This article deals with the effect of the microstructural changes, due to transformation of delta ferrite, on the associated variations that take place in the tensile and stress corrosion properties of type 316 L stainless steel weld deposits when subjected to postweld heat treatment at 873 K for prolonged periods (up to 2000 hours). On aging for short durations (up to 20 hours), carbide/ carbonitride was the dominant transformation product, whereas sigma phase was dominant at longer aging times. The changes in the tensile and stress corrosion behavior of the aged weld metal have been attributed to the two competitive processes of matrix softening and hardening. Yield strength (YS) was found to depend predominantly on matrix softening only, while sig-nificant changes in the ultimate tensile strength (UTS) and the work-hardening exponent, n, occurred due to matrix hardening. Ductility and stress corrosion properties were considerably affected by both factors. Fractographic observations on the weld metal tested for stress-corrosion cracking (SCC) indicated a combination of transgranular cracking of the austenite and interface cracking. © 1995 The Minerals, Metals & Material Society.