Applying Stain to Exterior Wood Surfaces

Once the surfaces are properly prepared, follow the correct way to apply our Dulux wood care finishes to ensure protection and enjoyment of exterior wood surfaces for years to come.

And our expert associates at your local Dulux Paints store have all the brushes, rollers and other tools and accessories you need for professional-looking staining results.

Only stain when wood and weather are dry. At least 16 hours after a light rainfall, 24 hours after a heavy rainfall or high-pressure cleaning. Test with a few drops of water on the surface: if it soaks in, the wood is ready to absorb a coat of stain. Avoid application whenever rain or any condensation is expected - e.g. late in the day as it gets cooler.

TIP: Push an exterior surface wood with a blade - if there is any moisture, it is too wet to stain.

Right temperature. Ideally stain in the range of 10 to 32°C and out of direct sunlight so that stain has the time to penetrate before it dries and to avoid lap marks.

Right application. Apply stain along the length of any timber and maintain a wet edge to avoid lap marks (especially semi-transparent). Never allow stain to pond on horizontal surfaces. Do not apply more coats than is recommended - more is not better.

Many Dulux semi-transparent stains and finishes require the second coat to be applied ‘wet-on-wet’. Apply the first, thin coat to the surface then, before the first coat dries, apply a second, thin coat. This technique allows the second coat to penetrate the wood. (Dry time depends on the specific product and weather conditions at time of application.) 

TIP: Semi-transparent stain is designed to penetrate into the wood, not form a thick film on the surface. Use a mask or a piece of cardboard to protect walls from splashes of stain and protect expensive plants with plastic drop sheets.

Coat every surface. Whenever possible and accessible, coat ALL 6 surfaces. Pay extra attention to end grains and any cut or damaged areas to ensure adequate sealing against moisture absorption.

TIP: Apply one coat of stain to the surfaces of all wood elements before new construction as it can be trickier to coat all surfaces after construction.

Worth the wait. Follow the recommended cure times for each stain product.