How Long Does Wood Stain Take to Dry?

Before coating your classy, elegant furniture with stain, make sure to read this blog once at least. This will make the process a lot easier if you are not a DIY fan but still trying.

The most troublesome part is drying. It can be quite tricky too. So, let’s know how long does wood stain takes to dry. For this purpose, you need to know about different types of wood paint, mainly oil-based and water-based. Then, tap into your specific brand details to see what type you are using currently.

The way you handle the paint also carries a lot of weightage in increasing or decreasing your put aside time. So, let’s have a wider look into the whole process.

How Long Does Wood Stain Take to Dry?

Staining sounds perfect for all your wood needs, but it can be a hassle if you don’t know the drying time. I mean, nobody wants the stain to stick to their fingers, right? Well, I don’t.

Now we know that there are different types of stains available in the market. Depending on the quality and the type, how long wood stain takes to dry up completely or partially is variable.

But, now let’s get a general idea about how long different stains take to dry. The external oil-based ones take a complete two days to dry up, and external water-based ones dry in a single day. Now going to the internal ones, they take 4 to 8 hours to dry but waiting 24 hours is recommended to be on the safe side.

But the type of stain is just one part of the show. There are a lot of factors to be taken into account when considering drying time.

What Are the Factors Affecting Drying Time?

How long a stain will take to dry depends on a lot of things. 

  • First and foremost is the weather condition. Hot and humid weather makes it tough for the stain to dry off.
  • Then ventilation accounts for an important factor—well-ventilated room guarantee for drawing your stain and vice-versa.
  • Humidity- It’s a no-brainer. We all know how much humidity can have on drying things; stain is no exception! 
  • Type of Stain – It is the most crucial factor to look for. Which type of stain you were using greatly impacts how long you will have to wait for your strain to dry up. Most stains take a complete 48 hours to dry.
  •  Brand- Keep an eye out for the brand you’re using, as the quality matters the most.

Ballparking Stand-Alone Time for Your Stain

External stains tend to take a longer time to get Dry. It usually takes 1 to 3 complete days for external paint to dry off completely for almost all categories, while internal paints can dry up even in just 6 hours or take up to a day. 

Let’s see the most appropriate time limit for different brands and stains.

  1. Deck wood deck stain and sealer- 10 to 12 hours
  2. Behr advanced formula wood stain – 12 hours
  3. Osmo Decking Oils natural – 12 hours
  4. Cabot wood toned deck and siding stain – 24 hours 
  5. Minwax gel stain – 24 hours
  6. Minwax water-based wood (stain – 3 hours)
  7. General finishes wood stain (3 to 4 hours)

The span varies from 2 to 28 hours mostly. It depends on a lot of things mentioned above. We hope you have a clear idea of how long your stain will take to dry by now.


Stain is the perfect finish for all. We know it, but how long will it take for the wood stain to dry? It will take anywhere from 2 to 28 hours. 

But this depends on many factors, including the room temperature, the ventilation, the brand you are using, the quality of stain you work with, and the humidity in your place. You can control these things up to an extent. By changing these, you can alter the amount of time your stain will take to dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

My wood stain isn’t drying. What should I do?

If you left your stain for a considerable amount of time and it still feels sticky, you may have overapplied. The best option is to apply another coat of stain and then wipe it off. I know you must be saying I already applied extra. Why apply more? It’s because that extra coating will take away the extra applied, staying with it after getting wiped off.

If almost all the stain comes off, you may not have prepared the wood surface for staining. First, wipe out to remove the overall layer, properly prepare before staining, and then re-do the coating.

Can you leave your stain alone to dry without wiping?

Probably, yes! A perfectly applied coat of stain wouldn’t need any external help to dry. But we don’t live in a perfect world. People make mistakes, and so can you. If you think you have applied a bit extra, then it’s wiser to wipe it off. But if the stain looks perfect, leave with it as it is, and you will get a rich shiny coat of stain after it dries.

How many coats of stain should I apply on my wood?

As many coats as it would absorb! Don’t confuse it is generally two coats in most cases if you are using normal wood. But if your wood is denser and heavier than applying only one coat, maybe. It will be enough to soak it completely.

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