Wait for dry weather to stain a new cedar deck?

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Old 05-26-12, 06:24 AM
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Question Wait for dry weather to stain a new cedar deck?

The contractor just finished building our western red cedar deck yesterday. We've had the usual New England spring weather with some rainy days (no downpours), and it rained a little last night. The deck surface is damp to the touch, but it's drying fast and isn't saturated. More rain is possible over the holiday weekend, but probably not today.

I picked out some Benjamin Moore Alkyd Translucent Stain yesterday. The deck surface was sanded earlier this week. Should I go ahead and stain as soon as the deck feels dry, or wait for a real stretch of dry weather?
 
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Old 05-26-12, 12:50 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

The wood needs to be dry before you apply an oil base stain. While rain won't wash off or dilute the oil stain it can hurt the looks some if it rains before it's dry. It's possible it will be ok to apply the stain today but iffy - I'd be inclined to wait for better weather.
 
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Old 05-26-12, 07:57 PM
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Thank you!

I split the difference and started staining the front porch instead. It's almost entirely covered by a roof, so it isn't likely to get wet.

Staining railings and lattice is a lot more time consuming than I thought...
 
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Old 05-27-12, 05:23 AM
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Ya, lattice can be a booger bear to stain. It's best sprayed, 2nd best is to use a big nap roller [slop it on and then keep rerolling until all the runs are gone], brushing is the last choice. A lot depends on how much lattice you have to stain. I've painted/stained a lot of lattice over the years and have become partial to the 'plastic' lattice if you can get it in a color that works for the house

Sometimes a small roller can help speed up the balusters. Roll it on and then lay it off with your brush.
 
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Old 05-27-12, 06:30 AM
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Nice deck. Did it pass code muster without handrails all around?
 
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Old 05-27-12, 11:36 AM
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I never had luck with staining fresh Red Cedar. I always found it was better to let it sit longer so some of the natural oils in the wood came out. When I did try an early application even in dry weather I ended up with adhesion problems. As Marksr is a pro I would go with his opinion however.
 
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Old 05-27-12, 12:11 PM
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I'm with equinox - I would have waited a few weeks but I also defer to Mark's opinion on such matters.
 
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Old 05-28-12, 05:06 AM
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While I see a lot of cedar siding, we don't see many cedar decks in the S.E. If the lumber is kiln dried - you can stain right away with no issues. Anyway to find out more about the lumber that was used?
 
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Old 05-28-12, 02:30 PM
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Thanks! In rural VT, code enforcement is the owner's problem, which can lead to interesting outcomes. However, in this case, the fence contractor is coming in a couple weeks to build a 6 ft privacy fence that will enclose those two edges, giving them the equivalent of about a 36" rail.

The cedar is WFP Prestige STK 5/4 x 6. It's supposed to be kiln dried to an average 19% moisture content. Based on wishful thinking and a few multimeter measurements of resistance, I'd guess that mine was a little lower than that (15%?) so it may have sat around for a little while and had time to dry.

Here's the front porch - same wood, stained with the Benjamin Moore translucent natural.

BTW, the rain held off all weekend. Storm tonight, though.
 
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Old 05-28-12, 04:24 PM
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I really like the wood of the railing balusters and the upper and lower rails...is it the same cedar? It looks much darker and a different grain.
Also...I know it's probably just the perspective...but the spacing looks bigger than 4"?
 
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Old 05-28-12, 04:30 PM
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I think it's just a heartwood vs. sapwood thing with western red cedar. The heartwood is much darker and finer grained.

The balusters are 5" OC with a 3.5" gap.

Edit: Hmm. I measured a few in that picture, and the spacing gets as wide as 3.75", and 4" between one baluster and a post. That doesn't seem right.
 
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Old 05-28-12, 04:48 PM
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3.75 is fine..I think that's what many people set them to make sure they are in code...4" is the requirement. They shouldn't vary though.
 
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