This post was updated on January 18, 2023
Deck Stain Drying Time?
In general, most deck stains will dry between 1-12 hours but not all deck stain types and brands are manufactured the same and will lead to different drying times. The weather, age/type of the wood, coats applied, and application method also play a major role as to how fast a deck stain will dry. We will breakdown the different scenarios and offer tips on applying so your stain dries as fast a possible so you can walk on your new stain, before the rainstorm comes in, or the cold of night ruins your coating before it has a chance to dry fully.
Water-Based Deck Stain Drying Time
A water-based deck stain will dry much faster than an oil-based deck stain. If the temperature is above 60 degrees, most water-based stains will dry within 1-4 hours. Rain should not affect the stain as long as it is fully dry. Wait 24 hours for full cure before heavy furniture is added to the deck.
Deck Stain Drying Tip #1: Prep of the deck plays a key role in the drying of the new stain. Not prepping correctly can lead to extremely slow-drying times or not drying at all. For prepping tips, see here: Best Deck Prep
Oil-Based Deck Stain Drying Time
Oil-based deck stains while easier to apply can take longer to dry. With the temperature above 60 degrees, an oil-based deck stain typically dries in 4-24 hours. Most can take rain within 12 hours though as water will not “wash” out the oil stain from the wood. Wait 24-72 hours for full cure before walking on the deck and replacing furniture. Make sure the deck is not sticky and dry to the touch before doing so.
Deck Stain Drying Tip #2: Only apply as much stain as directed. Do not overapply as the stain may not properly cure or dry.
Weather-Related Deck Stain Drying Tips
Most deck stain brands say to apply a deck stain during temps of 50-90 degrees. Temperature can vary your dry time and curing of the stain drastically and could add or shorten the time by many hours. Sunlight will play a role as well as stains will always dry faster if in the sun compared to in the shade.
Deck Stain Drying Tip #3: Full sun on a hot day is not always a good day to apply a deck stain. Deck stains can flash dry if the wood temperature is too hot leading to uneven application and blotchiness to the appearance.
Wood Age and Type of Wood Drying Time
Newer wood is not very absorbent and will lead to longer drying times compared to older and substantially more porous wood. Different wood types will also change the drying time. For example, dense exotic hardwoods such as IPE will take longer to dry then an older Pressure Treated Pine Deck.
Deck Stain Drying Tip #4: See this article for important tips on new wood: Staining A New Deck
Coats Applied & Application Method for Stain Drying Time
One coat versus two coats, applying with a deck stain pad that “pushes” the stain into the wood compared to a heavy saturation of stain with a sprayer all will lead to drying time differences for your deck stain. In general, the thicker the coating is applied, the longer it will take to dry and cure.
How Long For Deck Stain to Dry?
Have a question on Long it Takes Deck Stains to Dry? Ask Below!
Any questions on how long it will take for your deck stain to dry? Please ask below with answers to these questions:
- Stain brand and type being used.
- Weather temperature.
- Full sun or shade.
- Wood type and age.
- Application methods and coats being applied.
Deck Stain Help & Questions
Stain Reviews & Comparisons
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.
Is it not a good time to stain a deck while small green spinners are falling from a tree? I hate to put all my new furniture, plants and fountain on my deck now after powerwashing only to have to remove everything again to stain it when the darn spinners stop falling! I’d rather take a change to try and keep the deck clear of the spinners by putting a tarp above the deck to prevent the spinners – do you think this would work??
No, as you need to stain fully exposed for curing and drying.
I’ve used AC semi transparent with great success on previous deck but new house now with existing deck that I’ve replaced bad boards and stripped last summer. I like AC new expresso color in semi solid as I feel it will do a better job of blending new and old wood. Can I spray and back brush like I did with semi transparent and are there any issues or disadvantages with the semi solid. Thanks
New wood has to season for 12 months when using the AC semi-solid stain colors. Otherwise, no issues.
Ok thanks but I never mentioned SOLID. Question refers to application process and behavior of semi solid versus semi transparent stains
Missed the “semi” in front of the solid in our response.
HOW DRY DOES THE DECK HAVE TO BE BEFORE APPLYING STIN/PAINT?
Depends on the stain brand you are using and what they suggest?
I stained my deck with a semi solid arborcoat by Benjamin moore. I built the deck last year and cleaned it 2 weeks ago. Rain kept from staining. I was able to finally get started. I was conscience of trying to keep an even coat across the deck. I found some areas shadowed and some spots has a sheen to it. I’m disgusted. Do I just wait to see how it turns out over a couple of days? It was roughly 65 degrees and windy with full sun when applied. Today will be about 80. Should I go over with a 2nd light coat or wait for it to cure longer?
Let it cure out for a week or so before attempting to recoat.
Thank you for your help. I was even thinking this morning of letting it go this year and let it all fade. But i will see what it looks like next week and maybe te apply a second coat.
How long is too long to wait between coats on my deck if something came up?
Depends on the brand. Some can be done after the first coat dries, some cannot.
We applied semi transparent deck stain in Rustic Brown on new kiln – dryed cedar decking . Since it is oil based , I was wondering how long it will take for the strong smell to go away ? . Also , does the color stay true to when it is first applied – we made the mistake of not purchaseing samples befor choosing the color. So we just purchased and applied the stain . the color is very RED, which we did not expect – I assume there is nothing that we can do about that now . But just wondering if the color changes at all in time – thank you so much Leah Dorane – Fonal
Did you weather and prep the wood as required? 1-2 months for kiln dried and has to be clean and brighten before staining with one coat of the stain. The smell will go away once it fully cures. The color will not change that much or be the same after it cures.