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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    paul · 09/14/2020
    Thanks for your help
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    Paul · 09/13/2020
    Just some additional info on that 3 month old pressure treated deck in Southern New Jersey. The pressure treated wood was #1. Not sure if that makes a difference on drying time. Thanks
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    Paul · 09/13/2020
    Had a pressure treated deck completed almost three months ago. I’m in Southern New Jersey. The weather has been miserably hot for the entire summer. Stretches of 90 degrees plus for weeks on end. Think it’s ok to stain now?
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    Beck · 09/12/2020
    I have an old deck that needs some work (clean, stain) . I live in Seattle so it’s almost rain season, can I prep now (remove old stain, sand, etc) and apply stain in the Spring?
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      The Sealer Store · 09/12/2020
      You would have to prep again in the Spring if you removed the old coating now. Clean and brighten in Spring.
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    NG · 08/28/2020
    Will the wood cleaner remove sap/resin as well?
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    JH · 08/28/2020
    I have a new cedar deck that has weathered for 3-4 months. It has greyed and has some black staining. Can I just powerwash and scrub this off with a stiff brush or do I need to use a deck cleaner? Trying to stay away from chemicals.
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    Matt · 08/20/2020
    Second question. I have IPA deck tiles arriving today. I was going to stain those... They say hit it with 60grit first. Should I let these tiles weather first?
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    Matt · 08/20/2020
    I installed a new redwood deck 1 month ago. I just cleaned and brightened it and was going to give it a light coat of twp 1500.

    Do I need to wait for weathering? Could I give it a light coat now? Or is that a bad idea?
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      The Sealer Store · 08/20/2020
      TWP wants 4+ months of watching and then prep. You cannot stain it now.
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        Matt · 08/20/2020
        If you stain too soon (I did for a new railing for sure)... What happens?


        It looks good now. Does it just not last?
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          The Sealer Store · 08/20/2020
          It will fail prematurely and also may not stain evenly and dry blotchy.
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    Penney · 08/19/2020
    This is a great resource! We have a deck that faces west. It gets really strong sun, especially in the afternoon. In past years we tried several different types of stains and sealers. All of them have peeled off after 3-6 months. We followed the instructions when applying them. Two years ago we ended up redoing the floor boards and railings with new pressure treated pine. After some other repairs in the area we now have replace some of the boards, if not all of them.

    I have a couple of questions. First, what does staining or painting your deck do? Does it actually protect the wood, or is it only for decorative purposes? Second, what product do you recommend we use if we do paint or stain it? I would do it if it will actually protect the wood. If it doesn't offer any protection and will likely peel off again then I would rather skip it. Third, how should we deal with it if we only replace some of the boards and have a mix of new and old wood?

    thank you for any insight!
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    Amy · 08/19/2020
    Hello. I am about to have a new deck installed. I understand from these posts that I do not to think about staining it immediately. However what about the sawn off ends of the new planks, that the carpenter is going to lay (almost) flush up to my porch? Do I (does he) need to treat those exposed ends before he lays them up to the house, as I wont be able to get those rough ends once the plans are screwed down. Thanks
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    bob · 08/17/2020
    i just purchased pressure treated deck boards 5/4 by 6 and installed on my deck and stairs. when can i seal and or stain them?
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    Jordan · 08/16/2020
    Being lazy and not reading all posts for answer. I recently installed pressure treated deck boards for entire deck, after leaving them unattached for 2 weeks after purchase. Did my best to mitigate when attaching, but got some cupping and twisting board to board. See comments that "sanding closes the pores". Since I need to wait till next Spring to clean and stain, can I sand now to smooth out the surface better.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/16/2020
      You can sand now but wait until Spring to prep and stain.
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        Jordan · 08/18/2020
        Thank you for the guidance.
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          Jordan · 08/18/2020
          Sorry - one more set. Live in North central New Jersey. 500 sqft deck, including sides/steps (ground level, no ground contact, no railings), is new Severe Weather(tm) pressure treated pine. 80% of deck is in full sun and 20% is in shade of house. Will clean/brighten in spring. Prefer penetrating stain. Recommendations on brands and amounts?
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            The Sealer Store · 08/18/2020
            Try this: https://www.opwdecks.com/twp-1500-series.htm

            About 3-4 gallons for the one coat. Prep with one kit of this: https://www.opwdecks.com/rad-300.htm
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              jordan · 08/24/2020
              "the one coat" - meaning that this time around (the first staining) I only need to apply one coat after cleaning and brightening. In future, it would require 2 coats. Separately, I'm considering using the clean/brighten/stain on an existing 36' long, 8' wide pergola supporting a rather sizable Japanese wisteria. How do you suggest I protect the plant.
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                The Sealer Store · 08/24/2020
                Yes, just one coat for new wood. Protect the plant from the stain when applying.
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    Sk · 08/12/2020
    Have a new dock/boathouse made with combination of pressure treated pine, Tongue and groove pinei(inside walls and all ceilings) and rough cut cedar (trim). Should I wait till next spring to stain. Thinking TWP 100 honey cedar? on walls, ceilings, and post (want wood to show)and a solid stain on decking for durability. Thoughts on the brand for the solid?
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      Sk · 08/12/2020
      The boathouse has custom rough cut cedar barn doors (made of 1/2” boards) should I wait on those as well? Worried about warping/cracking
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        The Sealer Store · 08/12/2020
        It will be fine to wait. Wood if it warps will do it no matter what and a stain would not prevent it.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/12/2020
      Yes, next Spring would be best. Look at Defy or Restore A Deck for the solid stain.
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    Kendog · 08/11/2020
    Hi,
    I am using 1x6 smooth redwood for movable patio louvers. I would like to stain/seal them with dark semi transparent before I install them on the brackets. Should I follow your instructions,” 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.
    thank you Kendog
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      The Sealer Store · 08/12/2020
      You still need to weather the wood and then prep prior to staining. You cannot skip this step.
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    Colin · 08/09/2020
    Installed my pressure treated deck this past June. I live is the NE and I’m concerned the wood won’t be weathered enough to seal before winter. Is it critical to make sure it’s sealed before winter? Planning on using TWP 1501
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    Eileen · 08/07/2020
    I am replacing a 15x8 ft section of deck (about half) with pressure-treated wood. Your guidance says to let the wood sit, unstained for 3-12 months. I live outside Portland, Oregon, so in 3 months it will be raining, and Spring may be my first opportunity to stain the deck. Is that ok? Would the instructions be different if I were to use paint, or is paint even an option? (I'm going to clean up and re-do the other half, so hopefully get them to match, sort of.)
    Also, can I use one of those "fix it" products on the older section of deck and still find something that will mostly match for the newer section?
    Thanks --
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      The Sealer Store · 08/08/2020
      You have to wait and it will be fine if it is Spring when you prep and stain it.
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    Johana · 08/07/2020
    Do i need to use a brightner, if my deck is new and I let weathered? I know i have to use a cleaner just wondering about the brightener? Thanks in advance.
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    janice nielsen · 08/06/2020
    With a brand new deck railing why do you suggest prepping it when it is new wood and clean??
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    T.J. · 08/05/2020
    We built our new decks 2 years ago, and are finally preparing to stain. What's the smartest approach to stain after two years of sun exposure and moisture? There are little black spots on parts and graying on areas most exposed to the sun. Thank you for hosting this forum!
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    Greg · 08/01/2020
    Just had an Ipe deck installed around our hot tub about 2 weeks ago. I noticed the wood around the tub gets wet often and when it does it appears to be cupping. Would you recommend putting a stain on this right away to repel the water? For reference the deck is 1x6 Ipe planks using the Camo hidden fastener system. Thanks.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/01/2020
      After you weather the wood for the 3-4 months and then prep, you can stain: https://www.opwdecks.com/exoticwoodstains.htm
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        Greg · 08/01/2020
        You mention above that you can stain a new deck right away with the proper prep. Considering I’m trying to protect the wood from water immediately to prevent cupping do you not recommend doing that method? Appreciate the consideration, thanks again.
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          The Sealer Store · 08/02/2020
          Not with IPE and cupping would happen no matter what as a stain will not prevent that.