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
    Sandra · 07/28/2013
    Son-in-law built new deck over the top old cement pad for new hot tub which will arrive in 2-3 wks. Is it okay to put water sealer on new wood now? Not much time before tub gets here.
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    The Sealer Store · 10/05/2012
    It is okay to wait until Spring.
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    WriterS · 10/05/2012
    I have a deck that was finished in August. I live on the water on Long Island. Is it safe to wait until spring to stain the deck, after it is snowed on, and exposed to the sea water for so long?
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    BJ Rounsaville · 06/06/2012
    I am having a new deck installed next week. I live in Maryland and we are having temps in the 80 -90's. I am hand picking the driest wood. How long should I wait to stain the deck? Should I use a stain with a sealer? Should I use a stain or semitransparent paint? I am thinking about using Behr or Cabot, which is better for my area? Which one is mildew resistant and fade resistant? I will wait for your answer. Thanks, BJ
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    The Sealer Store · 04/15/2012
    I personally would buy a stain stripper followed by a wood brightener. This will remove all the dirt, grime and year old Penofin. You may be able to get by with a cleaner and brightener but it really depends on ow well the Penofin has held up. If it still looks good and the stain has not worn off unevenly then you could use just a cleaner and brightener.

    FYI, you do not need both a stripper and a cleaner. Just one or the other depending on what you are trying to do. Both should be neutralized with a wood brightener.
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    Miller · 04/15/2012
    I built a deck a year ago and now that the weather is better it time to use it. I wanted to clean it and bring it back to the new. The deck is flanked by douglas fir and the needles pollen salt air and debris have really aged it. I wanted to stain the deck again but, since I stained the boards before laying them, would i have to buy a cleaner, stripper and brightener or would i just have to buy a cleaner and brightener and then re-stain. The deck is cedar and the stain that I used was penofin. Thanks for your reply:-)
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    The Sealer Store · 03/11/2012
    We sell mostly transparent and semi-transparent "penetrating" wood decking stains. You cannot apply a primer with these products. It would be best to clean the deck first to remove the blue ink logos and if needed lightly sand.

    If looking for a dark red color you might want to look at the Armstrong Clark in Mahogany or Sequoia colors. Armstrong Clark ([url]http://www.opwdecks.com/armstrong-clark-stain.htm[/url])
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    Robert D. Wellington · 03/11/2012
    I just purchased a new home with patio and wood decking. The home has been in the construction phase for about 6 months. I want to stain the wood a very dark redwood. My decking boards have factory blue logos stamped on the boards and several are showing on top of the deck floor. Most of the logos are under the floor. Will a dark stain cover the stamped logos or should I paint or apply primer first? I really do not want to do this every couple of years....so tell me paint vs stain applications. Thanks
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    The Sealer Store · 10/12/2011
    It is cutting it close. New PTP is very wet wood and should dry for 1-2 months. If you decide to do a coat I would suggest 1 very light cost this year and then reapply another light coat in the Spring.
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    mark kolmacic · 10/12/2011
    Pressurized wood deck was built one month ago. It rained during construction and for two weeks solid thereafter. Last 11 days have been sunny and dry. I'd like to stain before winter however water still beads up on wood. I plan on cleaning and brightening with Defy products. Staining horizontal surfaces with Defy Epoxy Fortified and rail pickets with Cabot Semisolid black. What do you think? Can it be done before winter or should I wait?
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    The Sealer Store · 08/15/2011
    Yes it should be fine to let it sit through the winter.
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    Kendra Haas · 08/15/2011
    We are building a new deck with pretreated wood. If we wait to stain the wood, we are wanting to do a more natural stain. If we wait to stain it the deck will sit through the winter with snow on it. Will that be fine.