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 a 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 Espresso, Mountain Cedar, Sequoia, Woodland, and Oxford Brown.

Armstrong Clark Semi Solid Colors

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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    Keith · 05/27/2020
    For what reason is semi-solid not recommended for furniture?
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    Keith · 05/27/2020
    Hello-
    I was considering just recovering my deck with a solid stain (paint) but I couldn’t get all the old peeling decks solid stain thoroughly with pressure washing. I thought I’d have give up or replace. It’s pressure treated wood, probably 30+ years old. I grabbed my 4-1/2 sander and 40-grip flap disc and went after it. The woods is in very good shape. It’s a lot of work but I think I can clean it. There’s no rot in the under joists either, so I think I could save it.
    My question is what stain to use. It still has some sanding streaks or smeared stain in the wood and some in cracks I can’t sand out. I wouldn’t mind a rough rustic look, but not sure if a semi solid or semi transparent would work best in this situation. It’s on the north side, in CT. Gets some sun but not a bunch. Of course snow in the winter. I don’t want to have to sand it again! Your opinion is appreciated.
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      Armstrong · 05/27/2020
      You cannot use the AC unless you remove 100% of the current solid stain.
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    Matt W · 05/24/2020
    I want to restain my deck and want to use an oil based semi solid stain. The last time I stained was 13-15 years ago. It was a Behr oil based stain. Would I have to strip that or can I just apply stain after cleaning? Water no longer beads .
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      Armstrong · 05/25/2020
      You have to remove the old coating fully first.
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    Jim · 05/12/2020
    where can I buy it in Chicago il
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    Michael H · 05/10/2020
    I have a 10 tear old Cabot semi-solid stain on my deck. Can I use your semi-solid stain over this existing stain. The deck has been cleaned and dried from power washing.
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      Armstrong · 05/10/2020
      Sorry but no. You would have to remove the Cabot fully.
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    Sydnee · 05/09/2020
    Also below you say this

    ... Share

    Armstrong 04/28/2020

    You cannot use a semi-solid on new wood until ti has weathered for 12 months. Semi-transparent is 3+ months.
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    Meg Y · 05/09/2020
    Semi solid or semi transparent on this deck?
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      Armstrong · 05/09/2020
      Either. That would be your choice.
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    Sydnee · 05/09/2020
    I have the same question. I want to keep.the new wood look and not have it discolor!!
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      Armstrong · 05/09/2020
      That is not possible. A clear coating (no tint at all) will not keep the color and the wood will gray in months form the UV. It must be tinted with a stain if you want to prevent graying. The more tint you have, the longer it lasts.
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        Sydnee · 05/09/2020
        Yes. I would be tinting but waiting a year for this new rough sawn wood will alow it to grey, no? I did not want it to grey.
        Would a waterbssed stain be better for immediate staining?
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          Armstrong · 05/09/2020
          Or rough sawn you can stain right away with the AC.
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    frank s · 05/07/2020
    I would like to use semi-solid Mountain Cedar on a new pergola with rough sawn doug fir.
    Do I have to wait 1 year since the caption says "not for wood less than one year old"?
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    Kerri · 05/01/2020
    Hi! We recently installed new redwood beams and are looking to stain them with Oxford Brown. Is this okay?
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    Doug · 04/29/2020
    I have a 15 x 20 cedar deck that was previously stained with a water based semi solid product made by Olympic We recoated the deck about every 3 years till we had 3 layers of stain. As expected, after a recent very cold winter, the deck began to flake. After trying to remove the existing coating, and finding it virtually impossible, we decided to simply turn the deck boards over, giving us a new clean surface after sanding. Can you tell us if this new surface is considered weathered (its 11 years old and never stained, just recently sanded) and capable of accepting an oil based semi solid stain, or will it have to be weathered again as if it were fresh from the lumber yard. The sanding was necessary to remove mildew and other minor discolorations from where the deck wood sat on cross beams. Is your restriction on application only on weathered wood a common expectation, regardless of brand of oil based stain?
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    sue · 04/28/2020
    To be clear, are you saying i should use a semi-transparent rather than a semi-solid stain on new wood? Why? I would like to get the max UV protection available. How long should i wait to apply semi-transparent stain and how long before applying semi-solid stain to new pine deck boards?
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      Armstrong · 04/28/2020
      You cannot use a semi-solid on new wood until ti has weathered for 12 months. Semi-transparent is 3+ months.
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    Rita · 04/10/2020
    This deck was stained 15-20 years ago. The railings, pickets, and posts are all covered with this, but decking itself was replaced 18 months ago and has not been stained. What product will work on this? Is it solid or semi-solid? Can I do decking with semi-transparent and all that has this stain on it presently with semi-solid?
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      Armstrong · 04/10/2020
      That is a solid stain and the AC products cannot work over this stain type or any other brand of stain. You would have to sand it all off.
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        rita · 04/14/2020
        Wait a minute, what? I can't use restore a deck solid over old solid stain? I want to use semi-transparent on the new decking and solid on all vertical surfaces (and a small protected gazebo floor which does have old stain on it). What solid stain would look good next to the light walnut semi-transparent?
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          Armstrong · 04/14/2020
          You can use a solid stain over a solid stain but Armstrong Calrk does not come in a solid stain. This website is an Armstrong Clark Stain website, not Restore A Deck. AC does not have a light walnut color.
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    glen Kakowski · 03/01/2020
    Hi Folks. I have on my deck Floods CWF-UV...It's described as: Acrylic/Oil resin provides durability of acrylic and richness of penetrating alkyd
    Fortified with Penetrol® additive to drive protection below the surface..It's soap and water clean up... It's about 2 years on my deck and I want to cover it with your semi-solid stain..It has a solid dark brown finish ..Any problems using your oil-based semi-solid over this? Thanks Glen
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    Eric Mello · 12/11/2019
    Hi

    I am staining the inside of a barn. I am installing unfinished notty pine shiplap. I want to hide the lines and knots in the wood but I do not want to use an opaque stain because I want to see some of the wood grain and knots. Do you think your woodland brown would work? I love the color. Any advice?
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    Hale Miller · 11/19/2019
    Hi,
    i am looking to use semi solid stain on the trim on my house. Do you have a stain in the color of Cabot’s shade tree? Can I mix to get to that color with your stains?
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      Armstrong · 11/20/2019
      I am sorry but we are not familiar with Cabot's colors. AC cannot be custom mixed.
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    aldrin · 11/14/2019
    hi
    i use the amber stain on a new massaranduba deck, how long you ve to leave the stain on the deck before wipe the excess stian from the floor ?
    and if it rains the same on the floor after staining it do you need to strip the floor and apply the stain again or you can just let the floor dries for 48 hours and the reapply the stain again?
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      Armstrong · 11/14/2019
      AC is not supposed to be back wiped right away. Apply a light coat and let dry. If needed you can remove any excess the next day. It cannot rain on it for 12-24 hours after applying. If it rains while the stain has not dried, you may need to strip and start over.
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    David · 10/05/2019
    I applied your semi solid stain and finished at 1:30PM--out of nowhere--got a shower at 3:30--not forecasted
    I was about to go out and brush out some excess spots of stain that hadn't penetrated--
    How bad am I messed up? What should I do to save my work??
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      Armstrong · 10/05/2019
      Wait until the rain dries off the deck to assess and damage or not. Send pictures then.
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        David Sommerlath · 10/07/2019
        it finally dried off--got about 1/10 of rain (very light and spotty) over a 36 hour period--sun out today and mostly dried off--see photos
        I will say--the deck looks great (should have taken some before pics--it was in rough shape)--plus a strong stain odor is coming off of it. I think I'm good to go--but WHAT DO YOU THINK??
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          Armstrong · 10/07/2019
          Wee you do have some water spots but the stain looks okay. You should be fine.
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            David Sommerlath · 10/08/2019
            It's good enough for me---I think this stain is superior--had always used TWP semi transparent--but this is my go to product from now on--really looks great (makes me think I can put of re decking for quite awhile)
            THANKS!
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    Delia Lynn · 09/19/2019
    Can you tint this product to a black?
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    JACM · 09/15/2019
    I have a 14 year old cedar deck. Stripped it of old stain and sanded but still some spots were the stain will not come out. We previously used the Cabot Australian Timber Oil. We want to try your semi solid stain. We have not brightened the wood yet. But actually looks pretty bare except for the stubborn areas. On steps and side pieces.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      Armstrong · 09/15/2019
      Strip off as much as you can and then brighten for final prep before using the AC.
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    Jason · 09/06/2019
    Hi. I have a 20-year old deck. I just power washed it for the first time in five years. All of the old stain came off the outside stairs, but a good amount of stain remains in the enclosed porch (which doesn't get sun). I really don't want to sand. Can I use one of your Semi-solid stains (thinking Woodland Brown)? Or will it not adhere to the parts where the old stain remain? I can't tell if the previous stain was a solid or semi solid/transparent stain. Thanks, Jason
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      Armstrong · 09/06/2019
      The AC cannot be applied over this stain. You would have to remove it all first.
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        Jason · 09/06/2019
        Would it be okay to use a deck stain stripper, power wash it again - then use one of your products?
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          Armstrong · 09/06/2019
          Strippers will probably not remove all of this old coating as it looks very thick. You may need to sand as well tot get it all off. Brighten the wood after.
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    Mike Ott · 07/22/2019
    We finished building the attached deck in late June. The deck wood is a treated 1" deck pine, it seems to be drying out fast even with the rainy weather and the very hot summer. The boards have gone thru a shrink down already and are bleaching out quickly. The boards were fastened with the CAMO system. What is the soonest I can apply your 'Semi-Solid' stain? I would like to do it prior to winter. Thank you in advance for your help.
    Mike Ott

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    Ned · 07/09/2019
    We have a 15 year old pressure treated deck that we just had professionally sanded to take off all the rough edges and old stains. We also have new stairs being put in.
    Would you recommend solid or semi solid so both woods will match (when we can eventually stain the new wood)
    Also, should we use a wood conditioner so it stains evenly?


    Thanks,

    Ned
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    Jimbo · 06/11/2019
    I have stair treads 4 X 12 that were milled and planed last year and stored under cover. Can I stain immediately or should I let them age once installed?
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    Gina Lagore · 06/09/2019
    Hi - We have a 25 year old pine deck that had been maintained every 3 years (7 times total in 21 years) up until 4 years ago by cleaning and pressure washing the deck and re-coating with Cabot semi-solid stain. It looked great for 21 years. Only now, 4 years later, was the deck flaking in areas such as on the railings. The floor is more worn off than flaking. We have cleaned and sanded the entire deck railing and it looks and feels great (to us) and appears to be ready to accept new stain. We simply cleaned and pressure washed the deck floor. From what I can gather from reading other posts about deck refinishing, am I correct in assuming that the only way to proceed from here is to use another semi-solid oil based stain? Cabot has reformulated the semi-solid oil based stain that we used for years and because we live in Pennsylvania we no longer have access to that particular formula stain. I understand the new formula is not nearly as effective or long lasting as the old one so I'm looking for an alternative. I certainly appreciate any guidance you can provide. Thanks so much for your time. Gina
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      Armstrong · 06/09/2019
      Did you remove all the Cabot semi solid stain? Feel free to post a picture.
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    C J Basham · 05/30/2019
    Cabot recommends using semisolid stain on our bare wood outdoor furniture. Why does Armstrong say not to use its semi solid? I was hopeful to buy your product!
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    Valerie · 05/18/2019
    Does mountain cedar turn red on treated pine... I need a brown with no red tint! The woodland brown appears to have some orange tones. If espresso would work is there any way to lighten the color?
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    Mary · 03/18/2019
    We started out using Rustic Brown semi-transparent stain on deck and loved it! Now we are putting up pre-made lattice panels for privacy screening. We REALLY want Rustic Brown in semi-solid, because 'cheesy' wood doesn't accept stain uniformly. Available?

    I ordered a sample of Sequoia because on-line it looked the closest/or darker to RB, but is way too red....as the name would imply. My bad.
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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?