Wait This Long to Pressure Wash Before Staining – Quick Guide

Published by: | Updated: January 30, 2023
JCS Refresh How Long After Pressure Washing Can I Stain

The key to long-lasting stain starts with pressure washing.

Not only does it protect your fence or deck material, but it ensures you aren’t creating a second job for yourself by doing more harm than good.

In this article, we’ll answer the question, how long after pressure washing can I stain? 

Then, we’ll also cover a handful of frequently asked questions so you can get on your way. 

Let’s get started!

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About The Author

Meet the expert behind this article. 



Co-owner & Service Director

Hey there, I’m Cody. 

A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you. 

Reading from Washington State?

Contact our team for a quote and you might meet me in person.

Quick Answer

After pressure washing, wait 48 hours before staining to ensure the treatment thoroughly seeps into the wood. However, the number of hours will vary depending on the weather.

This rule applies to either a fence or deck – no matter what you’re staining, you need to wait. 

If you decide to apply the treatment immediately, you’ll face problems: the stain may not be used properly and can become sticky or blotchy.

Want to get back to basics? We have a great beginner’s guide about how to pressure wash a deck.

How Long After Pressure Washing Can You Stain

Frequently asked questions

Still have a few questions? Here are some related FAQs:

Should I pressure wash my deck before staining?

Absolutely! Pressure washing is always the first step before staining because removing any build-up or contaminants is essential to achieving the best results. 

To learn more, check out our article, should I pressure wash my deck? 

What happens if I don’t pressure wash my deck before staining?

Any dirt, grime, or organic growth will be trapped underneath the stain. As a result, the stain will not last as long, and your deck can suffer from secondary damage. 

If you aren’t convinced, review these deck before and after pictures to grasp the power of pressure washing.

How Long After Pressure Washing Can You Stain 1

Do I need to sand my deck after pressure washing?

The need to sand after pressure washing depends on the condition of your deck.

If the objective is to refinish the surface, sanding might be a good idea. However, if your goal is to clean it, you can skip sanding.

How do I know if my deck is dry enough to stain?

We suggest waiting at least 48 hours, depending on weather and temperature fluctuations. 

There are three methods to determine if the surface is dry enough to be stained:

  1. Use a moisture meter. A percentage of 19% or less is appropriate for staining.
  2. Cover the wood’s edge using a black bag and let it sit in the sun for an hour or two. Then, open the bag; if the wood doesn’t condense, you can apply the stain.
  3. Pour some water onto a tiny area. If the water is easily absorbed into the wood, you can now stain it.


Revamping your wood fence or deck can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it! 

Remember that drying is crucial before staining; you should wait at least 48 hours for optimal results. 

We hope this guide has helped you in your journey. Any questions? Reach out to our team of experts and we can discuss our deck cleaning services.

Thanks for reading!