There are two main differences between wood stains, those that penetrate the wood and those that form a protective film on top of the wood. Film forming wood stains have a reputation of not holding up as well as penetrating stains. They are prone to peeling and flaking and are traditionally more difficult to maintain. Penetrating wood stains protect by diving below the surface and into the wood pores so there is no film atop the surface. Penetrating wood stains repel water and reflect UV rays before the can do damage. In addition, they are not prone to peeling, they simply fade and wear off before needing recoated and are much easier to maintain in this sense.

One of the best penetrating stains on the market is Armstrong Clark wood stain. To understand why Armstrong Clark penetrates wood so well you have to look at the formula. Most deep penetrating stains such as Armstrong Clark are oil based semi transparent formulas. This is customarily the best type of formula for excellent penetration unlike acrylic or water based formulas that do not penetrate as well but there are some exceptions.

In addition to being a semi transparent oil based stain, Armstrong Clark is a specially designed formula that achieves excellent penetration with vegetable oils and transparent oxide pigments. It is a blend of both nondrying and drying oils. The nondrying oils are specifically designed to dive into the wood to replace the wood’s lost natural oils. This helps with wood conditioning and adds flexibility to the wood. The drying side of the formula remains on top of the wood surface to trap in the nondrying oils while creating a dry to the touch barrier of protection. This technology makes Armstrong Clark one of the best penetrating wood stains.

Replacing the lost natural oils of the wood conditions and rejuvenates the fibers to help reduce wood cracking, splitting and warping that can occur when older wood dries out and becomes brittle. Armstrong Clark stain also contains special water repellents, solvents and mildewcides that are naturally mold and mildew resistant. 

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    Greg Luecht · 07/09/2018
    I applied the semi-transparent cedar 11 months ago to a treated pine deck. I did my best to observe the instructions RE: coating, dry time, and even purchased a moisture meter. With all that said I am very satisfied with your product and I am sure with future re-coats the eveness of the stain will improve. However I have noted that on one or two horizontal boards there appears to be "bleeding" of some substance. The initial color appears to be similar to the stain which then develops an ash type appearance. There is also a stage where this substance takes on a tar consistency. What is your recommendation to remove this substance. Do I scrape it off or lightly sand with a subsequent retouch of the stain or none of the above? Thanks in advance for your input. Greg Luecht
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      Armstrong · 07/10/2018
      That is sap leaching from the wood. Try to sand off and touch up with the AC stain.