How Long To Set Stain Dry Between Coats

How long to set stain dry between coats? The majority of stains take between 24 and 48 hours to fully dry. However, you may need to wait up to 72 hours before you can apply the polyurethane and finish your wood project. The amount of time it takes for a stained brand, stain type, and weather conditions all have an impact on drying times.

What Is The Average Time For Staining To Dry?

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Stains take, on average, 24 to 48 hours to dry. Some brands or stain types may take longer or even 72 hours to fully dry. Many factors influence the drying process. Check the label’s instructions for the precise time frame. Depending on your circumstances, however, the manufacturer’s recommendations could differ significantly.

Factors Affecting When To Applying A Second Coat Of Stain 

Knowing the variables that affect the duration between coat stains can help you plan ahead for your staining project. When you have a better idea of what to anticipate, you will be in a better position to manage your expectations more accurately. 

Factors That Influence Stain Dry Time

The most significant aspect affecting the stain’s dry time is the kind. Other variables, like your surrounding conditions, influence their drying time. Consider the type of paint you’ll be using, as well as any ventilation, temperature, and humidity issues while deciding whether or not to do it.

Condition Of The Wood    

Dry woods take longer to dry. On the other hand, a damp piece of wood will take significantly longer to dry.

So, if you don’t want to wait for the stain to dry, there’s no need to use a wet piece of wood. If your wood has a high moisture content, you may either wait for it to dry or attempt to speed up the drying process before staining it. 


The ideal temperature for wood staining is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too high, the surface may dry too rapidly, preventing the stain from properly adhering to the wood pores and colorizing it inadequately. 

If the temperature drops too low, the stain will be hampered in its drying. To promote solvent evaporation, the product requires heat, just like any other drying procedure. 

To get dry, one suggestion is to schedule your work for when the ambient temperatures are approximately 70 degrees Fahrenheit or thereabouts. 


Humidity, like temperature, may impact how long it takes for wood surfaces to dry. High humidity levels mean that a lot of water vapor is suspended in the air, making the stained surface’s solvent ability to escape into the airless effective.

You may either regulate the humidity or plan your labor when the air is less humid. If you’re working outside, the weather will most likely be less humid at various times of day depending on your location. 

Air Circulation 

You may want to complete the job in a well-ventilated space to see how long it takes for the wood to dry. Good ventilation allows solvent particles from the stained surface to flee with the moving air, making room for more liquid to evaporate. 

Types Of Wood Stain 

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Because the varnishes and stains have different drying tendencies, each has its own drying time. Different wood stain manufacturers have various drying times for their products based on the stains’ unique drying behavior. Wood stains dry out differently and it depends on the components used. How long to set stain dry between coats?

The length of time it takes to dry is determined by the type of stain. Water-based stains, for example, dry much faster than gel-based stains. Environmental factors, such as humidity, have a bigger impact on water-based stains. The most popular choice in today’s market is oil-based stains. They provide protection to the surface and are often rapid drying.

Oil-Based Stains

  • An average of 12 hours is required for Minwax oil-based stains.
  • Varathane stains need at least 8 hours to cure before a topcoat can be applied.
  • It will take three days for the Behr stain to dry.
  • A Cabot stain takes at least 24 hours to fully dry.
  • Osmo stains take longer than 12 hours to dry.

Water-Based Stains

Minwax water-based stain takes around 3 hours to dry.

  • The step of sealing wood stain usually takes 3 to 4 hours to dry.
  • Water-based stains dry faster than oil-based stains. The wood stain should be completely dry in a range of 24 to 48 hours before being applied with polyurethane.
  • You can leave it on for a total of 6 to 72 hours, depending on how badly you want to remove the stain.
  • The drying period is determined by a variety of factors, including humidity.

Minwax Oil-Based Stains

  • The Liquid Minwax stains include a variety of oil-based stains in liquid, aerosol, and gel form. Standard stains and performance stains are also available.
  • The drying time required by Minwax’s standard and high-performance stains is the same as that recommended for them.
  • For all of them, it is necessary to wait 8 hours before reapplying. The time will vary depending on the brand used and can range from 2 to 12 hours after recoat.

Varathane Stains

  • Varathane also has a variety of stains, including Minwax. They have a liquid stain, a gel-based stain, and an aerosol spray.
  • Varathane, in a humidified chamber with a temperature of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity of 50%, slows down the drying times of stains.

Behr Oil-Based Stain

  • The suggested drying times for all Behr wood stains are almost identical.
  • The average time for all of them is 1 to 2 hours until the stain is dry to the touch. If you wish to recoat, this is when you may do so.
  • The stain must cure for at least 72 hours for it to be fully effective.

Cabot Oil-Based Stains

  • Cabot offers a variety of oil-based stains.
  • The majority of them take roughly the same amount of time to dry, as determined by the manufacturer.
  • The majority of them dry after 24 hours, while others take between 24 and 48 hours to evaporate, like their Australian Timber Oil.

Osmo Stains

  • The Osmo recommends 12 hours of exposure at 73.4 degrees (F) and 50% humidity for the stain to dry.
  • If the temperature is below 73.4 degrees and the humidity is high, it will take longer than 12 hours.

The appearance, durability, and other characteristics of stains also vary. They are divided into interior and exterior paints depending on whether they are used inside or outside. Many outdoor wood stains, for example, are designed for decks. Furniture or cabinet stains are popular interior stains. Exterior stains take longer to dry and require more maintenance as a result of the weather conditions.

However, the brand is the most important element when it comes to drying time. Brands differ, as do the goods within a brand. Check your stain’s label for its precise dry time.

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