What happens if you stain pressure-treated wood too soon?
If you stain pressure-treated wood too soon, the stain will be unable to fully penetrate the wood, and you will not get the protective benefits of the stain. What is the best stain for pressure-treated wood? An oil-based stain is the best for pressure-treated wood.
Rinse thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer. Allow the wood to dry 24 hours before applying stain.
New pressure-treated wood needs to dry after construction before it can be stained or sealed. This process can take many months depending on your deck's sun exposure and the weather patterns after construction is complete.
As for pressure-treated wood that you've had for a while, try this trick. To tell if the wood is dry enough to stain, sprinkle water on it. If water beads on the surface, you'll know that the wood won't take the stain well. (And if you go ahead and stain it anyway, the finish won't last as long as it should.)
Another way of checking if your wood is ready for stain is to pour a little water on the wood. If the water beads up, the lumber still too wet to be stained or painted. If the water is absorbed into the wood easily, it's ready to be sealed or stained.
Because you want to wait for days that aren't excessively hot or humid, the best times to apply deck stains are in the late spring and early fall, when the weather is moderately warm and dry. Check the weather and find a time when it's not expected to rain for two days before and following the deck treatment.
So, even though the wood is treated, it is best to apply a stain--or at least a water repellent--as soon as your project is dry enough. The first tip for working with pressure-treated lumber is to let it dry before using it.
Not only can you stain treated wood, painting and staining pressure-treated wood is actually good for your new deck. Although the treated wood doesn't need to be protected against rot, staining it will help reduce surface cracking.
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.
Sealers may be applied to pressure-treated wood as soon as the surface no longer looks wet. The sealer offers a degree of water repellency and color to outdoor wood without forming a thick coating on the surface. It will also allow any remaining moisture to slowly leave wood after the coating has been applied.