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.

Ask a Question or Post a Picture...
You are a guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Andy · 04/03/2020
    I have a screened porch. The screen is covering the outside part of my surrounding edge rail and posts. Do I have to remove the screen to adequately stain the deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joann · 03/25/2020
    I had a pressure treated deck built in oct of 2019. It has rained 5 out of 7 days since. Can i stain it now and because of all the rain does it still need to be prepped.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 03/25/2020
      Yes, you have to prep new wood. The moisture content should be less than 15%. You might want to wait for it to dry out better.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kelly · 03/20/2020
    I just replaced my decking with cedar. I don’t want it to gray. How long do I need to wait before I can seal it?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Joey Ramirez · 03/07/2020
    I just installed a treated deck today up against an existing deck that was never stained or sealed. We are selling soon and wanted to stain it asap to make it look glorious. Can I stain it a dark grey color to make them both match asap?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kim Ehrlich · 02/19/2020
    Also, how long should I wait before staining?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 02/19/2020
      Hello, the above article states how long to wait and then how to prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Kim ehrlich · 02/19/2020
    Should I sand a new pressure treated wood deck before staining? What is the best stain to use, I live in south Florida?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ronalee Crocker · 02/02/2020
    We live in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, about a half mile from the ocean. We have a two year old mahogany deck that is gray in appearance. Can we put a semi-transparent stain on it to make the gray lighter and protect the wood? We would like a very light gray color. It has some mold spots so we will do a deck brightener and cleaner. Will it rot with no protection?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 02/02/2020
      No, you cannot lighten up the current graying. You would have to prep to remove the graying with a deck cleaner and then stain the wood with a hardwood stain. There are not gray hardwood stain colors.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Mike · 12/27/2019
    I have an older (5 years+) deck needed restaining so I prepped in October but never got around to actually coating with the new stain. Will I need to fully prep (power wash and cleaner) again in the Spring or could I just apply the coat of stain then?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Zachary C · 12/09/2019
    we had a new deck built in april 2019. I am currently getting bids to stain it. (very large covered porch with a grilling deck) I have a few questions: What type of stain would you suggest? Name brand? Semi-transparent? Should we stain the underside of the porch which is the ceiling of our patio? Main question, does the entire porch/deck need to be pressure washed and treated/washed before applying the stain?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 12/09/2019
      Yes, you must clean and brighten while pressure washing for prep. As for the stain try TWP 100 Series or Armstrong Clark. No need to stain undersides unless you want for appearance.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Amy S. · 11/08/2019
    Here are some pictures. Thank you!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Amy S. · 11/08/2019
    Hello, thank you so much for this site! It is so helpful! I do have some questions... I had a new deck of pressure treated lumber put in over labor day weekend. We spent a lot for it and so I really want to protect it and make sure it lasts. I wanted to stain it by the end of October to let it dry out but I was unable to do so due to unexpected travel. Now it is cold and rainy (I live in Kentucky) and am I nervous to let the unstained wood go through out our winter season until Spring. We are supposed to have a dry day on Sunday that will get up to 60 degrees (real feel 58). However the low is 41 (real feel 39). The next day on Monday is 52 (real feel 48) and rain. That night we hit a cold snap with 20 (16 real feel) and snow. Would Sunday be an ok to stain? I talked to someone that said if I did it before Spring the stain would just bubble up eventually and not adequately penetrate. He also said that just because the weather is over 40 degrees that doesn't mean the wood will also be 40 degrees. How long does the wood need to be at or above 40 to stain? Last question, we have never stained a deck before- can we ruin it? I am wondering if we need to hire someone to do it for this first application and then re-stain for future. It is just a little pricey for us at the moment. Thank you in advance!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 11/09/2019
      Just wait until Spring to prep and stain. The wood will be fine.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    gina · 11/06/2019
    Installed a new deck in July 2018 with weathershield wood. It's only 12 ft x about 22 and I can't get it stained right now. Is it ok to wait till Spring? Was told I should use oil base stain and sealer. Live in NY and instructions say it's ok to apply to about 55 degrees. If I have to do it before Winter guess I have no choice.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Justin · 11/02/2019
    I put new cedar decking down this summer. Not PT. Was looking to seal the deck around now but I did not want to deal with all the leaves falling. Could this wait till spring?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Sean · 10/23/2019
    I have a pressure treated cedar deck was built in Sept of 2018 when my house was built. I was trying to wait a year before I stained it, but in doing so, I've ran into uncooperative weather. It's going to be freezing pretty much all of next week. I have some boards on the upper rails that are already turning gray because of the UVs. My thought is to wait until the spring so I have better weather, but I'm worried about the deck making it through 2 winter. What is your professional opinion on this.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 10/23/2019
      The wood will be fine but you will have a decent amount of prep to do to remove the oxidation in the Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Marie · 10/20/2019
    Our deck was installed a year ago, and lattice was added a couple of months ago. Can we wait until spring to stain?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Brad W · 10/17/2019
    Our deck was finished with pressure treated wood in mid July here in mid Michigan. It looks like it is weathering well, but do want to rush to staining just for sake of doing it. Any problem with waiting until spring just to be certain it has correctly weathered? We get a significant amount of snow here in the winter.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    dahora · 10/15/2019
    I have a new Pressure treated pine deck I need to stain and seal before the winter. Right now temps are still good to get the job done but I am concerned with the boards being still moist. Moisture Meter is registering around 20% average in some boards and Low 10 or below in other. your instructions say I should apply a low viscosity deck stain and sealer. Can someone pls recommend some brands that would be a good choice? I am looking to do a cedar like semi transparent.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 10/15/2019
      Did you weather this new deck for 3-4 months? If not, you will have to wait until Spring. Clean and brighten the wood for the prep.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jay · 10/14/2019
    My husband just finished building a deck with pressure treated wood at the beginning of August. We weren’t sure if we needed to seal it before this Winter since we live in a snowy and icey area? If we do, can we then stain it in the Spring or will the stain not absorb? Our temperatures right now are about 55-65F during the day and can drop to 30-40F at night. We don’t want to ruin the deck if left unsealed this winter. Thank you for your advice!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rob · 10/12/2019
    I had my deck completed in late August and I did some light sanding to remove some small splinting boards, some board had some bad splinters. First, was it ok to sand in the first place and second, should I replace the bad boards? I'm hoping the major cracking will not get worse after the harsh winter. I plan to stain it in the spring.
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 10/13/2019
      You will be fine with the sanding. Clean and brighten for prep in the Spring. Boards are going to have some cracks no matter what, not a big deal.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jared L Grimshaw · 10/04/2019
    I just read a post about testing it with a moisture mete. I have one as need just tested it. Its reading between 9-13%. I's this dry enough to stain/ seal?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 10/05/2019
      You have to wait until next year. It is not about moisture content but the porosity and new wood needs to season. One Winter will not damage the wood.