Maintaining Your Deck Stain & Setting Expectations

No deck stain will last forever. Eventually all deck stains will fail. The question is how long does it take, and how easy is it to maintain when it begins to fail. Some deck stains will need to be completely stripped or sanded every other year or two. Others, simply fade away and won’t need to be stripped. DEFY Wood Stains are easy to maintain. Simply clean the surface with an application of Wood Brightener and apply a light maintenance coat of DEFY semi-transparent or clear deck stain and you’re done.


  1. MArijo says:

    MY deck is five years old, in need of a semi transparent stain. I live in central Texas. Heavy rains and hot Summers. Do I go with an oil base by Defy.

    • defyadmin says:

      Marijo, you could use DEFY Wood Oil for Decks or DEFY Extreme Wood Stain. Both products would work well.

      • Shannon says:

        Would you kindly lay out the order of the steps involved in restaining? We need to lightly sand. How many times is powerwashing necessary? We already have the cleaner, brightener, and stain. We just need a power washer. If you could also recommend the best PSI for the job, we’d appreciate it. The pool deck is redwood.

        • defyadmin says:

          Sure, you can sand if you like, although it’s not always necessary. Typically we recommend applying DEFY Wood Brightener first, then rinse it off with a hose. After it dries out, apply a single coat of stain. You can use a pressure washer, but if you’re re-applying DEFY Semi-Transparent Stains, you shouldn’t need to pressure wash the deck. The brightener will lighten the wood, and make it ready for another stain application. The only time a pressure washer is really needed is if you’re trying to strip off the previous coat of stain, which isn’t necessary if you’re applying DEFY over top of DEFY. If you do use a pressure washer on your deck, use 1200 max PSI. If the pressure washer has more PSI than that, simply hold the nozzle farther away from the wood as it could damage it.

  2. Nancy says:

    I have a light colored cedar that needs it’s first staining but do not want to change the color that it is right now. Do notwant to make it orangy like others I have sampled. Would the clear stain change the existing color of the cedar?

  3. Greg W says:

    What happens to a deck that has benn previously treated with a water based stain and then is treated with an oil based stain?

    • defyadmin says:

      Greg, most stain manufacturers will recommend that you remove the previous stain in order to ensure the longest lifespan for their stain. With that being said, oil based products usually can adhere to water based products. The only issue you may have is that if the oil based stain doesn’t penetrate the surface because of the previous stain, then it probably won’t last as long compared to being applied to bare wood.

  4. Brueske Norman says:

    I treated, about 5 years ago, a clear fir deck with Defy Extreme Wood Stain (cedar tone). Can I repaint it with the same stain.

    Also, is there a shelf life for an unopened can of this stain.

  5. John Hawkins says:

    Ok, I stained my deck with the Defy Extreme and understand the maintenance. You state (Lasts one to two seasons longer that other stains). So my question is, what next? In about 5 years (is that a good average?) I will need to re-stain. Will I have to remove the old stain? What is the process? Oh, and I live near San Antonio, Texas where we have hot summers (maybe 100 at around 100 degrees) and mild winters.


    • customerservice says:


      Once the stains starts to absorb water you are ready for another coat. That maybe 2-4 years depending on the exposure of UV light and the elements. Once it is absorbing water, clean it up with a mild detergent, let dry and then apply one coat of stain. This should bring the deck back to what it looked like when you first stained it.

  6. Ione says:

    Can I run defy extreme through a sprayer?

    • customerservice says:

      Ione, You can however we recommend back brushing the product. With a sprayer it can be difficult to control how much stain gets applied. As long as you back brush the product it should be ok.

  7. Craig Rhoades says:

    I used defy wood cleaner yesterday. I would like to use the Brightener and stain it today. However it rained pretty well yesterday and it expected again tomorrow. Today should be rain free but will that be enough time to allow the stain to be fully set in the wood? If I don’t stain today, should I hold off on the Brightener as well?

    • defyadmin says:

      Craig, as long as it doesn’t rain today, you should be fine to brighten and stain it today. You want the wood to have a couple of hours to dry after applying it.

  8. Dusty Nason says:

    I used an oil based stain on my new cedar deck and after several months black staining occurred or it turned gray in areas exposed to the weather. Areas inside screen porch was perfect . Cleaner removed 80% of stain. I live in Northeast and the deck and porch has southern exposure. I am interested in your water based stain. Will that hold up on cedar and resist mildew, assuming that is the “black” staining that occurred? If so, how would I prepare for staining with your product? Completely sand off old stain to 80 or 100 grit?

    • defyadmin says:

      Dusty, the black staining your seeing is most likely mold growth that can occur with oil based stains. The good thing about oil based stains is they penetrate well, especially on wood types such as cedar. The downside is they don’t last and they frequently turn black. To switch to a water-based stain, you’ll need to either sand the deck to remove the previous oil stain, or use a stain stripper and rinse with a pressure washer. We have a product called DEFY Extreme Wood Stain for Hardwoods that’s designed to work on cedar. It has smaller resins that penetrate better and will give you a longer lifespan than many competitive products. With this stain you shouldn’t see the problem occurring with the deck turning black. Just keep in mind, that stains don’t last as long on cedar as they do on other wood types such as pressure treated lumber. The natural oils in cedar that make it resistant to rot and decay, also make it resistant to deck stains. For a deck with a southern exposure, you’ll need to plan on annual maintenance coats to keep your deck looking nice. The benefit of using DEFY is the easy maintenance process. No need to strip the deck every time. Just make sure the deck is clean, and apply a single maintenance coat as the deck begins to wear.

  9. Adrianne says:

    We have a PT pine deck that’s over a year old, never been treated. We’d like to preserve the natural color of the wood, however, we’ve read a number of places that a clear sealer will not prevent graying – the more the pigment the better the resistance. Some questions about this product: Does it come in water based and oil based? Does it come in colors? If so, where do we find the color chart? Which product do we use – considering ease of renewing, so whatever needs to be power washed and not sanded? We have a large deck and posts and pergola tops, so sanding would be almost prohibitive.

    We live in Western NY – Buffalo NY in particular – so weather is a factor as far as snow. Although with climate change now, lots of rain this year and humidity has been happening.

    Also, where would we purchase the product recommended? None of the listed stores in our area carry it (as far out as 25 miles). Would we have to order online? What is the cost of the recommended product?

    Anything else we should now would be appreciated.

    Thank you.

  10. Adrianne says:

    What’s the difference between the Defy Extreme and Extreme 40, both semi-transparent? We’d like to use the Crystal Clear – will that last the 2-4 years as advertized compared to, say, the pine color? Does one last longer than the other?

    The link you gave to an article that “walks you through the how-to” isn’t an article of that – it’s a link to the color chart. Could you please repost that article link?

    Thank you

    • Adrianne says:

      Well, apparently the difference between the Defy Extreme and Extreme 40 is the 40 is only for use in California, which has strict restrictions. And the crystal clear color would have to be applied twice a year but the colored ones every 2-4 years. Go figure.

      • defyadmin says:

        Adrianne, yes you’re correct. The Extreme 40 is a reduced VOC content version sold in California. There isn’t a difference in terms of application, color, or performance. Concerning the lifespan of the clear, it won’t last as long as one of the pigmented stains. The pigment will give you added UV resistance. Depending on your environment, you could see up to a year longer lifespan. Here’s the link to the how to article –

  11. Adrianne says:

    Is there a temperature that deck stain must/should be applied in – like never under 50 degrees or over 95? I read about sunlight and rain but nothing about temperature. Can it be applied in any temperature (obviously not freezing or ridiculously hot/humid conditions)?

    Thanks for your help.

    • defyadmin says:

      Adrianne, it should be above 45 F and rising. 95 F is the max. Keep in mind that if the air temperature is 95 F, and the deck in full sun, the boards could be 120-130 F. This is why we recommend staining either on a cloudy day, or when the sun is not directly overhead.

  12. Adrianne says:

    Another Q: when using Defy semi-transparent stain, if not carefully applied, can you get overlapping marks? Some stains I’ve read about say no, but others definitely do (viewing posted pictures of it). Can it happen with Defy semi-transparent?


    • defyadmin says:

      Adrianne, yes it is possible to get overlapping marks. We recommend using a car wash brush to speed things up, and only stain 3-4 boards at time, going the full length of the board. This reduces the chance of getting lap marks.

  13. Leslye says:

    We used the defy extreme in bitternut today, 2 butternut to one natural pine. It is rather red. 9cedar dec)
    Will it fade in full sun? Can we do our maintenance coat next time with a mixture with less butternut?

    • defyadmin says:

      Leslye, semi-transparent stains will gradually fade as they weather. When it’s time for your maintenance coat, you can mix with less butternut if you want to change the color slightly.

  14. Marilyn Campbell says:

    We have a pine log home which needs to be re-stained. We used Defy when we first built it several years ago and it now is starting to show tiny black mold spots on the log ends. We are in So. Oregon. Should we wash the stain down with a pressure washer before re-staining, or do you sell something for cleaning logs prior to re-staining? I’m concerned that we need to do a thorough cleaning so the old color doesn’t bleed through and cause irregular color in spots. Thanks!

    • defyadmin says:

      Marilyn, use our Wood Brightener to clean and brighten the wood first, followed by rinsing. You can give it a light pressure washing, let it dry, then give it a maintenance coat of stain.

  15. Stacey says:

    Is this product good on pine (spruce) siding for a shed? Does extreme also have a sealant with it?

    • defyadmin says:

      Stacy, yes this product will work well on pine/spruce siding. It will also seal the wood at the same time.

  16. Adrianne says:

    Has anyone stained their deck WITHOUT first using the cleaner and brightener, and if so, how did it work out?

  17. Adrianne says:

    What’s the difference between Defy Marine Seal Wood Stain and Defy Extreme stain? Using the term “marine” would seem to imply better protection against water – sea or fresh – than a normal deck stain. Why wouldn’t one use the marine stain instead?

  18. Russ Drennen says:

    I have an outside open porch area leading into my camp. I used Duck Back first it looked good on covered porch and the open porch. However it is oil based and leaves a oily feel to wood. It also has contributed to black mold and mildew due to the high concentration of linseed and/or Tung oil in the product. Various manufacturers have told me the oil feeds mold and to go to a good acrylic product such as yours. I have used mold eraser and another product they sell and most of the black mold has been eliminated, however the wood grain has raised a bit on the knotty pine boards in the ceiling of the open porch over hang. Would you sand this left over mold off with 80 grit (one manufacture advised this) or would use your cleaner and then brightner before I stain. I want to keep the open porch/overhang as natural as I can…the rest of the place is the Adirondac dark Brown solid coloer from Benjamin Moore…it is holding up great and I like the dark brown color next to the natural look..Lucky for me the screened in porch block the mold spores from entering and left that area mold free….and looks good. I only have to fix up the open porch areas….what do you suggest here….Thanks you for all the help you can give me. Russ

    • defyadmin says:

      Russ, if you can sand it clean then that should work. Otherwise DEFY Wood Cleaner and Brightener will get rid of the mold as well. It’s up to you. If it’s just a small area, it may be easier to sand, but if it’s larger, spraying it down with wood cleaner may be easier.

  19. Michelle says:

    I would like to use the extreme stain on my barn. There are 2 levels of metal roofing. Will the cleaner and brightened damage the metal roofing?

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