How Long Does it Take for a Deck Stain to Dry? 5/5 (33)

This post was updated on January 18, 2023

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.

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.

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Roosevelt Jones
Roosevelt Jones
1 year ago


1 year 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?

1 year 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.

2 years ago

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

2 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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