How Often Do I Need to Stain Timber Cladding

Wood siding and weatherboards that are coated with a semi transparent stain, oil or coating will require re-coating at some stage during their lifetime.

The frequency of the re-coat period will depend on a number of factors:

Coating Type

Selecting the right timber finish is critical to a low maintenance cladding. Semi-transparent coatings should be chosen with care. Wood stains and oils fall into two main categories:

Penetrating Oils and Stains

Penetrating oils and stains penetrate into the surface of the wood, and are designed to erode back with time, slowly fading.

The benefit of penetrating coatings is that they do not flake or crack, and tend to look more natural over time. Abodo’s Protector Coating is a an example of a high performance penetrating oil.

  • Typical lifespan in an exposed application: 2-4 years
  • Pre-coating preparation: Oxalic Acid Wash and re-coat

Film Forming Coatings

Film forming coatings create a durable film on the surface of the wood, and hold colour for longer in the short term. While they may perform well in less exposed applications, film forming coatings tend to crack and flake, if they are not regularly maintained.

If cracking or flaking occurs, it is recommended to strip the coating back to bare wood, prior to reapplying coatings. This can massively increase the maintenance requirements.

  • Typical lifespan in an exposed application: 2-4 years
  • Pre-coating preparation: Strip if badly flaking, oxalic Acid Wash and re-coat

Exciting new surface modification coatings have been developed that reduce the maintenance cycle for cladding and decking timbers.

Silicate mineralises the surface of wood creating a long life silver shell that lasts two to three times longer than typical semi transparent coatings.


The amount of exposure to weather has a massive impact on the weathering of wood, and the resultant re-coat periods for coatings. Lesser exposed and protected cladding may not require re-coating for five years or more.

Design for low maintenance by using large eaves, orienting natural timber elements away from prevailing weather and sun or choosing surface modification technology rather than traditional wood stains.

What about leaving my cladding or weatherboards uncoated and letting it “silver off”? Leaving any natural wood cladding uncoated is not recommended. Uncoated siding will weather unevenly, with patches under eaves and other protected areas.

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