When To Stain A New Deck Pressure Treated?

After installing your new pressure-treated deck, protecting the structure is all you think of. In this regard, staining is the most reliable option to consider. But, you might also be interested to know the best time to stain the treated deck to keep it as good as new.

The best time to stain a pressure-treated deck is when the wood is dried completely. Based on your area’s climate conditions, the treated lumber may take just a few weeks or months to be ready for staining. To be sure, you can take a ‘sprinkle test’ to know if the deck is dry enough to stain or not.

Pressure-treated wood is a convenient and reliable option for your dream outdoor space. And, to maintain its good looks, a coat of stain will enhance your deck even more. But, before staining the treated lumber, follow the detailed guide below to get the results you look for.

What Is The Right Time To Stain A New Pressure Treated Deck?

The decision to stain the newly installed deck is not something to take lightly. After spending some time and effort into elevating your outdoor space, you need to look after it to maintain it for many upcoming years.

Staining the pressure-treated deck is an effective way to keep it protected, but what is the right time to stain it?

Well, the answer depends on two things;

  • How long do you wait before staining the new pressure-treated deck?
  • Which time of the year is the most appropriate for deck staining?

You might have noticed that when you buy treated wood from the store, it’s still damp to the touch. It is because pressure-treated lumber gets liquid chemical treatment. They do not dry out quickly because they are stacked up immediately for shipment as soon as they get treated and remain away from daylight until you finally purchase them.

What Is The Right Time To Stain A New Pressure Treated Deck

So, as there is a lot of moisture within the lumber, it doesn’t allow the stain to penetrate deeply into the wood. Due to this reason, your pressure-treated wood requires time and exposure for wood to dry out.

Contrary to what most people think, the longer the newly treated wood remains unprotected, the more it is well prepared for staining and better protection.

How Long To Wait Before Staining The New Pressure-Treated Wood?

Ideally, you must leave the deck to dry out for about twelve months before applying the staining coat. We suggest beginning testing the wood after ninety days after completion of your project. It is just a general time frame as there are a lot of other factors such as weather, environment, and the time of year you built the project that can determine if it’s time to stain the lumber or not.

Also Read: How To Lay Decking On Grass? Step By Step Guide!

The best way to determine if the pressure-treated wood is dry enough is to test it. We’ll discuss it in detail in the later section of the article.

Which Time Of The Year Is The Best For Deck Staining?

When staining the new treated deck, spring or fall are the ideal times to perform the process. It is because most stains varieties require a mild temperature with almost no moisture (rain) so the wood can properly absorb it.

Which Time Of The Year Is The Best For Deck Staining?

It will help if you avoid extreme temperatures, like summer and winter, as they can mess with the staining process. Fall, although great for staining the wood but leaves falling on wet satin might cause some issues.

Apart from temperature, direct UV light is yet another factor harmful to the wood. Thus, if you apply stain to the treated wood amid the hot summer days when the deck is constantly exposed to scorching heat, it might result in the stain not applying well.

Factors That Influences The New Pressure Treated Deck Staining Period:

A few factors determine how quickly the pressure-treated wood will dry and become ready for staining. Let’s briefly look at them one by one!


1. The Type Of Pressure-Treated Wood:

The type of treated lumber you chose for the project has a lot to do with how soon you can stain it. For instance, premium quality pressure-treated wood is dried out once they are chemically treated to remove the excessive moisture. So, it would be best if you stained such lumber quickly after putting together all the structure (deck).

Also Read: How Can You Build A Deck Without Concrete? Step By Step Guide

On the other hand, for normal pressure-treated wood, you might have to wait until it fully dries out before applying a coat of protection.

2. Weather:

As highlighted above, the appropriate time to stain a treated deck is when the temperature is moderate (spring). Also, never start staining during rainy seasons, as it will result in the improper protective coating.

As a precautionary step, always have a look at the weather forecast to see if any showers are predicted or not. The staining process needs around twenty-four to forty-eight hours for drying. Thus, it’s crucial to make sure that there is no precipitation on the way during this time.

3. Environment:

Staining the new pressure-treated deck also depends on your environment and the amount of sunlight the deck gets. For example, the deck may dry faster than usual if you live in a warm, sunny area. Similarly, the staining process might get delayed if you live in an area prone to frequent rains.

4. The Time Of Year You Built The Project:

If you installed the deck during the summer or spring when humidity is high, you would have to wait until fall arrives. As stain requires a proper dry deck for secure application, dry fall days are the best for deck staining.

Go for the early fall period if you plan to stain the newly installed deck, as the temperature is moderate during this span. The Later fall weeks might be comparatively colder and not the best for staining the treated deck.

Also Read: Deck Nail Vs. Screw, Which Is The Best? When And Where To Use It?

When Is The New Pressure-Treated Deck Dry Enough To Stain?

We all want to protect our newly built decks and stain them as soon as possible. However, we might do more harm than good if we stain the deck earlier than needed. Pressure-treated lumber, unlike other deck materials like cedar, comes with higher initial moisture. The reason lies in its treatment procedure which involves too much moisture.

When Is The New Pressure-Treated Deck Dry Enough To Stain

So, before staining, you need to check that the deck is dry enough to stain. You can perform a quick test by staining only a small section of the decking and observing if the stain beads are at the wood top. If it does bead, it indicates you must wait a few more weeks.

The pressure-treated deck is ready for protective coating if the stain penetrates the wood.

How Can I Check If The Pressure Treated Deck Is Ready For Staining?

Confused about how to make sure the newly installed deck is ready for staining? Try this easy test below to clear all your doubts.

Sprinkle Test:

Staining the pressure-treated wood at the right time holds a lot of importance. Performing the process sooner or too late can have disadvantages we want to avoid. To combat this situation and to determine if the treated lumber is ready for staining, go for the “sprinkle test.”

  • Firstly, sprinkle some water on the pressure-treated wood.
  • Notice if the water is being absorbed by the wood or not.
  • In case the wood soaks in the water within ten minutes, it suggests you need to stain it as early as possible.
  • If the water beads or just pools on the deck surface, the wood still isn’t dry enough for staining.

Why Does Pressure Treated Wood Need Staining?

Pressure-treated wood is injected with chemicals to prevent it from decaying and insect attacks. However, the treated lumber is still prone to weather damage and aging, requiring timely protection.

Applying a coat of stain to the pressure-treated wood provides an extra layer of protection, saving homeowners from a lot of trouble. Staining the deck provides an additional and much-needed shield against decay, insects, mold, and mildew.

Without staining, the treated wood can develop cracks and splinters within no time, and your new deck will start to appear centuries old. And, obviously, you do not want this to happen. Stain is the savior that prevents such costly damage.

Moreover, another significant benefit of wood stain is related to the aesthetic appeal. A beautifully colored wooden deck enhances the whole outlook of the outdoor space. When you stain the treated wood, it polishes and improves the wood’s natural appearance, bringing out the texture and patterns.

What Happens If You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Earlier?

If you do not let the pressure-treated wood dry fully and stain it way too soon, all the efforts will go down the drain. In such a situation, the stain will fail to penetrate the treated lumber deeply, and you won’t get the amazing protective benefits of staining.

What Happens If You Stain Pressure Treated Wood Earlier

So, it’s better to wait for the exact period and let the treated wood dry out fully to see the results. In addition, we suggest going for oil-based stains as they work best for pressure-treated decks. Some manufacturers also have developed specially formulated stains for treated wood.

Who Should Stain The New Pressure Treated Deck?

Outdoor spaces like decks are costly projects, and protecting your investment with good aftercare is crucial. The fundamental step to keep the deck sound structurally is properly staining it. You can apply the protective layer yourself if you think you can do it well or hire a professional to perform the task. Whichever way you feel comfortable.

There are many detailed steps by step processes available on how to stain your deck, and you can take help from them as well. In the end, what’s important is to stain the treated lumber at the right time and not delay it for too long.

To Wrap Up!

When you want to stain a deck constructed out of pressure-treated lumber, you have to keep certain points in mind. Treated lumber needs to dry up completely before you apply stain to it, and the drying may take from weeks to months. Other common factors in determining how long you need to wait: are weather, environment, and the type of treated lumber you choose.

Staining the treated lumber at the right time has a lot of long-term advantages. It not only adds an extra protective layer to protect against damage and decay but also enhances the outdoor structure’s beauty. It allows the homeowner to keep the deck as good as new despite the changing weather and conditions.

Just follow all the precautionary steps mentioned in the article, and you will improve the appearance of the new deck even more!


Is It Ok To Stain A New Pressure-Treated Wood?

It is completely fine to stain a newly installed pressure-treated wood. In fact, staining is quite beneficial for your deck. Although chemically treated lumber does not usually require protection against rotting, staining proves helpful in reducing cracks on the surface and other similar damages.

How Do I Stain The New Deck For The First Time?

When straining a freshly built (1-2 months) deck after installation, you must do some prep work. You must apply a gentle amount of wood deck cleaner and thoroughly scrub the surface. Or, you can also pressure wash it lightly to get rid of the dirt and debris. Once the surface looks clean and prepped, you can apply the stain with a thinner consistency.

How Soon Can You Seal Pressure-Treated Wood?

You can apply the sealers to the pressure-treated lumber as soon as the surface looks dry enough. The sealer acts as a water repellent and gives color to the outdoor deck space without forming a too thick layer on the surface. Furthermore, it allows the remaining moisture to slowly escape the wood once the coat is applied to the lumber.

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