When is the Best Time to Apply Deck Coating?

Wooden deck attached to home

A deck is more than just a place to grab a quiet moment for yourself. It is a space to host summer barbecues, backyard parties, or catch up with friends and family. It is essential that you take care of your deck to help it withstand the harshness of weather elements and maintain its beauty and appeal. Applying the right deck coating guarantees your investment remains in top condition to serve your needs better.

However, most homeowners who want to paint their decks don't really have a good idea of when to do it. By reading through this guide, you will find all the information you need to schedule your painting projects and achieve stellar results.

Scheduling a Deck Coating Project: Important Things to Consider

The Amount of Time Needed

The two factors that must work together for a successful deck coating project are weather and time. The exact amount of time you need depends on how big the deck is. However, a good practice is to set aside about four days, including the drying time. However, if your deck needs extensive prep work, for example, power washing or board replacement, set aside a couple of days more.

The Ideal Time of the Day

The ideal time to paint your deck is on a warm sunny day when the temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees and there is low to moderate humidity. Choose a time when no rain or snow is expected for at least the next 48 hours. Notably, cold or moisture tends to make the stain or paint take too long to dry. On the other hand, if you apply a coat when the temperatures are extremely high, the stain may dry quickly to leave unsightly marks behind. The other essential tips to keep in mind when deciding on the best time to paint a deck include:

  • Dry the deck thoroughly: Coating products typically don't stick to damp wood. It is essential, therefore, to thoroughly dry the deck before you begin the coating. Only stain a deck when it has been dry for several days.
  • Check temperatures and humidity: Ensure the ambient and surface temperatures are between 50 and 90 degrees for 24 hours. The ideal relative humidity should be between 40% and 70%. Similarly, the ideal drying time temperatures and relative humidity should be 70 degrees and 40%, respectively.

The Best Season for Deck Coating

The best season to do a deck coating is late spring and early fall in moderate climates. During these seasons, temperatures typically range between 50 and 85 degrees, which is ideal for effective coating. Check for an overcast day with cool temperatures in the fall to coat your deck and protect it from weather elements such as excessive rain, snow, and fluctuating temperatures.

Liquid Rubber Deck and balcony sealing products

What Is the Impact of Cold or Hot Temperatures on My Coating Project?

If you paint your deck when it is too hot, the paint dries too quickly to result in brush marks on deck surfaces and clumping of paint. If the temperatures are too cold, your paint will not adhere properly or spread smoothly over the surface. Painting in cold seasons may also result in peeling and cracking soon after the job is done.

Other Factors to Consider When DIY Deck Coating a Deck

Prep the Surface

The wood should be free of dirt and stains for the coating to adhere properly. Sand all splintered spots and clean between boards using a putty knife. Next, clean the wood with a deck cleaner. If you are using a pressure washer, give the wood two to three days to dry.

Use the Right Coating

Matching your coating product to your deck type is a sure way to achieve the intended outcomes. Ideally, each type of coat has its advantages, and the type of deck will affect your choice. Liquid Rubber's polyurethane deck coating can help you achieve an attractive finish that you can be proud to show off to guests. The product is an environmentally friendly deck coating that lasts ten times longer than conventional products.

Choose the Right Brushes

The ideal brushes for working a water-based coating into the wood are those made of synthetic materials. Natural bristles are hollow and tend to absorb too much moisture to lose their rigidity. If you prefer a roller, choose one with a nap of ¼ inch or shorter so you can apply a thin layer that will adhere to the wood without pooling.

Apply Generous Coats

If you are using a large number of gallons of coat, mix them together to ensure color consistency. Afterward, use long, smooth strokes to coat two or three boards at a time. To prevent puddles that may cause the stain to flake off when dry, apply solid stains in generous coats and clear sealers in thinner coats. It's also advisable to apply at a certain coverage rate to ensure proper thickness.

What Happens If It Rains After You Seal You're Deck?

Weather is one thing that we cannot control, and it always pays to listen to the forecasts before undertaking a DIY paint project. However, sometimes we make mistakes, and our freshly stained deck gets rained on. Rain can adversely impact the finish of any linseed oil or mineral oil-based sealer.

A freshly applied coating typically takes hours to dry, and during this time, the sealer is prone to the elements. The amount of damage will boil down to the intensity of the rain and the type and brand of stain used.

Some coatings, such as Liquid Rubber's polyurethane deck coating, can withstand rain shortly after being applied better than other options in the market. If your paintwork is damaged by rain, clean the damaged spots and wait for them to dry before you reapply the coat.

How Can I Know It Is Time to Coat My Deck?

The easiest way to test your deck and see if it needs a fresh coat is by sprinkling some water on the surface. If the water absorbs quickly, the wood is ready for coating. You should also check for peeling paint and signs of mold and rot.

How Soon Can I Use My Painted Deck?

In ideal weather conditions, it will be dry to the touch within 1-2 hours. However, you should not walk on it for 4-6 hours then recoat. During cooler weather or periods of high humidity, you have to wait for a few extra hours. Similarly, you should wait for at least 5-7 full days before you move furniture back onto the deck. 

Let the Professionals Guide Your Remodeling Steps

Weather elements, especially water, takes a toll on a wood deck's finish. Knowing the best time to apply the coating can be the difference between an impressive project and an unsightly one. If you need additional tips on deck painting, you can find a lot of them on our blog, as well as other good-to-know information and products for home construction and renovation projects. If you have any questions you'd like answered, schedule a call with us today.