when to stain a new deckThere are many questions as to when a newly installed deck should be stained. Some stain manufacturers suggest you should wait 3-12 months to let the wood dry while others say to stain the deck right away. The answer can be both just as long as you prep the new wood properly for an application of the stain.

We are going to explain both scenarios and the proper steps to take.

Let the New Deck Dry and Weather for 3-12 Months:

  1. Most common suggestion by the manufacturer. New wood is suggested to dry since it has a high moisture content. This reduces the stains ability to penetrate.
  2. The wood will dry and turn gray from the exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays.
  3. After 3-12 months you would need to apply a wood cleaner to remove the gray wood cells. This can be done with scrubbing and or light pressure washing. After cleaning the deck you will need to neutralize the wood deck cleaner with a wood brightener.
  4. Let dry for 24-48 hours then apply your deck stain of choice.

Stain New Deck Right Away.

  1. Not the most common approach but can be done if you prep properly.
  2. Apply a wood deck cleaner and thoroughly scrub and or pressure wash lightly. Neutralize with a wood brightener. These two steps will remove the mill glaze and "open" the wood pores.
  3. Apply a deck stain that is "thin" in viscosity. A heavily bodied wood stain will have a hard time penetrating into the new wood. Using a stain similar to The Sealer Store TimberOil will penetrate into the wood.

Do not over apply a wood deck stain/sealer to a new deck. The excessive stain will not soak into the wood causing the finish to dry on top of the wood. Many manufacturers suggest only one coat on newly installed wood.

For deck staining instructions please read: How To Stain a Deck

If you have any about staining a brand new deck please ask below. All questions are typically answered within a day.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    J Meredith · 08/15/2019
    I just redid a portion of my deck with non-pressure treated lumber. Three months would put us into November. Should I wait until next year to stain it or should I do it right away?? I live in Toronto, Canada so we get a lot of rain in the fall and snow in the winter.
    Thanks.
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    KeKeCar · 08/10/2019
    Just got some new boards replaced on my deck. Not sure how old the existing deck is because I bought the house 4 years ago with the deck already there. The person doing the work wants to stain right away but when I went to buy the stain, the folks in the store said to wait until next summer so the new wood could weather. I am on Western NY with harsh Winters and iffy summers. I'm afraid that the old (non replaced and existing) boards will be worse off if I don't stain but at the same time don't want the new boards to be damaged (lack of a better term) by staining right away. Ratio of boards 40% new (all on the flat surface and the stairs) to 60% old (flat surface and railings). Please help. Pros and cons of staining now or waiting. Thanks.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/11/2019
      You will need to wait for new wood to weather. Prep all and stain all in the Spring.
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    Diane · 08/08/2019
    We just had our deck redone by replacing the older rotten boards. We are now waiting the 3+ months for the wood to weather before staining. Will having furniture and outdoor rugs on the deck during this time period hinder the weathering process? I’m particularly concerned about the rugs. Thank you
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    Tim · 08/01/2019
    Hello, I just replaced the deck boards on our deck, the railing is 20 years old. It is con heart redwood S4S. How long should I let the deck boards weather? Average daytime temps are 90 with low humidity (CA). We want a semi-transparent stain, any product suggestions?
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    Gary · 08/01/2019
    Hello, can you stain a small cedar deck right away if you sand it all down with an 80 Grit sandpaper?
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    Jeff · 07/27/2019
    If anyone is going to look at a high end swing set build a tree house instead!
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    Jeff · 07/27/2019
    We just built a tree house out of all cedar and some of the cedar deck boards are starting to have a black spec in them.. how can we get rid of this?
    We are in Buffalo and I was going to wait until the fall to stain it. My process was
    Use a wood cleaner to get everything off. Wait 2 days and put on 1 coat of a clear stain it when the daytime temp is above 70 and no rain. Am I going about it correctly?

    Should I stain the inside of the tree house as well
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    JonasB · 07/17/2019
    I have been told we should stain all 4 sides of the cedar decking boards for our new deck before installation. Is there any reason to stain the bottom of the boards?
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      The Sealer Store · 07/18/2019
      You cannot pre-stain new wood not should you stain all sides. That can cause internal dry rot.
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    Karen Loewen · 07/16/2019
    I notice you don’t recommend sanding in your how to stain a deck instructions. Is sanding not necessary to open wood pores in treated pine decking?
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    Michelle · 07/13/2019
    We stained our pressure treated newly built deck roughly 1 year after completion.
    We used a Behr stain however we now how white sap spots seeping through. Some larger than others. What do we do to get rid of the spots?
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      The Sealer Store · 07/13/2019
      Sorry, but there is not a way to just remove the sap or prevent it from coming back.
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    LaDonna · 07/11/2019
    I just had a new front porch built, mostly of cedar. The flooring is tongue & groove, kiln-dried fir. A little seepage was found in a knot-hole when being built, but it has now stopped. It is a covered porch, except for the stairs and handrails. When is the best time to stain, and do I need to then put a sealant/varnish over the stain so foot-traffic does not create “paths” to the front door?
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    Dan · 06/29/2019
    I am in the process of changing the boards on my old deck/ Switching out the rotting cedar with PT. I was hoping to eventually just power wash them once a year and then clear coat them but it doesn't look like there are any good clear wood preservatives. Any suggestions?
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    Elizabeth C. · 06/27/2019
    I have a new pressure treated deck that was completed just before the snow fell last fall. I didn't get around to staining it this spring, so now my choices are stain now (full sun, temps in the 80s+) or wait till the fall when temps are more moderate. We're in New Hampshire, USA. If I wait till Fall, should I be careful with (or entirely avoid) putting furniture, plants, rugs etc on the deck this summer to avoid dirt, inconsistent weathering and damage? Or should most of that be dealt with when I clean and prep it in the fall? I want to use my deck this summer but would hate to damage the lovely new wood...
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    Kevin Eckhart · 06/23/2019
    We just about complete in the installation of a "yellawood" pressure treated pine deck. Some of the verticles on the railing surrounding the deck are cedar, but the majority is the pressure teated pine. We are in middle Tennessee and it's hot here currently. The deck is in the sun. We have been told by one company to wait 6-7 months (until next Spring) before staining/sealing. Another company is saying that is MUST be sealed in the next 4-6 weeks to avoid excess shrinkage in the lumbar. The deck is 12x34ft.
    What do you recommend as a seal time? It's hot here through the summer 80-90, but very humid.
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      Pride Construction · 06/25/2019
      I am a carpenter in Middle Tennessee and have build and stain quiet a few decks in my days, different wood brands, different lumber yards, etc. and if at all possible I always go with Yellawood for treated lumber! I have always been told, and always used this same method. This time of year, especially July and August when it hits around and over 100 degrees, it dries out quick! I've been told when u splash it with water and it doesn't puddle in balls like when new, compare to rainX and a windshield, and the water soaks into the wood, then it is ready to be stained. Never had a problem follow that rule in Cookeville or surrounding areas!
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      The Sealer Store · 06/23/2019
      About 3 months. More of an issue with the stain brand you choose then the wood type.
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    Mike Fdez · 06/18/2019
    Would the same principles apply to a wooden fence made out of pressure treated pine? Lumber yard told me to wait 4-6 weeks. Thank you.
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    Daniel Harry · 06/16/2019
    I built a spruce deck from 1x6’s. Almost 3 months have passed & with the amount of rain we’ve received here I’m already seeing signs of deterioration from small imperfections in the wood here & there. I feel like it needs staining ASAP, at least a clear coat to protect it from the rain. It’s untreated spruce. Please,,,,,suggestions??
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      The Sealer Store · 06/16/2019
      Go ahead and follow the directions in this article for prep and stain to use.
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    Simone Fitz · 06/04/2019
    I added to an old deck and don't know how to get it to look the same
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      The Sealer Store · 06/04/2019
      It is not possible for new wood to match older wood the first time staining. The new wood is less absorbent and will be lighter in color.
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    John McIntosh · 05/05/2019
    Sorry, I have at a number of answers and cannot find my answer. New deck, #1 prime. Deck is large, close to the beach in southeastern NC. and the deck gets a lot of sun as well as a LOT of heat. SHould I wait 3 months even though the sun is brutal? Also can I do a clear seal or will that just cause quick deterioration of the wood due to conditions.
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    G Dim · 05/05/2019
    I know there is no such thing as a clear solid. Let me rephrase my question I would like to keep the natural wood look but I'm told to use a solid stain. Is there a solid wood stain that you could suggest for me I haven't been able to find anything
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    G. Dim · 05/04/2019
    Hi I just had my deck resurface.,I would like to keep the natural wood color. Could you please explain why I'm told to stain with a solid and not clear stain by my contractor. I can't seem to find a natural wood stain in a solid. Should I wait the 3 months before staining.
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      The Sealer Store · 05/05/2019
      There is no such thing as a clear solid stain. Yes, you have to wait for the 3 months and prep.