Staining your deck is vital if you want to protect the finish and prevent moisture from seeping into the wood and causing damage. But how long should deck stain dry before putting furniture on it again?
At the very least, you should wait 24 hours before putting light furniture on the deck. Heavy items like umbrella stands or BBQs should be left off for up to 3 days.
It is important that the deck stain has time to fully dry and cure so it offers complete protection. Although most deck stain products will be dry in 24 hours, they take longer to cure and there are a number of factors that can affect the drying time.
What Affects the Drying Time of Your Stained Deck?
The climate where you live will play a big part in how long your deck stain takes to dry. Humid environments will slow down the curing process and make the drying time longer because there is more moisture in the air. In cooler temperatures, drying times will be increased.
Most stain products give drying times that are based on 40 percent humidity. You should only apply deck stain when humidity levels are between 40 and 70. Any higher than this and the stain may not fully dry.
Wind can also have an impact because a breeze will carry moisture off the surface of the stain and help it dry faster. On the other hand, staining the deck in particularly windy conditions can be a risk because it brings dust and debris, which may settle on the stain as it dries and damage the finish.
2. The Product You Used
You will notice different drying times between brands because the products have different formulations. For the most part, drying times are between 24 and 48 hours. However, there are some that will dry in as little as 2 hours in the right conditions, while others will take longer than 2 days. These variations are often due to the differences in water-based and oil-based deck stains. It is important to follow the directions on the tin to get the right drying time.
3. The Type of Wood Being Stained
The type of wood you use will also affect the drying times. Some hardwood decking may take longer to stain because it is harder and denser, so absorbs less moisture. Softwoods are generally quicker to stain and the drying time will be faster because they take in more moisture.
The age of the deck makes a difference too. New decking will already have high moisture content due to the chemicals that are used to treat it, meaning that it absorbs less deck stain. So, if you treat your deck in the first six months, expect it to take longer to dry.
4. Direct Sunlight vs Shade
Direct sunlight will affect how fast the deck stain dries. Direct sunlight can speed up the evaporation of moisture from the deck. This may cause the wood to dry out too quickly, which can lead to an uneven finish. The UV rays prevent the stain from adhering to the wood properly, so it is best to avoid staining your deck in direct sun and wait for a cloudy day instead.
5. Does Water-Based or Oil-Based Stain Dry Faster?
Oil-based stain is more viscous, so it takes longer to dry. This means that deck stains with an oil base will require a longer drying time than water-based finishes. Water-based stain is usually dry in 2-4 hours and can withstand rain. It is ready for furniture after 24 hours.
Oil-based stains take anywhere between 4 and 24 hours to dry fully, and most of them can take rain after 12 hours. However, it can take up to 3 days before they are fully cured. Before they are cured, it is important to be careful about what you put on your deck.
Will Furniture Damage a Freshly Stained Deck?
Putting a heavy object on a fresh stain is not a good idea. But how long should you wait before putting the furniture back on? Most deck stains are dry within 24 hours, but this can vary depending on environmental factors. So, make sure that you wait at least 24 hours, if not longer, and check that the stain is not sticky before you place anything on the deck. If the stain is not completely dry, the furniture will damage the finish and your deck will not be protected.
It is also worth noting that furniture can still cause scratches and dents in your deck, even once the stain is cured.
How Can You Protect Your Deck from Furniture Scratches?
There are a number of simple things you can do to protect your deck from furniture scratches. Outdoor furniture feet protectors are perfect for putting on the bottom of legs and preventing scratches.
Project Patio does some simple iron feet protectors that come in black and white. These are easy to fit and they don’t alter the aesthetic of the furniture as they stay hidden. However, they are only suitable for wrought iron cup feet measuring 1-1 1/2 inches.
These silicone chair leg floor protectors are a good option too. They are suitable for a wide range of chair sizes and they are quick and easy to slip onto the bottom of the leg for instant protection.
As well as using floor protectors, you could also invest in an outdoor rug. Not only do they provide excellent protection, but they also look great too. If you want a stylish way to protect your deck, outdoor rugs are the ideal solution. You can find more information in our article on outdoor rugs here.
Should You Use an Exterior Clear Coat for Better Protection?
Although you can buy a separate exterior clear coat, they are not usually necessary. In fact, many deck stains already have a built-in sealant that provides more than enough protection.
When choosing a deck stain product, consider the added protection it provides and pick an option that includes a sealant.
A deck is a great way to enhance your home, but it can be easily ruined if you don’t care for it properly. If you are planning on staining your deck soon, it is important that you allow enough time for the deck to dry properly before putting furniture on it. If you use the deck before it has dried, you can damage the finish and ruin the protective layer.
In most cases, 24 hours will be enough time for the stain to dry properly. However, it is always important to check the drying times on the back of the tin, and consider environmental factors that could lengthen the drying time.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.