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How Long After Pressure Washing Do You Have to Wait to Stain a Deck?

By Carrie Dixon, Blog Editor

Deck wet after pressure washingIf you have a wooden deck, where are many types of material it can be made of. Each of them has its own distinct color and stain. Some people choose to leave the deck as natural as possible, while others like to add a stain for the color and increased durability. Any deck, stained or not, needs to be thoroughly cleaned and power-washed on occasion before new layers of sealant and stain are added. Understanding the timing of the process will save you time and make sure things are handled correctly the first time.

Wood Plus Water

Wood that is exposed to water and humidity, by nature, begins to expand and swell. The only way that you can clean a deck to prepare for a new stain is by using cleaning solution or water to remove the layers of sealant that are already there. This also results in removing part of the stain due to the high pressure of the sprayer or scrubbed that you use. After you’ve done the cleaning, you’re going to need to wait for a bit before you move on to the staining process.

Typical Drying Time

In most cases, allowing that deck to dry for about 48 hours is reasonable. However, if your deck doesn’t face the sun, it may take longer. If your deck is located in an area where sun rarely hits it, you should wait closer to 72 hours before moving on. You also want to inspect the deck at this time. You should see no moisture, nor should you notice swelling or softness to the wood. If you aren’t sure whether the deck is entirely dry, give it another couple of days before staining.

Weather Considerations

Other things to consider include the weather while your deck is drying. If it has been raining, your deck will take longer to dry out. The same applies if you’ve had humid, cloudy weather. While you may not realize that your deck is moist, humidity can affect it in the same way as rain. If either of these situations are present, wait another two days before staining the door. On the other hand, if it’s been sunny and your deck is in direct sunlight, that can take a day off of the driving process.

Other Things to Note

If rain is left standing on the deck, it has the chance to soak more deeply into the wood and will make drying take longer. When you see a storm or rain coming, the best plan is to cover up your deck with a tarp to avoid as much of the rain as possible. In addition, while power washing, make sure to squeegee of the remaining water when you are finishing. You can also soak it up for towels or rags if you prefer. Either way, this will let the wood dry much more quickly than it otherwise would.

The Staining Process

After you’ve dried up your deck and are ready to move forward with staining, you’ll want to have the stain, a paint tray, paint stick, paintbrush, and rolled available to you. Next, you will stir up the stain using the paint stick. If you plan to use a roller, pour some of it into a paint tray. From there, you can apply the stain to the brush you want to use and start applying it. Stick with one coat to start, although you can place another coat after a few hours. Then wait about a day before you begin using your newly stained, beautiful deck.