How Long to Wait before Staining your Deck

caring for your deck

caring for your deckMurfreesboro, Mt. Juliet and Franklin, TN

Adding a wooden deck to your property is a big decision. Simultaneously, a new, well-made wood deck enhances your property value, provides a quiet place to observe your neighborhood, and creates an area for your friends and family to congregate. However, a wood deck also needs to be properly maintained, or else it becomes an eyesore as well as a safety hazard. A key component of maintaining a wooden deck is staining it, but there are several different opinions when it comes to determining the right time to stain a deck for the first time.

Your Middle Tennessee fence experts at Mid Tenn Fencing want to share tips with you on staining your deck.

How should I determine when to stain my deck?

One of the most important factors when determining when to stain your deck is the weather. This is because, in order to stain a deck, the wood needs to be dry completely—making it able to absorb the stain. Other factors include the amount of direct sunlight the wood receives, the general climate, recent rainfall, the season, and more.

The most common suggestion by deck manufacturers is to let a new deck dry and weather for between 3-12 months. This waiting period allows your deck to dry, as new wood has a higher moisture content, and this moisture impedes the ability of your stain to penetrate the wood. During this initial drying period, your wood will dry and turn a grayish color in reaction to exposure from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Before applying the stain, you would need to clean the deck with a quality wood cleaner. This will remove the gray wood cells, and can be performed either by scrubbing by hand or using a pressure washer on a light setting. Once the deck is cleaned, you should neutralize the cleaner with a wood brightener. After the deck has at least 24 hours to dry, you can apply your chosen stain.

Another school of thought is to stain a new deck right away. This is far less common but can be a good solution if you are willing to commit to a substantial amount of preparation. When your new deck is installed, you clean it thoroughly right away—either scrubbing vigorously by hand or using a pressure washer on a light setting. Neutralizing with a wood brightener completes the process, removes the mill glaze, and “opens” the pores of the wood. If you do choose to apply a stain on a new deck right away, choose one that has a thin viscosity, as a heavily-bodied stain will have difficulty penetrating into the wood. 

No matter when you choose to stain a new deck, if you are doing the job yourself, you need to be sure not to over-apply the stain. An excess of stain will not soak into the wood, making the finish dry on top of the wood. Most manufacturers suggest just one smooth coat of stain.

Fence Experts in Middle Tennessee

Many homeowners bring that “do it yourself” mentality and look to stain and maintain their decks themselves. However, staining a deck poorly or unevenly can cause all sorts of problems that may require the services of a professional company like Mid Tenn Fencing to correct. If you have any questions about the maintenance of your deck, or just would like to have professionals do the job for you to make sure your deck is stained the right way, give us a call at (931) 394-3400. One of our professionals will be happy to come to your property and provide a consultation and estimate—and we are open to serve your fencing and deck needs year round.

Mid Tenn Fencing is proud to serve customers in the communities of Murfreesboro, Nashville, and Mt. Juliet in middle Tennessee.

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