How Long Should Deck Stain Dry Before Walking On It?

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Staining helps the wood to be more durable & paint adhesive. However, the drying period of stained wood can become a headache sometimes. If you’re new to deck staining & want to know when you’ll be able to walk on a stained deck, then this article is for you.

Wood stains mostly dry within 4 to 6 hours. But, it doesn’t mean you can start walking on it already. You’ll be able to walk on a stained deck in the middle of drying & curing time. For further clarification, continue reading this article.

How Long Does It Take To Dry Deck Stain?

Considering the weather temperature is above 60°, stains will take around 4 to 24 hours to dry properly. Different types of stains dry in different time periods. For example, oil-based stains will take more time compared to water-based stains. Some other factors influence the overall deck drying time & I’ll be talking about them in the next section.

Factors That Affect The Stained Deck Drying Time

Stained decks don’t follow a fixed value(time) while drying. It is simply because a lot of factors affect the drying period, which is totally normal. To get a clear idea of the influential factors, have a look below:

The Product Type

It’s the most obvious factor that determines the drying period. Several types of stains are available in the market, such as – Oil-Based Stain, Water-based Stain, Gel Stain, Lacquer stain, and more.

Water-Based Wood stain dries in the shortest time than oil-based, Gel, or Lacquer stains. With that said, choose a water-based wood stain if you’re in a hurry & want to complete the staining task as soon as possible.

The Wood Type

There are three types of wood available for deck work & they are – Redwood, Cedar & Pressure-Treated Wood. Their inner chemicals react differently with stains, causing different drying periods.

Simply stating, the pressure-treated wood takes the longest time to dry. Therefore, avoid this wood type if you want a speedy drying period. Besides the wood type, the size of the deck also influences the overall drying time.

The Weather Condition

No matter what you do, nature will always have an impact on that. Unfortunately, the stained deck drying time isn’t an exception. So instead of digging deeper into details, follow this advice – try working in dry weather as it offers shorter curing time due to lesser humidity.

Don’t work in direct sunlight, thinking it will shorten the drying time. The stain will eventually dry a lot faster, but it won’t penetrate the wood properly. Don’t allow this to happen unless you want poor durability.

How Long Should Deck Stain Dry Before Walking On It
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Backyard deck and pergola landscaping.

How Long Should Deck Stain Dry Before Walking On It?

Deck stain should dry for 24 hours to walk on it. If you’re in a hurry, you can wear socks & walk over a stained deck after 6 to 8 hours. The socks will minimize the risk of unwanted scratches on your deck. It would be best if you didn’t use shoes for 24 hours for the welfare of your deck.

What Happens If It Rains Before Deck Stain Dries?

The stains will start to peel & flake away if it rains before the deck stain dries. In short, you’ll have to stain the deck again if rain happens within 24 to 48 hours of applying. That’s the reason you should always inspect the weather first. Ensure the weather will remain stable for the next 4 to 5 days before starting the staining job.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Long Does It Take For Behr Deck Stain To Dry?

Behr deck stain takes approximately 24 to 48 hours to dry. You can walk on it after 24 hours with socks & 48 hours with shoes. However, if you want to bring lightweight furniture to the room, you’ll have to wait at least 72 hours. The 72 hours mark is the curing time for Behr deck stain.

How Long Do I Need To Wait After Deck Staining To Put Furniture On It?

Depending on the wood type, you will be able to put lightweight furniture after 24 hours to 72 hours of the staining period. However, if you want to bring heavy furniture like a steel bed or steel showcase – you’ll have to wait at least 4 to 5 days. Just having this patience will eliminate the potential harm caused by the sharp edges of heavy furniture.

Will Tacky Deck Stain Ever Dry?

Tacky deck stains will surely dry, but it will take around one month for the complete process. In the meantime, you won’t be able to use the deck. To know whether the deck has dried or not, try splashing some water onto it. If the deck absorbs the water, it’s not that dried yet.

Why Is The Stain On My Deck Not Drying?

The stain on your deck won’t dry timely for several reasons. Mainly, applying stains in large quantities causes lengthy drying issues. The weather also plays a vital role in determining the drying period. To accelerate the drying time, you can use a room heater or a blow dryer.

What’s The Ideal Weather For Deck Staining?

The dry weather type is for deck staining. You shouldn’t aim for a hot sunny day to stain your wood; it will be hazardous to your work. Instead, try choosing the time when the sunlight isn’t that rough. I personally prefer the evening period of dry weather to start the deck staining job.


I hope this article was helpful enough to satisfy your query regarding the drying period of a stained deck. Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a confusing situation if you’re not familiar with deck staining. Still, let me help you by summarizing this article. 

In summary, you’ll be able to walk wearing socks after 6 to 8 hours of the staining period. Wait at least 24 to 48 hours to walk over stained wood without causing any damages safely.

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