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
    Jared · 10/04/2019
    I just built a new deck out of untreated pine and am assuming the wood is still pretty green. I live in Utah and am about to under go a heavy winter. Do I wait until next summer until it's dry and pick the stain that I want, or do I stain it now to avoid damage? Will leaving it untreated through the winter cause damage?
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    ROGER JUDGE · 10/04/2019
    What causes the deck boards to turn white
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    Nick · 10/01/2019
    I removed about half of the boards of a deck and replaced them with brand new boards in June of this year. I was hoping I could stain the deck in a couple of weeks using semi-solid stain so that the old and new boards match. Is it too early to stain. I’m located in NY with a deck that gets at least 6 hours of sun per day.
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      The Sealer Store · 10/01/2019
      Yes, too early. Best to do this in Spring.
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        Nick · 10/01/2019
        What about the old boards? Won’t they be destroyed over the winter since I have stripped the old stain off?
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    Paul · 10/01/2019
    Hi, I'm having a new pressure treated deck installed today, October 1, 2019. I live in Ontario, Canada. Its fall and the weather here fluctuates between warm sunny days and rainy days. The temperature can also fluctuate between 10 degrees celsius to 28 degrees celsius between night and afternoon.

    Should I wait until next summer to stain/seal my new deck? It rains quite a bit this time of year too.
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    Judy · 09/26/2019
    New deck built 31/2 months ago with pressure treated wood. Sits in direct sun most of the day. Water tested and ready to stain. Question is Do I have to stain or can I use a sealer to waterproof and UV protect? I want to leave the deck floor and top rails their natural color and all stains (especially clear) turns it yellow/orange! Help!
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      The Sealer Store · 09/26/2019
      Clear sealers means zero UV protection. Must be a tinted stain for UV protection from graying.
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        Judy · 09/27/2019
        Thank you!
        I thought I saw a waterproofing Sealer on your site that had UV protection in it?
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    Terry Heyer · 09/08/2019
    Have a new pressure-treated wood deck installed in May. I'm testing with a moisture meter. At what reading of % moisture content would it be safe to assume that the deck can be stained?
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    Rachel Putman · 09/03/2019
    We are a military family that is having to relocate within 3 weeks. We own our house and are trying to get it rented out and had to do some major repairs before we are able to do so.the deck is only one of the many projects on this short time constraints we have so it was a very rushed job. my husband ripped up the old boards laid the new ones in within the next day applied a coat of stain very unevenly with a roller brush.parts of the wood aren't even covered by the stain and the parts that are have a thick tacky feel to them and it looks very streaky.after doing research myself I can see that that was not done the right way but yet here I am and I have to figure out a way to get this looking decent for renters.I do not have the time to restrip and stain because I have to pack and I'm having to repaint the kitchen cabinets plus put down some flooring as well as work on drywall. if anyone has any advice I'd really really appreciate it.
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    Robb G · 09/03/2019
    We just got a new deck in June but we have had a pretty rainy summer. Should we wait until Spring to stain or can we have it stained sooner?
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    Fred Mauk · 08/28/2019
    How long before I apply a second coat for my deck
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    Matt · 08/28/2019
    I will be getting a deck put in mid-September. I live in Canada, and based on the advice, waiting 3+ months before staining will take us into winter. Would winter weather/snow be bad on an unstained deck? Any advice on what timing you think is best would be appreciated!
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    Carol Kotsifakis · 08/25/2019
    Just had the house repainted. They power washed the deck as well. Now I have streaks & splotches striped of the stain. How should I proceed to correct this?
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    Juene · 08/24/2019
    Just built a deck in July with 90degree weather. Full sun on boards and notice some are starting to split/crack. Won’t be able to stain until next spring/summer. Is there anything to put on for the winter months? Live in mn and winters are pretty harsh. Linseed oil possible to help?
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      The Sealer Store · 08/24/2019
      Just leave alone. Splits are normal in wood and cannot be prevented.
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    J Meredith · 08/15/2019
    I just redid a portion of my deck with non-pressure treated lumber. Three months would put us into November. Should I wait until next year to stain it or should I do it right away?? I live in Toronto, Canada so we get a lot of rain in the fall and snow in the winter.
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    KeKeCar · 08/10/2019
    Just got some new boards replaced on my deck. Not sure how old the existing deck is because I bought the house 4 years ago with the deck already there. The person doing the work wants to stain right away but when I went to buy the stain, the folks in the store said to wait until next summer so the new wood could weather. I am on Western NY with harsh Winters and iffy summers. I'm afraid that the old (non replaced and existing) boards will be worse off if I don't stain but at the same time don't want the new boards to be damaged (lack of a better term) by staining right away. Ratio of boards 40% new (all on the flat surface and the stairs) to 60% old (flat surface and railings). Please help. Pros and cons of staining now or waiting. Thanks.
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      The Sealer Store · 08/11/2019
      You will need to wait for new wood to weather. Prep all and stain all in the Spring.
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    Diane · 08/08/2019
    We just had our deck redone by replacing the older rotten boards. We are now waiting the 3+ months for the wood to weather before staining. Will having furniture and outdoor rugs on the deck during this time period hinder the weathering process? I’m particularly concerned about the rugs. Thank you
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    Tim · 08/01/2019
    Hello, I just replaced the deck boards on our deck, the railing is 20 years old. It is con heart redwood S4S. How long should I let the deck boards weather? Average daytime temps are 90 with low humidity (CA). We want a semi-transparent stain, any product suggestions?
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    Gary · 08/01/2019
    Hello, can you stain a small cedar deck right away if you sand it all down with an 80 Grit sandpaper?
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    Jeff · 07/27/2019
    If anyone is going to look at a high end swing set build a tree house instead!
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    Jeff · 07/27/2019
    We just built a tree house out of all cedar and some of the cedar deck boards are starting to have a black spec in them.. how can we get rid of this?
    We are in Buffalo and I was going to wait until the fall to stain it. My process was
    Use a wood cleaner to get everything off. Wait 2 days and put on 1 coat of a clear stain it when the daytime temp is above 70 and no rain. Am I going about it correctly?

    Should I stain the inside of the tree house as well
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    JonasB · 07/17/2019
    I have been told we should stain all 4 sides of the cedar decking boards for our new deck before installation. Is there any reason to stain the bottom of the boards?
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      The Sealer Store · 07/18/2019
      You cannot pre-stain new wood not should you stain all sides. That can cause internal dry rot.