Applying A Deck Stain in Full Sun 5/5 (22)

This post was updated on April 5, 2022

How to Apply Deck Stain in Sun

How to Apply Deck Stain in Sun

How to Apply A Deck Stain in Full Sun

We appreciate your input here at Deckstainhelp.com as we continue to be your go-to source for the latest in deck restoration news and deck stain topics through 2022. See below for an article about How to Apply Deck Stain in the full sun of the day and the issues that could potentially arise.

Feel free to leave a comment or ask questions below.


These tips are for Transparent, Semi-Transparent,  Semi-Solid, and Solid (Opaque) deck coatings.

If you have a wood deck, at some point, you will have to stain and seal it. Staining your deck allows it to withstand the elements such as severe weather, foot traffic, and scuffing from heavy furniture.

Before you begin, make sure you plan ahead. Ensure there’s no rain in the forecast or excessive pollen levels that create an ideal environment for mold to grow. Please note that instructions for staining and sealing a deck will vary from product to product, so read the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Prep is key to the longevity of a deck stain so make sure to prep accordingly by cleaning and or stripping the deck surface. Always neutralize with a wood deck brightener if using a stain stripper or deck cleaner. This will ensure the wood is left in the proper pH balance prior to applying your deck stain coating.

Allow the wood to dry a few days before staining unless you are using Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain, which can be used the same day as the prep. Always follow the directions on the stain can for suggestions for the best tools to get the job done. Most deck stains and sealers can be applied using a brush, roller, stain pad, pump, or airless sprayer.  Apply the stain or sealer evenly and do not over-apply.

How to Apply Deck Stains and Sealers in the Sun

One common problem that many do not take into consideration is applying your deck stain in the heat of the day and or full sun. While the air temperature may be in the optimal range of 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit, the sun can drastically change the surface temperature of the wood. Using an infrared thermometer, we have tested wood temps in the shade, full sun and compared this to the air temperature and these are the results:

Air Temperature: 75 Fahrenheit

Wood Temperature in the Shade: 65 Fahrenheit

Wood Temperature in Full Sun: 100+ Fahrenheit

So what does this mean? Having an extremely hot surface temperature can lead to improper curing and drying of the deck stain. This could result in a blotchy application appearance, shiny spots, and could potentially lead to premature failure of the deck stain. This can happen with all deck stain types including water-based stains and oil-based stains.

So what can you do to avoid this potential application issue?

Stain Flash Dried in Sun

Stain Flash Dried in Sun – 1 Year Later

Water-Based Deck Stains

Water-based decks stains dry faster than oil-based stains. You will need to take precautions when applying to avoid flash drying of the water-based deck stain. If flash drying occurs, the stain may not fully soak into the wood grain but cure/dry on top of the wood grain. This may lead to premature wearing, especially in a cold-weather climate that has freeze/thaw fluctuations.

  • If possible, try staining on a cloudy day or in the shade.
  • Avoid staining at noon or at the hottest part of the day. Try early morning or late afternoon.
  • Try Restore-A-Deck Wood Stain. This product can be applied to damp wood. Applying to damp wood will decrease the surface temperature of the wood and makes it much easier to apply as well.
Blotchy Stain Application

Blotchy Stain Application in Full Sun

Oil-Based Deck Stains

Oil-based deck stains will be a little easier to apply in full sun but can still have issues. We notice issues with oil-based stains drying blotchy and uneven when applied in full sun as the solvents in the coatings evaporate extremely fast. This can also lead to premature failure of the coating as well if the stain is unable to fully soak into the wood.

  • If possible, try staining on a cloudy day or in the shade.
  • Avoid staining at noon or at the hottest part of the day. Try early morning or late afternoon.
  • Try Armstrong Clark Wood Stain. This product can be applied in full sun. This product is a combination of curing and non-drying oils. This allows a much longer application time that avoids the full sun potential issues.  Apply and let dry for 4-12 hours. Do not back wipe.

Do you have any questions about how to apply a deck stain in the sun? We want to hear your thoughts. Feel free to leave us a comment below.

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hakoah
hakoah(@hakoah)
4 days ago

HAVE A BEAUTIFUL MAHOGANY DECK. WANT TO SEAL WITH AS TRASPARANT PRODUCT TO BRING OUT THE NATURAL COLOR. WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND AND WHERE CAN I PURCHASE IT?

Ron D.
Ron D.
1 month ago

Hardwood deck stain. You list RAD but that doesn’t say designed hardwood. I have a mahogany deck. I have used Ready Seal Redwood stain, but seems that almost every year or 2 I have to re stain. I plan on using RAD Stripper on this, and then wanted to try a Hardwood designed stain, which RAD stain or any stain is best. Also in photo is some stain, not sure oil or what. I did deck 2 years ago, looks really worn. Live in NYC

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Ron D.
Ron D.
1 month ago

The question came up because the article you posted stated that there are certain stains that are specifically designed for hardwoods, and this didn’t mention that it was specific for that purpose. I did call RAD, and actually they recommended to go with the Armstrong over the RAD for Mahogany.
Regardless, do you think the reason i had poor results previously, was that I was using Readyseal product? And should RAD stripper take off previous stain. thanks

Mark Chilton
Mark Chilton
2 years ago

Pretty sure those are pictures of my deck from 2 years ago.. Anyway, trying to re-stain that deck next week with highs in the 50’s and lows in the 30’s.. Is only drying time affected, or are there other issues like dew or a hard freeze ?? Thanks –

Mark
Mark
2 years ago

Thanks for the reply. So if we stain on a day in the 50’s and it gets down to the 30’s overnight there could be an issue ??

LAVETA BONNEY
LAVETA BONNEY
2 years ago

deck was completely dried and it rained now we have some rain drop marks. is this easily fixed?

Jim Hogan
Jim Hogan
3 years ago

I have a Redwood gazebo that is 1 year old that I want to stain. I believe it was sealed when it was installed. What is the best prep method prior to staining it. I am also going to stain the deck which 1 year old. My concern is that at night in northern calif the temperature is between 45 to 60% caused heavy moisture to collect on the deck overnight. Will that affect the sealer

Jag
Jag
3 years ago

Hi I stained my deck today but ran out of sunlight before I could do the second coat. I won’t have time until 24 hours later to do the second coat. Is this ok? I am using bear semi transparent stain, sadly I had already bought it after I found your site. Secondly I used a foam pad to apply the stain, if it’s ok to as the second coat should I use the same pad or use a roller now? I should mention that it was a touch warm when I was applying so the stain did dry quickly, I was able to maintain a wet edge but had to work quickly.

Norma
Norma
3 years ago

Should I seal the Defy water based semi transparent cedar tone stain on my Costco gazebo? I live inland in central CA with summer temps in the 100 degrees and mild winters with lows usually in he 40s.. If so, what would you recommend?

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