Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
Deck Stain Help Articles
Deck Stain Reviews Ratings
We Would Love to Hear From You!
Please post a review in the Consumer Star Ratings Below.
The Comment Area Below is for in-depth reviews and any questions you may have!
Visit us on Facebook to share your pictures.

Defy Hardwood Stain Review 2014 4.17/5 (2)

Defy Stain for Hardwoods Review

Defy Stain for Hardwoods Review

Defy Hardwood Stain RatingsImportant Note: This is our 2nd Review of Defy Deck Stain for Hardwoods. Our first review of the Defy Hardwood Stain was started in 2010 and completed in 2011.

See Here for First Review: Defy Hardwood Stain Review

DEFY Deck Stain for Hardwoods is formulated with smaller resins that penetrate hardwoods, or oily softwoods better. If you’re looking for the best stain for cedar decks in a water-based product, then look no further. DEFY Deck Stain for Hardwoods is a synthetic, semi-transparent deck sealer specifically formulated for use on Teak, IPE, Mahogany, Tigerwoods, and other exotic hardwoods.

Defy Hardwood Stain should also be considered for oil-rich woods such as Cedar and Redwood, offering better penetration for these wood types.

Important Note: Testing for Exotic Hardwood Deck Stains

Exotic hardwoods such as IPE are extremely dense and difficult to penetrate. These wood types, when stained will always fade faster the other woods such as Cedar, Redwood, and Pine. Testing will be changed to 1 year instead of 2 years for exotic hardwoods.

Defy Stain for Hardwood Scores (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8

For the IPE wood, the customer wanted a reddish brown color to enhance the grain. Best color for this is the Light Walnut. The Defy Hardwood did an excellent job of enhancing the grain. It did not film or “cover” the wood grain showing 100% of the natural color tones.

Preventing UV Graying at 1 Year Mark: 7

For Exotic wood stains, we only test for 1 year. The Defy Hardwood Stain retained about 70% of the original color after the full year. It had faded but no graying of the IPE was visible.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 7.5

The Defy Hardwood does a very good job of penetrating exotic woods. No filming was noticed when completed and the wearing was acceptable after the year. There was some visible wearing on the steps.

Make sure that if you use the Defy Hardwood on IPE that you apply only one coat. Too much stain and it will not absorb leading to an increased chance of wear/tear. We learned this from past experience when treating exotic hardwoods.

Cost Per Square Foot: 7

Defy Stain costs about $40 per gallon. We used a little over 2 gallons of the light walnut color on our 400 square feet of IPE. Coverage for the Defy Hardwood is less than other exotic wood stains.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 9

No mold or mildew on the flooring surface or decking railings. A small amount was visible on the stairs.

Ease of Application: 8

Defy Hardwood penetrates IPE extremely well without any filming on the surface of the wood. Coverage per square foot is less than an oil-based stain but similar to other water based wood stains.  We followed the manufacturer’s advice and used a truck brush for application. It was a little messy but it did apply evenly to the surface. One coat to the floors took less than 30 minutes.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 10

Defy Hardwood Stain did not darken in color.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 8

The procedure for reapplication consisted of a light cleaning with their Defy Wood Cleaner. Once dried after a few days, we reapplied one coat. We did not have any issues with the maintenance coat adhering to the first coat.

Since the Defy Hardwood Stain had faded evenly without any peeling or darkening, it would be easy to apply a wood cleaner to prep the wood. Re-coating should not be an issue since the stain had penetrated into the wood.

Overall Score Defy Hardwood Stain at 2 Year Period: 8.06

This is the second time we have tested the Defy Stain for Hardwoods and the results were similar to the first. It fades lightly through the year and can be reapplied without sanding or chemical stripping. For IPE wood this is essential for annual maintenance.

Product Information:

Help or Questions? Google Search Defy Hardwood Stain
Defy Stain Facebook Page: Defy Exterior Stains
Cost: $39.99 per Gallon, $189.99 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: Cedar Tone, Natural Pine, Light Walnut
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats Required: 2 Coats. “Wet on Wet” for Cedar, 1-2 coats for Exotic Hardwoods
Coverage Per Gallon: 100-150 sq. ft Cedar, 200-300 for Exotic Hardwoods
Application Tools: Sprayer, Pad, Brush, Roller
Dry Time: 2-4 Hours
Cleanup: Water
VOC Compliant: 250 Compliant in all States
More Info: Product Data
Manufacturer: Saver Systems

Test Deck Stats:

When Tested: Applied 2012 and Reviewed Summer 2013
Deck Wood Type: IPE decking
Deck Square Footage: 400 Square feet
UV Exposure: Full Sun, South East Exposure.
How Many Years Tested: 1 Year
Stain Color Used: 
Light Walnut

*All products tested and results are from our experience as wood restoration contractors. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that results may differ due to different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, and natural weathering.

Please Rate This Product. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

30 responses to “Defy Hardwood Stain Review 2014”

  1. Deb says:

    We used Defy for hardwood light walnut last year – we had a very rough winter and this spring after the snow melted there are numerous places on the deck that are peeling. We checked with the store we purchased the product – their advice to us is to lightly sand using 80 grain and put another coat on the floor feathering it – the railings are just fine. They said they believed the Cedarwood which was about nine months old at the time must not have been dried out enough to properly absorb the stain and that could be why we have so much peeling. I would be interested in your thoughts on this.

    • Deb, peeling is usually the result of not prepping correctly or over applying. If the Defy is unable to penetrate then it can film on the wood surface. Did you only apply one coat to the new wood as directions state?

  2. Deb says:

    Yes just one coat – is the stores recommendation to sand and put on another coat feathering it a good idea – they said not to power wash it. Note – the peeling is down to the very surface so you can now see the bare cedar wherever it peeled.

    • I would not sand. That closes to wood pores so the stain absorbs even less. Best to strip and brighten. Might want to get some tech help from the manufacturer. Saversystems.

  3. EricS says:

    I want to create a 2-tone pergola deck. Pine is on the floor and I think I like the color of Defy Light Walnut for that. The pergola on top is cedar and I'm leaning towards the butternut color since it is darker. Since butternut isn't available in the Hardwoods color would the regular Defy Extreme be ok for the cedar? Or should I use the Defy Hardwood for the pergola and settle for Light Walnut? I know the cedar will be darker so it will automatically give it a little bit of a two tone look, but with walnut and butternut the contrast would probably look better.

    I absolutely do not want any peeling as I've spent almost a week sanding the entire thing back to bare wood due to a previous peeling paint (Behr)

    • Yes the pergola cedar will be fine with the Extreme Butternut. After sanding you should clean and brighten the wood fore additional prep on the floors. This will allow the stain the penetrate deeper.

  4. amcarter3 says:

    We've been using Defy Deck Stain for Hardwoods for 7 years on our red cedar deck. This deck gets pounded pretty hard with long days of direct sun in the summer and a lot of cold / wet / snowy days in the winter (Pacific NW near Puget Sound). It holds up better than described in the test results in this review. No peeling; just slow, very gradual fading. A few areas show mild weathering, but no mildew at all (and our area is notorious for mildew and mold).

    We get more than 1 year out of the first coat on the horizontal surfaces and a 2nd year+ by first applying Defy Wood Cleaner before re-coating. We have no issues at all with re-coating (as long as you only apply one coat). Most vertical surfaces hardly need touching up even after 3 years. Of all deck stain products we have used over the last 25 years in two homes, Defy is the unquestionably the best. Just be sure to follow the instructions exactly.

    • saskiadavis says:

      thank you for this encouragement. I can now feel good about going forward with it for my Seattle deck of cedar that will be covered.

      How long had your deck been drying before application of the cleaner and brightener?

      • AMCarter3 says:

        Sorry about taking so long to get back to you. I wasn't aware of your reply / question. I've never used DEFY Cleaner. I use their Stain Stripper and Brightener before re-doing the stain. The Stripper can be used at any time and the deck should be slightly wet. It is important to apply the Brightener immediately after the stripper so the stripping chemicals get fully neutralized before allowing the wood to dry. And, use plenty of water to eliminate the Brightener after it does its work.

    • Heidi says:

      Could you tell me what color hardwood stain you have been using for your cedar? I'm trying to decide between the pine and the light walnut for a new cedar deck. Thanks in advance!

  5. Zac says:

    I've just expanded an ipe deck which was about 7 years old, adding about 50 sq ft of area to the deck. I've pressure washed the whole deck so it seems to be quite ready to take the stain. My question is whether or not I need a sealer. My neighbors (who have the same decking, as it was the same builder originally) said that they had a contractor come who "added some stain to the sealant" which he applied. Without sounding like an idiot, is the Defy all I would need to apply to my freshly-cleaned decking?

  6. Jose says:

    I have a Mahogany deck that was stained with a Cabot wood stain that did not perform well. I have stripped and neutralized and am ready to stain. Most recommendations for a hardwood stain on this site are split between Defy Hardwood and Armstrong. Are there conditions under which Defy or Armstrong would perform better that the other? My house is in SE Pennsylvania, is totally surrounded by woods (and therefore enjoys a damper atmosphere), and enjoys mostly sunny, but partly shade conditions. Would the damper atmosphere cause me to lean toward water-based Defy?

    • Yes it your deck attracts mold. What was the issue with the Cabot?

      • Jose says:

        I had it done by a contractor who was recommended to me before I learned of this site. He power-washed it and applied the Cabot. The first time he did it, it looked OK for one year but the second time, it looked all mildewed and moldy within three months. I suspect he did not wait long enough after power washing before staining it. And I also suspect that he used plain water to power wash (with nothing to kill the mold and mildew). And finally, I think Cabot changed its formula. Now, I have used a stripper (and a fair amount of elbow grease) and a neutralizer and it now looks very good. My hope is that, going forward, I can use Defy Hardwood Stain and only need to neutralize and apply a maintenance level of stain on the horizontal boards annually, every two or three years for the vertical spindles. Is that a reasonable expectation?

        • You have to clean and brighten for future prep, not just brighten (neutralize).

          • glady says:

            According to the Defy website you just need to brighten.

            "It may be beneficial to use DEFY Wood Brightener to clean and brighten the surface before the maintenance coat. "

            I spoke with one of their customer services rep and he confirmed this. Is it possible that their brightener has some cleaning agents also.

          • No it does not have any cleaning agents. We would still clean and brighten.

  7. Frank says:

    I stripped my deck with defy stripper and most of the stain came out but there are numerous spots especially around the knots in the wood. It was a lot of work. I used a powerwasher to get it off . What do I do now with all the spots which are now actually darker than the stain was.

    • You could try sanding or make sure that your new stain will blend it all together so it does not show when done. Did you use the Defy Wood Brightener?

      • Frank says:

        Did not use the brightener yet because I didn't know if I would need to do the stripper again. Will the brightener help with the spots? Also, I am not sure how to blend in the stain to hide the spots? The spots are also much darker than the stain was – is that from the chemical reaction from the stripper?

  8. Dusty says:

    I applied Defy for Hardwoods last month. I used the cedar color which turns out to be actually ugly ORANGE on white cedar. It also is sticky in places. I suspect that the two solid weeks of rain beginning the day after application might be part of why.
    My question: I want to recoat it in the spring with a different, darker color of Defy. Can I get by with prep that is only cleaning? Could I lightly sand the sticky spots if still sticky before recoating in the spring? I spent a lot of time stripping this deck and don't want to restrip next year if I can avoid it. Thanks

    • It should not be sticky by the Spring. Sticky means it was most likely over applied. I believe you can clean and reapply a different color as long as the next color is darker. You can go darker but you cannot go lighter without stripping. Usually we would do this after 2-3 years and we know then it will take. doing this after 6-9 months may be an issue so might want to contact them for advice.

  9. jose says:

    I'm having a new IPE deck been built next to a pool over a concrete subfloor with good drainage. Should I seal each board on all 4 sides before installation? Then after its installed should I use the brightener and seal the top again?

  10. merilee says:

    great forum! i have old greyed out redwood decking(which i love) and brand new port orford cedar decking (very hard and looks like pine) in napa. i really want to stain them to look the same color. i like the review of the defy hardwood stain. how can i get the old decks and the new decks to look similar? they aren't right next to each other so it doesn't have to be a perfect match, but i do want them to look cohesive. sincerely, merilee

    • Merilee, it will be hard to match two different wood types and especially when you have older and newer wood. Make sure the prep is done correctly as that is key. Use the Defy Wood cleaner for the prep and the Defy Wood brightener when done with the cleaning. Once the prep is done then you can use the Defy Hardwood stain.

Leave a Reply

Deck Stain Help Stats
as of December 2016
  • 28,000+ Questions, Answers, and Consumer Reviews
  • 14,000+ Contributors
  • 170+ Help Articles and Reviews
  • 3600+ Forum Help Posts
  • 2800+ Consumer Star Ratings

Google Search

More info on brands? Use Google.

Find Products?

Manufacturers and Websites:
...See All Product Websites


*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.