What Is The Best Time Of Year To Paint Your Deck?

When your wood deck is looking a little worn, you may be trying to decide whether painting or staining is the better option. One of the advantages of painting is that you can select a deck paint color that complements your home's exterior. With staining, you have several shades available, but widely varying colors are not available. If you decide to paint to have more color options, it's important to do it at the right time of the year to ensure it adheres properly. Because painting the deck works best in moderate temperatures, the best time to do the work is in the spring. You also could do it in the fall, but by doing the work in the spring, you can enjoy the fresh look all summer when you are using the space most often.

Ideally, working on the wood deck in temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit is the best option, which typically occur during late spring. The surface temperature and air temperature both should be in this range, so you may want to do the work at a time when direct sunlight is not striking the deck.

In the spring, you may have to dodge rain. You want to try to apply the paint during a time when you will not have rain for three days after application, and when you haven't recently had rain, since paint adheres best to dry surfaces. Humidity of greater than 70% also can cause issues with adherence, but spring humidity levels usually are within this range.

Dangers of applying deck paint at the wrong time of the year

If you choose to paint your wood deck outside of the comfortable temperatures of spring or autumn, you could experience problems with the quality of the job. If you paint the deck during the summer when temperatures are greater than 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it may dry too fast, leading to clumps and brush marks becoming visible. (Read the instructions on the paint can to see if the manufacturer recommends a certain temperature range that differs from the range we listed earlier.) The wood deck surface temperature can average as much as 50 degrees hotter in direct sunlight than in cloudy conditions, which also affects the performance of the paint. If you must do the work in summer, try to do it during early or later times of the day and when the space is in a shadow.

Trying to paint the deck during late fall, early spring, or winter also creates problems with having it dry and cure properly. When temperatures fall below 50 degrees, this causes moisture to form on the wood deck, which affects the paint's ability to dry. When it dries too slowly because of the cooler weather at night, it may end up being more susceptible to cracks and peeling than when applying it properly.