Why Do I Need to Wait to Stain My New Deck with TWP

info buttonAfter a new wood deck has been constructed it is important to protect it from the elements. Unprotected wood will be prone to graying, warping, cracking, splitting, and mold/mildew infiltration. Protecting your wood deck is easy with TWP Total Wood Preservative. There is however a waiting period to allow new wood to season prior to stain application.

New wood is commonly called “green” wood. Meaning it has not had time to season or dry. It has a very high moisture content. You may notice the difference in weight of a newer deck board and an older one. The newer one is much heavier due to all the moisture it is holding. As the wood dries it also shrinks. This is noticeable in the gaps between deck boards. They will be tight together after first construction and as the wood shrinks the gaps will become larger.


Applying TWP deck stain to a newer deck too soon can result in a failed deck coating. The stain will trap moisture in the wood, which can cause several problems. Mold and mildew can spread quickly underneath the stain eventually leading to rot and decay. The moisture will also keep the wood stain from penetrating properly and may cause it to peel and flake off the surface. TWP wood stain is designed to penetrate deep into the wood for maximum protection. If the wood has too high of moisture content the stain cannot penetrate correctly.

There are some people who believe you have to wait and entire season or 1 year before you can stain new wood. This is normally not true and actually a lot of the wood damage can occur in the first year if the wood is not protected. Most types of wood will be ready to stain within 4-12 months after being erected. All new wood should be prepped with the Gemini Restore Kit before staining. Wait time can vary depending on sun exposure, weather, and temperatures.

For TWP wood deck stain to give you the best results on a new deck, the moisture content of the wood should be 15% or less. This can be easily checked with a moisture meter. If you do not have access to a moisture meter and you have waited several months of hot summer weather, you can do a drop test with water. Sprinkle a few drops of water in several areas of the deck. If the water soaks in right away indicating the wood is dry it is probably okay to stain. If the water does not soak in right away, the wood may still be holding too much moisture.

Be sure your new wood deck has had plenty of dry time before applying TWP deck stain. This will guarantee proper wood penetration giving a naturally enhanced look that will last and perform as expected.

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    Phillip Prideaux · 05/02/2014
    Can you recommend a waiting period before staining for a new cedar deck?
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    TWP Stains · 04/29/2014
    Orlin, I would just wait a couple of months and than treat all the wood the same. Clean and brighten all and stain all with two light coats of the TWP.

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    Orlin, Inc. · 04/28/2014
    Recently installed 300 ft of 8 ft cedar fence in Wichita KS. All of the dimensional lumber is rough sawn; the face boards are rough on one side and smooth on the other.
    Based on my reading of your articles, I will use the cleaner/brightner on the smooth wood and not on the rough and will apply one coat on the smooth and two light wet on wet coats on the rough. Is that correct?

    The real problem I have is with the gates. The frames are made of 2x6 and 2x8 smooth cedar with mortise and tenon joints and has been sanded. Inside the frame will be smooth cedar lattice on top. Below, face boards that are rough on one side, smooth on the other.

    The frames have been drying in our sun room out of direct light for about 2 months so it has very little UV exposure. The builder(bro-in-law) does not want to hang the gates until they have been treated because he fears the gates will warp if not protected. Can I stain now after using cleaner brightener?
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    TWP Stains · 04/19/2014
    Donnie Reid:
    I'm putting down dryed treated decking. It has been dryed then treated and then Redried. Is there a waiting period to apply TWP deck stain?

    Yes, wait a few months than test for absorption. If water beads than it is not ready. If it soaks into the wood than you can stain.
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    Donnie Reid · 04/18/2014
    I'm putting down dryed treated decking. It has been dryed then treated and then Redried. Is there a waiting period to apply TWP deck stain?