How Long Do Stains Take to Dry – (And Why)?

How Long Do Stains Take to Dry – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 24 hours

Wood stain is a type of paint used to color wood, and it contains colorants that dissolve into a good suspension. The application of an exterior wood stain to window frames, decks, and outdoor furniture helps to safeguard your wooden materials from being destroyed with algae, molds, and rot.

Furthermore, it also provides a waterproof coat, thereby protecting the materials from water damage. However, the main issue is waiting for the stain to dry completely between the coats.

This becomes more confusing since people are generally uncertain about the duration it takes for the stain to dry fully so that you can embark on applying a second coat.

How Long Do Stains Take to Dry

How long does stain take to dry?

Stain TypeTime
Wood Stain24 hours
Non-penetrative2 days 
Latex2 hours

There are various types of external wood stains, so it is no surprise that there are different ranges of drying times. You can find stains that dry within a couple of hours, whereas others take either one or two days to dry properly, and this mostly is the case with thick stains.

brown wooden handle brush on brown wooden table

Additionally, some stains are non-penetrative can take approximately weeks to dry fully. When dealing with these non-penetrative stains, you should first leave it for roughly a week or more before applying the second coat.

Additional latex stains take long enough to dry, and you might be surprised to know that some take about two to three weeks to dry, so you need to be patient. Furthermore, different stains vary in the duration of drying, so you should be specific about the stain you want to use.

Why does stain take long to dry?

Time taken in drying stains is affected by various factors. Below are some major factors that affect the stain drying duration:


The type of stain you use determines how long the drying times will be. Some brands take five to eleven hours to dry, whereas others take approximately twelve to twenty-four hours to dry.

Therefore, it is up to you to decide which brand to use as different types of stains have drying durations that vary.


This is a significant factor that determines how well your stain dries. The ideal humidity levels range between 50% to 70%, and high humidity levels slow down the drying process.

However, if you want to achieve the best results, the optimum humidity level is at 50%.


The temperature of the place you are working from has a profound effect on the drying duration. Temperature ranging between 50 to 90 degrees is ideal as it boosts the stain drying process.

Nevertheless, expect longer drying times if the temperature is either at its lowest or its highest point, with the optimal temperature for drying your stain being 75 degrees.


This is more applicable if staining is being done indoors, and then it plays a crucial role in the staining process. Proper ventilation does not only keep you from inhaling dangerous fumes but also fastens the drying process.

Therefore, it is appropriate to maintain good and proper air circulation to enhance the staining process further.

wood stained floor board


Having gone through the article, you now understand the duration it takes a stain to dry as well as understand some of the factors that affect the stain drying intervals. Therefore, thanks to this information, you will be able to achieve exceptional results every single time.

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Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.


  1. The section about humidity and temperature was particularly enlightening. It’s not something many people consider, but it’s crucial for the drying process. Great article!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Pclark. Understanding these environmental factors can make a big difference in the outcome of a staining project.

  2. I found the explanation of the drying process very clear and easy to understand. It’s a great read for anyone interested in this topic.

  3. This article really breaks down the science behind wood stain drying. It’s fascinating to understand the factors at play.

  4. This article provides crucial information about the drying time of wood stain and factors that affect it. It’s very informative and helpful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I totally agree, Florence. It’s always great to have a clear understanding of these things before starting a project.

  5. The information provided here is invaluable. It’s refreshing to read such a comprehensive guide to wood stain drying.

    1. Absolutely, Icook. This kind of knowledge helps users avoid potential issues and achieve better results.

  6. I appreciate the detailed explanation of the factors affecting the duration of the drying process. This article is very well researched and presented.

    1. It’s great to see a comprehensive guide on this topic. It’s definitely useful for anyone working with wood stains.

  7. I found it surprising that some stains can take up to three weeks to dry. This is really important information to know before starting a project.

    1. I know, right? It’s crucial to have patience and be well-prepared for these kinds of long drying times.

  8. The emphasis on proper ventilation is very important. This article covers all the essential aspects of wood stain drying. Well done.

  9. The varying drying times based on brand, temperature, and humidity make a lot of sense. It’s important for users to be aware of these factors before applying wood stain.

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