Thompson Water Seal Does Not Dry? (Possible Causes & Fixes)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart
Thompson Water Seal is an infinitely useful product, except of course when it won’t dry. Excess moisture in the air and using too much of the product can keep Thompson Water Seal from drying. Whether it be using a small amount of Thompson Water Seal or giving it more time to dry, let’s take a look at how you can prevent the problem.

Water sealing products are meant to be as reliable as humanly possible. After all, they are often used in boats as well as things like decks, patios, and even certain types of furniture. Without them, we’d have a lot more live re-runs of Gilligan’s Island as well as more moldy porches than we’d know what to do with. This water sealant is one of the most reliable for almost every surface. But, what happens if it doesn’t dry?

There are several reasons why you might have moments where Thompson Water Seal doesn’t dry. The most common reasons why include:

  • Not Enough Drying Time
  • Too Much Moisture In The Air
  • It’s Already Presealed
  • Too Much Water Seal On The Surface

For the most part, you should expect your water sealant to work with almost any surface. Thompson Water Seal is super reliable. However, things can always go sideways. This guide will help you understand what’s going on with your water seal.

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Why Isn’t My Thompson’s Water Seal Drying?

Water sealing your pavement or wood is meant to be a remarkably easy issue. You just have to paint it on, then let it dry. However, there are occasional hiccups that can happen in the process. These are the most common reasons why you might not have your water seal drying the way it should.

Find out how to seal a waterpipe through a basement wall.

Not Enough Drying Time

Before you assume that there is something wrong with your sealant or anything else like that, it’s important to determine whether you’ve actually given the sealant enough time to dry. People forget that Thompson’s Water Seal takes 24 hours to dry under most situations and circumstances. In some cases, it can take slightly longer.

The truth is that a lot of people who are new to using water sealant don’t actually read the instructions on the package. If you skipped out on reading, maybe it’s time to work on that before you panic. You might’ve just expected a lot less time to have it cure.

Note: If you are using the company’s water sealing deck stain, this should take a maximum of two hours. It’s a totally different product than what we are mostly discussing and will not abide by the same rules in many cases. Talk to Thompson if your stain isn’t working!

Too Much Moisture In The Air

Still noticing a sticky residue, even after a whole day has passed? Check the air quality in your area. In many cases, high levels of moisture in the air (or worse, rain) may cause the water seal to take longer to dry. Applying water sealant on wet wood or during a moment of very high humidity will not weaken the sealant, though.

Though your water sealing won’t be weakened (or at least, it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to wash away), it will have a longer dry time than the standard 24 hours. After two to three days, you probably won’t have any stickiness left on your wood. If you want to play it safe, most experts agree it’s best to wait for up to an entire week before you panic.

It’s Already Sealed

Most of the time, surfaces that have been treated with water sealant will not be able to take a second coat very well. This will cause double-coated materials to feel a bit sticky or tacky. To see if this is the case with your wood (or other material) drop a little bit of water on some of the non-treated surface.

If the water bubbles on the surface, then your material was already sealed. This would cause the sealant not to take, which would leave a sticky residue all over the material you tried to seal. The best thing you can do for your material is to wipe off the sealant and remove any residue with soapy water.

Excess Sealant Used On Your Surface

Sealants are not meant to be slathered on like a batch of extra gooey sunscreen. It’s meant to be a chemical that is supposed to act as an ultra-thin coat on top of your material. This means that many people end up with mistakes due to a matter of heavy-handed application. You really don’t need that much sealant on your stuff!

If you are wondering whether this is the case with your project material, take a look at the wood. If you see puddles of sealant on your surface, that’s what is causing the lack of dryness. A quick wipe-down of the area is all that is usually needed to get rid of the excess.

How Can You Prevent Your Sealant From Staying Sticky?

Waiting for days or having to clean up the water-sealed area with soapy water isn’t fun. There are a couple of ways to ensure that your Thompson’s Water Seal will dry sooner rather than later. The tips below will help you make the most of your sealing time:

  • Read the instructions on your water seal can and follow them. This alone will save you so many hours of trouble and prevent you from getting bad results. If you are not sure what you need to do, the package always will tell you.
  • Apply the sealant with the provided sprayer OR a roller brush. Water sealing stains are best applied with a brush. However, if you are using a sprayable water seal, then stick to sprays.
  • Remember that a little bit goes a long way. Thompson’s Water Seal is not something that you should spray liberally. It’s not hair spray, and you’re not spraying hair from the 80s. Fast, even spraying is the way to be.
  • Remove any extra sealant as soon as you notice it. Puddles and extra dips are a sign you applied too much. Wiping it off with a rag is the fastest way to make sure you get rid of it. If any sticky residue is left, wait a week, then wipe the area down with a damp rag soaked in soapy water.
  • Don’t be afraid to wait up to a week to let your sealant dry. I know that instructions claim it’ll dry in 24 hours, but it can take up to a week for the sealant to dry on certain materials. Common “long-dry” materials include materials like wood, plywood, and certain types of cardboard.
  • Use a fan to help blow the sealant dry. If you are in the middle of a job that has a serious time constraint, then you may want to park a fan out near that item you want to dry. Then, keep the fan on. The gentle breeze of the fan will help your seal dry faster.
  • If at all possible, try to time your sealing project during a part of the year that is warm and dry. Many parts of the country have seasons that are wetter or dryer than others. To shorten the time and avoid excessive waiting, try to schedule your sealing session during the fall or late spring.
  • Always test the surface to ensure that it’s not already water sealed. The truth is that you might not even need to seal your surface at all. Giving it a test might save you from wasting money on unnecessary sealant.

What’s The Fastest-Drying Water Sealer You Can Use?

Honestly, this depends on what you’re trying to seal. Many fabric waterproofing sprays dry almost instantly, which means that they will be a faster fix than Thompson’s. However, there are other options out there. If you are sealing wood or cement, you might want to try Cementone Fast-Drying Water Seal. Or, better yet, try Flex Seal. It’s one of the most popular brands of its kind, and is anecdotally faster at sealing.

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Related Questions

What colors does Thompson’s Water Seal come in?

Like many other companies offering deck seals, Thompson makes several types of seals. Their most popular product is the sprayable seal that comes in a clear veneer. However, they do have wood stain seals that can add color to a deck too. Popular options include Acorn Brown, Woodland Cedar, Harvest Gold, Maple Brown, and Sequoia Red.If you already have a stain on your deck or patio, it’s possible to touch up your wood through the use of the company’s clear waterproofing spray.

Where can you buy Thompson Water Seal products?

Thompson is a very popular brand among builders, which is why it’s so ubiquitous as far as major retailers go. You can find it at Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Lowe’s, as well as major big box retailers like Walmart. Of course, if you prefer to shop online, it’s almost certain that you will be able to find their products on Amazon, too.

Is Thompson Water Seal a good company?

Absolutely. Thompson’s reputation as a company of quality dates back decades. It’s been 90 years and strong, making strides as one of the most reliable companies of its kind. Because they are so dedicated to keeping things quality, the Thompson Water Seal company is considered to be the best of its class.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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