Step by Step Guide to Clean and Restore Your Deck

presented by the great folks at Saver Systems: DEFY DEFY Epoxy Resin TimberWash TimberBrite


Exterior wood especially decks is exposed to harsh weathering that can destroy its natural strength and beauty. DEFY is a high performance water-based water repellent that protects wood from the damaging effects of UV sunlight and water yet is also safe for the environment. DEFY is formulated with unique synthetic resins that are naturally resistant to biological growth. Most wood finishes are made from oils and resins which actually support mold and mildew growth. Wood surfaces absorb more water and deteriorate as micro-organisms break down the oils and resins.


With DEFY wood stays looking new longer and is easier to maintain. A light maintenance coat every 12 to 18 months on horizontal surfaces and every 3 to 5 years on vertical surfaces is all it takes to preserve the beauty of your deck.

Over 80% of decks are constructed with pressure treated wood usually pine that has been injected with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) a chemical that protects wood from rot and insects. But pressure treating wood does not give it weather protection. In fact according to the manufacturers of CCA lumber it actually makes wood more porous and susceptible to water damage. And without proper care treated lumber can deteriorate from the elements. Sunlight rapidly grays unprotected wood and moisture promotes decay as well as mold and mildew growth.




Use TimberWash wood cleaner to safely remove dirt grime mildew deck-timberwash1.jpgweathered graying and previous failed treatments (not paint) before applying DEFY wood finish. TimberWash is a powdered concentrate that is mixed with water to restore the natural look of wood. Note: TimberWash will darken redwood. Use TimberBrite wood brightener to clean and brighten redwood or to further brighten other species that have been cleaned with TimberWash.

Unlike chlorine bleach based cleaners TimberWash is more biodegradeble and will not harm wood fibers pets most plants or grass. It even safely removes organic stains on vinyl and aluminum siding brick or concrete patios and asphalt shingle roofs. TimberWash should also be used on new wood decking to remove mill glaze and open wood pores. TimberWash allows DEFY to penetrate up to 25% deeper providing long-term water repellent protection.


TimberBrite is a liquid concentrate that is mixed with water to brighten and restore the natural beauty of all species of exterior wood. Product removes tannin and rust stains and is recommended for use on redwood. TimberBrite will not harm wood fibers grass or most plants when used properly.

Preparation for Cleaning

Remove all grills furniture planters etc. from your deck. Sweep horizontal surface with broom. Use tarps or tape plastic sheeting to protect siding landscaping masonry etc. from overspray.


deck-stain1.jpgPretreat any grease stains caused by drips from grill by scrubbing with a solution of dishwashing liquid and hot water.

Prewet surface and mix TimberWash

Prewet deck with garden hose. Mix TimberWash with water and stir thoroughly until powder is mostly dissolved. Powder dissolves faster in warm water. Solution should be used within 6 hours of mixing. Use 6 ounces (3/4 cup) of TimberWash with each gallon of water One gallon cleans and restores 100-200 sq. feet depending on wood porosity.

TimberWash is effective on most natural and pressure treated wood. Do not use to clean redwood and certain types of cedar because it may darken the wood. Test cedar before using TimberWash. (See data sheet for further instructions)

TimberBrite can be used on all species of wood but is recommended to brighten redwood and certain types of cedar. If necessary a solution of liquid soap and water may be used first to clean wood. Then after rinsing thoroughly apply TimberBrite to remove additional dirt grime rust and tannin stains. Dilute 1 part TimberBrite to 4 parts water in a plastic container and mix. Apply to wet surface working on small areas at a time. Let solution stand for 15 minutes keeping area wet with additional solution if necessary. Dilution rate may vary depending on severity of stains. Be sure to thoroughly rinse with water. Brightens between 100-200 sq. feet per gallon when mixed at a 1 to 4 ratio as above. (See data sheet for further instructions).

Note: TimberWash and TimberBrite will NOT remove paint

Apply Cleanerdeck-rail-scrub1.jpg

Apply TimberWash cleaner with brush mop or sprayer working on small areas at a time. Allow solution to remain on the surface about 20 minutes before removing. Keep surface wet with additional solution.

Thoroughly scrub with a stiff short bristle broom or brush working from bottom to top. TimberWash will open wood pores and some raising of wood fibers may occur.


deck-rinse1.jpgRinse thoroughly with water from hose or pressure washer using lowest pressure that cleans without damaging the wood (minimum 1500 p.s.i.).

Rinse cleaned area of vertical surfaces to avoid streaking as work progresses.

Note: Heavily weathered or soiled surfaces may require a second application.



Drying time will vary with environmental conditions. Allow to dry 12 – 24 hours before applying DEFY Wood Finish.

For dense woods like cedar light sanding before application may be necessary to ensure proper penetration.

(See Technical Bulletin: Preparing cedar decks)

Weather Conditions

Surface and air temperatures should be between 45 degrees and 95 degrees F. Avoid application in direct sunlight. Apply product to southern exposed areas during coolest part of the day. Do not apply when rainfall is expected within 12 hours unless protected with a polyethylene film or its equivalent.

Check wood porosity. Sprinkle a few drops of water on wood to be treated. If the water penetrates within 1 – 2 seconds the wood is ready to be treated. If not allow wood to dry longer and retest.

Prep for Application

Test a small area before starting general application to assure desired results and coverage rates. Do not use on painted or varnished surfaces. Stir thoroughly before using. Do not thin product.

Provide adequate ventilation. Shake or stir contents before and periodically during use. To ensure absolute color uniformity from container to container mix at least 1/3 of the product from a used container with the contents of the new one.

Note: Use plastic cardboard and/or drop cloths to protect all adjacent non-targeted surfaces such as siding windows masonry plant life etc. from overspray and runoff.

Methods of Application



Use a good quality nylon or polyester brush.



Use a synthetic roller with 1/2″ to 3/4″ nap depending on wood texture. Backbrush to ensure penetration.


deck-apply-mop1.jpgSponge Mop:

Sponge pads are excellent for finishing decks and smooth wood surfaces. Do not use on rough wood.



Use lowest pressure that achieves a uniform spray pattern to minimize fogging and overspray. For airless sprayers use tips between .011 and .018.

Note: Always backbrush to ensure a uniform application.

DEFY Application – Vertical Surfaces

deck-apply-horizontal1.jpgTreat vertical surfaces first. Start by applying DEFY and undersides of upper level decks (only one coat is required on undersides). Once underside is treated immediately brush out all overspray drips itc. on top deck.

Railings: Start from the bottom and work up. Treat the entire length of a board before moving up. If necessary brush or feather in to avoid lap marks. Brush or roll in poduct before it dries and work out all drips runs or overspray.

DEFY Application: Horizontal

Treat horizontal surfaces last. Saturate wood with two wet-on-wet coats for maximum protection. Apply first coat and brush or backroll product into surface working out all drips puddles or areas of overspray before product dries. Use the same method to apply a second coat within 5-10 minutes or as soon as possible. Do not allow drying between coats. To avoid lap marks do not stop in the middle of boards or sections.

Note: Complete entire sections or to a natural break before allowing to dry. Since the end grain of wood is more absorbent it is important to thoroughly coat the ends of boards or logs to prevent water penetration.


deck-cleanup1.jpgDry Time:

To touch; 2 to 6 hours depending on temperature and humidity. Allow 24 hours for decks to dry before using.


Clean tools and equipment immediately after use with soap and water. Remove overspray or spillage immediately with soap and water.

Note: Because DEFY forms a long-lasting bond with all surfaces it is important to remove overspray from non-targeted areas immediately with soap and water. Overspray that is allowed to dry may be difficult or impossible to remove. If allowed to dry product cannot be removed from concrete and masonry.

Maintenance Coats

deck-aftershot41.jpgCongratulations your deck is now restored to its natural beauty! We do recommend a light maintenance coat every 12 – 18 months on the flat horizontal surfaces. Vertical surfaces such as spindles etc. will generally last 3-5 years before a maintenance coat is needed. For more info read: Article: Importance of Maintenance Coats

To ensure the beauty and appearance of your DEFY treatment follow these simple basic guidelines:

  • Keep your deck surface clean. Sweep off dirt debris and leaves regularly.
  • Occasionally hose off your deck.
  • Exercise care when moving lawn and patio furniture across the deck.
  • Watch for traffic pattern wear.