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
    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?
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 05/22/2017
    Justin L:
    Does your advice to not stain all sides apply even to low or ground-level decks (mine will be 20-25 inches from the ground)?

    No need to do the undersides for low to ground decks.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Justin L · 05/22/2017
    Does your advice to not stain all sides apply even to low or ground-level decks (mine will be 20-25 inches from the ground)?
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    The Sealer Store · 04/04/2017
    Tom verk:
    Is it wise to stain all sides of the Doug fir board before install. I've heard seal the entire board, also heard the moisture should be able to get out. How about the ends of the board?

    No need to stain all sides and most stain brands do not suggest this. Install, weather, prep and stain the exposed wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Tom verk · 04/04/2017
    Is it wise to stain all sides of the Doug fir board before install. I've heard seal the entire board, also heard the moisture should be able to get out. How about the ends of the board?
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    The Sealer Store · 09/19/2016
    Leave alone until Spring.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Jim hanke · 09/18/2016
    I just replaced about 20 cedar deck boards that were bad on a previously stained deck. Do those boards need to be sealed before winter. I plan to strip and redo the deck in spring completely. Is it ok to leave these new boards alone until next spring when I do everything. The deck will start collecting leaves now
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/25/2016
    Yes you should clean and brighten the Batu. Wait until Fall for this. Prep and apply the Armstrong Clark in Amber or the Defy Hardwood Stains. Just one coat for Batu wood.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/25/2016
    As the article states, let the wood sit for 3-12 months. Prep first with the Restore A Deck kits. Stain with Armstrong Clark or TWP stains. Nothing needs to be done with the knots.
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    Colette · 07/25/2016
    I had a new deck built that was completed in June. The deck wood is Batu. I was planning on using Messmers but am open to other products. What woud you suggest? Do i need to clean and brighten it before staining it? I want a tinted stain to enhance the wood. Thank you.
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    Doug Ward · 07/25/2016
    [b][How long should I wait to stain and seal new redwood stairs and what do I need to do with sap on the surface also what needs to be done with the knots in the wood?/b]
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    The Sealer Store · 05/08/2016
    Depends on the stain type and brand if it can be stripped or if sanding will be needed. Do you know
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    Laura Rabren · 05/07/2016
    We redid our pier with pine 3 months ago. We just had a fiasco staining/weatherproofing it by our painter. It appears that he put it on too thick. Stain is on top of the wood. Can we strip it off and start over? Help!!!
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 04/24/2016
    1. If you do not wait for the natural weathering, it will fail within a year. You will need to touchup the new boards next year.
    2. Yes
    3. Yes
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    Steve Rankine · 04/24/2016
    Hi, I live in Toronto Canada and have a cedar deck that needs a couple of horizontal boards replaced this year. I put the Armstrong Clark cedar semitransparent stain on the entire deck last year and plan to apply a maintenance coat on the horizontal surfaces this year. Could you please confirm if the following process is appropriate?
    1. Install new cedar boards. Use Restore A Deck Kit right away to prep the new cedar. (I would prefer not to wait two-three months)
    2. Wash established cedar horizontal surfaces with soapy water.
    3. Apply maintenance coat on all horizontal surfaces including the new cedar that was prepped with Restore a Deck Kit.

    Thanks for your support! :-)
  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 11/09/2015
    Clean and brighten first with the Restore A Deck Kits. Stain with Armstrong Clark Stains or the TWP. You can do it now or wait until Spring time.