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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    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.
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    Jon V · 04/26/2019
    I am rebuilding a deck next week, and just ordered all #1 pressure treated wood. I live in upstate New York. I prefer to let the wood adequately dry (4 to 6 weeks) before applying the stain. *Note - I was always confused how the wood can properly dry if it gets rained on 2 to 3 times a week. But first question, will the new wood crack/split or warp in any way during the waiting period (ultraviolet rays, high humidity, and heavy rains)? Second, after the that time has passed (I'm guessing the wood will probably be rough and have a grey color), can I just sand it with fine sandpaper until smooth and the original color reappears, and then apply the stain? Im also hoping that any chemicals in the wood dont bleed out like they did the first time. Turned part of the original deck green. Thank you!
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      The Sealer Store · 04/27/2019
      Let wood weather for 3+ months after install before prep and stain. It doe not have to do with drying but naturally weathering to allow the wood grain to open up for the stain and mill glaze removal.

      Yes, the wood will crack and split and this is normal. Nothing you can do about it and a deck stain will not prevent it.

      No, sanding is a bad way to prep as it closes the pores of the wood. Use the cleaner and brightener.
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        Jon V · 04/27/2019
        Thank you! Maybe in the future I go with composite (Trex).
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    Kathy · 04/20/2019
    Will staining a deck prevent it from swelling and shrinking?
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    Kathy · 04/19/2019
    I have a tongue and groove PT pine deck that was installed a little over a month ago. It is not covered and West facing in SC. It is starting to cup and separate when dry, then tightens up when wet. When the stain penetrates the wood will it swell like it does when it's wet? If not perhaps we need to replace some of the boards.

    I would like to apply a gray colored stain and am looking at TWP in Cape Cod Gray and Armstrong Clark's Driftwood. Any recommendations about either of these products?
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      The Sealer Store · 04/20/2019
      The stain will not swell the wood. Either brand of those stains will work well!
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    LizVA · 01/26/2019
    Live in central Virginia, want to stain a new pressure treated pine deck(after 3 months drying time) so I want to use a thinner product that penetrates more. Not loving the color selection of WoodRich timber oil. Which product would be similar? Looking for a dark brown color transparent or semi transparent. Thanks
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    Kent · 12/16/2018
    We have had a new deck built this week. Ive been told I can use "new timber prep" to skip the wait time before applying the oil coat. Is this correct or should I still give it time?
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    L Sims · 11/03/2018
    We just finished an Ipe deck that was started in August and are now about finished prepping and painting the cedar post wraps. We are in Virginia and the temperature is dropping and seems to rain all the time. The Ipe is weathering due to the length of time it has been exposed. Would it be better to wait to oil the wood in the spring or try to oil now if above 50 degrees. Even if it does not rain, the deck always gets wet over night so not sure we would be able to keep wood dry after oiling.
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    Terry · 10/19/2018
    Hi there, I hope you can help me out. Our new deck has been up since May, and now when it's ready to stain it's getting fairly chilly. Can I wait until spring, or should I try hard to get it done in the next few weeks when the weather is in the 50's for a few days at a time? Thanks!
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    jean · 10/02/2018
    I have new weather shield wood deck. It was completed in June. Some say stain, some say just put a sealer and I am confused. I wanted to use semi solid stain. I live in NY with cold weather. The sun beats on the deck. Any suggestions? Will it get weather beaten if I wait till Spring.
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    Alicia · 09/15/2018
    Hello! We have spent the last three summers rebuilding our very large old deck with new treated wood so some of it is two summers ago some of it was last summer and some of it installed just this summer. Is it my best option to lightly power wash the whole thing and apply one coat of stain now?
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      The Sealer Store · 09/15/2018
      All wood should be at least 3 months old. If so, prep with a deck cleaner and pressure washer. Brightening the wood after. One coat of the stain.
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    Betty · 08/28/2018
    Hi, I'm Betty from below. The installer of my new deck told me also to stain within a couple weeks because he said the method they use to create the pressure treated lumber is not as strong as it used to be and is not soaked in kreosote as it once was. Is this accurate that lumber is 'treated' differently now and so there could be a reason to stain earlier to keep it protected? If not, what could be the reason people are being told to stain earlier by installers? Cheap lumber???

    Thank you.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/29/2018
      No, he is wrong and does not understand how stain works on new wood. You must wait and prep.
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        Betty · 08/29/2018
        Thank you. I will.
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    Carl · 08/28/2018
    Deck was just installed, and the builder said we had to stain it within 30 days or his warranty would be void (2 year labor). Pressure treated pine is the material. This doesn't seem right to me, but can we really stain within a week of installation? Our schedule doesn't allow us to wait, it's either this weekend or not.
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    Wesley Baquero · 08/28/2018
    I installed a deck 3 weeks ago and though I have read,(including this article) that I should wait 3-12 months, I still have concerns. Maybe,is my ignorance. The new deck has started to show longitudinal cracks along the grain. I am concern that by the time I get to seal and stain it those cracks will be as bad as the deck we replaced. I know some cracking is normal, but how much is normal.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/28/2018
      Yes, cracks are normal and even when you stain it, they will still happen. In other words, a deck stain will not stop them from forming.
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    Betty · 08/22/2018
    My new pressure treated deck is 3 weeks old but has a lot of mold spots coming to the surface. Once water applied soaks in the wood, I want to use a hose attached to a bleach house cleaner to remove the mold prior to staining. Is this a good idea on new wood? I don't see this method as being an option for cleaning. Is there a reason to not clean wood in this manner?
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      The Sealer Store · 08/23/2018
      It needs to season for 3+ months and then prepped. Use a deck cleaner (not bleach) and light pressure washing to prep. Brightener after. Bleach is bad for wood and you new to open the wood grain and remove the mill glaze as well.
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    M Dahlberg · 08/21/2018
    deck installed a couple years aga with treated boards. It has only weathered (not been touched) Must it be sanded before applying stain????