Staining Decks and Fences

Our recommendations on when to stain, what to use, and how often to stain decks and fences

1. How long do I need to wait before I stain or paint my deck or fence?

Staining decks and fences
  • Pressure treatment with waterborne preservatives does leave some moisture in the wood. This may affect the penetration and drying of stains and paints.
  • Ecolife® treated wood can be stained or painted. Ecolife also contains a water repellent so you don’t have to apply a sealant for up to three years after installation.
  • For optimal performance of paint and stains, allow the treated wood to dry prior to application. 
  • To ensure the wood is dry for staining, painting or sealing, test the wood with a few drops of water to see if the wood is dry enough to readily absorb water. 
  • As soon as the wood is porous enough to accept the stain, paint or sealant, it is ready for application. 
  • Typically, treated wood will dry and be ready for finishing 60 days after installation. However, estimating exactly how long treated lumber will take to dry is hard to predict and will depend on the time elapsed since pressure treatment, sun exposure, local temperature and recent weather conditions.

2. What do you recommmend I use to stain or paint my deck and fence?

staining decks and fences - use a water repellant stain with a UV protectant
  • We recommend a good quality oil-based or water-based stain or exterior wood water sealant product. Always follow the manufacturer’s application and use instructions.
  • Semi-transparent stains are best for color. Paint or solid-color stains will show wear on frequently used pathways, such as on stairs or entryways. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and the advice of your local paint dealer for best results.
  • Apply a high-quality oil or water-based finish with UV protection to prevent the wood from turning gray from exposure to the sun.
  • Take these factors into consideration for your specific installation and use your best judgment. Be sure to follow the stain manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

3. How often should I apply a finish to treated wood?

  • staining decks and fences - use a stain with a water repellent and UV inhibitorMost water repellent coating manufacturers recommend an annual application. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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