Sign In to join the community | Help

How To Store Deck, Fence, and Siding Stain

In a private message, a member of The Community recently asked about storing and re-using deck, fence, and siding oil-based stain.


She said:


"I sure hope you can help me... I see you've given a lot of good advice!!


I'm in Wisconsin, and left my exterior stain out in the garage all winter.  I've read that oil-based stains will NOT freeze, but may not dry properly.  Well, I opened the can, stirred it up good, and it looked normal, so I brushed it on my nice log chairs.  I normally do this every spring with no problems.  Well, it's been over 24 hours and it's still very tacky.... and I need to use them in two days!!!


Is there some miracle treatment for this, or do I need to start over and sand them down and purchase a new can of stain?"


I am republishing my response on The Community in hopes that it may help other Community Members:


Sorry for the delay in responding!


I've been away for several days.


Yes, you should discard that earlier can of oil-based stain.


Use a drying agent to ensure the product turns solid before discarding in your trash ... something like Krud Kutter Paint Hardener.


Use denatured alcohol on a terry towel to remove most of the gummy residue and then sand until the wood surface is exposed using 100- or 150-grit.


Purchase your new stain and apply within two- to three-days. After three-days, take the container back to The Store to have it reshaken.



Stain can be store at room temperature, but should never be exposed to temperatures below forty-degrees or above ninety-degrees Fahrenheit.

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2013-05-07T13:40:50+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL Pat_HD_ATL

There is cold, and then there is COLD.  Having spent my contracting years in Chicago, I can recall winter temps of  -28 degrees with 40 mph winds! Fortunately, this was not the norm, but every winter would bring a few nights of zero or slightly below. These temps did not affect how oil products reacted, but did require that they be brought in and warmed up by setting the can in hot water. They got really thick when cold.  When warm, oil paint flows like melted butter. In fact, it was an old painter's trick, when having run out of solvent, to simply heat the oil paint to get it to flow better without actually thinning it.


Many exterior stains contain linseed oil. Linseed oil does freeze a about 20 degrees below zero and can be adversely affected. 2o below is not all that unusual in many areas of Wisconsin. If a stain was subjected to those hyper-cold temps, it would be prudent not to use it.


There is, however, another scenario of why the writer's chairs did not dry: linseed ol cannot be left on the surface of wood. If it is left so, it will sit there for months before drying. When using oil stains containing linseed oil, the wood should be given an even coat of stain, but if after about 15 minutes stain is still seen on the surface, the excess must be wiped away with rags The writer states she has stained the chairs yearly. This would indicate that she might possibly have saturated the wood and it is simply not absorbing the new stain anymore.


One other thought on storage of oil paints and paints and stains in general: if at all possible, never leave an air space in the can. Air is the enemy of paint. Pour the paint into a smaller container so that it is full to the rim. I have a brother who will go out in his garden and gather small , clean stones to put in his partially used varnish cans to displace the varnish to the top of the can. OK, so he is a bit quirky! :smileyhappy:


Just a few thoughts

Posted 2013-05-08T06:56:36+0000  by ordjen
Outstanding insights Ordjen!

Winters with temps of -28 and winds up to 40 mph ... that makes me cold just thinking about it!!!

Clean stones in varnish cans to eliminate air ... you say he is a bit "quirky," I say he might be a step ahead of the rest of us.

Always love reading your detailed threads!

Thanks Ordjen!
Posted 2014-07-01T17:31:34+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question