Stains come in various types, and their drying times can significantly differ.
While some stains dry within minutes, others take several days to dry.
Hence, it's essential to have knowledge about their drying times, especially if you're a weekend DIY enthusiast.
|Product Name||Stain Type||Recoating/Drying time (in hours)|
|Minwax Wood Finish Water-Based Solid Color Stain||Water-Based||1|
|Minwax Wood Finish||Oil-Based||2|
|Minwax Wood Finish Water-Based Semi-Transparent Color Stain||Water-Based||1|
|Minwax Gel Stain||Gel Stain||24|
|VARATHANE One Step Stain & Polyurethane||Oil-Based||1|
|VARATHANE Fast Dry Wood Stain||Oil-Based||1|
|BEHR® DECKPLUS® SEMI-TRANSPARENT WATERPROOFING WOOD STAIN||Acrylic-Based||2|
|BEHR PREMIUM® Solid Color Waterproofing Stain & Sealer||Oil-Based||1|
|Oil Stain by Osmo||Oil-Based||12|
|Ultra® Penetrating Stain||Alcohol-based||1.5|
|SamaN Water-based Wood Stain||Water-based||1|
|VARATHANE Water-Based Wood Stain||Water-based||2|
|General Finishes Gel Stain||Oil-based, gel||72|
|General Finishes Water Based Stain||Water-based||2|
|Tried and True Stain & Finish||Oil-Based||8|
|Krylon Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain||Oil-based, aerosol||24|
|DEFY Extreme Solid Color Wood Stain||Synthetic-resin||24|
|DEFY Water Repellent Wood Stain||Oil-in-water||24|
|DEFY Deck Stain for Hardwoods||Synthetic||24|
|#1 Deck Premium Semi-Transparent Wood Stain||Water-Based||24|
|Ready Seal Exterior Stain and Sealer for Wood||Oil-Based||48|
|Olympic ELITE Advanced Stain + Sealant In One Solid||Oil-Based||24|
|Olympic Elite Wood Stain and Sealant||Water-Based||24|
|Cabot Wood Toned Deck & Siding Stain||Oil-Based||72|
|Cabot Solid Color Acrylic Siding Stain||Acrylic||4|
|Cabot Semi-Transparent Deck & Siding Stain||Oil-Based||24|
|#1 Deck Premium Fence Stain||Water-Based||24|
Drying time of different stains
How Quickly Do Different Stains Dry?
Here are the drying times for various types of stains:
|Stain Type||Drying Times|
|Oil-Based Stains||12 to 24 hours|
|Water-Based Stains||4 to 6 hours|
|Gel Stains||24 to 72 hours|
They are the most popular kind of stain used in various woodworking projects.
Moreover, oil-based stains are durable but take more to dry than other water-based stains.
Generally, they take up to 12 to 24 hours to dry, depending on the brand and formulation.
Unlike oil-based wood stains, water-based stains dry rapidly, making it convenient for large projects.
Typically, they dry within 4 to 6 hours and have a milder odor compared to water-based stains.
Additionally, they are environmentally friendly and easy to clean.
As the name suggests, a gel stain has a higher viscosity and is less likely to spill.
Owing to their high viscosity, gel stains take up to 24 hours to be ready for recoating and 72 hours to dry completely.
The gel-like consistency also makes them suitable for vertical surfaces like doors and furniture legs.
How Can You Make Stain Dry Quicker?
There are several techniques to make the stain dry quickly and complete your project in an efficient manner.
Adequate ventilation can speed up the drying process.
Open up doors and windows and use exhaust fans to promote air circulation.
Maintaining the Temperature
A temperature of 60 to 90o F is ideal while applying the stain.
While a temperature lower than this can prolong the drying process, a high temperature causes the stain to dry quickly, leading to a blotchy appearance as the stain cannot penetrate deep into the wood.
Dehumidifying the Air
This method involves using a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the air and lower the humidity, allowing the stain to dry faster.
It is recommended to maintain the humidity range between 50 to 70 %.
Apply Thin Coats
The thicker the coat of stain, the longer it is going to take to dry.
Thin coats dry faster and allow for better penetration into the wood.
Type of Wood
Hardwoods, such as oak and maple, dry faster than softwoods like pine and cedar.
This is because softwoods are porous and contain more moisture content than hardwoods.
How Can You Tell if a Stain is Dry or Not?
A completely dry stain will have a dry,non-sticky surface.
To check, touch the surface lightly and see how it feels.
Another method involves lightly sanding the area in question and observing if it produces a powdery residue.
If it does, it indicates that the stain is dry.
However, if the stain remains wet, allow more time for drying.
How Do you Fix a Poorly Dried Stain?
The different ways to fix a poorly dried stain include:
Sanding the top surface of the wood using coarse grit sandpaper will result in the removal of stains.
Once the stain is completely removed, re-stain the surface.
Applying an Additional Coat of Stain
A new layer of stain over the existing stain can also correct a poorly dried stain job.
The thicker top coat not only hides the damaged base coat but also provides a better finish to your wood.
Repeat the process until you achieve the desired results.
Mineral Spirits or Paint Thinner
To remove the stain, wipe it using a rag dipped in mineral spirit or paint thinner.
After removing the stain, use a clean rag to dry the wood.
Be cautious not to apply excessive mineral spirits or thinners, as they can damage the wood.
These strippers soften the stain, making it easier to scrape the wood stains.
Afterward, sand the surface using fine-grit sandpaper before applying a new coat of stain to the wood.
When dealing with significant staining issues, a viable option is to paint the surface.
Choose a high-quality paint that matches your desired color and finish.
Finally, apply a topcoat such as varnish or polyurethane for further protection.
Does Heat Make the Stain Dry Faster?
Heat can accelerate the drying process of stain.
However, always use heat sources at a low setting, as excess heat can damage the wood.
How to Apply Wood Stain?
Refer to this article below for a complete deep dive into the process of wood staining.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is a Top Coat Necessary Over Stain?
While staining can protect and enhance the appearance of wood, it is always advisable to use a topcoat such as polyurethane or lacquer.
They can act as barriers and extend the lifespan of stained wood.
Are there Differences Between Staining and Sealing the Wood?
While stains add color to the wood, sealers are transparent and protect the wood from wear and tear and environmental factors like sunlight.
Moreover, sealing is a surface process, whereas stains penetrate deep into the wood, making it more challenging to remove.
What Kind of Cloth is Best for Staining?
Lint-free cloths like microfiber, cheesecloth, and cotton t-shirts are ideal for staining wood.
These cloths absorb the stain well, ensuring a smoother finish.