Is There a Right Temperature for Staining a Deck?

For many people, a deck is an extension of their living space. Many homeowners spend hours entertaining and relaxing on their deck throughout the spring and summer. But in order to fully enjoy your deck you have to maintain it. This includes protecting it from the elements by re-staining and sealing the wood every few years. Sticking to this type of maintenance every 3-4 years, will help preserve wood and prolong the life of your deck and prevent unnecessary damage that could require an expensive replacement.

Before you pull out the stain and everything else you need to do it yourself, it’s essential to check the weather report first. To make this project successful, you’ll need the right conditions. You’ll want to choose a day when temperatures are ideal for staining your deck. Conditions such as heat, humidity, or rain could severely impact your project's outcome and your deck's level of protection.

Our experts have some advice and offer a few things to consider when determining the perfect conditions for staining your deck.

Avoid the Heat

Temperatures that are too hot will adversely affect your deck stain project. If it’s too hot outside, the stain will dry too quickly, causing unsightly marks and uneven penetration and protection.

If the forecast is for temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you’re better off choosing another day when it’s a little bit cooler. If you’re dead set on staining your deck that day, do it early in the morning before the sun gets too high in the sky and the temperatures get too warm. But even if you start your project early, if humidity levels are high, it may adversely affect the drying process.

Avoid the Cold

Conversely, low temperatures are also detrimental to deck staining because they lengthen the drying time. If you’re staining your deck in the spring or fall, wait for a day with temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, check to see if freezing temperatures are in the forecast for that night. It can hinder the curing process if it drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit before the stain has thoroughly dried. If it’s too cold, your stain won’t penetrate the deck's wood, and the adhesion process will be compromised.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Never apply stain to a deck in direct sunlight as this can cause the stain to flash dry, preventing it from penetrating the wood properly, which will shorten its longevity. Flash drying also causes an uneven, blotchy appearance that will make you want to redo the job. Save the hard work for a cloudy day. You’ll want to enjoy your deck on a bright sunny day – not stain it!

Avoid High Humidity & Rain

As mentioned, if you decide to stain your deck when the weather is warmer, check the humidity on the day(s) you’re planning to stain. Humid weather doesn’t necessarily ruin your deck staining efforts, but the higher the humidity, the longer it will take to dry. And while you may have started staining your deck in the shade, it may wind up drying in the sun on a more humid day, which can affect the effectiveness of the stain. Staining in the rain is no good either — you should wait for a day with no rain in the forecast for the next 24 hours to prevent washing the stain away.

Avoid the Wind

Windy days aren’t ideal, either. The wind could blow leaves, twigs, and other debris onto your wet deck, sticking to the wood or leaving unsightly imprints in the stain. Therefore, it’s best to choose a day when the air is still and the forecast calls for clean skies.

The Goldilocks Zone for Staining Your Deck

Ultimately, the goal is to stain your deck when the following conditions are present:

  • It’s below 90 degrees Fahrenheit
  • It’s above 50 degrees Fahrenheit
  • It’s a cloudy day, or the deck is in the shade
  • The humidity is low
  • Rain isn’t in the forecast
  • The wind is calm

Get Help Staining Your Deck

Although staining a deck may seem easy, it requires planning, timing, and attention to detail. Because accidentally ruining your deck isn’t hard either. Waiting for the right conditions for staining a deck is vital to protect its longevity and look.

For results you can count on every time, choose Mr. Handyman® to stain your deck. Our home improvement professionals have an average of 10 years of experience, so you can rest assured that they will do the job right! We also offer other deck and patio services, including power washing and repair work. We can even construct a beautiful, new deck from the ground up!

And all our projects carry the Neighborly Done Right Promise™, which means your satisfaction is guaranteed! To schedule service, please contact your local Mr. Handyman or call us. We’re here to help with all your home improvement needs!