Print this page


Select one of the questions below to find out its answer.

Jump to a specific category: Wood Stain Questions | Masonry Waterproofing Questions | Chimney Questions | Marine Wood Questions

Wood and Deck Stain Questions

My deck is gray and weathered looking. What should I do to fix it?
The graying is caused by the weather and ultraviolet light damaging the woods fibers. It will easily clean off with DEFY Wood Cleaner. Use DEFY Wood Brightener afterwards and the wood should look brand new again.
My deck needs re-stained. Do I need to remove all of the old stain first?
For the deck to look its best, you should remove the old stain. Old stain left on will show through the new stain, leaving blotchy dark spots in the finish.
Do I really need to stain my deck or can I just let it weather naturally?
We recommend always maintaining a fresh coat of stain on your deck. It not only keeps the deck looking good but protects the wood from the harmful effects of the sun and rain.
I continually get mildew growing on my deck. Why does it grow there and how can I stop it?
You may never be able to eliminate mold and mildew completely if you have a shady area with a lot of moisture present. However, you can improve your chances by using a synthetic stain, such as DEFY Extreme Wood Stain, instead of an oil-based product. Oils are a food source that the mold and mildew will feed on.
What's the best way to clean mold and mildew off of my deck?
Use a diluted bleach solution to clean it off. Dilute one part DEFY Wood Cleaner with five parts water, spray it on, let it set for 5 or 10 minutes, and rinse it off. The mildew should die off in the process.
I cleaned my redwood patio furniture and it turned very dark. What should I do to make it look like redwood again?
Due to the PH levels in Redwood, it can often darken during cleaning. Don't worry, simply treat it with DEFY Wood Brightener and it will return the redwood to its natural beauty.
Can I protect my deck without changing its natural appearance?
Sure! Most clear finishes aren't really clear, they are amber and they darken the wood when applied. DEFY UV-Resistant Clear Finish will protect the wood while causing little, if any, change in the woods appearance.
My deck is brand new. Do I still need to clean it?
Yes! New wood can have 'mill scale', which is a crushing of the grain that occurs during the milling process. When you clean it, you not only remove this mill scale, you also clean off contaminants, such as dirt, mold, and mildew that the lumber can pick up during the building process.
I have a composite deck that's starting to look old and weathered. How do I clean it?
Simply use DEFY Wood Cleaner. It's safe to use, bio-degradable, won't harm your plant life and vegetation, and will make your composite look brand new again.
Is there a safe cleaner that I can use on my deck that won't harm my plants?
Yes: DEFY Wood Cleaner. It's a safe and effective bio-degradable product that is extremely effective at cleaning weathered wood and removing weathered, semi-transparent stains.
Should I use a pressure washer to clean my deck?
Sure, it makes cleaning a lot easier and faster. Just limit your pressure to no more than 1,000 or 1,200 p.s.i. and use caution to work with the grain and never against it as it will damage the wood if you do.
My deck is stained and starting to look weathered. What can I do to help it out while it's still in descent shape?
That's easy. Just clean the deck off with some DEFY Wood Brightener and apply a light maintenance coat of the original stain that was used.
I have a cedar deck. What's the best stain to use?
Cedar can sometimes be difficult to stain; it has a lot of natural oils  or tannins  in it. We recommend using a product that is specifically formulated for use on cedar: DEFY Deck Stain for Hardwoods. It also works well on redwood and mahogany decks.
I have a pressure treated deck. What's the best stain to use?
If the pressure treated lumber is brand new, let it weather for roughly six months to dry out, clean it, and then treat it with DEFY Deck Stain for Hardwoods. If it is older and weathered, it will be much more porous. In that case treat it with DEFY Extreme Wood Stain after properly cleaning it.
What's the best way to apply the stain?
The best way is always going to be to use a brush. Spraying the stain on first will certainly speed the job up, but brushing the stain as well helps to work it deep into the pores of the wood and makes your project last longer. video Click here to view a video on the best way to apply stain to your deck.
Is a roller a good way to stain the deck?
Not really. Rollers were developed with paint in mind. Using a roller will simply push the stain around on the surface and not force it into the pores. It can also leave a stipple effect in the finish when the stain has dried.
Does the wood need to be completely dry before I apply the stain?
If you are using an oil-based stain, definitely. You can use DEFY stains, which are water-based products, even when the surface is slightly damp.
How do I know when I have applied enough stain to my deck?
If you're using a semi-transparent stain, apply only as much stain as the wood can easily absorb and take care to brush out any puddles that may form. If you put enough stain on to form a gloss on the surface, it has been over applied and, in time, will more than likely peel.
What's the best time of the year to stain my deck?
The spring and fall certainly offer the easiest conditions to work in. The key is to stay out of direct sunlight, as it can make any stain dry too quickly, and to try to stain when the temperatures are below 80 degrees.
I have a composite deck that is already beginning to gray out. Can I use stain on it to keep it looking new?
Yes, DEFY® Deck Stain for Hardwoods, works well on most composite wood surfaces. Just follow all of the directions in the same way that you would if you were staining regular wood and the results should turn out great!

Masonry Waterproofing Questions

I'm starting to get some pitting and deterioration on my driveway down by the road. What's causing it and how can I correct it?
What you're seeing is caused by the road salts that are used during winter. To prevent further damage, clean the surface off with Safer Masonry Cleaner and treat it with All-Purpose Water Repellent. The water repellent will prevent future damage from the salts by not allowing them to penetrate into the concrete.
My driveway was waterproofed several years ago and is starting to look like it's ready to be re-treated. What should I use?
First do a water test by dribbling a few drops of water on the surface of the concrete. If it is easily absorbed, whatever was applied is gone, so use All-Purpose Heavy Duty Water Repellent. If the water doesn't absorb quite so easily, use Solvent Based Water Repellent.
I'm getting a little water running in to my basement. The walls are made of regular cement block. Any ideas on what I can do to try to fix it short of digging all the dirt away from the exterior and resealing it?
The easiest, and luckiest solution, would be that the rain is simply blowing in to the exposed block, between the ground and where the siding on the house begins. It can run down to the basement through the center of the block and seep in. Try waterproofing these blocks with All-Purpose Heavy Duty Water Repellent first. If that doesn't work, call a contractor.
I'm getting white powder developing on the exterior of my brick home and it's ugly. What is it and how do I stop it?
It is efflorescence naturally occuring minerals and salts in the environment that are being deposited on the surface of the brick by water. The fix is fairly easy; wire brush them off and treat the surface with All-Purpose Heavy Duty Water Repellent.
My home is aluminum sided and very chalky. Can I paint it and, if so, is there anything special that I should do?
Yes, you can paint it and it will look like new aluminum siding when you're done. Wash it well first with a cleaner, such as TSP. If there is still powdery chalk on the surface, apply a bonding primer, such as Acrylic Waterproofing Sealer. Once the primer has dried, paint the siding with a good acrylic paint, following the manufacturer's label directions.
I have a brick paver patio and the rain continually washes the sand out of the joints. Is there anyway to keep it in place so I don't have to re-sand them every year?
Yes. We offer a product called Paver Sealer that will harden or "stabilize" the sand, making it nearly impossible to wash out. It also helps to reduce the weeds growing between the pavers and the ants colonizing through the sand.
I need to waterproof my building. Is any one waterproofing material better than another?
Just as there are a lot of different types of substrates — brick, block, split-face block, etc.  there are also several different types of water repellents available to treat them and each has its own benefits. Match the one that's right for your project under the masonry waterproofing products category.
I have a brick patio that is several years old now. Is there anything that I can use to clean it up and make it look new again?
There are three steps to the process. First, clean the patio with Safer Masonry Cleaner. Second, re-sand the joints to replace the sand that has been washed out. Third, apply two coats of Paver Sealer. The result will be a patio that looks like new and has a beautiful, rich 'wet look'.
Is there any type of water repellant that I can apply to my building that won't change its appearance?
Water repellents are available in two basic categories: film-formers and penetrants. If you stay with penetrants, or products that do not form a film on the surface, the result is little, if any, change to the appearance of the building. All-Purpose Heavy Duty Water Repellent is an excellent choice.
I'm getting ready to paint my garage floor and the folks at the paint store said that I need to clean it first with muriatic acid. I'm not sure that I'm comfortable using an acid. Are there any other alternatives?
The paint folks are correct. It is essential that you etch the floor prior to painting to ensure adhesion of the paint. Skip the muriatic acid though; Safer Masonry Cleaner will do everything that muriatic acid does without the harmful fumes and won't burn your skin.

Chimney Questions

I'm getting water inside my chimney during hard rains. Where's it coming from and how can I stop it?
A question with many answers. Start at the top; inspect the chimney crown and flashings for cracks, check for severely cracked mortar joints, and lastly, but most likely, pour some water directly on the brick and notice how quickly it's absorbed. There may be several factors at play and a certified chimney sweep could help you figure it out.
The crown on the top of my chimney is starting to crack and deteriorate. What can I repair it with?
If you caught it early, it's easy. Assuming that the cap is still basically sound, minor cracking can be repaired by brushing on a coat of ChimneyRx Brushable Crown Repair. For more severely deteriorated chimney caps, you can use a trowelable grade product called Trowelable Crown Repair. Both are incredibly durable elastomers that will provide years of care-free service.
The flashing around my roof vents is cracked and separated. I've re-sealed them several times before with flashing sealer, but they never seem to last very long. Any ideas?
Sure, quit using inexpensive tar-based sealers. Though they are affordable, their tar-based resins become brittle when cold and they tend to crack and separate from the surface. Try an elastomeric based product, like ChimneyRx Elastomeric Flashing Sealant. They cost a little more, but will last significantly longer.
I've got some minor cracking, from settling I guess, on my brick chimney. What should I use to repair them?
Caulks or cement patches leave an unsightly repair that can really take away from the appearance of your building. ChimneyRx Crack & Joint Sealant is a highly durable elastomeric that, when brushed in to the cracks, leaves a nearly invisible repair.
I've read about the fire dangers of creosote build-up in the fireplace and we use our fireplace a lot. What should we be doing to keep our fireplace safe?
First, make sure to have the chimney swept annually by a certified chimney sweep. Second, pick up a bottle of Chimney RX Creosote Remover and shoot a few sprays in the fireplace every time you light a fire. It will convert the creosote to a brittle form that is easily swept off the surface of the chimney liner.

Marine Wood Questions

What makes MarineSeal Wood Stain any different than other ordinary exterior wood stains?
Due to the difficult environment that it is used in, MarineSeal Wood Stain contains added amounts of two key ingredients. The first, zinc nano particles, provides added protection against the harmful UV rays of the sun as well as mold and mildew growth. The second, water repellents, provides added durability against extreme moisture.
Do I need to be concerned about harming the aquatic plant life and fish around the dock area when cleaning and treating it with the MarineSeal products?
Absolutely not. MarineSeal Wood Cleaner is an environmentally safe, sodium percarbonate product that will have no adverse effects on plant life and vegetation when used according to label directions. Likewise, MarineSeal Wood Stain is an environmentally safe, water-based product that contains no harsh chemicals or solvents.
Can I use a stain stripper on my dock to remove the old finish?
Probably not. Most stain strippers are sodium hydroxide based products that, in concentrated form, may cause damage to the aquatic life around the dock. If a previous coating needs to removed, try using MarineSeal Wood Cleaner and a power washer. If it's weathered enough, it may come off. Otherwise your project may require sanding.
When applied correctly, how long can I expect Marine Seal Wood Dock Stain to last?
It's always difficult to accurately predict how long wood stains will last. There are simply too many variables — preparation, application, environment, etc. Marine applications have very severe exposures to sun and weather, so wood stains don't typically last as long as they might in other applications. The key is to apply a maintenance coat at the first sign of color loss or graying. Doing this will save you tons of time and energy since you don't have to start from the beginning as you did with the initial coat.