Every couple of years deck owners must add the task of staining the deck to their project list. Usually, this only takes a couple of hours to do and is quite a simple task, but there are tons of questions out there when it comes to this project. You probably have heard to do it in cloudy, cool weather, thicker coats last longer, and your new deck needs to sit for a couple of months before applying the stain. Are these true? Or myths that have been shared among others for years? Below you’ll find the most common questions we are asked and what the answers are to each one.

stained deck
Stained Deck

Will the deck stain dry in cold weather?

If you decide to stain your deck in the fall or winter. You should wait until the temperature is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before your start. You also must check that the temperature will not fall below freezing (32 degrees) that night or your deck stain could freeze and not fully complete the curing process that is needed to protect your deck.

Will deck stain lighten over time?

Yes, deck stain will lighten over time as the weather elements, moisture, and foot traffic slowly wear away at your stain. Solid stain can keep your decks color for many years but heavily used decks in wet weather climates may need a new coat every year or so.

Can deck stain freeze?

Staining your deck in cold weather is fine, as long as it is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is below freezing the stain will not dry properly on the deck boards and therefore not work as well when protecting the deck boards from the elements.

Do I need to clean my deck prior to staining?

We never tell someone to not clean their deck before applying stain. Regardless if it is a newly built deck or reapplying over an old coat. It is extremely important to thoroughly clean the deck's surface before starting.

The reason why you should clean your deck is that it will remove any mold or mildew buildup and help the deck stain penetrate the wood better for a more complete bond.

How do I know it is time to restain my deck?

No coat of stain will last a lifetime and many decks will need a new coat every year or two. So how do you know when it is time to restain your deck? A good way to tell is by pouring a glass of water onto your deck. If the water is absorbed after a few minutes by the wood, then your deck is ready to be restained. If the water is repelled and sits on the surface of the deck boards, then it is ok to wait a while before you stain the wood again.

How many coats of stain does my deck need?

This depends entirely on the type of stain you have chosen to use. Some stains like transparent stains are 1 coat systems while solid color stains are 2 coat systems. You will usually need at most 2 coats of stain, doing more than that will not add any benefits to your deck or last longer.

Do thicker coats last longer?

This is a popular misconception. Thicker coats do not add any extra benefits to your deck. In fact, you can easily overdo the stain where it all can’t soak into the wood. When this happens the stain will harden and dry on the surface of your deck boards and cause peeling and chipping shortly after.

Do I need to let my deck “weather” for a couple of months before I stain?

All you have to do is wait long enough for the wood to dry. This does not take months to do and in fact, takes 2-3 days to air dry. Letting your deck sit for months before staining can actually cause the wood to lose more of its ability to let the stain adhere.


There are the eight most common questions we get when it comes to staining a deck. We hope that your question was answered above, but if it was not. Then contact us and one of our deck experts would be happy to help you out.