Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I have smooth wood, why can I not use Ducksback/Less Mess on it?

    Ducksback/Less Mess is not deep penetrating but very much relies on the timber texture for adhesion. For this reason it is recommended for rough sawn timber only. If the construction contains smooth timber components, or has lost texture through weathering then adhesion performance will be reduced. The product only becomes water repellent when it is fully dry and until then it can be damaged by heavy rain. In addition, surface dirt, algal growth and any previous treatment which retains water repellency may repel the Ducksback, causing poor adhesion.

    For smooth wood, Garden Shades or Ultimate Garden Wood Preserver can be used. Both products can be applied to rough and smooth wood.

  • I have purchased Garden Shades and it seems extremely runny and watery. Is this right?

    Garden Shades is a relatively thin and slack product by design. It is free-flowing to enable a smooth finish that gets into all the gaps and allows the profile of the wood to be a maintained. As its sprayable, it also needs to be of low viscosity & will be runnier than other traditional paints. This is not a fault. The product will still achieve good opacity in 2 coats over a similar colour, although deeper colours may require a third coat.

    As Garden Shades often goes on directly to the wood, without a primer, sometimes it will soak deep into the wood and this can create the need for a third coat. This may be noticeable with rougher woods, open end grains or indeed deep colours. If wood has been exposed and dried out for a long period of time, this may also draw the more of the product away from the surface and into the wood structure.

    Be mindful that it is waxed-enriched and that once these waxes are dried, they act to repel liquids, which would include an additional coats. Don’t try to coat the whole project with one coat before getting onto the next coat. Instead it is better to paint sections in in time chunks of 2-4 hours.

    To avoid difficulties it is good practice to acknowledge how much time you can commit to a project in one straight run and not to attempt too much; Divide the task into hourly chunks and paint the first coat on a section of the project, perhaps one or two sides of the shed. Before moving onto the next phase, go back over what you have just done with the next coat before moving on to the next phase. If you can see any area’s that might want an extra coat, get that done before starting another whole phase. This little bit of time planning can ensure you get the look you want, first time, every time.

  • I have used Garden Shades and it has gone on my brickwork, how can I remove it?

    Garden Shades is a water based product, so an application of water and detergent should provisionally be used. If this has been done without success you could cover the area in sodium bicarbonate and leave for 20 mins and then scrub with a brush and warm water. This should make the stain disperse. You must remember that this surface is very porous so a number of applications might be needed.

  • I have previously treated wood and it has a dark stain, can I apply anything over the top?

    The final colour you achieve is very much dependent upon previous coatings, the depth of the stain, and how long that coating has been on the wood. If you have previously used a dark stain, overcoating it with a lighter one will be more difficult. More coats should increase the ability to cover previously dark stain.

    If the depth of stain is significant, you will need to strip the wood back to its original substrate in order to achieve a lighter colour.

  • I have applied two cans of decking stain and I appear to be getting two different shades. Why is this?

    On occasion you can get a slight batch-to-batch variation between cans. However if the shades are very different this is usually attributable to a lack of stirring before and during application.

    If the product has been in store for a while then the pigments and thickeners can settle to the bottom of the can; vigorously shaking and stirring the product (with a flat bladed instrument - like a pallet knife) should help achieve a more uniform and consistent colour.

  • How do I prepare my fence to accept a new stain, it has been previously treated?

    It is recommended that a test area of around 30cm is used to ensure there are no adhesion and/or compatibility issues. If there is no reaction (lack of adhersion) which you should see directly after the product has been applied you should confidently continue with your treatment.

    If there is a lack of adhesion, it is recommended that all greyed, weathered timber must also be removed, this can usually be done by sanding or scrubbing with a stiff bristle brush.

    For Garden Shades a lack of adhesion can occur when applying the product onto a previously painted coating where the coating is particularly smooth or when applying Garden Shades over itself. In hot weather conditions the wax in the first layer of the coating can migrate to the surface.

  • I want to retain the ‘natural colour’ of my fence. Why can’t I use Wood Preserver Clear?

    We do make a product called Wood Preserver Clear, but it is a preparatory product that needs to be painted, stained or varnished over. It is a penetrative treatment that prevents rot and decay, but because it contains no pigment it has no UV Filters; this has the effect of preventing the wood from greying. After a time the wood will develop a silvery/grey hue. You could use either the Ultimate Garden Wood Preserver (however this is heavily pigmented) or 5 Year Ducksback and choose a colour that most resembles your fence.

  • Why are products not all available in tester pot sizes?

    Unfortunately the only tester pots we make in our Cuprinol Range are for our Garden Shades range. These colours include blues, greens yellows and are more decorative than the standard - more functional products like Less Mess and Ducksback.

    The availability of a colour and size of a product is determined by available shelve space at store and popularity. We cannot unfortunately have all our products available in small tester pots; however certain stores may have the product on a piece of wood and the colour chip on the front of the can is fairly accurate representation of what the colour will look like on the wood.

  • My Cuprinol Decking Stain is lifting after a short period of time, what could be the cause and solution?


    The reason that the finish is lifting from the wood is likely due to moisture causing swelling in the wood.

    In order to prevent this it is imperative that the wood if dry before treatment and that all surfaces are fully covered/treated to create a protector layer preventing water getting into the wood. It is recommended that 3 coats of stain are applied for maximum protector on bare timber.


    Our advice would be to scrub the top surface with a stiff bristle (not wire) brush and detergent (or pressure wash) to remove any loose material and dirt. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry before re-finishing with 3 coats of the appropriate treatment. The underside should also be treated if at all possible.

    Please do not use any of decking products on composite decking as the material is a type of plastic, which our products will fail to adhere to the decking.

  • Can you use Cuprinol Fence Care products on your decking?

    Cuprinol Fence Care products are not suitable for use on decking boards or smooth wood. It's a low build stain that should only be applied to rough sawn sheds and fences. We'd recommend Cuprinol Anti Slip Decking Stain on decking.

  • Can you use Cuprinol Garden Shades on metal?

    Garden Shades is fairly versatile, so it may be sufficient for small areas of metal providing the metal is primed appropriately. However, we would recommend Hammerite for painting metal surfaces, there are a variety of colours available in the "smooth" finish and 5 colours in the "hammered" finish.

  • Can you spray Cuprinol Ducksback?

    Unfortunately, you are not able to spray Cuprinol Ducksback. We would suggest having a look at the Cuprinol Garden Shades range which is suitable for spraying. We recommend using a manual pump with this product.

  • What products are suitable for Timber Flower Beds?

    The following products would be suitable for timber flower beds:

    1. Cuprinol Garden Shades
    2. Cuprinol Ultimate Garden Wood Preserver
    3. Cuprinol 5 Year Ducksback

    However, there are a number of things to consider when painting timber flower beds.

    • Before filling with soil treat all sides of the timber, including sawn ends, with Cuprinol Clear Wood Preserver.
    • Apply two coats of chosen product, to all surfaces, following the on-can instructions.
    • If possible, line the interior of the timber with plastic, or other liner, to prevent water being absorbed from the soil into the timber.

    Unfortunately, none of the products mentioned above are suitable for timber used for permanent in-ground contact.