I'm 1000 miles away from home working on a deck for a family member who recently suffered a stroke. He's recovering, but for the time being he's very unsteady on his feet. The deck in question had a lot of mold, and was very slick when wet. I've already pressure washed and cleaned the surface, so that the mold is gone and it's no longer slick. That was the main goal -- in his present state, the deck was outright dangerous; now it's much safer.

However, the deck wood now has no protection against rain and moisture... I just stripped it all away :) If I don't also do something to protect the wood, it'll be slick again in no time at all, not to mention start to rot. My problem is that I'm only here for another couple of days, and the weather is not cooperating with finishing the project. It's dry enough to get out and work without getting rained on, but not enough for wood to dry out. After the last scattered rain, there is no chance it will dry in time for me to do anything before I need to begin the journey home.

I have some Behr Deck Over, which I reckon is either something in between a paint and a stain or just a thick paint. The hope is that it will hold up better and protect against moisture like a stain, but cover the surface more like a paint -- and not show the few remaining bits of old paint, as I was time-constrained in the removal, as well. But still, the wood is kind of damp. At this point, given my time constraints, I'm considering applying it over the damp wood.

My questions are, what will happen if I try to apply this to damp wood? What are my alternatives? Is there anything I can do to improve the chances of a good application? I'm really looking to see if someone will talk me out of this before I do something dumb.

  • 1
    You've done the hard part. I'd tent the deck with a tarp, and hire someone to do the apply the Behr Deck Over when the conditions meet the can's label.
    – mike
    Jul 12, 2013 at 2:53

4 Answers 4


You won't have luck applying paint/stain to a soaking wet deck. If there are common walkway areas on the deck you could put down strips of grip tape along this route. This is tape that has a sandpaper texture to it and is meant for slippery decks and stairs. Maybe not ideal, but a solution until you can properly treat it.


Sherwin-Williams claims their deck stain can be applied on wet boards, but I wouldn't do that. My rule of thumb is that I need three consecutive dry weather days after pressure washing to allow for the application of any stain.


I've talked to Behr about this stain using a pressure sprayer for application. The Behrs is too thick for my sprayer, but they said I could use 6 oz of water per gallon to thin it. I'd think spraying a damp deck would only help the wood absorb it deeper and better. My opinion only, but I've a small piece of deck I'm going to experiment on.

  • Whew! I meant to write "6 oz. of water to one gallon".
    – Joe
    Jul 10, 2015 at 9:38
  • Joe, welcome to the site! For future reference, you can edit your own posts (even at 1 reputation) by clicking the "edit" button below it. As you gain more reputation, you can even edit others' posts to clarify and improve them, as I did for incorporating your clarification.
    – Doresoom
    Jul 10, 2015 at 15:37
  • Thinned stain on dried wood means - you're keeping it at surface level and water eventually dries off surface. But if wood is humid from inside and you apply any stain (thinned or not), it would mean you're trapping water in wood (underneath the layer of stain) which can eventually lead to rot. Aug 21, 2023 at 11:12

Before applying Bhers “deck over” to any surface damp or not be sure to read reviews and about class action suits . It is thick , and yes covers a lot of flaws but traps moisture . I’ve read about and experienced it lifting off in sheets, with wet rotted wood underneath.

  • 2
    This kind of information is always better if you can provide a citation. Lots of people post incorrect information, so this kind of answer leaves the reader wondering whether you might be one of those people or might be unintentionally repeating bad information from someone else. Citing a source lets people assess the reliability of the information.
    – fixer1234
    Jan 15, 2018 at 6:25

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