Thompson Water Seal Does Not Dry — Causes + Actual Drying Time

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Thompson’s Water Seal is one of the best products protecting outdoor surfaces and preserving our assets. But, in some cases, Thompson’s Water Seal does not dry after its allotted drying time.

If you’re into the same concern, let our expert woodworkers explain this matter in detail, along with the possible causes and tips to get past this issue successfully.

Thompson Water Seal Drying Time, Explained

Like any sealant, Thompson’s has to have sufficient drying time. As a matter of fact, within approximately 24 hours, without any hiccups in temperature or humidity, the water sealant can dry properly.

You must note that drying time ultimately depends on the nature and the certain materials on the surface you’d coat. This water seal is ideal on pressure-treated lumber, but applying it on wet wood is not recommended.

Can You Apply Two Layers of the Water Seal?

Thompson's water seal

Ideally, one coat of water sealant is all you need. But in some instances, you would feel the need to recoat it.

This does not necessarily require you to use mineral spirits or paint thinner. One thing you can do before applying two coats is to make sure to completely dry the previous layer. After that, you can now recoat Thompson’s water seal.

Thompson's Water Seal Not Drying: Top Causes

Many factors can affect why this water sealant does not dry. So, let us carefully scrutinize the leading causes of this concern:

High Humidity Levels or Cold Temperature

Temperature is one of the factors that influence the drying time of a water sealant.  

High humidity [1] means much moisture is around. Moisture should not be around when applying a water sealant because it can stretch the time needed for the wood surface to dry. 

Thompson drying time

But if you live in places with too much moisture in the air, you can wait 2 to 3 days for the wood or brick surface to seal. 

Give your surface time to dry after your first coat, second coat, and more, if needed. 

Insufficient Drying Time

Time can be another factor affecting the drying time. Do not rush it; allow the surface to give sufficient time to dry, especially the Thompson’s Waterseal products, to not have sticky residue or water bubbles.

Moreover, applying an excessive quantity of water seal can impede proper evaporation and hinder the sealant from effectively penetrating and protecting the wood surface. 

It is crucial to apply the appropriate amount of water seal according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure optimal drying and performance.

Applying on a Pre-Sealed Surface + How to Know if it's Already Sealed

One thing to do before using the water seal product is to check if the surface you are applying has undergone sealing.

Thompson water seal clearing application

To know just that, you can do a water splash test to see if the water beads stayed on the surface or absorbed it. If the surface you tested just repels water you just splashed, then it is safe to say that it’s a sealed surface.

Applied Way Too Much or Excess Sealant

Applying excess amount of sealant can prevent the surface from drying quickly. Consider not using too much water seal to ensure the surface can dry completely as fast as possible. Keep the approximate figure you use in check, and keep your coats as thin as possible.

Applying Thompson’s water seal multiple times with coats that are thinner is better than one thick coat that can cause bubbles and stay sticky.

Tips to Avoid and Fix Water Seal Drying Issues

Tip #1: Wipe Off the Excess Sealant Right After Noticing It

Before you think you have messed up, make sure to remove the excess amount of sealant right away. Use a soaked rag in soapy water to wipe off the area, which could be why the seal does not dry.

Tip #2: Spare More Drying Time (Up to a Week)

Let the sealer dry for about 24 hours to an entire week. This way, you are assured that the previous coat on the surface has dried before you apply the second coat if needed.

Thompson drying application

Tip #3: Speed Up the Drying Process Using a Fan

When in a hurry, one way to boost the drying process is by using a fan. It will help the surface to dry sooner, speeding up the process.

Tip #4: Always Read the Product’s Instructions

Always read the instructions carefully before you apply the water seal. This also helps prevent applying excess amount of sealant by following the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Tip #5: Keep Your Coats Thin

Keeping your coat thin when applying water sealant is one way to ensure the application is good. This way, you can control how much product you use and help the water seal dry fast.

Tip #6: Use a Sprayer to Apply the Sealant - The Best Way to Apply Thompson's Water Sealer

You can use different materials to apply your sealer. According to our test, the best way to spread the sealer is to use a sprayer, which is much faster and very efficient.

You can control how much you’re using, and you can apply thin coats to the surface, causing less time to dry.

applying thompson water seal

Tip #7: Schedule Your Sealing Project During the Summer

Consider scheduling your sealing projects during the summer when the weather is warm to avoid excess waiting time for the sealant to dry.

Tip #8: Test the Wood or Concrete Before Sealing

Always make it a habit to test your wood or concrete before sealing it. Testing is essential to save time and resources before doing anything. It would also keep you from asking why your seal does.

Thompson’s Water Seal's Top Benefits

Here are the benefits of Thompson’s water seal products:

Thompson water seal benefits

What's The Quick-Drying Water Sealer You Can Use?

You can choose a lot of quick-drying water sealants on the market. But selecting one can depend on the surface you will use it for.

Thompson’s is a reliable water sealant to protect your property, and you can use it on different surfaces, sealing wood or brick surfaces. It can be your partner in making sure you keep your assets from any moisture and mold.

Related: How to Apply Thompson’s Water Seal With a Sprayer


What will happen if the rain drops after applying the water sealer?

Sudden weather changes can happen instantly; one moment is sunny, then rain could happen. If the water sealant gets rained on, the surface will dry rather cloudy, but it could still work.

Is the Thompson water seal a good product, and where can I buy it?

It is a good product. You can buy any Thompson’s product on Amazon, Walmart, or your favorite local retailer.

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When the Thompson water seal does not dry properly, you may have applied an excessive amount, or there are sudden temperature changes that affected the formula’s drying time. 

Therefore, let us make it a habit to read the instructions from the manufacturer carefully and thoughtfully before using it. Also, ensure to apply the sealer properly to avoid problems along the drying and curing process. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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