How Long Does Deck Stain Need to Dry Before it Rains?

Image of rain drops on a deck but, How Long Does Deck Stain Need to Dry Before it Rains?Staining is not just any other day to day job as it involves money and personal time. Therefore, you need to be keen to ensure that you get it all right. The application’s timing is one crucial factor that you should pay close attention to; this will ensure that you are not affected by environmental instances such as rains. Before embarking on staining, you need to ask yourself a question such as how long does deck stain need to dry before it rains?

Stains are different and have different drying times. When applying the stain, you need to do it on a day that rain is not forecast for a minimum of 48 hours.

It would be best to ensure that deck is clean before commencing your staining projects. The preparation process includes sweeping, washing, and sanding. Use a shop vac for dust collection to remove sand dust.

What Happens If You Stain Your Deck and It Rains?

Your stain needs to dry for many hours so that it adheres and sets properly on your structure. Even after the stain dries, it still needs to stay uninterrupted for several days. By uninterrupted, I mean allowing it time before you bring back your furniture. If it happens to rain within 48 hours following the stain’s application, the rainwater will soak into the pores of the wood and try to displace all the stain. It will result in a splotchy surface instead of an even tone. If it rains soon after applying your formula, you will see the stain peeling and flaking off. Your surface will be safe in case the stain has dried for about 48 hours.

How Many Days After it Rains Should You Apply Deck Stain?

I advise that you don’t stain your deck for at least 48 hours following rain from my experience in woodworking. 48 hours allows for enough time for your structure to dry, promoting the adhesion between the stain and the surface.

The stain manufacturer Behr Corporation, also advises that you allow your deck to dry for at least 24- 48 hours after it rains. As you might have already known, moisture present in the wood hinders proper adhesion, which translates to a thinner final coat that can wash off after a few intense rainstorms.

What If It Rains 12 Hours After Staining Deck?

Most woodworkers, homeowners, and painters will tell you that it is a bad idea to consider staining your deck within 12-24 hours of rain being forecast. Additionally, you will notice that most stains manufacturers also advise that you don’t apply stain to your exterior wooden structures when it may rain soon. Much as I discourage you from applying stains when it is about to rain, I also know that the weather is unpredictable. So what do you do when it rains with 12 hours of staining?

You can do less once it has started raining, so you will have to wait until the rain ceases. After your deck has dried, assess it to see the condition; what you see will depend on the rain’s intensity.

Image of wood cleanerDrizzles or light rains will likely not affect your deck in any way. In the events of heavy downpour, expect to see great levels of damages.

Pay close attention to little pockets, white spots, and blotches that are present on your deck. In most, if not all cases, the spots on your surface after the rains are in the size of a dime. They indicate damage from the rain. Look at the manufacturer’s instructions from the stain that you used to know the best way to go about the restaining.

One way of doing away with the spots is by the use of a light recoat. In case this does not help fix the issue, you can try another way, which involves the use of wood cleaner and a pressure washer to clean the surface without necessarily damaging the stain on the deck. 

Image of Makita in use, the best belt sander for woodworkingAdditionally, you can go the sanding way to remove the spots. Use a wood sander for sanding the spots then follow it with the recoating lightly. Even as you do the recoating, ensure that you do not over apply the stain to avoid issues such as peeling or flaking of the finish.

If all the methods that I have stated above are not helping you remove the spots from your deck, you should consider stripping the entire structure and start over again. Much as this might prove costlier as far as time and finances are involved, it’s the final resort; therefore, you must do your staining when the weather is clear and no rain forecast at least for 48 hours.

How to Stain a Deck

Staining the deck, as you already know, is vital to help prolong its service life. Many homeowners still find it a big deal to stain their structure and, in the process, incur extra costs hiring professional deck stainers. Well, staining the deck is not as complicated as you might imagine. Below are some of the critical steps involved in the staining of the deck for a perfect finish.

The Necessary Materials

Gallons of top quality deck stains (Depending on the size of your deck)

  • A broom
  • Drop cloth
  • Paint pole
  • Paint-pad tray
  • Paint pole
  • Paintbrush, at least 3.’
  • A painter’s tape
  • Paint stirrer
  • A pressure washer if necessary (for old decks)

Step One: Sweep Clean the Surface of Your Deck

For you to achieve that “perfect” finish on your deck, you need to sweep it clean, dry, and free from any debris. Even as you sweep clean your structure, ensure that you are working on a clear sunny day with no forecast for rain, at least for the next 48 hours. Sweep your surface using the broom; if you are working with a new deck, sweeping alone is enough to clean the surface. However, in the case of an old deck, you will need to use a pressure washer. Ensure that you set the pressure to the right levels so that you don’t damage the structure.

Maximum pressure of 1500 psi would do; however, you choose and can still decide to use a pressure lower than that provided it is working for you.

Step Two: Plan Your Staining Format

It is key that when you want to stain your deck, you decide and make it clear of the areas on your deck that you want to start your stain and where you shall stop. The planning is essential to ensure that you have a smooth transition even as you apply the formula from one point of your structure to the next.

Step Three: Protection of Other Surfaces( Exterior Walls, etc.)

It is at this point that a painter’s tape comes in handy. Use the tape to cover areas, especially where the external wall comes into contact with the top of your deck. The purpose of the tape is to protect the wall from droplets of the stain.

Step Four: Add Stain to Tray

Here, it would help if you put the drop cloth to your deck area that you intend to stain last. Put the paint pad tray and the gallon on your drop cloth. Follow this by stirring your stain using the stirrer to mix correctly and then pour it into the tray.

Step Five: Join The Pole to Paint Pad

Application using a long applicator is less tiring, and that’s why you need to attach the paint pad to the pole. It would be great if you can fit it tightly so that you have the best application possible.

Step Six: Stain Your Deck Using Paint Pad

This stage is everything you have been waiting for all along, and that’s why you need to make the best of it. Dip the paint pad into the tray containing the formula and apply it to the whole surface of your deck.

Once you have covered the entire surface using the stain, apply the formula to your deck sites using the paint pad.

Note: If you notice that the paint pad you are using doesn’t cover inside spaces between boards, it would be wise to go for a 1” paintbrush to ensure proper coverage. Allow your stain up to at least 24 hours to dry before putting the furniture on the deck.

Importance of Staining a Deck

Staining can be costly if you factor in time as well as financial resources. However, in the end, you realize that it gives you so much that the costs and time involved are almost insignificant. Here are some of the essential aspects of staining:

  • Improving the Appearance of The DeckImage of ready seal, best stain for deck

One of the best and most sure ways of maintaining your deck’s impressive appearance is by staining it. This way, you shall ensure that your structure remains in the top condition as if it were new. 

The deck stains are available in various colors, giving you so much flexibility in color choice; if you are looking for something natural, you will find them easily. A perfect example is the Ready Seal Deck Stain and Sealerwhich gives you a semi-transparent appearance that enhances the wood’s natural beauty by exposing the grains.

  • It’s Easier to Stain than Painting

If you have never painted your deck, you should know it is the hardest thing to do if you choose between painting and staining. Staining provides the faster and easier option of the two. 

What you will love about staining, unlike painting, is that the application of stain over your surfaces does not necessarily require that you apply a primer. What does this mean? Considering that you will have to undergo priming processes, you will save a lot of time, making the process almost half what you shall have done in the case of painting. 

Therefore, it is a lot easier to conduct regular maintenance on your deck if you choose to stain it instead of painting. Additionally, deck stains offer protection against the UV rays in the exterior environment, unlike paints.

  • Stain Prevents Rotting & Infestation by Insects

Other than the impressive appearances that you get from different types of deck stains, the application of these formulas helps prolong your structure’s service life. How does that happen? Staining protects your deck from the infestation of insects, such as termites, which eat away your structure. 

Additionally, water repellent deck stains prevent your structure from moisture. Continued absorption of water by the wood weakens the wood’s cell structure, softens it, and eventually leads to rotting. So with the right stain and applied in the right way, you will protect your wood from damaging elements.

Watch the video below on how to stain a deck:


Rain is not suitable for a new stain, so if you happen to stain your deck at it rains immediately or a few; however, before your formula dries, you are likely to have to redo your work because rainwater can damage the freshly stained deck. The level of damage largely depends on the intensity of the rain. So, 

How Long Does Deck Stain Need to Dry Before it Rains?

As I have stated at the beginning of this article, you need to do yourself a favor of staining your wooden deck at least 48 hours before it rainsThat way, your structure will stay safe from the damage that usually occurs to decks when it rains on them before the formula dries.

I hope that you have read this post and found it helpful with your quest to understand how long your deck needs to dry before it rains the following staining. If you have a question, opinion, or suggestion, kindly share it with me in the comments section below!

Image of a woodworker wearing hearing protectors for woodworking

Tyron Otieno

Tyron is an avid woodworker and writer. He founded this website to help other woodworkers, whether hobbyists or professionals by sharing his knowledge and experiencie after a decade of woodworking.