How Soon After Pressure Washing Can You Stain?
Power washing your deck, patio, fence, siding, or any other outdoor structure can brighten it up and make it look new again. And while it may be tempting to apply a new coat of stain immediately after pressure washing, most experts recommend waiting at least 48 hours before applying any new products. But time length is applicable ONLY under perfect circumstances.
If you decide to stain immediately after pressure washing, be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow all directions.
Knowing the right time to reapply things after washing leads to longer-lasting coverage.
What Is Deck Staining?
Deck staining or sealing is an important part of keeping a wooden deck looking its best and lasting for years.
- Staining provides protection from moisture and UV rays that can cause the wood to discolor and rot.
- It also gives the deck an attractive coloring that matches the look of your property.
There are methods and best practices to follow for DIY deck staining. These include steps like deck cleaning with pressure washing, the staining process, drying time for both water and stain, and more.
We’ll go over all the specifics so that your next deck sealing job results in a perfect finish.
Wondering how soon you can stain after power washing?
Most people think that if they get their house pressure washed, they have to wait a long time before they can stain it. That’s actually not the case! You can start staining as soon as the next day. The key is to make sure that the surface is completely dry before you start. If there is any moisture left on the surface, it will prevent the stain from properly adhering. Once you’re sure the surface is dry, you can go ahead and apply the stain of your choice.
Wood Deck Staining: How Long Should You Wait For Your Deck to Dry After you Pressure Wash It
How long should you wait for your deck to dry after you power wash it? The short answer is 48 hours. You should wait at least two days after pressure washing your deck before you consider staining it, to give time for it to dry.
Now let’s talk about specifics. Cleaning your deck is an all-important first step in the staining process. If you were to stain your decks with dirt or several spots on them, the stain would seal the grime to the wood. Sealing the deck while it’s dirty enables debris like mold and mildew to continue eating away at the wood, weakening your deck, and it can create a dingy appearance.
Traditionally, deck sealing requires the following process:
- Apply Deck Cleaner
- Pressure Wash to Remove Dirt and Soap
- Allow Deck to Dry
- Apply Sealant or Stain
- Allow the Deck to Dry for 24 to 48 Hours
The entire process takes as long as 3 to 5 days. Once the stain or sealant is dry, your deck is ready once more for hanging out on and entertaining, and should endure all weather conditions and seasons for the next 3 years or so.
Weather Considerations When Staining
Deck stain is effective when it has time to soak into the wood before it dries. Therefore, you want to avoid staining your deck when extremely hot weather or direct sunlight could cause the stain to dry too fast. The ideal temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. You will also want to plan to stain your deck at a time of day when the deck is in shade, or when you have light cloud cover.
On the other hand, you do not want it to start raining before the stain has dried. Avoid deck staining in high heat, high humidity, and direct sunlight. Check the forecast and choose a time when you will have at least two days without rain. Staining a wet deck will result in an uneven finish.
How Long After Pressure Washing Can You Stain?
Just as you should not stain a wet deck from pressure washing, you do not want to stain your deck immediately after a rainstorm. Rain leaves the wood wet and affects the way that the stain adheres. It is important to only stain the wood after it has dried completely. Check if the deck is dry enough for staining using a moisture meter. It measures the amount of moisture within the wood itself.
If it has rained recently, wait at least 1 to 2 days for the wood to dry before attempting to apply stain. Depending on how much rain you got, a humid climate or colder temperatures may take closer to 2 days, while dry and hot areas should only take 1.
You also need to remember that rain can affect your pressure wash as well. In some cases, rain can introduce new stains that require additional power cleaning. Thankfully, this is uncommon.
How Long Does it Take For Deck Stain To Dry?
After you have applied the stain, fresh coat, or sealant to your deck, you will need to wait for it to dry before you walk over it or set your furniture back up. The recommended drying time for deck stain or sealant is 24 to 48 hours. The exact time will depend on:
- The type of wood in your deck.
- The type of stain or sealant.
- How much stain was applied?
- Temperature and humidity.
In general, water stains are faster drying than oil-based deck stains. New wood also takes longer to cure than the aged wood of older decks.
Costs of Staining a Deck
The cost to stain your deck will depend on the size of your space, the cost of cleaning, the quality of your stain or sealant, and whether you want to do the process yourself or hire a professional. Doing the job yourself is more affordable, but hiring a professional can lead to a better result, particularly if this is your first time sealing a deck.
In the end, staining your deck will save you money by lengthening the deck’s lifespan. You are investing a small amount now to give you more time before you have to perform an expensive deck replacement.
DIY Deck Staining Costs
When you stain a deck yourself, you will only have the material costs. These materials include deck cleaner, stain, oxalic acid, deck brightener, wood brightener, and paint brushes and rollers. You may also want a deck stripper, a pressure washer rental, and plastic tarps to protect landscaping. The total cost average is between $20 and $250.
You will also want to consider your time. Staining your deck will likely take a couple of hours at least. If this is your first time or the wood has been stained previously, it can take significantly longer. In addition, a deck that is not stained correctly or power washed correctly can lead to issues that cost you hundreds of dollars more to fix.
Professional Deck Staining Costs
A professional brings all their own materials, so you will pay for labor and stain. Like DIY deck staining, the cost depends on your deck area and the quality of the sealant or stain. The average cost for staining is between $500 and $1000.
How to Clean a Stained Deck
Cleaning a deck before staining is not the only time you want to clean your deck. Regular deck cleaning can help make the stain and wood last longer. There are a few different ways to clean a sealed deck to remove dust, algae, mildew, and mold. These include:
- Sweeping Your Deck
- Spraying Your Deck with a Garden Hose
- Scrubbing Your Deck
- Power Washing Your Deck
You can use easier methods like sweeping and using a garden hose whenever you like, but know that they are not able to get to the dirt that gets trapped in cracks in the wood. For more in-depth cleaning, pressure washing is ideal.
Pressure Washing Your Deck
Wood is naturally porous. This creates lots of little holes where dust can settle beneath the surface. Especially as your stain ages, these cracks can become deeper and trap more dirt. Over time, your deck will accumulate different kinds of debris and stains, such as:
- Wood grain mold
Power washing uses the force of water to get deep into these cracks and loosen the dirt there. Then it simply washes the dirt away. It is a fast and effective process that leaves your deck or wood surface completely clean and ready for staining.
How Long To Wait After Pressure Washing To Stain A Deck
You will need to wait to seal a deck after pressure washing to give the wood time to dry. If you apply the stain too early after cleaning, the wet wood will keep the stain from binding correctly. This results in a thinner coat that looks worse and is likely to wash away after it rains. Waiting for your deck to be sufficiently dry is a necessary part of the deck cleaning and power washing process.
The reason it takes so long is that pressure washing saturates your deck with water. The high-powered water gets deep into cracks and crevices to remove dirt. This also means it can take a while for all the water to evaporate. 48 hours in warm weather without too much humidity is typically long enough that all the water will be gone when you start staining, making the stain even and durable.
If you want to learn more about pressure washing, contact us at (610) 692-9274.