SAMPLES TSS defaultFinding the Perfect Deck Stain Color

Deck stain color choice is a crucial decision for many deck owners. Once the stain soaks into the wood it is difficult to reverse your decision. You can find the color choice of most any stain printed on the stain container label. You may also order or pick up some color swatches at your local stain store or go online to view the different color charts.

The difficulty with choosing a stain color from a picture or swatch is that it is only a close representation of what the color might look like. For example, some color tones are lighter in appearance than others due to the opacity of the deck stain. Many deck owners have been shocked by how different the color ended up being once they applied it to their deck, but it was too late.


The trouble with deck stain, especially the more transparent and semi-transparent stains, is that the color can vary widely from deck to deck. The porosity, age, and type of wood will all play a role in the final color result and many times it can be far from what you thought it would be.

The best way to know exactly what the deck stain will look like on your deck is to have the actual stain so you can do a test spot. Unfortunately, it isn't feasible to purchase multiple cans of deck stain so you can sample them all to find the right look. That would be extremely expensive and a waste of resources. But now there is a way.

You can order small deck stain samples (1.5-2oz.) to test on your deck until you find the exact color you want. Colors samples for major deck stain brands like TWP, Defy, Armstrong, Messmers, Penofin, and Wood Tux are available for purchase.

For a small fee, you can order as many deck stain color samples as you would like. Once you decide to purchase the stain from that same site, the money you spent on color samples goes towards the purchase of a 5-gallon pail of stain making the color samples virtually free.

This "try before you buy" is the best way we have found for deck owners to test spot stain colors to see how the actual color turns out on their deck. No more guessing with pictures and color charts.

Please ask any questions you may have below.

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    olver optic · 08/25/2021
    do these work on a cedar fence?
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    Ron · 04/28/2021
    I have a deck that's around 20 years old.  When I bought the house in 2019 the deck had been stained with Olympic Elite Solid Color.  That stain began peeling so I sanded the deck to remove the old stain and am going to stain the deck with Armstrong Clark.  I also plan to use Restore A Deck (RAD) Cleaner and RAD Brightener before applying the stain.  I've bought 3 sample cans and would like to test those on the wood.  What is your suggestion to remove the sample stains if I'm unable to test those stain colors in an inconspicuous place?  Would I need to remove the sample stains with RAD Stripper and then use RAD Brightener on the area of the deck where I applied the stain samples?    
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    Ron · 04/28/2021
    Do I need to clean and brighten my deck before applying the Armstrong-Clarke sample stain?  Also, what is the best method to remove the sample stain from my deck if I don't like it?
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      The Sealer Store · 04/28/2021
      You always have to prep before applying. How to prep depends on the current condition? Pictures would help. Samples will have to be removed. Try a place to sample that is out of the way.
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    shelley hardie · 05/01/2020
    do you have transparent stains in kona brown, teak, cedar, mountain ceder samples
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    Linda · 04/18/2020
    I have used coastal cedar on my deck in the past. Do you still provide that color and is not what is the closest color you offer to it?
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    Keja · 11/05/2017
    Do you have samples of the penofin, hickory bark and mission brown?
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      The Sealer Store · 11/05/2017
      Sorry but no we do not.
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    The Sealer Store · 04/27/2016
    We do not.
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    frances · 04/26/2016
    Do you have samples of Cabot semi transparent exterior stain. I live out of state.