Best Semi-Solid Deck Stain

Deck stains come in different transparency levels. The more transparent or the less opaque a stain is, the more the natural wood grain shows through. This category is referred to as the semi-transparent deck stains.

The more opaque less transparent deck stains are commonly called the semi-solid deck stains. So basically the transparency scale in order starting with the least opaque would be clear sealer, semi-transparent stain, semi-solid stain, and solid stains.

All stains are designed to be water repellent but not all will protect against graying UV rays. Pigment in the stain is what provides UV protection. With that said, a clear sealer would provide zero UV protection while a solid stain would provide the most. Ultraviolet rays are what cause a wood deck to turn gray. Because of this, many deck owners stay away from clear sealers.

The solid deck stains completely mask the beauty of the wood and are much harder to maintain. Therefore, the semi-transparent and semi-solid deck stains are the popular choices. They are easier to maintain, provide adequate water and UV protection, and do not hide the wood but rather enhance its appearance. For those looking for an enhanced look with exceptional UV protection, the semi-solid stains are the ticket.

The best semi-solid deck stain is going to be an oil based penetrating formula. A reputable deck stain like Armstrong Clark is a popular choice. They offer several semi-solid deck stain colors such as Mountain Cedar, Sequoia, Woodland, and Oxford Brown.

This stain is a unique blend of both nondrying and drying oils. These oils separate to perform specific tasks. The nondrying side of the formula penetrates the pores to replace the wood’s lessening natural oils. The drying oils provide a surface barrier to trap in the conditioning oils and keep out moisture. This process revitalizes the wood while providing protection. Using the best semi-solid deck stain available will ensure you get much use from your deck while keeping it looking great.

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    charles · 09/22/2018
    Does AC make a solid cape cod grey stain for coastal area requirements?
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      Armstrong · 09/22/2018
      AC does not come in a solid stain.
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    Karl Bailey · 09/14/2018
    Can Armstrong-Clark simi-solid deck stain be used on a cedar fence?
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    Cindi · 08/26/2018
    I applied the semi solid stain to my deck yesterday. It still feels damp to the touch and the color comes off on my fingers. How long will it take to fully dry so we can walk on it?
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      Armstrong · 08/26/2018
      Leave it alone for a few days or until it is not "damp" to the touch. The semi-solid can take some time to fully cure depending on the temps and UV exposure.
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        Cindi · 08/29/2018
        Will the semi solid stain dry to the point that the color will not come off on fabric? It has now been three days and it still rubs off on clothing.
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          Armstrong · 08/29/2018
          Yes, it fully cures unless you overapplied. A good rainstorm will help to remove an excess as well.
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            Cindi · 08/29/2018
            I don't think I over applied. I tried to only apply enough to cover the wood. One of my decks has a roof over it, should I wash it at some point?
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              Armstrong · 08/30/2018
              The roof over it will make the curing process longer. Try removing the excess stain with rages and mineral spirits. Saturate all oil rags in water when done and lay flat to dry outside. That should help speed up the process. Saturating the wood with water and rinsing well when done will also help to "float" off the excess oil.
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        Cindi · 08/26/2018
        Thank you!
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    Doug Wullweber · 08/04/2018
    Do semi solid deck stains peel like the solid deck stains or do they act more like semi transparent stains?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 08/06/2018
      The AC sei-solids are penetrating stains and do not peel.
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    David · 08/02/2018
    I am installing new KDAT pressure treated decking. My understanding is that I should not stain/seal it immediately but should wait about 30 days --then clean and brighten it and then stain/seal it. Is this correct?
    Also--can I then apply one of your semi-solid stains on this recently installed decking?
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      Armstrong · 08/02/2018
      Yes, that is correct. 30 days and prep first for KDAT wood. Unfortunately, the semi-solid colors cannot be done this soon on new wood. AC suggest waiting a year.
      • We will reply to your comment shortly
        David · 08/02/2018
        Even though it is KDAT and not "regular" pressure treated decking?
        I have been advised that it is okay/I should seal with a semi transparent product after the initial install and 30 day wait. Is this also not advised?
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          Armstrong · 08/02/2018
          You can with the semi-transparent after the 30 days and prep but you cannot with the semi-solids.
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            David · 08/02/2018
            okay--I have been told that I NEED to seal/stain the new KDAT decking after 30-60 days
            IF I want to eventually go with your semi solid product---what would you recommend I do?
            Seal it with the semi transparent product--then wait the full year --prep and do semi solid?
            OR
            just leave it as is (no sealer/stain) and then after a while prep and apply the semi solid product?
            (and if so --how long do I need to wait?)
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    Lopaka · 07/21/2018
    I have a bit of leftover stain I'd like to use for another project. How long should I wait to cover with spar urethane?
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    Madge · 07/21/2018
    The previous stain has worn unevenly in some areas on our deck. We are concerned that coverage will not be consistent and are interested in hearing from you what AC product you would suggest. Our deck is 6 years old and was previously stained with a Behr transparent wood finish slowly turned to a honey brown color after 6 months. Please advise.
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    Todd · 07/10/2018
    Forgot to mention the Dock is about 3 months old....
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      Armstrong · 07/10/2018
      To be able to use the semi-solid, it is suggested to wait a year for natural weathering and then prep.
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    Todd · 07/10/2018
    I have a dock mostly in full sun. About how long will semi -solid last in comparison to the semi transparent? I live just SC just south of Charlotte NC.
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      Armstrong · 07/10/2018
      UV protection could be about 6-12 months longer.
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    Dale · 06/18/2018
    Can I use AC semi-transparent (or semi-solid) stain on my (gray and very weathered cedar) Adirondack chairs if I clean and brighten them as much as possible. They have different amount of mildew, stain, and natural wear. I would, of course be electric sanding them (and using the finger sander between the slats too) before applying the stain.

    They are probably about six to eight years old -- left outside mostly the entire time -- and in Northern Virginia (where it gets very humid in the summers and moderate snow in the winters). In short, are my chairs too far gone to benefit from your product? I'm not look for perfection, just a better looking set of chairs -- and I would love to show (whatever might be left of) the wood grain if possible.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 06/19/2018
      Clean and brighten for the prep. Do not sand. Use the semi-transparent colors, not the semi-solids for wood furniture.
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    Rob · 06/11/2018
    I have an unstained deck approx 3 yrs old. It gets a fair bit of sun and exposure to four seasons. Based on information on the website, I should use deck cleaner and a semi-transparent color for best results.
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    Rosemary cohen · 05/01/2018
    Ok thanks for reply. One more question. I’ve read that on new decks it is generally recommended to go with a semi-transparent. Do you agree with this? In your opinion is this a more desirable look with a newer deck (it is a pressure treated deck). Also do you think I could get 2 or more years without having to restrain?
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      Armstrong · 05/01/2018
      Semi-transparent are more popular. Really depends on what you prefer. 2 years is normal.
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    Rosemary Cohen · 04/30/2018
    I have an 11 month old pressure treated wood deck. Can’t decide between semi transparent or semi solid. What is typical time each of these lasts before you have to redo? I presume the semi solid lasts longer? Also I have a bit of a problem with uneven deck tones due to scrubbing off deck stamps with bleach I have a bunch of circles on the deck that are bleached out. I presume I have the best chance of masking this problem with a semi solid?
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      Armstrong · 05/01/2018
      Lasts about the same but the semi-solid can give longer UV protection from fading. A semi-solid will not cover/mask the circles that are bleached and blend with the rest of the wood. Best to prep so all the wood color is even before applying the AC stain.
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    Bob B · 10/05/2017
    Hello ,any dealers in New Jersey or Philadelphia?
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      Armstrong · 10/05/2017
      There is not. Shipping from our website takes 2-3 days to arrive.
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    phyllis freeman · 09/29/2017
    Best color of semisolid stain for rewoood
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    Armstrong · 09/16/2017
    Margaret Merkow:
    is there a dealer in Minneapolis MN

    There is not. Shipping from our website takes 2-3 days to arrive.
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    Margaret Merkow · 09/15/2017
    is there a dealer in Minneapolis MN
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    Armstrong · 09/09/2017
    Bob Janiszewski:
    My pine-sided home was previously stained with Sikkens oil based Cetol stain. I has deteriorated over the past 5 years with some areas peeling, and I want to re-stain. I plan to sand the entire siding area (2500 sq ft est.) and then apply Armstrong semi-solid to closely match my new garage stain. Is this a good plan? How much stain will this job require? I live in Hunter, NY. Where can I get retail suppoort for your product? Thanks!

    As long as you remove the Sikkens, you can use the AC. You will need about 15 gallons for this amount. We do not have dealers in NY but we can ship there from our site and help with any questions you may have.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Bob Janiszewski · 09/09/2017
    My pine-sided home was previously stained with Sikkens oil based Cetol stain. I has deteriorated over the past 5 years with some areas peeling, and I want to re-stain. I plan to sand the entire siding area (2500 sq ft est.) and then apply Armstrong semi-solid to closely match my new garage stain. Is this a good plan? How much stain will this job require? I live in Hunter, NY. Where can I get retail suppoort for your product? Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 09/05/2017
    Patrick Castelluccio:
    I previously ordered samples of sem-transparent cedar and redwood colors. Both of them do not cover any greying from the sun of cedar shingles and redwood furniture. I assume the semi-solid transparent is the best choice for me; but I'm curious to know why you say the solid stains are difficult to maintain. Why is that and don't you get a better coverage with a solid stain? Please reply.

    Before applying the AC you need to remove the grating first with your prep. Use the Restore A Deck Kit and pressure washing.

    AC does not come in a solid stain. Solid stains are not penetrating like the AC products are and are prone to peeling.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Patrick Castelluccio · 09/04/2017
    I previously ordered samples of sem-transparent cedar and redwood colors. Both of them do not cover any greying from the sun of cedar shingles and redwood furniture. I assume the semi-solid transparent is the best choice for me; but I'm curious to know why you say the solid stains are difficult to maintain. Why is that and don't you get a better coverage with a solid stain? Please reply.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 09/01/2017
    Justiniano Campa:
    I need a 5 gallon Semitransparent Drifwood_Gray. Same I purchase on Ma7 2016 order 35897
    I cannot find it on your site now
    Did you d/c the product? What other could be compatible for a paint over old
    Will yo offer free shipping
    Please respond before 9/5 to use the code
    Justiniano Campa Charlottesville Va

    It is a color option on this page:
    https://www.armstrongclarkstain.com/armstrong-clark-stain-5-gallon
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Justiniano Campa · 08/31/2017
    I need a 5 gallon Semitransparent Drifwood_Gray. Same I purchase on Ma7 2016 order 35897
    I cannot find it on your site now
    Did you d/c the product? What other could be compatible for a paint over old
    Will yo offer free shipping
    Please respond before 9/5 to use the code
    Justiniano Campa Charlottesville Va
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/21/2017
    Joe Z:
    Our cedar deck is in complete sun and is exposed to tough Illinois winters. Had to replace a bunch of boards so I have a mix of old a new wood. Old wood was stripped as well as possible but some of the old stain remains. Would your semi opaque product work?

    You will need to remove all of the old stain so it blends correctly. Shoot for 95% removal or more.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joe Z · 08/21/2017
    Our cedar deck is in complete sun and is exposed to tough Illinois winters. Had to replace a bunch of boards so I have a mix of old a new wood. Old wood was stripped as well as possible but some of the old stain remains. Would your semi opaque product work?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/18/2017
    mona lee:
    Hi :

    I live in Toronto Canada . We can not buy this product in Canada . I will be travelling to Buffalo New York near the Canada USA border crossing at the end of the month. Can you advice me about the location of store that carry Armstrong-Clark deck stain ?

    Thank you !!!

    Mona Lee

    There are not any stores in NY. If you have an address to ship to there, you can buy off the site and we can ship it there for you to pickup.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/18/2017
    Mike Scearce:
    Can your stain be applied to a deck that has another brand of oil base stain without stripping the old stain? The existing stain is very faded and water soaks in without beading. Thanks

    No. You should strip it off first so the AC can properly soak in and adhere.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike Scearce · 08/17/2017
    Can your stain be applied to a deck that has another brand of oil base stain without stripping the old stain? The existing stain is very faded and water soaks in without beading. Thanks
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    mona lee · 08/17/2017
    Hi :

    I live in Toronto Canada . We can not buy this product in Canada . I will be travelling to Buffalo New York near the Canada USA border crossing at the end of the month. Can you advice me about the location of store that carry Armstrong-Clark deck stain ?

    Thank you !!!

    Mona Lee
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Armstrong · 08/16/2017
    Jim Lenardon:
    I have a 1700sq ft redwood deck that had a latex semi solid stain of another brand.
    We have stripped the previous stain off and are interested in your semi solid oil base stain.
    Snow sits at times on the deck during the winter and caused the previous stain to peel off the horizontal surfaces.
    Is there any other prep I should do, and do you think your stain will withstand the snow.
    I expect to have to re stain after a few years but not every year like have in the past.
    Any other suggestions?
    Thanks
    .

    As long as you removed the old coating you should be good to go. Do a final prep with a deck cleaner and light pressure washing.