Staining an Old Deck

http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/staining-an-old-deck.aspx

We had more rain over the weekend and into Monday morning. The acid wash that I used to clean the deck suggested waiting two to three days before applying the stain (I assumed this was primarily for the wood to dry). But when I was reading the instructions on the stain can, it suggested a test prior to application: If a few drops of water soaked into the wood within a few minutes, the stain could be applied. This was intended to test the need to remove the previous surface prior to application, but it started me thinking about the water-based stain.

By Monday evening, there was no water standing on the deck, although it was still mildly damp. So, I decided to apply the stain. If the wood had been drier, it probably would have absorbed more stain; but it looks like the stain is fairly even and covered the wood nicely.

The stain can says that it's also a sealer, but based on previous experience, applying a coat of water sealant will make the finish last much longer. The instructions say that the stain will be thoroughly dry in 72 hours. Since the wood was slightly damp, I'm waiting a little longer before applying the sealant.