Cold Weather Coating Tips

People often delay coating timber during the colder months of the year due to fear of the coating not drying or taking too long to dry – and rightly so! On the other hand, sometimes people are applying in the wrong conditions and causing themselves a wide range of issues. We don’t recommend coating in conditions where the surface temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius. Note – surface temperature – not ambient temperature. This means that, while it might be 14 degrees outside, the surface being coated could be 8 degrees. Applying to timber (inside or outside) at this temperature can cause:


  • Elongated dry times or the product simply not drying
  • The coating to dry with a milky appearance
  • Adhesion issues
  • Longer recoat times
  • A wrinkled appearance

To give your project the best chance of drying – always choose a water based product; water based coatings dry faster than their solvent based equivalents, and are more robust when applied to cooler temperatures.


Tips for success:

  • Always lay off in the direction of the grain to ensure a smooth finish, especially in cool temperatures, if too much coating is applied and left to dry on the surface – it is likely to appear milky and experience re-coating issues.
  • Try not to overwork then product on the timber – this applies to all weather conditions.
  • A milky appearance can occur in cold conditions, this is because the moisture is now trapped within the coating and may not rectify itself under normal circumstances.
  • For interior work, assuming surface temperature exceeds 10 degrees, warming the room using heating to above 18 degrees will help in the drying process and avoid a milky finish.

Need some free, friendly & expert advice? Just phone Cabot's on1800 011 006