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How long should the deck stain dry

When Is The Best Time To Stain A Deck?

Your deck is the ultimate space where you can enjoy the outdoors. Whether you love al fresco dining or gathering with family and friends, setting up your outdoor space is a must for home entertainers. However, owning a deck comes with its responsibilities. Homeowners must do frequent maintenance to keep their decks in perfect condition. It would help if you stained your deck despite power washing once a year to remove the mold and debris. Applying a stain is recommended every two years. But when is the best time to stain a deck? We will explain this topic in depth if you have any doubts. Make sure to go through this post and find out!

stain a deck

When is the best time to stain a deck?

The best time to stain a deck is early fall and late spring. These seasons provide moderate weather conditions to ensure your stain is applied correctly and protects the wood. It would be best to plan your maintenance and choose a day when the air and deck surface temperature ranges between 50 and 90 degrees F. Also, there should be no rain two days before or after staining your deck since this can remove the product you apply or prevent it from penetrating the wood. A downpour after staining your deck will wash away the product. In addition, a moist surface can control the wood stain from absorbing correctly. 

When discussing when is the best time to stain a deck, it can vary depending on where you’re located. You are allowed to stain the deck in summer, but make sure to keep it away from direct sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can result in the product drying faster than it should, and it won’t achieve the desired effect. If you’re staining your deck during the summer, it would be better to do it in the evening or morning when the temperature is slightly lower. 


When should you stain your deck?

Applying sealant and stain should become part of your deck maintenance. This is done every few years to protect the wood. Ideally, it would be best if you stained your deck every two to three years to keep it looking great. However, the given timeframe can change depending on where you live. In areas with extreme weather conditions, you might need to apply stain more frequently.

When Is The Best Time To Stain A Deck?

Frequent sun exposure, snow, and high humidity require you to apply the protective coating more frequently. Therefore you should inspect your deck every year to determine if the protective layer does its function. The stain creates a waterproof coating, preventing moisture absorption. If you notice that the wood gets wet quickly, this is a clear sign it needs staining. 

Also, you can notice when the color looks paler. The stain adds color to the wood, so seeing signs of wear off indicate your deck needs another coat of stain. Lastly, water absorption can result in mildew. If you notice signs of mold or mildew, this is another indication your deck needs staining. 

stain your deck

Why should you stain a deck?

Decks are made of wood, prone to damage from weather conditions. Applying stain ensures your deck stays in pristine condition and increases durability. A deck that is well maintained will look great for longer and increase your home’s resale value. 

 In addition, the stain helps you achieve a uniform look. The color will wear off due to weather conditions, so your deck might not look pristine. 

The stain adds color to the wood, updating your outdoor area. With so many colors available, you can always find the right fit for your style. The warm-toned wood stains make the deck feel cozy and welcoming. On the other hand, cool-toned ones tend to suit modern styles better. 


Staining a deck protects the wood and can be better than applying paint in some cases. The stain is easier to use, as you don’t need to prime the wood. In addition, the stain has UV protection and doesn’t chip as paint does. Therefore the product is more durable than paint.

Wood stain isn’t only applied for the appeal. It is essential to note it offers protection from moisture and pest infestations. Once applied, the product creates a protective barrier that prevents such problems. 

How long should the deck stain dry

The time needed for the stain to dry on the type and weather conditions. It will take from 24 to 73 hours for oil-based stains to cure. Water-based stain takes less time and can dry between 1 to 24 hours. 

The warm weather can speed up the deck stain drying process. However, you should apply stains only within optimal weather conditions. We already explained this under the “When is the best time to stain a deck” section. High temperatures and direct sunlight will dry the product faster, which can result in uneven absorption. Your deck will look patchy as the stain couldn’t adhere properly. In addition, it might not be able to provide a protective layer for the wood. 

the deck stain dry

Therefore, you shouldn’t stain your deck in unfavorable weather conditions. This includes temperature above 90 degrees F, relative humidity higher than 70%, and when there are chances of rain before and after the staining. 

Do you need to prep the deck before staining?

Prepping the deck before applying the stain is very important. You need to do a detailed cleaning and allow the deck to dry before using any products. Also, you need to fix any damage.

First, make sure to inspect the deck for exposed nails. If you find any, it is better to address this issue immediately. Remove the poking nails and replace them with new ones. If there is extensive damage, you might need to replace the boards. Sanding is only required when there are bumps and splinters. 

prep the deck

Use a stripper to remove the shiny film on top. Next, it is essential to remove any impurities before proceeding. If you don’t, they will cure the stain. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust and debris or sweep the surface. Use a knife to clean between the boards, as this is where the debris accumulates. If you use a pressure washer to clean the deck, it is essential to wait a few days before staining. The water prevents the product from penetrating the wood, so don’t apply the stain within three days of washing. 

How to apply wood stain

A brush, roller, or sprayer is ideal for applying wood stain to your deck. Whether you have experience or not, a roller is the most convenient option for the application. A ruler is easy to use and helps distribute the product evenly. A brush is smaller, so it will take longer to cover the deck. However, due to its size, a brush provides precision. You can use a combined approach where a roller coats the ample surface and a brush for the nooks and crannies. 

Applying stain with a sprayer combines the functionality of a ruler and a brush. You get to cover a large surface in less time while the aerosol receives in all the nooks and crannies. However, a sprayer might be tricky to work with if you are a beginner. Firstly, it is difficult to set the correct pressure on the nozzle. Low pressure won’t deliver the needed amount of stain, while a high can overdeliver. Therefore, finding the ideal balance can be tricky if you’re using a sprayer for the first time. 

stain a deck

Choosing a deck stain color

Deck stain is available in various colors so that anyone can find the ideal suit for their style and preference. However, the criteria for choosing a color focus on more than appearance. You will find solid and transparent stains on the market, so choosing the right one is essential. 

The solid options have more UV protection, so they are advised for areas with more sun exposure. On the other hand, transparent stains for good drainage of moisture. Therefore, a transparent option is suitable for areas with humidity. 

The current condition of your deck also determines the stain choice. Use a transparent stain if your deck is new and you want to make the natural texture stand out. It protects the wood while allowing the gorgeous wood grain to show off. If your deck is old and has imperfections, a solid stain will help conceal them. 

Solid stain is reserved for modern styles, as it offers full coverage. This advantage lets you experiment with colors and introduce patterns to create a unique and bold look. On the other hand, a transparent wood stain would suit rustic and traditional styles. In such cases, the transparent product provides minimum coverage and lets the wood stand out. 


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