This post was updated on May 2, 2022
Pre-Stain New Wood Decks Before Install?
DeckStainHelp.com has become the Internet’s go-to site for professional wood deck staining tips. As before, we recommend you do not stain new wood prior to installation. Instead, wait 3+ months after installation before staining new wood surfaces. This will allow the wood to weather, creating an ideal porous surface that will hold the stain better. We encourage discussion on our site, so feel free to leave a comment.
Should you Pre-stain New Wood Before Install? The simple answer is No.
Wood decks are a great way to add extra outdoor living space to any home. Not only do they provide a place for the family get-togethers, but they can also add value to your home. Building a new wood deck or replacing some boards on an existing deck obviously requires using new wood. As you probably know the new wood will need to be treated with a wood stain to protect it from the elements. One might tend to think that pre-staining the new wood prior to the install will save some time. Although it would seem that way it is really not a good idea to do so.
New wood, sometimes called green wood holds a lot of moisture. If you have ever carried new wood, you know how much heavier it is than older dried wood. Sometimes while screwing down new deck boards you can see water being squeezed out around the screw. So there is no doubt new wood has a much higher moisture content than older wood.
Pre-staining new wood before an install would lead to a failed stain within no time. Wood stain, depending on what type it is, either penetrates into the wood pores or creates a film on top of the wood to lock out moisture and UV rays that can cause wood rot and decay. Pre-staining new wood would also, in turn, lock in moisture that is already present in the wood. This moisture will jeopardize the performance of the stain and lead to premature failure.
Trapped moisture can cause a stain to peel and flake from the surface. This moisture can also cause mold and mildew problems underneath the stain where it would be very difficult to deal with. This would undoubtedly lead to wood rot and jeopardize the integrity of the structure. Although pre-staining new wood prior to an install seems logical and like a timesaver, it will only lead to major problems down the road and is highly unadvisable.
To properly stain new wood, allow the wood to season for several months. Once the wood reaches a moisture level of 15% or less, it can be stained for weather protection. The only time new wood can be stained immediately is when using KDAT (Kiln-Dried After Treatment) lumber.
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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.