When to Seal or Stain a New Wood Deck

Water beading up on new wood deck.
Wait to stain a new wood deck if water beads up on it.

The wood on a new deck needs to dry thoroughly before sealing or staining. If the wood came still wet with preservative, allow it to dry about 30 days before applying stain or sealer.

To test the wood to see if it’s dry enough to stain or seal:

  • Pour a little water on the wood.
  • If the water beads up, it’s still too wet to finish.
  • If the water is absorbed into the wood easily, it’s ready to seal or stain.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: One of the things people often ask about wood decks is how long do I have to wait before I seal or stain the pressure-treated wood?

The short answer is around 30 days, but there’s a number of factors to consider, including the weather, and how long the wood sat in the lumber yard or home center. The best way to know for sure is to test the wood.

This is what the folks at YellaWood suggest. Pour a few drops of water on the deck. If it beads up, it’s still too wet to coat, and you’ll need to wait a while. If it absorbs the water easily, it’s ready for sealer or stain.

Whether you choose a clear sealer or a semi-transparent stain, look for one with a long warranty and UV stabilizers. Then apply according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’ll be giving your new deck the best protection possible.