When can I stain my new deck?
I have heard a lot of answers for this question. The answer is: "It depends". I have heard builders tell homeowners to wait a year. We just did an estimate yesterday for a new Raleigh deck that another deck builder just finished and was asked when they should have it stained. We took a moisture reading and the wood was at 22% moisture content, this is way to high and needs more time to dry.
Even when we build a deck with Kiln dried wood I still recommend waiting at least a month for it to weather. This wood usually comes in the 12%-15% moisture content.
There are a few other factors that need to be taken into account before you stain your new deck.
- Moisture - We prefer to be below 12%. Check your Stain manufacturers recommendations first though.
- Mill Glaze - When the deck boards are made they are run through a planer which compresses the grain down and leaves a smooth finish. This finish prevents stain from penetrating, meaning even brand new "clean" decking needs to be cleaned properly to open the grain of the wood. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
- Waterproofing chemicals - Some new wood not only is pressure treated to prevent rot and insect damage but a waterproofing chemical is also added to protect the wood. This will also prevent stain from penetrating.
Some things that will help your first Deck Staining last longer, especially when staining your new deck.
- Remove Deck Stamps - As soon as the surface of the wood is dry enough lightly sand the deck stamps off. This gives the wood time to weather evenly before staining. DO NOT SAND just prior to staining because the finish will be different on the spots that were sanded.
- Wait until wood is at least 15% moisture - In summer in full sun it might be 1 month, in winter on a shaded deck it may take 3 months.
- Clean Deck - We use both a cleaner and brightener for all the new decks we Stain. Very low pressure with a power washer to avoid damage to the wood.
- Make sure deck is dry after cleaning.
We hope this helps.
Cary Deck Restoration