How Long Does it Take for a Deck Stain to Dry?  5/5 (37)

This post was updated on April 22, 2024

Sticky Deck Stain

Sticky Deck Stain

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.

How long does it take for deck stain to cure?

Deck stain curing refers to the stain penetrating into the wood fully. Oil-based deck stains cure in about 1 to 7 days. Water-based deck stains cure in about 12 to 14 hours. You should not place furniture or allow heavy traffic on the deck until the stain has fully cured.

Other Deck Stain Curing Factors

There are many things that can speed up so slow down the drying and curing of your deck stain. Temperature and humidity will play a key role.

The lower the temperature, the longer it will take to cure and dry. Ideally, the temperature should be between 60 and 90 degrees. Temperatures lower than 50 degrees can nearly double the drying time for deck stain. Temperatures higher than 90 degrees will dry the stain too fast before it can penetrate into the wood to protect it.

The higher the humidity, the longer it will take to cure and dry. The solid content of your stain can also play a key role in how long the stain will take to dry and cure.

Any questions on the curing and drying of a particular deck stain that you are using? Please ask in the comments below.

Deck Stain Drying Time by Deck Stain Type

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:

  1. Stain brand and type being used.
  2. Weather temperature.
  3. Full sun or shade.
  4. Wood type and age.
  5. Application methods and coats being applied.

Please Rate This. You may also post comments or ask questions below.

author avatar
Scott Paul ~ Restoring Wood & Decks Since 1993 Owner
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.

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GEORGE
GEORGE
10 months ago

HI i stained my deck with 2 coat of TWP 101 IT IS NOW 72 HOURS AND THE DECK IS STILL STICKY……..IT IS A DECK UNDER A COVERED PORCH SO IT DOES NOT GET MUCH SUN…….it also gas been overcast and humid with rainstorms in the area …but no rain hit the deck.

i am hoping it because of the humid weather that the deck is still sticky…..your thoughts please.

George
George
10 months ago

The deck also has some shiney spots. Will these go away as the deck cures?

Did I put the stain on too heavy? I did 2 wet on wet costs

Thanks again. George

Debbie Chiesa
Debbie Chiesa
11 months ago

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??

Terrence S
Terrence S
1 year ago

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

Terrence S
Terrence S
1 year ago

Ok thanks but I never mentioned SOLID. Question refers to application process and behavior of semi solid versus semi transparent stains

Roosevelt Jones
Roosevelt Jones
2 years ago

HOW DRY DOES THE DECK HAVE TO BE BEFORE APPLYING STIN/PAINT?

David
David
3 years ago

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?

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David
David
3 years ago

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.

Dustin
Dustin
3 years ago

How long is too long to wait between coats on my deck if something came up?

Leah
Leah
3 years ago

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

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