I spent a few weekends in September stripping the paint from my deck. It's now stripped to the wood. Due to some unforeseen timing issues, I wasn't able to get the new paint down before fall arrived. I'm in Seattle, so getting a full 24 hours of non-rain is tough, let alone a couple of days to let the wood properly dry. Humidity is generally in the 60-90 range.

I have some tarps I could put over the deck to keep it dry for a few weeks. My question is: will the tarp approach work? Should I just wait for spring? Any other ideas?

-- edit --

The paint is Olympic Rescue It. The min temp is 50, but I am more concerned with the wood. How dry does it need to be? If there is any moisture on the wood, will it shorten the paint's life?

  • What paint will you be using? What is the application temperature range for that paint? What is the humidity application temperature range for that paint? Low temps and high humidity can cause paint to dry slowly or not at all. Read the directions before proceeding.
    – rjbergen
    Oct 21 '14 at 17:01
  • I added info on the paint (Olympic "Rescue It"). I am more concerned about the wood being dry.
    – Erick T
    Oct 22 '14 at 4:56

I have made temp tarp roofs over several work sites when building a deck in winter. (Vancouver, BC here, so similar winters).

You should use a new tarp, have a slope for drainage and make sure it is tight and secure.

If any leaks or drips get on the wood it takes longer to dry out in the winter (when it's wet out in general).

I have never painted a deck though, only stains.

The most critical reason for using a tarp roof was keeping plywood dry when we were doing a waterproof vinyl membrane. Most other times they weren't crucial and just for keeping work site relatively dry.


That product calls for a minimum 24 hour drying period after pressure washing the deck. So it doesn't sound awfully picky, it just needs to be dry; no standing water.

And it must be kept dry. Build a tarping system correctly, as fungku explained, because a few drops of water will ruin a paint job but this is more like a coating; they will mess up the surface.

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