How Long After Power Washing Can You Stain A Deck

How Long After Power Washing Can You Stain A Deck

How Long After Power Washing Can You Stain A Deck

Try to recall the time when for the first time your wooden deck was installed. You would remember how lively and bright it looked. After years of resistance against the weather, it looks dull and grimy. You can visualize the stains left behind by rain, outdoor furniture, fire pits, and much other oil and greasy dirt. 

To take back the deck to its initial charisma may seem impossible now. But believe us it is highly achievable. In fact, it is a matter of a few hours through mighty power washing. And applying a clean nice coat of stain to rebirth the glory of the wood and protect it for upcoming years.

Staining your deck can help to protect it from the elements and keep it looking its best. It’s an important part of deck maintenance, so be sure to follow the recommended guidelines, especially on how long to wait after power washing before staining.

Note: Always choose a good pressure washer for cleaning your deck safely

How Long After Power Washing Can You Stain A Deck?

While it is good to pressure wash your deck before staining, it is also necessary to wait before applying a coat of stain. But how much wait?

It is best to wait for at least 48 hours after power washing your deck. It will give ample time for your deck to dry out completely before staining it.

However, there are certain things to keep in mind before staining as it is not necessary that your deck will dry out completely during this period. We will discuss them later in the article.

Is it possible to stain a wet wooden deck?

Yes, it is possible to stain a wet wooden deck, but it will not adhere properly to the wet surface of your wooden deck. If the normal life of the stain is 6-8 years, the stain on the wet wood will remain on the surface maximum of up to 2-3 years.

So it is best to let the wooden deck dry completely.

Why should you wait before staining your deck after power washing?

There are a host of reasons why you should wait for your wood deck to fully dry out. You should carefully consider each of these before making that first stroke with the paintbrush.

  1. The stain will not adhere properly to the wet wood surface and could end up peeling or flaking off. Wet wood has water in the pores and it will not give space to stain to sit properly.
  2. Wet wood is more susceptible to mildew and mold. If you are going to stain the wet deck, it is more likely to be a house of mold and mildew after some time.
  3. Power washing strips away the old stain and sealant but not all of it. You must be assured that the surface is all clean of old paint and stain before applying a new coat. But you can only see and check the wood thoroughly when it is dry. Therefore, it is important to wait until the deck is completely dry before applying a new coat of stain. Otherwise, the new stain will not be able to properly penetrate the wood and make an uneven surface.
  4. Finally, staining a wet deck can be more difficult and time-consuming than staining a dry one, so you’ll need to be prepared for a bit of a project. all things considered.

These are all the reasons why it is best to wait for your deck to dry completely before staining it.

Why It Is Best To Stain The Wooden Deck?

There are a number of reasons to opt for staining a deck. You might feel it is in fact a must thing to do so. Let us discuss some of them below. 

  • Affordable

Reinstalling the deck will cost you a lot, it is inevitable to stop mildew and grease to reappear. Then think of it, would you want to replace the wood surface every time? When you could simply restore its glory within a couple of hours and with almost ¼ cost cut. 

  • Versatile and Beauties Your Deck

There are endless options to customize your deck with different types of stains available in the market. You can go from natural wood stains to solid coloring or semi-transparent as per your liking. Instead of installing a new wooden deck, you can make it new by simply staining it.

  • Covers Imperfections

If the wood is worn-out or has bits of splinters and cracks here and there. A new coat of stain will cover up those blemishes and eventually boost the richness of the wood. If you have gone through power washing recently, then to seal back the rise fiber you have to stain it back. 

  • Warmth and Exquisiteness

If the stain is applied in the right way, it will increase the overall beauty of the wood. And will give welcoming vibes to guests. You can wow them simply with an artistic choice of stain, which should also compliment your surrounding area. 

  • Protection 

Mostly staining acts as a sealer on a wooden deck and provides resistance and protection against mildew and weather harshness. It works as an obstacle against UV rays and moisture. Ultimately the protection will help in extending the life span of the wooden surface. It also prevents discoloration and rotting in wood.  

How long after power washing can you stain a deck?

After going through power washing, your wooden deck would require adequate time to dry out properly before you can apply sealer or stain on it. Because moisture stays on the surface and if you will apply stain immediately moisture would be trapped in the wood. 

It takes two complete sunny days to dry the wood after power washing so that it can be newly stained.

This timing may vary depending upon your wood state, material, and surface area.

If the deck is under cover where direct sunlight is unable to reach it will take extra time to dry out completely.

And if you are trying to cut down the time by not power washing it before applying a new coat, you must know that the dirt and grime under the stain will still be vulnerable to wood life and won’t even give a nice sleek finishing.

Your hassle would go in vain. Therefore, we would suggest you follow the proper method so that your time and effort do not go to waste.

How To Stain Your Deck After Power Washing

The proper approach requires following the steps stated below in the sequence. 

  1. Clear and prepare the deck area for washing
  2. Spray cleaning detergent with a soap nozzle
  3. Let it sit on the surface for 5 to 10 minutes
  4. Rinse it off through power washing with a low setting
  5. Let it dry for at least a couple of days
  6. Apply new stain
  7. Let the stain for another 48 to 72 hours

It might look hectic to complete the process in a week. But the outcomes would be worthy enough to replace the bizarreness. It will make your wood surface strong enough to endure the weather’s harshness for the next 3 to 4 years or even more. 

Related Questions: How Long After Power Washing Can You Stain A Deck

How to check the deck is dry enough to stain

Usually, the technique is to check out that the wood is dry enough to stain newly through moisture testing. 

In between 24 to 48 hours you can investigate the wood at several points. Make sure you check it from all corners. Areas under shade will take more time than those that are exposed to direct sunlight.

Pour a little amount of water into the test area if the water soaks in the wood, the wood is dry enough. if the water stays on the surface, it will take more time to dry out. Ideal readings are 12% to 15%, and if the readings are higher than these give the surface more time. 

If it rains in between the process you have to ultimately wait for another day before proceeding to stain – depending upon the amount of rain poured.  

Why should not you stain a wet deck after power washing?

Because the stain you are about to apply is a dye made up of different oils. If the wood is not well dried it will absorb the stain oils in itself and you will have patchy uneven finishing.

The water you will seal under new stains will cause mold and mildew to grow in the wood and will create great trouble in the future.

Lastly, when the stain will finally be dried on wet wood it will cause cracking and peeling in the stain. And eventually, you have to do the whole thing from scratch. 

Precaution is better than cure. Give the wood proper time to dry up to avoid such unwanted results.

What temperature is ideal to stain a deck?

The ideal temperature should range between 10˚C to 35˚C, it shouldn’t be too hot or too cold. A dry, warm day would be best to do the deed. Moist weather will prolong the dry time while too hot will dry out the stain too quickly than necessary and won’t settle in the wood. 


Waiting out for the wooden deck to dry after power washing is a must part of the job. If you want to bind the stain correctly into the wood you should wait for at least 2 warm days without much humidity in the air. Take time to stain the wood and apply a generous amount of stain.

If the coating will be too thin it will wipe off the wood after the rainy season. Make it a fun activity by choosing a stain of your interest so that instead of getting the whole process on nerves. You enjoy doing it and find it healing. 

Flinn Milan

Flinn Milan is the content director at Washwith. He is responsible for developing helpful content in collaboration with other hard-working team members. Over several years, his content strategy is mainly focused on describing and highlighting every product with its positive and negative points

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