Wood Defender Semi-transparent Fence Stain Review

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Matt Stone

Wood Defender Exterior Stain

a can of wood defender semi-transparent fence stain can ready for a review

Product Description

This is a review of the Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain. Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain is a great oil-based product for protecting exterior wood. Its key selling point is that it is ridiculously easy to apply.

There are no issues with lap marks, runs, or uneven shine like other oil-based fence stains. This makes it a good choice for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience with wood stains.

 The strong pigments in this semi-transparent stain will cover up more wood grain than the transparent version of the product. This means it will hide imperfections in the wood.

Overall Score: 8.2/10

Single Gallons

Five Gallon Buckets


Very Easy Application

Hides Imperfections in the Wood

No Lap Marks or Runs


Very Long Dry Time

Higher Than Average Price

Read Below to Find our full review of Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain.

Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain has become one of our go-to products for protecting fences in our painting company. The strong pigments in this stain will cover up imperfections in older pickets but will also let some wood grain show through on new fences.

Product Overview: Wood Defender Semi-Transparent Fence Stain

This old fence was stained with Wood Defender Sable Brown color. The product evened out the color and made this fence look new again.

Wood Defender semi-transparent is an oil-based stain produced by Standard Paints in Mansfield, Texas. It uses paraffin oil that gives it the unique property of drying very slowly. Slow-drying stains have many pros and a few cons to keep in mind. We will give a more detailed description of these below.

This stain uses a stronger version of the pigments used in their transparent product. These pigments have two advantages.

  • They last longer. (Typically you can wait one additional year before staining again)
  • They cover up more wood grain. This makes them better for older fences.

Of course if you would like a more natural look with more wood grain showing a transparent stain would be a better option.

Product Ratings

Ease of Application9
Initial Appearance8
Average Rating:8.2/10

Ease of Application

This is the area where Wood Defender’s products really shine. They are very easy to apply compared to most other stains. The reason for this is that it uses very slow-drying oil for its base. This allows you to put on one very thick coat of stain without worrying about drips or runs. Also, puddles of stain won’t dry in shiny patches like most other fence stains.

Many other oil-based stains will create drips, runs, or uneven shininess if they are applied with a heavy coat. This may not be a problem for professionals with experience applying these stains. But, a DIYer may have a hard time putting these products on just right. Wood Defender eliminates these problems.

Most exterior stains require back brushing if they are applied with a sprayer. This helps even out the product and push it into the wood. Wood Defender penetrates well on its own so it does not require back brushing. Being able to skip this extra step means that staining a fence with Wood Defender may take you less time.

The Wood Defender representative I spoke to said there are three important steps to making sure the stain job goes well.

  1. Make sure the fence is dry.
  2. Make sure the stain is mixed up really well.
  3. Make sure to put enough stain on the fence. It should be just starting to drip.

Initial Appearance

A wood defender can in front of two fence pickets that were just stained.

Wood Defender can take several days to reach its final color and appearance. This is because some of the boards will likely absorb the stain faster than others. The color can look uneven at first because of this. A few days after the product has been applied it will have been fully absorbed into the wood. As long as you applied a solid coat of stain you should rest assured that the color will look good.

The Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain is a good middle ground as far as how much of the wood it shows through. It will allow some wood grain to be visible so it can be used to enhance new wood. The color of the wood underneath will have less impact on the final color than it would if you were using a transparent stain.

If your fence is older or has imperfections you want to cover up, this is a great option.

One thing to keep in mind is that Wood Defender products tend to have a flat appearance. If you would like a more lustrous stain I would recommend looking at Cabot’s Australian Timber Oil.


Wood Defender Cape Cod Gray fence stain on a wooden gate
Wood Defender Semi-transparent stain gives you interesting color options like this Cape Cod Gray.

Wood Defender is designed to fully penetrate the wood. That means that there is no film created on the surface. There are two main benefits to this. First, it is virtually impossible for Wood Defender to peel or crack. The stain will slowly fade over time until a new coat is applied. This means the stain will look good longer than one that peels or flakes.

It also means that the stain will not interfere with new coats that are applied later. This makes maintaining the stain much easier.

Application Methods: Brush, Roller, Pump Sprayer, Airless Sprayer

Requires back brushing: No

Requires keeping a wet edge: No


Wood Defender semi-transparent stain is one of the higher priced options out there. It is still a good value because of the ease of use and the high quality nature of the product.

I have yet to find a cheaper alternative that I can heartily recommend. I have tried several less expensive stains but I have always been disappointed with the results.

Ease of Reapplication

This is an example of the color Coffee Brown.

Wood Defender is one of the easiest stain products to reapply. Because it does not form a surface film there is nothing to keep the new stain from soaking in. You will not have to remove the initial coat of Wood Defender when you go to put on another one later.

Because this product completely penetrates the wood it does not have issues with peeling or cracking. You will not need to spend time scraping or removing flakes before you begin. 

If your fence is pretty clean you can apply the stain without power washing first. If any gray has formed on the pickets since it was last stained this will need to be removed before staining.


Wood Defender recommends applying a new coat of stain every 3-5 years on fences.

Wood Defender performed well in our backyard stain test. It did not fade nearly as much as some of the other brands.

Resistance to Peeling

Wood Defender does not peel because the stain fully penetrates the fence. Any excess stain will either slowly soak into the wood or run off to the ground. Since there is no film created by the drying oil there is nothing that can flake off or peel.

Product Information

Product: Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain

Stain Type: Oil-based, fully penetrating

Color Options: 19

Application temperatures: Greater than 50

Recommended coats: One saturation coat

Coverage: 125 – 250 depending on wood species. (Cedar will take more stain than pine for instance.)

Dry Time: n/a

Cleanup: mineral spirits

Data Sheet

Manufacturer: Standard Paints

Alternatives to Wood Defender

A similar product to Wood Defender is Ready Seal brand Stain. Check out our Ready Seal Review.

Our Verdict

We recommend Wood Defender semi-transparent fence stain as a great all-around product. It is versatile enough for new and older fences.

Its easy application makes it a good fit for both professional stainers and DIYers. While the price is a little higher than some other products, the high quality of the stain makes it a good value.

Buy Wood Defender Online

Single Gallons

Five Gallon Buckets

How Much Stain Do You Need?

Want to know how much stain to buy for your next fence stain project?

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Author: Matt Stone
Matt has worked as a professional painter for over 10 years. This includes much experience with all types of wood stains. He loves to write about wood stains to help others make good choices to protect their homes and make them beautiful.