Deck Stain Instructions for “Wet on Wet” 5/5 (21)

This post was updated on January 19, 2022

How to Stain Your “Wet on Wet”

Welcome to Deckstainhelp.com, your source for the latest in deck stain developments, industry insights, and tips. See below “wet on wet” application directions to be used when you are applying a deck stain in 2022. We want to hear from you. Leave us a comment below about your projects that involve “wet on wet” application.


Deck Stain Application Instructions for 2 coats “Wet on Wet”

The term “wet on wet” refers to a two-coat application process specific to semi-transparent penetrating stains. In the wet on wet method, the first application of stain is applied to an area. Then before the first coat dries or cures, a second coat is applied over the top. This method ensures that the first coat, being still wet, has not sealed the boards from accepting more stain.

The wet-on-wet application should only be used on wood that is absorbent, or porous enough to handle more than one coat of stain. This is normally reserved for exterior wood surfaces that are older than 12 months and have been exposed to the weather. It is not recommended for smooth textured or newer wood that has not seasoned. The overall process of wet on wet staining allows the application to be evenly applied and minimizes over-application issues.

Note: Do not over-apply decking stains! Follow the manufacturer’s directions when it comes to the number of coats needed.

Essentially, a wet-on-wet stain application is equivalent to applying 1 ½ coats of stain because the second coat covers double the square footage as the first. Before beginning a wet on wet coat application, be sure the wood is properly cleaned and prepared.

On a deck, start with the railings and apply one light coat of stain. Be sure to protect any areas from unwanted drips. After the first coat is finished, apply a second light coat to only the top of the railings within 20-120 minutes of the first. Only one coat is required on the verticals like spindles. Repeat this method for any other vertical surfaces such as posts, benches, walls, and so on.

When the railings are finished and have had a two-coat wet on wet application, move to the floor or decking area. Coat the entire floor or with one coat of stain. Within 20-60 minutes of the first coat, reapply a second light coat. Even though the first coat has not dried completely, it is okay to walk on it to apply the second coat. Be careful though not to step on your second and final coat of stain. Wear old shoes that you do not mind getting ruined. Finally to finish, use the wet on wet process on any steps or deck stairs.

The wet-on-wet stain application method works best with semi-transparent stains. Both water and oil-based stains can be applied in this manner. Give your deck or other exterior wood surfaces maximum protection with a two-coat wet-on-wet application.

Have a Question about Applying a Stain Wet on Wet? Ask Below!


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Missy Baker
Missy Baker
1 year ago

.I’ve spent about 4 hours researching cleaners, brightness, and deck stains for a new pine deck and Defy seems to be the best. Could you send me 2 pictures of stained decks using the butternut stain and pine color. Please confirm if a 1 year old new deck can use one coat of stain only followed by the cleaner and brightened? Any favorite vendors for brush cleaners for cleaning and staining? Love your Q and A!! So informative!

JoSeph
JoSeph
1 year ago

May be a dumb question. When doing the second coat, how am I supposed to walk on the deck while the first coat is not dry? Wouldn’t that mess up the first coat?

ElleW
ElleW
2 years ago

What happens if you apply the 2nd coat of waterproofer after the 1st coat has dried on cedar deck using C2 Guard (supposed to be wet on wet application)?

SonyaMD
SonyaMD
2 years ago

Is this the method used for Defy’s solid stain too? or just semi-transparent stains?

Corey S
Corey S
2 years ago

I have a deck over a concrete patio from a walkout. Will the RAD program (cleaner / brightner / stain) discolor the vinyl ciding on my house? Will any of that also discolor the concrete? The concrete is sealed by Foundation Armor concrete sealer with a tint of color. I don’t need to use a stripper because I installed new railings / metal ballusters last year and sanded the deck down to new wood. It has weathered over the fall and winter and now has a hot sun beating down on it and will need to be cleaned / brightened and stained.

I understand I can put up a tarp to protect the ciding, but the ciding under the deck as well as the concrete is what I am concerned about. Surely others have run into this but I haven’t seen anyone ask about it.

What do you recommend?

Justin K
Justin K
2 years ago

We applied one coat of Cetol SRD RE to ~400 sq ft of smooth/clean deck flooring, but then 48 hours later applied a second coat because that’s when we had time to do it. We were unaware of the wet-on-wet application procedure. It was not specified by our retailer, the can’s spec/label or the technical data sheet.

Have we ruined our deck? Do we need to wait for this sealant layer to “dry” and then sand it off? Can you recommend a procedure for dealing with this immediately and maximizing longevity of the coating?

Scott Mueller
Scott Mueller
2 years ago

I installed a new pressure treated pine deck in June 2019. I am getting ready to use the restore a deck semi transparent stain. Should I use one coat or the 2 coat wet on wet application?

Tracee
Tracee
2 years ago

Should a wet on wet coat be done on a new cedar fence(up for one month) with Rymar extreme weather semi transparent stain in natural cedar honey or just one coat of stain applied?

Kevin Shea
Kevin Shea
2 years ago

My cedar deck is 20 years old and I started out with Thomson’s water seal, then went to Cabots Australian style. The third and fourth go around I used Defy and was not pleased with it at all. It flaked and peeled, and the wet on wet application was very difficult as it is a very large two-level deck. Yes I prepped it in the recommended manner with restore- a -deck products. My question is what stain should I use at this point. I have repaired all the bad decking with new cedar last week. Should I let the deck age a little or can I stain soon? I have attached pics of it and they have bleached and power washed and you can still see patches of the old color. Not a happy guy. What do you recommend at this point?
Thanks for your help

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KPH
KPH
3 years ago

Would like to apply to a deck 10 years old but that was sanded down to raw wood. Is the cleaner, brightener steps necessary or can the semi transparent stain be applied wet on wet.

Terry
Terry
3 years ago

You won’t damage first coat walking on it to apply second coat on deck floor?

Julia Murphy
Julia Murphy
3 years ago

I am power washing, sanding and staining my deck (unsure of age, guessing 10 yrs+), which appears to be pine. Many of the boards need to be replaced, so how should I go about stain application? One coat on new, two on existing boards? Or do I replace them, wait three months, and then do the entire thing wet on wet? We are in New England, so that would put staining at the end of October, which seems dicey. I wanted to use the Defy semi-transparent based on the reviews and mold resistance.

Don
Don
3 years ago

I live in NJ and have a cedar deck that is 2 1/2 years old. About 1 1/2 years ago I put on one coat of Sherwin Williams transparent stain, natural color. After 1 year the deck was very dirty and gray. I have cleaned and washed the deck thoroughly (scrubbed using Dawn and Oxi-Clean) and the wood looks great, and really does not repel any water at all. Now I would like to stain it using TWP 1500 semi-transparent in Cedartone. Question: will one coat work well or should I use the “wet on wet” application?

Robert Hein
Robert Hein
4 years ago

I have a new deck that was installed about 8 months ago. The wood is wolmanzed lumber. I want to know if I should go wet on wet or should i apply two sepzrate coats and, if so, what would the time frame between the 2 coats.two e of TWP 1515 semu transparent

Jeff
Jeff
4 years ago

Our deck never seems to fully dry. It’s a ‘cap’ over an existing concrete patio. Top might feel bone dry but underside is always a little damp and as such, the stain never dries or peels off quickly. Is there any way to accomplish this and have it stick?

James
James
5 years ago

I just stained my deck with oil based stain and it rained…is the deck ruined?

Claudia
Claudia
5 years ago

I am looking to use RYMAR Xtreme Weather Wood Sealer semi-transparent stain for our new Red Cedar fence. We built the 5 foot high panels our selves with T&G from our local hardware store (the store associates confirmed the wood has been in stock for at least 4 months-I assume this is a long enough “dry out” period based on the other suggestions I have read about allowing your wood to dry out). The sections of fence are ready to pop up once we set our posts. I would like to stain first, let dry and then assemble the fence. This particular stain is a wet on wet semi-transparent that says 24-48 hours to dry (depending on climate). I have two questions:
1. Can I apply two coats to this raw NEW cedar fence or only one (since it has not yet been exposed to elements)
2. If I can apply two coats, there doesn’t appear to be a published time frame as to how quickly to reapply. Should I use a standard rule of thumb or can you suggest the amount of time between coats?
Thank you!

Jody
Jody
5 years ago

I used a semi transparent stain by maxum on my new deck. 12 hours later it’s still wet. What went wrong.? Can it be fixed? Is this normal?
It’s a new deck, a year old never painted Or stained

Kate
Kate
6 years ago

I applied Maxum 7700 semi transparent oil stain to deck that I stripped, revived and sanded. I realized that it is a wet on wet application in which both coats had to be applied within 15 minutes of each other – but I realized it 24 hours later. I only put on one coat. Is it too late to apply the second coat?

Kate
Kate
6 years ago

Thanks for your reply! What should I do next year to prep it before adding the second coat?

Kurnia
Kurnia
8 years ago

I applied the semi transparent stain but it does not hide enough. Can I simply re-stain it with semi solid over it without stripping it?

rob
rob
8 years ago

Have a summer home in northeastern Washington that was stained with behr 6 years ago. west facing, winters are rough and snow stays on deck 3-5 months. behr didn't survive one winter. considering armstrong clark semi-transparent or semi-solid as the wood is now 14 yrs old and looking rough. spindles are still decent with old behr, might be hard to remove. should i leave it even though top railing board is peeled? local contractors recommend superdeck in our area. is AC better? and would i have to strip and power wash AC down the road or just reapply?

Rosalyn
Rosalyn
8 years ago

Will wet on wet also work well with a semi-solid like Armstrong Oxford Brown?

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