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Staining a New KDAT Deck

When to Stain a New KDAT Deck? Right away or wait?

Although pressure-treated lumber is protected against fungi and insects, regular maintenance is required to achieve optimal weather protection. Staining and occasionally refinishing the wood will ensure your wood project will be enjoyed for years to come.

However, when pressure treated, or other types of wood are new there is a waiting period of 3-6 months when using most stain brands. The wood has to season before you can stain or seal it. New wood has a high moisture content. As the wood dries out it shrinks and becomes more porous. Some weather damage can occur during this seasoning period but staining new wood too soon can lead to stain performance issues as trapped moisture will reek havoc.

A way around this issue is to use KDAT (Kiln-Dried After Treatment) lumber. Moisture is removed from the lumber prior to arriving at the lumberyard. The advantage of KDAT lumber is that you can stain or seal it right away. Because all the moisture has been previously removed, the wood will not shrink or need time to season. Basically, it is like seasoned wood that has not had to season naturally and been susceptible to the elements. You will need to prep the surface though with a deck cleaner and wood brightener before staining. This will help remove any mill glaze. We also suggest only applying 1 coat of stain to new KDAT wood.

New KDAT decking can even be pre-stained prior to installing if you prefer (we suggest installing first). If it is not pre-stained it should be stained as soon as possible to eliminate risk of water and UV damage. KDAT lumber will still be smooth and less porous than aged wood so using the proper type of penetrating deck stain is important.

Best Tips and Steps for Staining New KDAT Decking

  1. Install wood first.
  2. Prep wood with deck cleaner and wood brightener to remove mill glaze and or open grain for the stain.
  3. Choose a stain such as Armstrong Clark. This allows maximum penetration into the wood grain.
  4. Apply only 1 coat of the stain.
  5. Apply a light maintenance coat 9-18 months down the road.

Stain new KDAT decking within a week or two after install for the best results. No need to let the wood weather. Staining a new KDAT deck properly will allow you to enjoy your new deck for many years.

Questions? Ask Below

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27 responses to “Staining a New KDAT Deck”

  1. susan says:

    My KDAT deck was installed about a year ago. Leaves and other debris have fallen and the deck is now dirty. What is the best way to clean? Can it be pressure washed with whatever soap is used to pressure wash a driveway and clean the outside of a house or does it need a special product, and if so what and how should it be applied? Please reply ASAP. Thank you.
    (P.S. I love my new deck

    • You cannot just use any soap but a deck cleaner. Apply that first with a pump sprayer then lightly pressure wash off. Use a wood brightener when done. You will remove a layer of gray wood cells when you do this and since it is a year old it may be heavily grayed.

  2. Mary Gail says:

    I am ready to install a new KDAT deck in KY. Can the surface be sanded to eliminate mill glaze before staining or should it be washed? If washing is best, what product do i use? Ihave purchased an oil based semi solid stain from Cabot.
    Thank you for any advice.

  3. EMH says:

    Is there a difference between KDAT (that is stamped such) and the T&G fir wood we bought that we were told is kiln dried?
    I am trying to figure out if it needs to weather for some months before staining or if I can do it now. We're close to the end of our warm weather in SE Michigan. From what I see the Defy Extreme or TWP is appropriate for fir but if you have other suggestions, it's appreciated. The fir T&G was installed on our bungalow's north facing front porch earlier this week and we want to keep it beautiful. Thanks in advance!

  4. Leslie R says:

    Hi, I sure do appreciate your website! We just had a KDAT pine deck installed. We're planning to use the Restore-A-Deck cleaner and brightener this weekend, and stain with Armstrong-Clark semi-solid stain next weekend. My question: is it safe to store any remaining stain in a garage? Garage temp ranges between from a low of 20 degrees to 85 degrees.

    • Make sure you only apply one coat to the deck. If you have a chance, please post a completed picture in our forum area. Do not store in an area where it can drop below freezing. Make sure the lid is closed 100% so it does not evaporate and go bad.

  5. Jack Reston says:

    What are the drawbacks to pre staining KDAT deck boards before installing?

  6. JPL says:

    My Yellawood KDAT is ~ 2 years old. The Cabot stain I used failed (lots of mildew/mold). I stripped the stain now will clean and brighten. Should I only use one coat or go for wet on wet application. What is your stain reccomedation? Also from a cleaning standpoint, Cabot product has bleach in it. Cabot technical support recommends their product of course. Why shouldn't one use bleach based cleaner? Many wood organizations still reccomend a mild bleach and powdered detergent solution. Live in the Southeast.

  7. Tiger61 says:

    I installed KDAT from Yellawood on a large deck 7 years ago.
    I applied Sikins Cetol stain and the boards are now splintering and cracking badly.
    Is there a solution other than replacing the boards? I have heard about "Deck Over" and "Smart Seal", but am leary of those products at this point.

  8. james conrad says:

    Okey Dokey, stumbled into this site and it's completely blown up my staining plans! My deck is existing but the decking was rotted so i removed all the 2X6 decking. The 2 x 12 joists below were in good shape so i power washed them and applied rust-oleum woodlife classic clear to the joists.
    I am now installing Cox DuraPine dry 5/4 X 6 decking and was going to apply the woodlife classic to the 5/4 decking, followed by an oil based primer and latex/acrylic topcoat, am i messing up?

    • It may peel. Do you want a solid color or would you prefer a semi-trans penetrating stain?

      • james conrad says:

        Well, i didn't really think about solid VS semi-trans or color at all to be honest as i thought i had time to decide that later with the woodlife classic & oil primer to protect the kdat decking after install.
        Now that i am not going that finish route, it really doesn't matter to me whether it's trans or solid, i just want a finish that protects the kdat well and that is easy to maintain down the road, a quick power wash followed by a coat of the same product in a few years.

        • You cannot prime and then apply a penetrating stain. Best to use a penetrating stain that is easy to clean and reapply. Try TWP or Armstrong Clark stains.

          • james conrad says:

            Yeah, I went with AC rustic brown & RAD cleaner/brightener, i hope it works out! Tell you what, you ask 5 different guys on this subject and, you are gonna get 5 different answers! The reason i went with AC instead of TWP is, TWP Q/A thingy on their website INSISTED on waiting a month prior to prep/stain even for kdat & AC says on kdat, it's fine to prep/stain right after install.

            Thanks for info! conrad

  9. Russ Bateson says:

    1 month old deck made of timbertec composite( deck only). Top rails are kdat. Balusters are kdat. Underside kdat except for main posts which are regular pressure treated. Want white for railings and gray below deck. Been told to hand paint in a light gloss…spray it all…one person said not to use stain. According to my research, one coat of white stain for kdat….any decisions or recommendations?

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*This is first and foremost a help site from our experience as wood restoration contractors. All stain and prepping manufacturer directions were followed with our reviews and ratings. We offer no guarantee of similar results. Take inconsideration that wood and deck stain results may differ due to prepping procedures, different wood types, exposure to UV radiation, natural weathering, etc.