What Happens If It Rains on A Freshly Stained Deck?

It can be quite aggravating when unforeseen rain damages your newly-stained deck. However, you should never neglect such an issue, wishing it will resolve itself. If you fail to address the situation, your deck can become an ideal environment for mold growth.

Rain just fell on your freshly stained deck. What next?

Stain takes time to soak up into the wooden pores to create a protective top layer. Rain disrupts this process by mixing with the deck stain, making it less effective. Before you do anything, you need to make sure that you know how the type of wood on your deck reacts to water. It might seem like trivial piece of information, but it will make any work you do on the deck easier and much more efficient. Once you have this information, wait for the deck to dry before assessing the damage. 

Keep an eye out for white spots, pockets, or blemishes on the wood. If you see any, apply a fresh coat of stain over them until they become invisible. The latter should do the trick, especially if the damage isn’t too extensive. 

If the damage is extensive, start by washing the deck with a pressure washer. The extent of rain damage depends on some factors, which can include the following:

  • The amount of rain
  • How long the rain lasted
  • The type and quality of your stain (oil-based or water-based)

If using wood cleaners and pressure washers doesn’t work, you might need to redo the whole thing. Just make sure you’re keeping an eye out for the rain this time around. 

Another effective way of eliminating water damage is by sanding down the spots before applying a fresh stain layer. If there aren’t a lot of spots, then you may want to use the stain sparingly. Overdoing it results in flaking and peeling, which, in turn, defeats the whole purposing of staining. You can also remove the ruined layer of stain using a stain stripper before repainting with a fresh stain layer. 

What to consider before staining your deck

You can’t always control rain damage, but you can prepare your deck from its impact.  First, plan to stain your deck when there’s a negligible probability of a downpour. That way, you’ll increase the chances of your deck drying before it rains next.

You should also consider the location of your deck. Your deck will dry much faster if it’s exposed to sunlight and wind than when it isn’t. If you want your deck that’s under a shed to dry much quicker, then you can use a fan over its surface.

Besides looking out for the fair weather, you’ll need to have a clue of how fast your deck dries before applying the stain. You can tell the latter by using a moisture meter. Anything more than 15% on the moisture meter means that the wood on your deck needs more to dry before you apply the stain. 

Ideally, you want to stain your deck is when the moisture level falls under 12%. Start by cleaning and drying the deck before applying the stain of your choice. Leaving it wet  allows the stain to trap moisture, and this can create more problems for you down the road. Moisture trapped under the stain creates a conducive environment for mold to thrive. You don’t not want to paint over a wet deck—it’s just going to create an uneven finish. 

Once you finish staining your deck give it time to dry properly before you allow any foot traffic or place any objects over it. Thankfully, it only takes between 24-48 hours for the stain on your deck to dry completely. If it rains unexpectedly as it usually does sometimes, you already know what to do. Just follow the tips listed above, and you’d do great.


As the adage goes, Prevention is better than cure. So, if there’s a way you can avoid your freshly stained deck from getting rained on, do it! But, if mother nature pulls a fast one on you, then you can follow the instructions listed above and get the job done in a few hours. 

Again, if all the above is too much work for you, please contact an expert. Also, you might want to prioritize getting the right kind of stain since low-quality stains give bad finishes. 

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