How Long Does Exterior Wood Stain Take to Dry?

staining exterior wood patio

Applying an exterior wood stain to outdoor furniture, decks, and window frames can help to protect your wooden items against mold, algae, and rot. It can also provide a waterproof coat that will prevent water damage.

Exterior wood stain can be applied to almost any outdoor wooden items, but a common problem is waiting for the stain to dry between coats. People are unsure of how long it will take to completely dry the stain before adding a second coat.

Stains and Drying Times

As there are a variety of different exterior wood stains, it would not be surprising that there should be a range of drying times.

Some thick stains, which penetrate the wood and form a seal, are dry on the top in a matter of hours. In general, for a penetrative stain, allow one to two days drying time, and then test.

Alternatively, thinner, non-penetrative stains can take weeks to fully dry against the wood. For these non-penetrative stains, leave for a week or more before applying a second coat.

Latex stains will probably take even longer, maybe even two or three weeks.

Note: Drying times are also affected by humidity, the amount of stain applied to the wood, and whether there is any rain during this period.