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How Long to Wait Before Staining a New Wood Deck?

By: Danny Lipford

I want to stain my new treated lumber deck, but I’m told I have to wait several weeks. Is that true? -Gerald

Pressure treated wood decking is often delivered still wet with preservative. It needs time to dry out before finishing, so the stain will absorb into the wood.

How long you need to wait before staining will vary depending on:

  • The moisture content in the wood.
  • Whether the deck is in the sun or shade.
  • The climate and weather conditions in your area.

Depending on the wood and drying conditions, you should usually wait 4 to 8 weeks after installation before staining a deck.

Danny

Further Information

Print   Video Transcript

Gerald Asks: I want to stain my new treated lumber deck, but I’m told I have to wait several weeks. Is that true?

Danny Lipford: Whether you have an old deck or a brand new one, it’s important to regularly apply a stain or sealer, so that you can keep your deck looking as good as possible and lasting as long as it should. But with the new deck, the new wood needs a little time to allow the chemicals or the moisture in the wood to evaporate a little bit, so that it will receive the stain or sealer in the best way possible.

Now, a lot of factors play into that, whether or not the material was stored outside at the lumber yard, how long ago it was that they actually treated the wood, and whether your deck is out in the sun or in the shade. So, as a general rule, I would say, wait at least four weeks after your deck is built, or eight weeks if you’re in a real shady situation. That way, when you apply the stain or sealer, it’ll stay there.


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