I have a new fence built from pressure-treated wood. We did not get around to staining it this fall and the temperatures are now in the 40s. Is it better just to wait until next year or should I attempt to stain it anyway? Which is the better of two less than ideal options?

I live in SW Pennsylvania with wet winters and humid summers, so the fence will be experiencing a lot of varied weather until conditions are good for doing the job properly. Its possible that we'll get a week back up in the high 40 or low 50s before Christmas, and I can take time off whenever to get the job done.

  • I'd wait until good weather in the spring; the PT wood should be fine. Commented Dec 5, 2015 at 11:47

1 Answer 1


Definitely wait. The temperature will be dropping low enough during the stain's curing process that many problems could present themselves.

GOOD NEWS, HOWEVER! If you used pressure treated lumber, then staining the wood is almost entirely an aesthetic decision. While lack of a stain will cause a greying of the wood over several years of UV exposure, the wood beneath the grey will remain sturdy. (Also even with the stain, eventually UV will take its toll.)

Rest easy - it's a non-issue.

When it comes time to stain, http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/ask-sherwin-williams/staining/exterior-stains/ should give you all the prep info you'll need.

  • 1
    If it was stained now the finish may have peeled off in no time. PT wood needs to leech off the preservatives on the surface as well as loose a lot of the moisture content from the treatment process. 6 months wait is the usual rule of thumb for finishing pressure treated material.
    – Jack
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 0:32

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