How Long After Rain to Stain Deck?

September 18, 2022

Raining water on the deck.

After Rain, How Long Should You Wait Before Staining the Deck?

Suppose you plan to stain your deck, but the rain kept drenching your newly installed deck. You might be asking then about when you can apply the stain to your deck. You might ask, likewise, about how long would you wait before applying stain after rain? Hence, if you know precisely the necessary length of time before you can stain the deck, you can properly schedule the staining process to ensure that the wood adequately absorbs the stain you would apply.

Woodworking experts would tell you that it will be best to wait 24 to 48 hours after the rain. Otherwise, the stain will fail to adhere to the deck panels because of moisture. This failure to adhere will result in a non-satisfactory coat, characterized by a thinner final coat. Besides, this thinner final coat will get washed off after another set of drenching from rain.

What Happens If It Rains After Staining Your Deck?

To ensure that your deck has wholly dried after rain or pressure washing it, you need to give it 48 hours to dry. Yet, if you want to ensure perfect results, you should give it up to 72 hours before you stain the deck. 

When applying stain, you need to ensure that the weather is good and will not rain within two days or 48 hours to ensure that the stain has completely dried. If it rains less than 48 hours after staining the deck, the rainwater will surely seep into the pores of the deck panels and attempt to displace the stain. 

So, you will likely end up with a splotchy surface instead of achieving an even tone. The stain, however, will peel quickly and flake off if it rains immediately after applying the stain. If it did not rain after 48 hours, you could be sure that the stain had dried entirely.

Indications that the Deck Has Dried Enough for Staining

You can check the wood deck visually to know if the deck surface has dried. If you see that the lumber is swelling and puffy, you should let it dry further. However, if you don’t see those signs, you can start staining the deck. 

Yet, if you are not convinced that your visual inspection is reliable, you can provide your deck another day before you stain it. You can also test the wood by sprinkling water onto the wood. 

If the wood surface absorbs the water within ten minutes, you can start staining the deck. If the wood fails to absorb the droplets of water within ten minutes, then you should give your deck enough time to dry.

What Should You Do to Ensure that the Deck is Good Enough for Staining?

You can utilize a moisture meter to check the level of moisture of the deck. The moisture meter provides you with the moisture measurement of the deck. Yet, you should measure several deck spots when using a moisture meter. Checking one area might not give you the overall moisture content of the deck. But if you get a less than 19% measurement, you can stain the deck.

Another way to check the moisture level of the deck is by using water. This method got mentioned above, so you already know how to perform this test. This test, of course, entails sprinkling water to the deck. The deck is ready for staining once the water is absorbed quickly within ten minutes. However, if it fails to absorb the droplets within ten minutes, the wood still contains more moisture, and you should give it more time to dry. 

Another method to test the moisture level of the wood is to take a piece of wood from the deck. Then, put the wood inside a plastic bag. Place the plastic bag under the heat of the sun. If you see condensation quickly, the wood is not ready for staining. You can also walk barefoot across the deck, and if you see your footprints after walking, the wood is not yet suitable for staining.

What If Rain Falls 12 Hours after Staining the Deck?

Experts would tell you that it is not good to stain decks during rainy days. Moreover, they would say that you should not stain the deck if it rains within 12 to 24 hours. Yet, the weather can be unpredictable. Even if weather forecasting is already advanced nowadays, it might also fail to give the exact time when it will rain in some instances. 

So, you might think that it will not rain within the following day, and you start staining your deck, only to see your deck drenched in unexpected rainfall afterward. 

You can’t surely do much until the rain stops. After the rain stops, you can assess the deck condition. Your assessment will determine your next move. If the deck gets damaged, and you see dime-like spots after the rain, you can apply a light recoat to help fix the spots. If it doesn’t fix this issue, you can use a wood cleaner and pressure washer to clean the wood surface.

Moreover, you can sand the wood surface to remove unwanted spots. You can also use a wood sander for this purpose. Afterward, you can stain the wood to prevent the flaking off or peeling of the finish. 

However, if the abovementioned methods do not work, you should at least consider stripping the entire deck and begin all over again. This stripping process will be the last resort if you want to provide your wood deck with excellent stain and protection from harsh outdoor elements. 

How Long Should You Dry the Deck Stain?

If you are using latex or water-based stains, you should let the stain dry for four to six hours. If it dries within that period, you can assure yourself that spots will not build up even if it rains. However, if you’ve used oil-based stains, you should let it dry for twelve to twenty-four hours. In this way, when it rains, no spots will build up. 

Remember that oil stains require more time to imbue the wood and get absorbed by the wood. So, ensure that you expect no rain within the next 24 hours when you apply oil-based stains.

How Long Should You Let the Stain Dry Before Stepping onto Your Deck?

If you use cedarwood on your deck, it will be best to give it a fresh coat within eighteen months. Of course, this depends on the amount of wear in the wood and the weather in your place. Yet, if you would ask experts about how much time you should let the stain dry before you walk on it, well, it all depends on the temperature level when you stain the deck. 

If you apply the stain during warm weather, you can expect the stain to dry within an hour. After four hours, you can walk on the deck without damaging the stain. Yet, it will help if you wait for several days before replacing the furniture on your wood deck.

How Long Should Be Stain Dry Before It Rains?

When staining your deck, you might be using one of Behr’s staining solutions and paints. The reason is Behr is one of the well-known manufacturers of staining solutions. So, when using one of Behr’s staining solutions, it will help familiarize yourself with what the experts advise about using Behr’s staining solutions. 

You should apply Behr staining solutions if the temperature is between 35 to 90-degree Fahrenheit. It should stay over 35-degree Fahrenheit for the next two hours. Moreover, you should refrain from applying their staining solutions in direct sunlight or when the wood surface is hot. 

Behr’s coating solutions can get away with rain after four hours of drying. Moreover, the wood surface should have completely dried before applying it. 

Furthermore, the stain can penetrate the wood best if the wood is dry and cool. So, make sure that the wood has already leached out its tannins and oils before you apply the stain. It will help if you engage in commercial timber treatments or natural weathering to leach away tannins and oils. 

Oil stains are easier to apply because they penetrate the grains of wood with ease and necessitate less work from you. They also stay longer and are more durable. Besides, they also seal the wood better and penetrate the wood better. Oil-based stains, however, would take longer to dry and cure. Thus, you’ll have problems if it rains after several hours of staining your deck.

On the other hand, water-based stains dry quickly. They also last for up to six years. So, if you think it will rain soon, you can opt for water-based stains. Water-based stains also do not emit strong odors.


Deck staining is a crucial factor in maintaining the integrity and usefulness of your deck. Since the deck is made of wooden materials and is susceptible to damages due to harsh environmental elements like rain and moisture, you need to protect the deck from these factors. It will help if you stain it likewise. 

The best time for staining deck is during fall if you live in a place with four seasons. Stain, of course, works best during the first few months after applying it. So, you can assure yourself that the deck gets protected during the coming winter months. However, if you live where it rains a lot, you should check the weather forecast and ensure that you stain the deck only when you expect no rain in the coming days.

Related Posts:

Leave a Comment