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My family and I are refinishing our deck. We live in area with wild weather so, even though it called for a week of sun, immediately after finishing sanding our deck (to a very beautiful underneath) it got drenched from rain. It took 5 people 3 days of sanding to finish it. Please, please don't tell me we have to do it again. I have read many things about wood pores and finish that won't stick.

Is this rain going to affect anything? Or can we let it dry for a day or so and proceed with staining?

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3 Answers 3

Old decks get slippery when from organic material and worse with wax based sealers. Then there is the cosmetic blemish of aging with black stains from slow drying areas. Stain looks great but slows down the drying out process which aggravates spots where water collects whereas as unfinished dries the quickest but turns grey from UV.

Appearance will vary greatly with porosity and density of wood. I find staining to be a short term solution with accumulating stain over the years required due to UV effects. Pressurized water removal is slow but regarding your question ... adhesion after a days of sun drying is not a problem. Pigment fading under UV is a problem as is black fungal growth, which I presume took many man-days of sanding.

Stain beefs.

Stain also makes the surface hotter for bare feet. My preference is unfinished which turns stays grey and can be restored every few years by bleach or better pool chlorine dissolved in water applied with a roller on a broom stock then a stiff floor brush and rinse with a hose. Chlorine will evaporate in a day or so and wood will look as good as new with very little surface wood removed. This removes any black, green or other stains and makes sanding unnecessary unless you have slivers. It is also 5x faster than sanding. It will turn grey quickly and stay that way, dry faster and be cool under the hot sun.

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I doubt this will help you now seeing as its been over a year but I would say that every product I've ever used says "apply to clean dry surface" or something to that effect, even water borne stuff. Which is to say that you'll get the best penetration and adhesion with wood that's perfectly dry.

If you're using a product that has a staining effect you'll get areas that repel the stain more than others and it will look blotchy. To be safe I would suggest letting it dry as thoroughly as you can (tarp it, put heaters/fans to it, whatever you can manage) then lightly sand again as the moisture will have raised the grain. Once you've prepped, apply your finish and keep it dry for as long as the manufacturer recommends you stay of it, usually 24 hours.

Good luck!

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Prep is always the most important step. Make sure the wood is dry. It shouldn't make too much of a difference that it rained after you sanded it down as long as it still has pores to absorb the stain.

I always recommend placing a large tarp over the area so that if it does rain, you don't have to worry too much about your work.

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