How Long Should Deck Stain Dry Before Walking On It?

Your deck has turned out so well. It’s beautiful. The soft timber tones are sophisticated, warm and welcoming. This is the part of the house where everyone wants to be to relax and enjoy the view and the weather, but it could use some color — deck stain. So how long should deck stain dry before walking on it?

Don’t Waste Your Investment

You have invested so much time to work out the best way to prepare the deck timber and apply the decking stain, even longer to decide on the color of the semi-transparent product that you settled on. One whole day to sand and pressure wash the deck. One full day to painstakingly apply the stain and clean up that spill. All of this effort has improved the value of your home by a significant margin, and the cost of the deck will be quickly repaid. You have almost finished a beautiful addition to the house and added a nice place for the family to gather.

Everybody has been around to admire the job; family, friends, and neighbors. They have been casually dropping hints about a cookout. When will it be the right time to bring the furniture back? The question is, how much time is needed for the stained deck to cure? 

A Thing of Beauty

After investing all those hours and all that money, the last thing you want to do now is rush the process and damage the surface of the stained deck, scratch it or mark it with footprints and furniture legs. 

There are some things you need to know before you light that grill.

Most paints and similar products will dry to touch in about two to three hours. But some factors affect that process. The weather and the aspect of the deck affect drying times. High humidity will delay the drying time. If the deck is in the sun, this will help to dry the stain. If the deck is sheltered, it will take longer to dry. 

Know Your Product

Paint and stain manufacturers want the best for you and their product. They know all too well the damage that can be done to the deck by rushing. These people are experts at staining decking. It is advisable to read thoroughly and observe all the directions supplied with the product. Acrylic deck stains will take a whole week to cure. These companies all recommend that the decks stained will need to be left alone for 4 to 5 days.

This is optimum, but it doesn’t take into consideration local conditions. If your deck is in a very hot, dry area, it may be safe to put the furniture back sooner.

If you feel you have to, it may be safe to walk barefoot over the deck the next day. The lighter furniture could be put back next after a couple of days. Anything heavy like the grill or the pot plants really should wait the full week. Remember to place the furniture down, don’t drag it. If you place a heavy item down onto a surface that isn’t fully cured, you could find the surface lifting off the next time the item is moved.

It might not be easy, but keep your pets off the deck for the duration of the project. If the cat walks across the deck too soon, you will have footprints. If the dog wants to walk across space too soon, you will have footprints. 

To ensure that you won’t have to stain decks again for years, wait a few more days.