What is Shelf Life of Oil Based Deck Stain  4.8/5 (25)

This post was updated on May 1, 2024

Shelf Life Deck Stain

Shelf Life Deck Stain

How long will your can of deck stain last?

You might find that when you’ve finished that big staining project, you’re left with a bunch of deck stain leftover. Well, it would be a shame to throw it away, wouldn’t it? But if you intend to store it, then there are a few things you should know first. Your stains can stay usable if following these simple guidelines.

Unopened cans of deck stain

Unopened cans of deck stain – just like regular paint – have a shelf-life of up to 5 or 6 years before they start to deteriorate. So if you didn’t have time to start your project this year then there’s no reason to worry. You can use the paint at any time that suits you within this timeframe. Make sure to store the deck stain in a temperature-controlled room. Do not let the stain freeze.

In the case that your stain has been stored for quite a while, it is recommended to take the can to a DIY store and have them use the shaker to help remix the stain and make sure it is ready for use.

Partially used cans

A more common problem is that you have already opened the can of stain, completed your deck and it is now only half-used. What can you do in this case? Most opened stains can last 12+ months if stored correctly with the lid tightly sealed. If the substance has contact with the air, the solvents will evaporate and you won’t be able to use your stain again so it’s important to ensure the container is sealed correctly.

Things to note when putting your deck stains away

The ideal environment for storing your deck stain is a cool, dry room with a steady temperature. You should also ensure that the stain cans are not exposed to direct sunlight.

Sometimes you are left with a few half-used cans of stain. In this case, you’re better off mixing them together.

The tips outlined in this article are there to help you save money. If you follow them, you will increase the shelf-life of your deck stains.

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites. All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.

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Laura Papastesis
Laura Papastesis
2 years ago

I had my stain shook last year. Never used. Should I get it reshook?

Chris.sussman@gmail.com
Chris.sussman@gmail.com
3 years ago

I have a 5 gallon pail of Armstrong Clark semi trans natural oak that I purchased in July of 2019. As a newbie though I would need a lot more than I did — only used 1-2 gallons. I sealed it and it has been stored in my cool and dry basement. In reading your article I am of course worried it might have gone bad — is there any way to determine before I dispose of 3 to 4 gallons of stain and purchase new stain? Thanks.

Chris Sussman
Chris Sussman
3 years ago

Yup, pretty clumpy and skin on top and at bottom so will call it gone. Prob not much I could have done, but I’m assuming best storage practice is as tightly sealed as possible? Seems difficult in the 5-gallon containers….

Chris Sussman
Chris Sussman
3 years ago

thank you! great to know for the future!

Patricia H Linden
Patricia H Linden
3 years ago

can i still use cabot bleaching oil if it has previously been frozen

Denise
Denise
3 years ago

What would happen if I use an old can of deck stain?

crazyjtg
crazyjtg
5 years ago

Was scrolling through the comments & was wondering if anyone has used Penofin stain. Also, is the 4 month wait time dependent on the brand of stain you use or all stains in general? I’m having a cedar fence installed on the east & west sides of my house & live in the Pacific Northwest. Any thoughts/suggestions on what to use? Thank you.

crazyjtg
crazyjtg
5 years ago

Thank you.

Karen
Karen
3 years ago

We used Penofin on our IPE deck and did not get great results, blotchy looking and yes black spots turned up as well as odd white ones areas. We prepped deck correctly prior. Going with Armstrong-Clark this year. This time around we are doing a careful and painstakeningly detailed job of cleaning the deck, like overkill, but I think it will be worth it in the end. And yes using a brightener as suggested after cleaning is complete.

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