Should you Pre-stain New Wood Before Install? 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 family get togethers, they can 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 pours 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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