How Long Should I Wait After Washing My Deck to Stain It?

Applying a fresh, new coat of deck stain or paint is an easy way to liven up your outdoor space for a fun end-of-season party as well as the surest step in protecting and sheilding your decking and lumber from damage throughout the changing weather.

Over time, the deck needs to be cleaned and power-washed to apply new layers of stain and sealer, and knowing the right time to reapply things after washing leads to longer-lasting coverage.

How Long Can You Wait to Stain a Deck After Washing?

A basic rule of thumb for DIY deck builders, homeowners, and professional contractors is that roughly 48 hours is an adequate drying time for a newly washed deck. The weather conditions, of course, are a huge factor when considering a deck drying. If your deck is on the shaded side of the home where little to no sunlight reaches, it's recommended to wait at least 72 hours before applying any stain or sealer.

Learn how long you should wait to stain a deck after washing it for the longest-lasting layer of protection

How Do I Know if My Deck is Dry Enough to Stain?

Three Ways to Know Your Deck is Dry Enough to be Stained

1. One way to clear way to check if the deck is dry enough for staining is by using a moisture meter. A moisture meter measures the amount of moisture within the wood itself. When using a moisture meter to inspect your deck lumber be sure to check in several spots along the board. A rating of 19% or less of moisture content is acceptable for staining.

2. A second way to test lumber for dryness is put the edge of the wood into a black garbage bag and leave it in the sunlight for an hour or two. A few hours later, open the bag and if there is any condensation on the wood; it’s not dry enough yet for stain to be applied.

3. Another way of checking if your wood is ready for stain is to pour a little water on the wood. If the water beads up, the lumber still too wet to be stained or painted. If the water is absorbed into the wood easily, it’s ready to be sealed or stained.


You can also clean mold from decking, remove moss from your deck, and clean algae from wood with our deck cleaners and brighteners: Messner’s Cleaner and Brightener or the DeckWise Wood Deck Cleaner and Brightener. In stock and ready to use, these cleaners prevent mold, block algae growth, and bring new life back to your outdoor space.

The more you know, the better your deck and backyard projects will be! To learn more about how to build your family's dream outdoor space or keep your home's deck in tip-top shape for decades, give one of our deck designers a call at 1-888-824-5316 or send us an email at hello@decksdirect.com. Our deck experts will help you get the information, products, and tools you need for a gorgeous deck that you created and designed!