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Wait for the just-right conditions before tackling any exterior painting and staining

The proper prep and a stretch of consistently good weather are the keys to success
Rhonda (Paint)

With sunny skies and milder temperatures, many homeowners are itching to get started on their exterior home projects, but one local expert suggests everyone slow down.

“One of the most common problems that we see happen is when the weather gets nice for a few days people want to get outside and paint or stain. We need much more consistent 'good' weather before anyone should tackle an outdoor painting project. Wood needs time to thoroughly dry and certain temperatures must be maintained both day AND night,” says Rhonda, a paint and stain expert at Heritage Home Hardware.

“90% of the failures we see with outdoor stain, for example, are not a problem with the stain itself but actually improper prep and/or staining in the wrong conditions.”

Before starting any exterior painting or staining project, ensure these steps have been taken first.

Proper preparation

With any exterior staining project, there are two simple secrets to a long-lasting finish: using a quality stain and doing the right prep work ahead of time. Both of these are essential—unless you’re keen to re-do the entire project again next year.

As mentioned above, a full 90% of all stain failure is due to a lack of prep work! You’ll have a much better chance of success if you lay the groundwork first.

Here’s how:

  • Be aware that new wood can have a sheen on it called mill glaze, which will prevent the stain from penetrating. Sand the area with 80 grit sandpaper or use BeautiTone’s Wood-Shield Wood Restorer 1874-208.
  • You will want to check the moisture content in the wood. It should be less than 15% - 25%, depending on the product used. Most Home Hardware stores will loan out a moisture meter that you can use. (1010-586)
  • If your home has more than 25% of its stain peeling, you should remove the coating and start fresh. Rhonda recommends Wood-Shield Safe Strip 1874-403.
  • Always clean well, as mildew will cause stain to peel and it is not always visible. Use Wood-Shield Mildew Off 1874-405, which removes dirt, mold and algae.
  • All greyed wood (deadwood fibres) need to be removed; this is the most common error people make when staining. Those grey fibres do not adhere to the substrate but sit on top of the wood. Adding stain overtop changes the colour, but any moisture will lift those fibres right off, with your new stain attached. Remove deadwood fibres with Wood-Shield Wood Prep 1874-406, Wood-Shield Wood Restorer 1874-208 or Activox 1874-410.


Even if you’re tempted, don’t skip this step. To open up the fresh wood fibre, 80 grit sandpaper is recommended. Make sure to thoroughly sweep or vacuum up dust after. 


Take care to work the stain into the wood fibre. If you are using a spray to stain the surface, follow that up with some back brushing. To avoid “lap marks”, stain the length of the board and stain all 6 sides of each board, if possible.

If you ever have any issues, Home Hardware’s problem solver is a fantastic resource to have at the ready.

Use a quality stain

BeautiTone’s Wood-Shield stains come in both a solid and semi-transparent finish. If you need help visualizing what your colour choice will look like, use the site’s online Colour Visualizer.

A semi-transparent stain penetrates the wood but allows the natural grain and characteristics of the wood to show through. They are available in 36 different colours.

A solid stain penetrates the wood and highlights its texture. This kind of stain is available in an endless supply of colours; there are thousands to choose from.

The full lineup of quality stains and paints from BeautiTone is made right here in Canada. That means you can have peace of mind knowing that they have been formulated to withstand our climate’s temperature and weather extremes.

The line is sold exclusively by Home Hardware Stores Limited.

Necessary conditions

How will you know when it’s a good day for staining? Keep an eye out for these optimal weather conditions:

  • No rain in the forecast for the next 24 hours
  • Day and night surface temperature between 10 and 27 °C.
  • A light breeze should be present; some air movement is required.
  • Dew point past or not approaching
  • Follow the sun or work in the shade

2024 Exterior colour of the year

Well it may still be too early to paint, this is definitely a good time to get planning. If you’re up for a change and keen to embrace the latest colour trends, in March BeautiTone unveiled its 2024 Exterior Colour of the Year. “Pacific” is a rich and dramatic colour that draws inspiration from the deep blue sea.

It is bold yet calming, elegant and timeless. The hue complements a number of architectural styles and is one of five key colours in the 2024 colour palette.

For more advice on exterior painting and staining, consult with the store’s paint and stain expert, visit Heritage Home Hardware or call 705-759-5101.