How Many Coats of Deck Stain to Apply

The general rule of thumb is to apply only as much deck stain as the wood can absorb. Typically this will be 2 coats, unless your dealing with extremely dense hardwoods which may only be able to absorb 1 coat of wood stain. Watch this video to see more tips on how many coats of stain to apply.


  1. Linda says:

    We applied one thin coar of Defy clear stain today – can we apply a second coat tomorrow ?? We used Defy a Cleaner and brightened yesterday ….

    • customerservice says:

      Linda, Once you apply a coat of stain and it dries, you can’t apply another coat, the second coat will be repelled and you will see peeling. Give it another year and once the deck starts absorbing water you can apply another maintenance coat.

  2. dave says:

    you suggest 2 coats DEFY Extreme 5 Gallon Semi-Transparent Exterior Wood Stain, Redwood
    do I cut it in twice and then do the floor twice.
    I was worried after cutting it in and doing the floor, I would mess up the floor while cutting in the second time.
    When can I walk on it after the first coat.

    • customerservice says:

      Dave, when you apply the stain I work in small sections, I’ll do 3 or 4 boards at a time. I’ll cut in those boards, then apply the stain with a push brush or car wash brush, and once I reach the end of the boards I cut in again those same areas and then reapply. I will work my across the entire deck using that method.

  3. Mary cousins says:

    I know Now…obvious to late since stain is wet to wet and you say redo second coat in a year so no peeling but the front of my deck is so much thinner than the rest of my deck…could you put another real thin coat on?

  4. John Cowger says:

    After using the cleaner and Wood Brightener the wood is wet. How long or how dry does the wood need to be before applying the Extreme exterior semi-transparent stain?

    • defyadmin says:

      John, once the wood is visibly dry, you can stain it. On a hot day, you could potentially clean and brighten it in the morning, and then stain it later in the afternoon/evening.

    • Sharon marie says:

      How much time does the stain need to dry before it rains?

      • defyadmin says:

        Sharon, dry time is normally between 2-6 hours. Low temperatures or high humidity can increase dry time.

  5. Megan says:

    My helper mistakenly added an extra coat to logs that already had two coats on them. I didn’t realize this until 3 days later. Is there anyway to mitigate future peeling? Would fine grit sanding help?

    • defyadmin says:

      Megan, at this point you’re better off to just wait and see. Sanding won’t help, but it could make it worse. If the wood is extremely shiny, that’s a sign that you could see peeling, but if not, it may be ok.

  6. Lindsey says:

    It’s my first try at staining a deck. After all the prep I applied the stain. I stained a few planks last evening but I think the coat was too thin. Can I apply second coat after 24 hours since the first application was probably too light?

    • defyadmin says:

      Lindsey, ideally you would apply the stain while the first coat is still damp. You may be able to apply a very light coat, but just be careful as the stain may not be able to soak in since the first coat is dry.

  7. Craig says:

    When you list 100 to 150 square feet per gallon, is based on one coat or two coats?

    • defyadmin says:

      Craig, 100-150 sq. ft. assumes 2 coats. If you were just applying 1 coat, it would be 200-300 sq. ft. per gallon.

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