It’s important to make sure a wood deck is clean and dry before staining, here’s how:

  • Start by testing the surface by pouring a cup of water on it. If the water soaks in within 30 seconds, the wood is dry enough to stain. If not, wait 4-6 weeks and test it again.
  • If needed, clean the surface first with Flood Cleaner/Brightener Concentrate, following the instructions on the container.
  • Allow the wood to dry for several days, or use Flood OneCoat stain, which allows wood to be cleaned and stained in a single day.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Whether you have a wood fence, deck, or outdoor furniture; a penetrating stain can do wonders to add life and enhance its look. But knowing when to stain is just as critical as what kind of stain you use.

New wood requires some curing time to dry out and allow the pores of the wood to open. Here’s an easy test to determine if your wood is ready to stain.

Pour a cup of water on a horizontal wood surface, and let it sit there for 30 seconds. If the water is absorbed into the wood, then you’re ready to stain. If, however, the water stays pooled on the surface, wait another four to six weeks and repeat the water test.

Once the wood has passed that test, plan on applying stain when the outside temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

As with any paint or staining project, the key is the preparation. Cover any areas you want to protect, and sweep or brush the surface clean of any surface dust, dirt, and debris.

Following the instructions, dilute some Flood Cleaner/Brightener Concentrate and brush, roll, or spray it on the wood surface. Scrub well with a stiff nylon brush, and let it sit for 20-30 minutes before rinsing off.

Normally, you need to wait two or three days to allow the wood to completely dry before applying stain. But if you use Flood OneCoat, you can clean and stain all in the same day, even if the wood is still damp.

That means you don’t have to rely on several days of good weather. Your deck, fence, or wood furniture can be prepped and finished in one single day.

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Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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