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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    Grant Beckett · 11/11/2020
    I see many of your recommendations to wait until spring to stain a new deck - especially if living in a cold area as I do (Boston, MA). My question is does your recommendation change for new mahogany wood deck boards?
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    Bryan · 11/10/2020
    I had a new deck installed in late August and the installer said to wait until next spring to stain. But, he said I should apply a water sealer this year before winter, which I did. Reading your article above, I am now worried that this will inhibit the stain penetration next year. Do you think it will and, if so, are there any steps I can take beyond the prepping mentioned above? Thanks in advance!
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    Dan Perry · 11/05/2020
    I installed some new deck railings this summer in Minnesota. My father in law says I should stain them before winter. Should i stain them now or wait til next year?
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    Paul Jackson · 11/03/2020
    Had a deck built a month ago with treated wood in Chicago. When should I stain the deck?
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    David · 10/26/2020
    I am just finishing up a 20'x32' pressure treated floating deck. No railings. The deck has picture frame elements incorporated. Not just the perimeter but within the deck itself. We want to stain the frame elements a darker color than the field boards. Is it possible or recommended, to stain the whole thing the light color then go back over the frame elements with the darker color? Or should we mask off the different areas when staining the different colors? Also, how much product do you think we will need? There will eventually be 3 box steps of 8, 10 and 12 feet in length respectively.
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      The Sealer Store · 10/26/2020
      Mask off when staining with different colors. As for the amount of product needed, we would need to know the stain brand you will be using from our site and the total sq footage added up.
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    Michael · 10/18/2020
    For me, it's not a deck, but the frame for screening in a porch. The wood they used is green wood. The person who installed the frame said to paint it right away, but I am a bit worried about it. Can I paint it right away?
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    Anna · 10/14/2020
    Hi there, I am redoing a deck and using a mixture of older pressure to treated wood that I have stripped of paint and sanded as well as new wood not pressure treated. Should I still wait until spring to seal with a tinted sealer? Thank you!
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    Amy · 10/13/2020
    We had a rough-cut cedar fence installed late July and haven't stained yet. We are in MN (so cold, wet weather coming soon). Is it too cold/late to stain it now - is it better to wait until spring? Also, planning to use R-A-D cleaner and brightener first, but really struggling with the stain. Finding mixed reviews on water based or oil based is best for new cedar fences. Durability, mold/mildew, and longevity of color (don't want to have to re-stain in 9-12 months!) are most important. I know I want semi-transparent because we like the woodgrain (also know the tradeoffs for that in terms of UV protection, etc). Narrowed down to either Restore-A-Deck Cedar color stain or Armstrong-Clark semi-transparent cedar stain. Any suggestions or insight on which is better for our fence, needs, and geographic location? Thank you!
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      The Sealer Store · 10/14/2020
      Either of those stains would work very well and last about the same on a fence. 3-6 years.
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        Amy · 10/14/2020
        Thank you! Is timing of staining OK to do now before winter? I read in a few places there was a minimum temperature of like 50F if you were staining. Does oil vs water make a difference for that?
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          The Sealer Store · 10/14/2020
          You can stain if over 50 degrees. Does not matter if oil or water-based.
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    Noee · 10/09/2020
    I built a new deck (wood and composite floor) in mid- July 2020. I live in Northern Virginia so we have a long fall, but had intended to have it stained sometime in early November before it snows. I will be hiring a company to stain, and am not confident that they will use a wood brightener on it first. Do you recommend that I wait until Spring? Reading through the above article, it seems like that a brightener is important either way. What is the risk if they stain and do not use a brightener?
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      The Sealer Store · 10/09/2020
      You need both a cleaner and a wood brightener. Spring is okay.
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    Yolanda · 10/08/2020
    I live in Georgia. Had a new deck builted in July with treated wood. When should I stain my deck?
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    winston · 10/01/2020
    thank you for your time.
    we just finished a new ground up pressure treated pine deck as of 10-01-2020 we are in the midwest just outside of chicago...cold and wet/snowy winters....leave deck as is and prep/stain in spring??
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    Greg · 10/01/2020
    We live in northern Indiana and just had a new pressure treated deck built in May 2020. Should I stain it for the first time now or wait until Spring 2021. Also did I hear you right that I only need to put one coat on since its first time being stained ? Also any recommendation on a good stain ? Also I heard supposed put a seal on first and then stain it . I see some companies selling both together. Lastly how often would you stain it after ? Any help would be much appreciated :)))))
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      The Sealer Store · 10/01/2020
      You can stain now or in the Spring. Make sure to clean and brighten for the prep. Stain with TWP or Armstrong Clark stains. One coat.

      You never apply a sealer before or after a deck stain. It will not work.
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    PK · 09/29/2020
    I just replaced some boards. Based on your recommendation, I have to wait until next Spring to apply the stain. What should I be doing to protect the existing (old) boards on the deck?
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      The Sealer Store · 09/29/2020
      Just leave as is and prep and stain all in Spring.
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        PK · 09/29/2020
        Before replacing the boards, I did power wash. Does it makes any difference as far as leaving the old boards as is?
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    Stephanie · 09/27/2020
    Our new treated lumber deck will be finished next weekend and some of the wood is pretty new. We live in central Indiana and we are starting to experience cooler temps. Our builder said to go ahead and treat it. Is that accurate and what product do we use? I’m so confused.
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    Kate · 09/24/2020
    If our deck is treated wood, do these same rules apply? We built the deck about 6 weeks ago (first week of Aug) using treated lumber. We’re wondering if we should stain it now or in the spring. Note: We live in Montana, so there will be significant moisture and cold in the coming months.
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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?