The Best Time to Stain Deck: Everything You Need to Know

deck stain

Most people would agree that staining a deck is important for the overall preservation of the wood. The question often comes up, however, of when is the best time to stain a deck. Some people might say that it depends on the weather conditions, while others might say that it depends on the type of wood you are using. In this article, we will explore both of these factors to help you determine when is the best time to apply deck stain. Keep reading!

Why should you apply deck stain?

Staining your deck is critical to its long-term preservation and to protecting your investment. While treated timber or cedar wood deck is durable enough to withstand the elements, no wood lasts forever. However, with regular staining, you can make it last far longer. Deck stains protect the deck by penetrating through it. When you stain a deck, moisture is absorbed into the upper layers of the wood, forming a waterproof barrier between the outside and inside of the wood. This helps to prevent rot, mildew, and other water damage.

There are different types of deck stains available in the market, each with its own set of benefits. For example, oil-based stains provide better waterproofing properties than water-based stains. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, then an oil-based stain would be a better option for you. Water-based stains, on the other hand, are easier to apply and clean up. If you are not sure which type of stain to use, we recommend you speak to a customer service rep at your local home supply store.

So, when is the best time to Stain your Deck? The Short answer is this! The best time to stain your deck is in the fall or spring. The weather conditions during these seasons are ideal for staining a wood deck. The humidity is low, and the temperature is moderate, which helps the stain to penetrate into the wood properly. If you live in an area with harsh winters, then staining your deck in the fall will give it time to cure before the cold weather sets. Read on to learn why this is the case and the downside of staining during a different season.


Never apply deck stain to damp wood.

When is the best time to Stain your Deck?

The weather and time of day are the two factors you must have in your favor to successfully stain your deck. The size of the deck will affect how long it takes to complete. To ensure a successful curing process, it is essential to allow at least two days of drying time. If your deck needs pressure washing or replaced boards, you may want another day or two to apply stain.

Prepare everything in advance, especially if you’re renting. This will save you time on the big picture when everything is said and done. Rather than rushing to a shop at the last minute to buy necessary supplies, it’s preferable to be prepared ahead of time.

The Weather

You should apply the wood stain when the wood surface and air are in the temperature range of 50° – 90°F. Avoid staining your deck if there’s a rain warning in the forecast, or all of your efforts could be washed away. You want to choose a day that’s warm without being too hot, when humidity is low, with no rain on the way, and you’ve found the perfect day to stain your deck. Such days are pretty standard in either spring or early to mid-autumn.

Time of day

It’s also essential not to do this during a sunny day, and to avoid direct sunlight at all costs. Early morning time or during the evening shade is best.

Also Read:   The 5 Best Patio Umbrellas of 2023

Why is it not recommended to stain your deck in the summer?

Many individuals are unaware that summer is not the best time to stain your deck. Many people stain their decks during this season without realizing it’s one of the worst times to do so. The reasons for this are wood stain absorbs moisture in summer and even early spring.

Wood is more receptive to new stains when it is dry. The fiber will fracture and peel if you stain your deck prematurely in the summer. The pores of the timber will fill up with moisture, making it difficult for them to absorb the solution.

Another disadvantage of summer is that the high heat may cause the stain to evaporate too quickly, preventing the coating from fully penetrating the wood; The paint will dry before it can be absorbed into the wood which in turn requires more stain.

When is the Perfect Time to Stain a New Deck?

if you were to touch treated lumber from your local home store yourself, your hands will become damp as you load up the back of your car or truck. What’s going on? Pressure-treated timber is filled with chemical solutions. They don’t dry out immediately because they’re packed and sent directly after treatment, and they don’t see the light of day until you buy them.

It’s also essential to monitor the humidity levels inside your wood. If the wood is too wet, the stain cannot enter it correctly. Consider a cup of water half-full. When you fill the rest of that cup with a stain, it will fill the top half. On the contrary, leave that cup of water alone for a few months. Most of the water will evaporate. And you’ll be able to fit in more stains, which is your objective.

Apply the same rule to pressure-treated wood. That wood must dry out over time. Ironically, the longer you expose your new wood, the better prepared it is to be stained and thus protected. Allow at least three months for your deck to dry before staining it. Wait at least three months if possible. It depends on whether you wait longer in a sunny, warmer climate than in a cold, damp one like the Pacific Northwest.


How to Determine Whether the Wood Requires Staining?

The simplest method of determining whether or not your wood requires a stain is to sprinkle water on it. If the water is absorbed rapidly, the wood may be ready to be stained. However, if the water beads up and stands on the deck, it implies that your deck does not require staining at this time unless you’re just trying to improve the visual appeal.

When is My New Deck Dry Enough to Stain?

It’s also possible to harm your deck before it has a chance to cure. Pressure-treated timber has more initial moisture than cedar since the treatment process involves a lot of water. When you can test a little bit of stain on a piece of your decking and see if it beads at the top, your deck is dry enough to stain. If the dye penetrates your decking, you can stain doors for cedar or pressure-treated wood.

How long does oil-based stain last?

If the cans haven’t been opened, oil-based stains will last for one year. Paint cans that have been opened, however, water-based paints will endure for two to three years. If you open a water-based stain, it will keep for one year. If you leave it unopened, it will last two to three years. Oil varnishes are best kept in sealed containers (closed or unopened) for a year.

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