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
    Lana · 05/21/2018
    We stripped and cleaned our deck this week, but forgot to use a wood brightener. Is is ok or too late to use it a few days later? Or does it not matter at this point since the deck has dried? Also, are 2 days enough wait to stain the deck after the brightener has been applied and rinsed, or should we wait longer after that last step? Thank you!
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 05/21/2018
      Yes, you should still use the Brightener. 48 hours is correct.
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        Lana · 05/21/2018
        Thank you!! One last question, how long should we wait to move the furniture and planters etc. back onto the deck?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    John Reifschneider · 05/16/2018
    There are a few companies that claim to clean and "seal" your deck that lasts for 20 years. Is there any validity to this and if so do you carry any product like that to be used DIY?
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 05/16/2018
      That is an impossibility and a gimmick. Don't fall for it. You will still need to stain the deck every 2-3 years with a deck stain if you used their product.
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    P Walker · 05/12/2018
    will stain take to a new deck if all the UV

    grey is not cleaned off
    • We will reply to your comment shortly
      The Sealer Store · 05/13/2018
      Not very well nor would it look very good. You should always prep the wood before applying a stain.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ron Russell · 04/20/2018
    Is it necessary to seal a fully covered deck?
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    Jamie Anady · 11/17/2017
    We are in Prineville, Oregon and just had a Trex deck installed but the railing is made of fir, and the cap on the fir railing is made of cedar. Our current temps are Highs 40s and Lows 20s and heading into winter. I know we wouldn't be able to stain it now because of the low temps, but I'm worried that the winter weather will damage the wood before we are able to stain it in the Spring. So my question is, will the railing be damaged thru the winter weather?
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    Denine Larson · 11/04/2017
    We live in Kansas and had our screened in deck built 12 months ago. It’s now November and the temperatures are cooler-40’s and low 50’s. Can we wait until Spring or do we need to seal it now?
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    Kelly · 10/21/2017
    We just had a new deck installed in August. Pressure treated lumber was used. Due to the leaves falling here in New York, it seems impossible to apply the clear coat we want to use. Would it be ok to wait until spring?
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    The Sealer Store · 09/11/2017
    Scott N:
    I put new deck boards down this summer (mod summer). We've had a mild summer and water still beads. Should I be concerned about winter, and seal what will take? I'm worried the snow will damage the wood.

    You can prep and stain now with this:
    https://www.opwdecks.com/sealerstoretimberoil.htm
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Scott N · 09/11/2017
    I put new deck boards down this summer (mod summer). We've had a mild summer and water still beads. Should I be concerned about winter, and seal what will take? I'm worried the snow will damage the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 08/26/2017
    Rick Wroblewski:
    If I use deck cleaner and wood brightner on new boards that been drying for 5 months how long to let dry again before staining

    Couple of days.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Rick Wroblewski · 08/25/2017
    If I use deck cleaner and wood brightner on new boards that been drying for 5 months how long to let dry again before staining
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 08/12/2017
    June:
    I forgot to mention I live in Michigan. October might be iffy for weather in terms of staining. New pressure-treated deck made of pine.installed and finished first week of August. Should I do anything before winter in terms of protecting the deck, or should I just wait until spring.

    Wait until Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    June · 08/12/2017
    I forgot to mention I live in Michigan. October might be iffy for weather in terms of staining. New pressure-treated deck made of pine.installed and finished first week of August. Should I do anything before winter in terms of protecting the deck, or should I just wait until spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    June · 08/12/2017
    I have a new pressure-treated deck finished the first week of August. I know I should wait 1 to 3 months before staining. If I wait until spring, is there anything I should do before winter to protect the word?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/30/2017
    Ben Ellis:
    Hello, I'm a day out from finishing my new cedar deck with mill treated cedar. We're expected to have a very hot August and above normal September then who knows what kind of winter but sure to have plenty of rain as usual. Should I let the deck sit and weather naturally until spring or sand, clean and stain asap?

    Thanks!

    Let sit and do in 3 months.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Ben Ellis · 07/30/2017
    Hello, I'm a day out from finishing my new cedar deck with mill treated cedar. We're expected to have a very hot August and above normal September then who knows what kind of winter but sure to have plenty of rain as usual. Should I let the deck sit and weather naturally until spring or sand, clean and stain asap?

    Thanks!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/11/2017
    Cheryl Phollips:
    Do I wait to stain a redwood deck as long as you wait to stain a pretreated wood deck. How long should I
    Wait?

    Wait 3-12 months as the article states. does not matter the wood type.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Cheryl Phollips · 07/11/2017
    Do I wait to stain a redwood deck as long as you wait to stain a pretreated wood deck. How long should I
    Wait?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 06/14/2017
    terry sanders:
    We have a new cedar deck that we have allowed to weather for 10 months. This summer we want to take care of it. Would sanding the deck be a viable treatment instead of using a cleaner and brightener before we use a penetrating stain?

    Sanding alone is not good prep as it can reduce the stain from soaking into the wood. Best to use the cleaner first. Lightly sand if needed and then brighten the wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    terry sanders · 06/14/2017
    We have a new cedar deck that we have allowed to weather for 10 months. This summer we want to take care of it. Would sanding the deck be a viable treatment instead of using a cleaner and brightener before we use a penetrating stain?