Defy Extreme Stain Review for 2024  4.1/5 (55)

This post was updated on February 23, 2024

Defy Extreme Wood and Deck Stain Review

We find the Defy Extreme Wood Stain to be one of the best-performing water-based deck stains on the market. The zinc oxide nano-particles do double duty in preventing UV fading and preventing mold or mildew growth. The Defy Extreme penetrates into the wood grain extremely well for a water-based stain, resulting in a non-filming coating that is not prone to peeling or wear from traffic. We personally use the Defy Extreme on about 50+ deck restorations every year in the Midwest and is one of our go-to brands.


Defy Extreme Stain Review

Defy Extreme Deck Stain RatingDefy Extreme Stain was introduced in 2008 as the newest member of the Defy Stain family. Defy Extreme Deck Stain is a penetrating water-based stain that does not film on the wood. Defy Extreme contains synthetic epoxy resins that “harden” the wood pores below the surface.

Utilizing nano-technology, Defy Extreme is one of the best stains on the market when it comes to preventing UV graying.

*Note: Defy Extreme Wood Stain is an improved version of the Defy Epoxy Fortified Wood Stain. Containing the same ingredients but with the added UV protection of the zinc oxide nanoparticles.

Defy Extreme Deck Stain Ratings (1-10)

Appearance After Initial Stain Application: 8.5

– Defy Extreme Stain had a rich look to the wood. Natural grain was highlighted evenly throughout. The Defy Extreme did not mask the grain like other water-based wood stains. The penetration of the stain into the wood was excellent. The Cedartone color was slightly on the “orange” side but acceptable for a cedar deck stain color.

Preventing UV Graying at 2 Year Mark: 9

– One of the best in the industry. Testing over a 2 year period showed little to no color fade. The zinc oxide nanoparticles seemed to help drastically with the UltraViolet radiation that turns the wood gray.

Wear/Tear and Peeling: 8

– Better than average wear and tear. High traffic areas show some wearing but overall tested
extremely well. No noticeable peeling.

Cost Per Square Foot: 7

– Defy Extreme costs about $55 per gallon. For two coats we got about 100 square feet per gallon. We used 8 gallons for the 750 square foot deck translating to a per square foot price of $.55 a foot.

Preventing Mold/Mildew/Algae: 10

– Defy Extreme Stain is a water-based stain that does not promote mold growth in the stain. A very small amount of algae was noticeable but was only in a shaded area and was on top of the stain. More of an issue with the decks’ location, not the stain itself.

Ease of Application: 7.5

– Fairly easy to apply. One issue we noticed was that it can dry very fast when in direct sunlight and on a hot day. Easy cleanup with water.

Color Shifting (darkening) after 2 Years: 9

– Stain changed very little in color after the 2 year period. No noticeable darkening.

Difficulty of Reapplication: 8.5

– No noticeable darkening, deep penetration, and little wearing make the Defy Extreme Stain an easy product to reapply when needed. Mild wood cleaning with the Defy Wood Cleaner and Defy Wood Brightener is what you would need to use to prep.

Overall Score Defy Extreme Stain at 2 Year Period: 8.47

– Defy Extreme is an excellent product and easily outperforms the majority of stains on the market. When it comes to water-based “Eco-Friendly” stains, Defy Extreme is our top choice. Defy Extreme performed in the top three of all stains tested when it comes to preventing UV graying on a horizontal surface. On vertical surfaces such as railings, the Extreme had no color change.

Product Information:

Help or Questions? Defy Extreme Stain
Cost: $52 per Gallon, $259 per 5 Gallon Pail
Stain Type: Semi-Transparent – Water Based
Available Colors: Cedartone, Natural Pine, Light Walnut, Clear, Redwood, Butternut, Driftwood Gray
Application Temperature: 45-95 F
Coats  Required: 2 Coats. “Wet on Wet”
Coverage Per Gallon: 100-150 sq. ft
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:
Deck Wood Type: Pressure Treated Pine
Deck Square Footage: 750 Square feet
UV Exposure: 90% Full Sun, 10% Shade. South facing.
How Many Years Tested: 2 Years
Stain Color Used: 
Cedartone

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

Defy Wood Stain Photos

DEFY Extreme, Deck Stain: 12 Months Weathering and 14 Month Update


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

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993
#As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

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Bill Ellis
Bill Ellis
5 years ago

Texas Gulf Coast Dock Application Review.

I have a 2 1/2 year old pressure treated pine dock on the Texas gulf coast that needed a sealer preservative application. I had applied Thompson’s after initially allowing the wood to dry for a few months, but the sealer had lost its effectiveness after only 9 months or so. I researched diligently and chose Defy.

I followed the instructions strictly, using first their wood cleaner, then Brightener, then a week later applying the stain. (I had already pressure washed the deck boards before beginning.)

I am highly impressed by the products thus far. The cleaner was very effective and easy to use. The Brightener was a really easy step that I was curious about, but I did it and I’m glad I did. The Brightener makes a huge difference in opening up the wood pores to receive the stain/sealer.

I then applied the Extreme stain/sealer in Natural Pine color. I sprayed it on with a deck pressure tank sprayer followed immediately by brushing in with a car wash type brush (Unger) and followed with a second wet on wet coat, same steps, within 15 minutes or so, again following the instructions as strictly as I could. I was careful not to over-apply. (The deck is about 500 square feet, but I only used about 3 1/2 gallons.)

I am super happy with the whole process and appearance on completion. It looks fantastic. Really first rate. Let’s see how the next two years of wear and tear go.

Bill in Rockport.

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Tania Stockless
Tania Stockless
2 years ago
Reply to  Bill Ellis

Hey Bill, how did this hold up for you? I’m in Florida and looking to do the same on large deck – blazing sun, humidity and subsequent mildew here is probably similar to Texas conditions. I love the natural pine color but have been wondering if I should consider going darker for the additional UV protection. Thanks! 🙂

Billy Collins
Billy Collins
2 days ago

I put one coat of Defy on a new kdat treated lumber dock about 18 months ago. What steps would you recommend before applying the second coat and do we need to apply a second coat to the vertical post as well? Thanks!

Craig Poppe
Craig Poppe
9 months ago

Have a 3 year old cedar deck(2×4) that was originally painted. Would like to stain it. Is it ok to sand it with a belt sander prior to staining? I there something else I should be doing as well? Please advise. Thanks.

Ashley
Ashley
9 months ago

I have a new deck , weathered 6 months . I’m ready to clean and brighten . It’s pine , part covered and part uncovered . What’s the main difference in choosing oil or water based ? I really want a stain that is easy to maintain and I don’t need to strip to reapply. Thanks !

Lori
Lori
11 months ago

It’s been 18 months since our last application of Defy stain on pressure treated pine and the only wear we see is at knot holes, and we would like to reapply the same color. Only the horizontal boards need to be done. The vertical ones look great. Questions:
1. Can we prep with only Defy brightener as the container suggests or do we have to use the cleaner first?
2. Will the brightener running down the vertical boards make them have to be restrained too?
3. What would happen if we just restained without cleaner or brightener (like my husband wants)?

Tim
Tim
11 months ago

can I get away with one coat or do i have to do two coats?

Lisa Polivick
Lisa Polivick
11 months ago

I used Defy for the first time on a newly constructed pressurized pine deck. I let the deck rest for six months before the first application. The paint has a consistency of water and does not yield even color. After once coat, some of the deck had barely any gray color and other sections were dark gray. The color is uneven and splotchy. I will have to paint over this with another brand of paint. I was so disappointed in the results. I have been painting my decks for thirty years and have never been this dissatisfied with a paint product. I can’t return the extra paint because I bought it in the fall and had to wait until spring to paint.

Robert
Robert
11 months ago

Any issues using Defy: cleaner/brightener/butternut stain on an old deck which was last stained with RAD light walnut @5 yrs ago and is now worn out and in need?
It’s either Defy Butternut or RAD Dark Walnut.

But the nano particles I need!!

I’m not stripping it….

Kay Rao
Kay Rao
1 year ago

Hi, I’m a new homeowner looking to restore my deck before it gets colder here in CT. Problem is I have no info about the decks treatment until we moved in so I cant tell if it was ever sealed/ stained. I tested with the water pouring test and it seems to absorb it pretty quickly.

  1. Could you tell me if the wood looks untreated and if I’m good to go with my cleaning step?
  2. If i use the Defy extreme wood stain in Cedar tone or Light walnut, will that be okay?
  3. I also have no idea if the wood is pressure treated or the kind of wood used. Is that okay or should i get someone to get these answers?

Thanks so much in advance. Attaching photos of different parts with varying shades to give you a clear picture.

Deck Estimator
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Kay Rao
Kay Rao
1 year ago

Really appreciate the response. Thanks so much Scott!

alan grocholski
alan grocholski
1 year ago

how much time do i need to apply all three steps cleaner brightner and stain ?

alan grocholski
alan grocholski
1 year ago

Hi. Im sorry. what I would like to know is the recommeded drying time between the cleaner / brightner before applying stain? Thank you

Jennifer
Jennifer
1 year ago

Hi. Can I use RAD for all my prep but use Defy stain? Thank you

Te Patrick
Te Patrick
1 year ago

Hi, I have a 8+ year old dock on a very small lake, mostly full sun, Mid-Georgia (so plenty of humidity), pressure treated. It’s in pretty good shape and has been maintained. I want semi-transparent. natural cedar tone.

Also have a deck that has a darker stain, also semi transparent. similar condition, but has some peeling.

I’m surprised at the difference in coverage between those recommended on the site and the Behr’s etc.

Thank you for any suggestions and thanks for the thoughtful website.

William Lingley
William Lingley
1 year ago

Nice site. I’m building a new Japanese “roofed”, rough-out, cedar fence right beside Puget Sound…the rain seldom lets up but when it does, we have glorious periods of heavy mist. Cedar probably will never achieve a low moisture content (We’re drying it in the basement APT).

We need a stain meeting the following criteria, 1st) Prevention of graying, 2nd) Grain Enhancement, 3rd) Prevention of mold/mildew, and 4th) Durability.

Q. Recommendations, Thoughts?
Q. Should I use an oil-based product?
Q. Will Defy Extreme Wood and Deck Stain “Natural Tone” hold up?

Cordially,

william l duckworth
william l duckworth
1 year ago

how well will this deck stain work in south central Illinois
?

StephanieT
StephanieT
2 years ago

Used Cabot Australian Oil Natural on cedar deck—it’s been on for about 10 months. Pleased at first but now water seems to be penetrating/soaking into wood, not beading. Also, mold is a problem here in Northern Virginia. Plan is to clean and brighten deck and reapply Australian Oil—but I’d have to repeat process yearly.
I love the natural look of the cedar (and natural tone of Australian oil). I don’t want an orange toned cedar deck.
—What type of stain would you recommend that could give me a longer time in between re-finishing?
—What color stain would you recommend to approximate the natural look of cedar (not orange)?
—What about a stain stripper and process for any small areas on the cedar deck that might still have Australian oil?
Thank you!

StephanieT
StephanieT
2 years ago

Thank you

Russ Werner
Russ Werner
2 years ago

I have a 15 y/o IPE deck. Which has been treated by the same “Professional ” for 15 yrs. He was using Penofin. Last yr, he stripped and I think cleaned the deck, then applied Penofin after. He did it when it was sunny and 92º , the deck was hot… He applied 2 coats and not wiping down after either of the coats. Needless to say we had problems. it was sticky in spots…the deck chairs would show scratching marks, when moved. He “didn’t know why” !!! He reapplied after cleaning deck again about a month or so after. No change.. He said he though problem was the Penofins and he would contact the Co. But alas, we have not heard from him this yr. SO I AM gonna strip and brighten the deck with the RAD products.  Which stain is recommended ? I have seen there have been problems with the Penofin stain with IPE decks, even tho we liked the colors brought out on our deck. Wanting to keep this colors coming thru, which stain, is water based better than oil?? Im thinking Oil based stain. Any help would be so very appreciated… Thanks

Russ Werner
Russ Werner
2 years ago

Thanks for the reply ! ! ! I guess now it’s which color would I use , respectively for each brand? the Penofin he used had some tint to it, but when it was done right and even in the beginning, it had some nice browns and reds to the IPE wood. Thats what we’re hoping for..I am trying to figure which one of these 2 brands should I use. Im thinking oil base but am open to water base… Ugh!!! Decisions, decisions ! ! ! Any more input, especially anyone use these on IPE decks?? thanks for any help

L Conrad
L Conrad
2 years ago

Does this work well on Cedar Play sets?

Cheryl Toomey
Cheryl Toomey
2 years ago

I am replacing the top of my deck and benches with Trex. The supports for the benches need to be wood so I am using my existing pressure treated supports. What grit sandpaper should I use to strip it before applying defy extreme stain. I’ve seen you recommend a courser grit but what exactly do you consider courser. Thanks.

Meredith
Meredith
2 years ago

My deck was made with Goodfellow Terra Wood, and I like the reddish undertones but have been burned before by “Redwood” coloured stains that look very red and very fake. (Olympic brand, specifically. I stopped, stripped and switched to “Brick Red” after a few boards because I knew I would hate it.) I have a second, much larger deck to contend with this year. Does the Defy Extreme redwood colour look natural, or should I stick to a cedar tone? I have to order it sight unseen.

Meredith Hang
Meredith Hang
2 years ago

Unfortunately, I have to sand some parts, so lighter will not work. I wish there were more colour options for your top rated water based stains. Thank you for your help!

Meredith Hang
Meredith Hang
2 years ago

The wood in question is currently unstained. Its colour comes from the treatment process and standard deck cleaner does not remove it. I don’t know if brightner would work? The railing really needs sanding because it is rough. I am not willing to sand the whole thing because it is a tiered deck that is encosed on the sides. But the reddish base colour will show through a light semi-transparent where left. I might give up on the water based because your top oil based have better colour options. I really want ease of maintenance, because I am going to have to strip my front deck due to the stain flaking from subpar water-based stain (and full sun application, which I now know not to do.) Glad I did the smaller front deck first…

Meredith Hang
Meredith Hang
2 years ago

It has faded a bit, but still very red toned.

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Bill
Bill
2 years ago

Which color of DEFY Extreme Semi-Transparent stainwould best match brown Sienna MicroPro pressure-treated lumber?

Julie
Julie
2 years ago

Just to be sure, Defy Extreme clear will allow my cedar decking to turn grey, but Defy Extreme semi transparent stain will not? Thanks.

Nancy Bauman
Nancy Bauman
2 years ago

We had new floor and top rails put on our 2 decks. Husband power washed rails. There is a lot of color variation. Thinking of using defy, would like it light colored. What is the best way to make it look more uniform? We are both in our 70s. Appreciate advice on the best and easiest way to do this. Thanks. Don’t know how to add pictures, know how with text.

Nancy Bauman
Nancy Bauman
2 years ago

Do you have any ideas on what to do with this situation?

Valerie Keith
Valerie Keith
2 years ago

We stained our new deck (weathered for about a year) with Defy Extreme back in 2017. It really needed a maintenance coat last year but we didn’t get it done. This is what it looks like now. Can we just wash it and brighten it and do a maintenance coat or do we need to do something different?

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Mark Huntley
Mark Huntley
2 years ago

What’s your preference, RAD or Defy Extreme? Had lots of darkening and mold problems with Armstrong, so thinking of trying something else. Pacific northwest so lots of rain and winter shade. Looking for durability, ease of application and ease of re-coating a couple years down the road.

Ben
Ben
3 years ago

Hi, I am about to stain my new cedar fence with defy semi-transparent stain. I called defy customer service and they advised me to do 2 coats – wet on wet. I am confused on what to do as you guys recommend only one coat for new wood. Thanks for your help!

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