In one of the earlier articles, we learn how often should we stain our deck, but another important question is when to stain your deck and in which conditions. One thing is for sure, you need a plan and be careful, the weather is a thing we can't control but pay attention to the forecasts. The perfect timing for staining would be between 24 and 48 hours without rain. Also, the wood needs 24 to 48 hours before staining to dry completely. Take into account the drying time between the first and second layer and of course the time you will spend on work. It depends on how skilfully are you and which tools you have available.
Time stain needs to dry
It's very hard to answer this because it depends on many factors. Not all stains are the same, same with woods. Actually, staining is more something like a curing process than a drying one. Curing is the time needed for the stain to completely fill the surface of the wood. Again, that time is hard to predict because it depends on the weather, if there is too much moisture it can be discolored or develop mold. Another important factor is the location of your deck. Keep in mind that undercover decks will take more time to dry. The outdoor deck, on the other hand, is exposed to sunlight and rain so we recommend an oil-based stain for this one because this stain has the best response to any weather opportunity.
Things you should know about stain
Deck stains are usually used to protect the wood. They help against fungal growth, ensure water repellency, and UV protection, and emphasize the beauty of wood. If the deck you are planning to stain already has layers of paint, there are some steps you should do to achieve a new even layer. Every stain, oil-based or water-based works the same way. It soaks into the wood and becomes the first layer of the wood. Rain on your new layer can ruin it at all or in a better scenario cause you much more work. Stain soaks the best when the wood is dry and cool, but also try to avoid staining in direct sunlight. Wait for the sun to pass over your deck and wait for it to cool down before work.
Sorts of wood stains
As with everything before, choosing the right stain for your deck also depends on many factors. The most important one is the weather, deck location can also affect your choice. The type of timber and wood age are also factors. Some woods like Cedar or Redwood are immune to rotting so for them, the best choice is a water-based stain. In some states, you won't be able to buy certain stains because of the law. When it's possible, try your stain on the average section of your deck. Also, avoid light stains if your deck is previously painted with a darker stain.
Oil-based stains are easier to apply, they penetrate easier into the wood and you have less work when reapplying them. Not only do they penetrate easier they also go deeper into the wood which gives better protection. The only downside is that oil stains need more time to cure and there could be problems if rain hits your deck in the next 24 hours after staining.
Water-based stains dry very fast and can last about 5 years. After that period, the stain will probably peel and you will have some additional job before repainting. The good thing about water stains is that there aren't flammable and don't contain any harmful odors.
Applying the second layer
If you are staining any outdoor structure there must be a second layer. It's a very important part of your job because this, the second layer will be the one that stands out the most so we all want one smooth finish. The second layer requires some precision, but how long will it take to dry completely depends on already mentioned factors. The weather and mainly temperature, wood type, and stain type as well are only some of them. There is a rule when you can apply the second layer. If the first one is tacky to the touch, your deck is ready for the second layer.
It rained after my staining
If the rain surprises you and covers your newly stained deck you will have some extra work to do. When the rain stops take a close look at your deck. It's very important how strong was that rain and for how long it rained. If the deck is dried enough to touch and the rain was gentle you won't have any serious problems, but stronger and longer rain can seriously damage your work. The type of stain and brand also can impact deck reaction to rain, keep that in mind.
If you find any little pockets and white spots after the rain you will have to repair that. Some of these spots can be fixed with the second layer. If this didn't help you, try with a mix of the wood sweeper and a pressure washer to remove the spots without any extra damage to the stain. If this also didn't help you, you must strip off the stain and start it all over again.
To sum up, there are many factors that can affect your painting. From weather to stain and wood type. Use the forecasts as a guide on when to stain your deck. It can't be 100% correct but there is nothing else you can do about the weather. Pay attention to the stain brand because some brands are better and will better withstand possible rain. Good luck!