Defy Extreme Stain Review for 2022 4.1/5 (54)

This post was updated on January 19, 2022

Defy Extreme Wood and Deck Stain Review

Note: Defy Extreme Stain had a label change in 2019.

We find that 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 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 $40 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 $.43 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: $49 per Gallon, $239 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.

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Bill Ellis
Bill Ellis
3 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
4 months 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! 🙂

William Lingley
William Lingley
13 days 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 month ago

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

StephanieT
StephanieT
9 months 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
9 months ago

Thank you

Russ Werner
Russ Werner
10 months 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
10 months 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
10 months ago

Does this work well on Cedar Play sets?

Cheryl Toomey
Cheryl Toomey
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months 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
11 months ago

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

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Bill
Bill
11 months ago

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

Julie
Julie
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year ago

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

Valerie Keith
Valerie Keith
1 year 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
1 year 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
1 year 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!

Verne Johnson
Verne Johnson
1 year ago

I used Defy’s natural pine a year ago on my deck railing and side deck wall, using wet on wet application. I did not do the floor boards at that time so I’m cleaning and brightening those boards before staining this spring. If I decided to restrain the railing again too, do I just clean and brighten that again too, before restraining?
thanks, Verne

Robert Harris
Robert Harris
1 year ago

Not sure if my question got posted…….sorry for the repeat if it was.

Just stained deck with Defy Extreme semi-transparent cedar stain. Lower “apron” looked dirty and cleaned with a deck cleaner (not just soap and water). Now the white “foam” won’t go away. What do I do?

R. Harris
R. Harris
1 year ago

Used defy extreme cedar color. Top is fine, but side lower apron looked like it needed cleaning. Used deck cleaner (Valspar) and now white foaming on surface won’t wash away. What do I do?

Phil
Phil
1 year ago

Five year old pressure treated pine deck, mostly shade, very little traffic, one to six feet off the ground with a moisture barrier……..original, first stain Cabot; it peeled. RAD’d with both stripper and lightener and stained with TWP one coat…….it blotched, streaked black, and just generally didn’t look good. RAD’d with cleaner and brightener and re-stained with TWP two coats, wet-on-wet. Got same results as the first time. I again cleaned/brightened and applied wet-on-wet. Same results with some mildew build up [we’ve had a terribly humid, wet summer]. Applied wet & forget after checking with TWPstain who advised it would not hurt surface. Mildew returned immediately.
I just completed a RAD stripper application this week. It stripped maybe 85% but there is no 100% strip anywhere but on the rails.
Is a second stripper application recommended before brightening? Should it strip the remainder? Must it be stripped 100% if I choose to use a darker color?
Does it make sense to try another stain like Defy which is water based rather than oil based and has a mildew resistance and is tolerant of moist conditions?
Picture prior to my last strip job.
Thanks for your advice……this deck is large 44 X 12 and it’s proving to be a real monster.

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Denise
Denise
1 year ago

We have a 45 year old cypress deck that’s still in pretty good shape. We’ve replace a few boards, also with cypress. It was treated yearly with Cuprinol for about 25 years so it was a pretty weathered gray. It was neglected for about 5 years, then it was stained brown. That has finally faded and we’ve begun to clean and brighten it. Some boards have been replaced. My hope would be to get it back to a natural weathered gray appearance, but I realize that a lot of time has passed and the wood has been neglected. Would Defy clear or driftwood gray be a good choice? Another option would be to match the deck to the house (which is cedar siding with Cabot Seacoast Gray solid stain), but that would obscure the wood grain and be too matchy-matchy. I don’t want to go brown again. The wood doesn’t have to look perfect. I’m really stumped. The photo shows old boards next to a couple of the new ones. Thanks for any advice!

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Diana
Diana
1 year ago

Are there any real life example photos of the “Butternut” color? Trying to decide between this and Light Walnut. I don’t want any orange/red undertones. Thanks!

Diana
Diana
1 year ago

Thanks so much!

Kay hoskins
Kay hoskins
1 year ago

Can this be used on composite decking. I have old Trex decking.

Terry McClintic
Terry McClintic
1 year ago

My home has rough cedar siding that has previously been stained with Cabot Clear Solution, Cedar tint (water based). Since this product is no longer made, I’m trying to find an alternative. I have cleaned my siding, and most of the old stain is removed (but not all). Would Defy Extreme be a good stain to consider for my siding now?

Larry
Larry
1 year ago

This is a very high quality product. I used the solid color stain on 3 separate 35 year old decks at my home. It is well worth the slightly higher price of some other popular brands. It goes on easy with a brush or roller.

Alan Brown
Alan Brown
2 years ago

Hi I live in Kokomo Indiana. Which is an hour north of Indianapolis. I have cleaned the deck and it is not ready for stain. In the past I have used CWF clear, but I wanted to see if there is a better product out there. I’m ready to stain and need some opinions. Is there any concern of going over the CWF with a new stain if it has been cleaned and power washed?
Thank you

Joe
Joe
2 years ago

Could you emphasize what “2 coats, wet on wet” means exactly? Thank you!

Andra Frei
Andra Frei
2 years ago

Where can I buy this stain? I’m in the Athens he area.

Susan Siler
Susan Siler
2 years ago

We have heat treated deck on fishing pier and on front and back decks on house. What product should I use to avoid orange or yellowing. The fishing pier is 2 years old and the house decks 6 months to a year old. What pre-treatment is recommended? Also, does sealant help protect the nailheads?

Susan Siler
Susan Siler
2 years ago

Thanks!

Henrieta Riccobono
Henrieta Riccobono
2 years ago

I have a 6 year old cedar deck that was stopped of previous stain which was peeling away year after year. We finally sanded the deck and it’s now prepped for a new application. I’d like to retain the natural color. My brother in Europe recommends just using a natural oil on the deck and stay away from stains. I’m thinking about using DEFY wood oil for decks. Anyone has any experience with that? Will it blacken over time? Peel away? I’m ok with inconsistency in colors as natural wood is but I don’t want to see it peel away.

Nancy
Nancy
2 years ago

We chose Defy clear on our 1 yr old Cedar deck. Love the ease that it went on but feel I want a little color since it is very clear. Can I put a coat of driftwood over the clear?

Dave Dunn
Dave Dunn
2 years ago

We have 22 year old deck. Wood is in good shape. It has been retained 3 times. Areas of the deck horizontal surface have started to peel. I stripped, sanded and scraped the deck. this resulted in much but not all of the existing stain coming off the deck. I am looking for the best advice short of stripping all of existing stain to re-stain the deck. How or do I need to treat the deck after stripping and power washing with water. Should I simply reapply what is already on the deck or is there another stain that has a better adhesion capability? thx

twbjerstedt
twbjerstedt
2 years ago

Does Defy Extreme Stain work well on a pressure treated Yellawood fence.

Beth Britton
Beth Britton
2 years ago

Location: Central NY, lake effect snow area
Partial sun AM, Full sun afternoon
Pressure treated wood
No mold or mildew issues
Deck is 4 years old-used Thompson’s water sealer stain year 2-didn’t take, peeled, wore away in high traffic areas. Year 3-current stain is Cabot Gold stain. Same issues-wore away, peeling.
The pictures are after power washing it. We would prefer not to sand it. I’ve read your best of 2020 article and am leaning towards the Defy or restore a deck product lines. If we use the stripper product do we have to use their cleaning product first? The power washer didn’t work to get the stain off of the spindles, what would you recommend? Lastly, what’s the best way to apply? I used a power sprayer and brush last time.

Beth Britton
Beth Britton
2 years ago

I’m having trouble adding pictures, it’s says maximum file size is 4MB

Beth Britton
Beth Britton
2 years ago

Here they are…

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Beth Britton
Beth Britton
2 years ago

Thank you. Which product would you recommend for the stain?

Beth Britton
Beth Britton
2 years ago

When you said it’s excessively thick, did you mean on the spindles or the floor boards?

Tim
Tim
2 years ago

HORRIBLE DURABILITY!

I purchased Defy wood stain 4 years ago to stain my new deck. I waited 6 months to let the pressure treated pine dry, then cleaned and brightened with Defy brand cleaner and brightener. ALL of the horizontal surfaces on my deck were fading, and peeling within 3 months. I had to reapply the following spring less than one year from the first staining. The second, which I carefully pressure washed, again using Defy brand cleaner and brightener and stain did not last through the summer before deteriorating. I am now preparing for my 4th application of stain in 4 years. the only reason I am still using Defy is because I originally over bought and restocking and return fees were too high, so I decided to keep it for when it was time to re stain, not expecting at the time the horrible performance i have experienced. Since I am stubborn when it comes to wasting money, I have been using it until it’s depleted. I will not use it again. I will however state that all of the vertical surfaces have held up well, especially those that receive the most amount of shade during the day, but that would be the case with any cheap-o stain. Where I was expecting the longevity, and durability of this stain is where it failed most, on the horizontal surfaces that get the most daylight. I have been grossly, and repeatedly disappointed.

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

We recently stained our deck with Defy Extreme Stain in the natural pine. I realize now that as much as I like the product, I made a mistake with the color. What would I have to do to remove the stain before applying the color I should have used (driftwood gray).

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

What is the best product for stripping and the best product for brightening? Will doing that completely remove the current color?

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

P.S. Our deck was installed last fall so the wood is new wood.

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

Okay, putting both of my questions in one reply. The deck we stained was a new deck with new wood. What is the best productto use to remove the Extreme defy natural pine and the best product to brighten the deck before restaining with driftwood gray?

Beth
Beth
2 years ago

Thank you so much. One final question…When we redo the railing would it be better to use the semi-transparent stain or the solid color stain? We are keeping the flooring the semi-transparent.

Igor
Igor
2 years ago

Installed a large swing set (cedar). Exploring using clear (Defy Extreme Clear) vs semi-transparent.
Clear is preferable as I like current swing set colors. But also would like to minimize how often I need to re-apply.
In real life how dose Extreme Clear compare to the their semi-transparent stains?
Can I get away with re-applying Extreme Clear every 2 or 3 years?

Mary Davis
Mary Davis
2 years ago

Our deck surface was replaced with TREX “Tiki Torch”. Is there a specific color that will be a good match when we stain the posts and rails? Because the deck has old and new wood, we plan to use the solid stain.

James Murphy
James Murphy
2 years ago

We used this on a new doug fir outdoor shower enclosure, fence and pergola late summer 2017. Strictly following the instructions we are very happy. The manufacturer was very responsive to our questions and after 2 1/2 years and 3 New England winters we see no peeling and a little fading. This exceeded our expectation! We used the cleaner and brightener as directed and they were easy to use. We found the stain to be a little difficult to install. You have to work very quickly even in temperatures in the 70s. You also have to make sure that you cover the area you are working on in one session otherwise it leaves hard lines. We went through three different contractors before found someone capable of installing this.

Jerry Parker
Jerry Parker
2 years ago

I am a little confused by your rating and comments of this product as compared to the Restore A Deck Wood Stain review. In the comments you state that Defy Extreme Stain is the best water based stain on the market and is your go to brand. However when you rate it is slightly lower than the RAD stain. So how and why is this your favorite, especially since the RAD stain has a lower cost factor than the DES?

Angel
Angel
2 years ago

Can use water based Defy on a lower deck that’s very low , very close to the ground and in shade . It is under the upper deck . Does Defy come in oil based stain ? Would it be better oil one? We live in MA . Cold , many wet days, long winters .