking-and-armstrong-clark-stain

      After the wait and prep, the AC would work well. You cannot add a grip to a penetrating stain like Ac. for color, there is not a gray-brown color. Debris will not stick to it as it dries.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Michelle LoGerfo · 04/22/2019
        Sorry, I hit send too fast! :) Would you recommend letting the wood "age" longer to get that gray look to it before staining it with a brown (to end up with a grayish-brown)? Or would that put the wood at risk of rotting? We're using pressure-treated pine. Thanks again.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 04/22/2019
          No, that will not work and you will have to remove the gray oxidation prior to staining.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        Michelle LoGerfo · 04/22/2019
        Thank you for the reply. Is there any way to mix two stains to get the grayish-brown we're looking for?

        Also, I have a follow up question: what is the stain made with? Is it pure, unrefined linseed oil... or are there additives in it, like arsenic, beryllium, cadmium and other toxins? I want to make sure this is 100% safe to use on my son's fort since he and his friends will be all over it most days. Thanks.
        • We will reply to your comment shortly
          Armstrong · 04/22/2019
          You can mix colors together on your end. Try some samples to test: https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/samples

          As for ingredients, it is a mixture of natural and synthetic oils and has a low VOC of 50. Once it isfully cured, you will not have any issues.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob Bowles · 04/15/2019
    Where can you get Armstrong Clark Deck Stain in the Lake Charles, Louisiana area (70611) ?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/15/2019
      No dealers in Louisiana. Shipping takes about 3 days.
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    Jeff Cowger · 04/09/2019
    The deck has been sanded down to bare wood. Is it necessary to apply the RAD/brightener before staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 04/09/2019
      Yes, the RAD Cleaner and Brightener will help the stain to soak in better after sanding.
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    Doug Halley · 09/17/2018
    I am staining redwood house siding. My choices of stain are Sierra Redwood and Natural Tone. Do both stains have comparable UV resistance?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/17/2018
      Sierra Redwood would have twice the UV resistance as the Natural Tone.
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    Alison · 09/09/2018
    How do I clean my ipe dock in between the staining treatments? Do I use dawn detergent and warm water with a mop and how often? My dock is surrounded be mud and black dirt. Thank you
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/10/2018
      Yes, that is correct. Do as needed.
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    Alison Hines · 09/08/2018
    I am having a new dock constructed using ipe decking boards. When should I stain my new ipe boards with AC to prevent graying? Many sites recommend applying ipe oil immediately after installation? Do the Armstrong stains need to sit on deck for length of time and excess wiped off? Can other colors be used on ipe besides Amber, mahogany and black walnut (Are these colors semi-transparent)? Do you recommend a joist tape be applied to joists and framing prior to deck board installation?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/09/2018
      You cannot stain IPE right away. The wood needs to weather 3-6 months and then prepped. Do not back wipe the AC. Only the 3 colors are IPE colors.
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    roici · 08/17/2018
    Hi, Can you mix semi-transparent and IPE stains? I would like to mix Chestnut with Black Walnut. Thanks!
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    Susan Endres · 08/10/2018
    I like the Oxford Brown Semi-Solid Stain, but my husband thinks it's too dark. What color could we use to lighten it up, maybe about 25%? Also could you suggest the ratio of that product to the Brown achieve this result? Thanks!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/11/2018
      It would not be possible to lighten up the Oxford brown by 25%. Sorry.
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    Mike Bussell · 08/03/2018
    Can this product be used on pressure Treated decking (AWW)?