How Long Does Deck Stain Need To Dry Before It Rains

One of the best additions to your yard can be a deck. A wood stain shields the wood from the damaging effects of the sun and helps fight off the effects of moisture.

Curing allows your stain to settle in the wood’s outer layer and bring out the grain’s effects and possibly the natural color. It’s more like preserving the wood rather than painting, and it is something you may need to do each year.

As it can cost and takes some effort, staining your deck isn’t like most other jobs. This is because you need a day to do the task when there has been no rain, and there are no signs of rain approaching. Unlike wood stains, sealers such as varnish only protect the wood from sun damage and not moisture.

painting wood

Using this guide, you can learn more about how long does stain need to dry before rain and what happens if you don’t. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of applying the stain and how many hours to dry it takes before the surface is fully cured. (Learn How to Remove Spray Paint from Concrete)

What Happens If You Stain Your Deck and It Rains?

If it rains unexpectedly, it can undo all the hard work you have done. Wet wood will affect the look of your newly stained deck. Manufacturers state to avoid staining a deck for at least 24 to 48 hours after being wet from rain.

If this happens, the moisture in the wood stops the stain from sticking to the deck properly. As there is a lack of adherence, the final coat is thinner and likely to wash away with future rainstorms.

Unfortunately, wood decks are susceptible to weather deterioration. While staining a wet deck isn’t the ideal solution, it could be you don’t have a choice, or it rains without warning before your stain dries.

Deck stain differs significantly from paint as it soaks into the pores of bare wood. As it does this, the top layers are all treated with the stain.

Paint will sit on the top layer and won’t soak into the layers beneath. Stain lasts a long time when applied correctly and applied with no sign of rain for at least 48 hours. Rain as this can destroy a stained deck. (Read What is Enamel Paint)

Here are some things you need to know if it rains after you apply your stain.


The stain must dry for several hours for it to set. Even after that, it must be thoroughly dried for several days before returning outdoor furniture to the deck. If it rains within 48 hours of stain, the water will seep into the wood’s pores and try to disperse the stain.

As a result, rather than a uniform tone, the surface will be splotchy. If it rains shortly after you apply the stain, the stain might peel and flake away. Otherwise, if your stain has been drying for more than 48 hours, this shouldn’t.

Blotchy Stains

If the stain is peeling or flaking off due to rain, to fix it, sand the deck to remove the peeling stain and start again. You can apply stain to the lighter areas to blend in with the rest of the deck if the damage is cosmetic and the deck stain looks good apart from a few dots. Wait for the deck to dry completely before repairing or touching up the stain if there is no rain forecast. (Learn When to Remove Painters Tape)

white paint on wood

How Soon After Staining Deck Can It Rain?

First, ensure you know how long does deck stain take to dry before starting. At the very least, you need to be sure there was no rain within 24 hours before, and 24 hours to 48 hours after, and when the deck is totally dry.

First, ensure certain that the deck is fully dry. Remember, no rain for 24 hours before applying stain and no rain for 24 hours after the staining project is completed. Assuming the deck is dry and thirsty for stain, it’s time to make your deck spectacular.

A stain pad, a high-quality brush, or paint roller can be used to apply the stain. Take your time when applying the stain and remember more isn’t always better. Once you start the process, besides rain, you need to make sure you don’t start your project in direct sunlight.

Work your stain evenly and properly into deck boards, and don’t forget about the cracks. Wood materials can only absorb a certain amount of stain. To avoid a sticky mess, clean your deck immediately after you’ve applied the stain (this doesn’t mean washing). A second coat may be needed if you are staining an older deck.

How Long Should Deck Stain Dry Before Walking On It?

A fresh coat of stain on your light cedar deck is advised every year to 18 months, depending on wear and the environment. The question when you stain your deck is when can you walk on it? Much of this will be the temperature when you apply the stain. In dry, warm weather, a full-body stain or deck finish can dry to the touch inside an hour.

After two hours, it is possible to walk on your cedar deck with shoes on. After 4 hours, you can walk on your deck safely. For your furniture, after you stain your deck with the final coat, you’ll need to wait for a few days.

How Long Does Behr Stain Need to Dry Before Rain?

Behr is among the largest manufacturers of staining solutions and paints. Here are what they say about applying their stain to your deck.

  • Apply between 35-90˚ F where the temperature stays above 35˚ F for the following 2 hours.
  • Don’t apply in direct sunlight or when surfaces are hot.
  • The coating can resist rain after 4 hours.
  • The deck surface has to be completely dry before you apply it.

Deck stains are used to protect and preserve external wood. They repel water, protect against UV rays, inhibit fungal growth, and enhance the natural beauty of the wood.

If you want to apply deck stain and it has a coating of paint or stain on it already, you’ll need to take extra steps to create a fresh protective layer. Besides this, you’ll need to know whether to use an oil-based or water-based stain.

When the wood is cool and dry, the stain penetrates the best. The key is ensuring all the tannins and oils have leached from the wood. You can do this with natural weathering or using commercial timber treatments. (Find the Cheapest Wood Chipper Rental)

Oil stains are simpler to apply, penetrate the wood grain and require less work to reapply. They are very durable and provide a better seal for your deck as they penetrate wood deeper.

Oil-based stains take longer to cure and cause problems if the newly stained deck is rained within the first 12-24 hours of stain application.

Water-based stains dry fast and can last four to six years, although they peel and need more prep work before applying a second coat. Water-based stain has the advantage of not emitting strong odors or fumes and won’t burn.

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