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How To Seal Your Deck For Long-Lasting Protection

May 29

Sealing your deck is an essential maintenance task that protects it from the elements, enhances its appearance, and extends its lifespan. Whether you have a new deck or one that's been around for a while, knowing how to properly seal it will keep it looking great and functioning well for years to come. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps to seal your deck effectively.


Why Sealing Your Deck is Important


Protection from Weather


Decks are constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions, including rain, snow, and UV rays. Without proper sealing, the wood can absorb moisture, leading to swelling, warping, and eventual rotting. Sealing creates a barrier that repels water and prevents these issues.


Prevention of Mold and Mildew


Moisture can also lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause health issues and degrade the wood. A good sealant helps to keep your deck dry and inhibits the growth of these harmful organisms.


Enhanced Aesthetics


Deck sealing not only protects it but also enhances its natural beauty. It brings out the grain and color of the wood, giving your deck a rich, polished look. Additionally, it helps prevent the wood from graying due to UV exposure.


Extended Lifespan


Regular maintenance, including sealing, can significantly extend the lifespan of your deck. By protecting the wood from the elements and wear and tear, you ensure that your deck remains sturdy and safe for many years.


Choosing the Right Sealant


Selecting the appropriate sealant for your deck is crucial to ensure optimal protection and longevity. The type of sealant you choose will depend on several factors, including the type of wood, the climate in your area, your desired aesthetic, and the level of maintenance you are prepared to undertake. Understanding the different types of sealants and their benefits will help you make an informed decision.



Types of Sealants


There are various types of sealants available on the market, each offering unique benefits. Clear sealants provide basic protection while preserving the natural color of the wood. These are ideal if you want to maintain the original appearance of your deck while ensuring it is shielded from moisture and UV rays. However, clear sealants may require more frequent reapplication compared to other types.


Toners offer a slight tint that enhances the wood’s natural color while providing UV protection. They are a good middle ground between clear sealants and more opaque options, allowing some of the wood grain to show through while adding a touch of color. Toners are suitable for decks that need a bit more visual enhancement without completely altering the wood’s appearance.


Considerations for Selection


When choosing a sealant, it is essential to consider the type of wood your deck is made of. Different woods have varying levels of porosity and durability, which can affect how they interact with different sealants. For example, softwoods like pine or cedar may absorb sealants more readily but may also require more frequent maintenance. In contrast, hardwoods like ipe or teak are denser and may need a more specialized sealant that can penetrate their tight grain effectively.


Preparing Your Deck for Sealing


Proper preparation is a crucial step in sealing your deck, as it ensures that the sealant adheres correctly and provides optimal protection. This process involves cleaning the deck thoroughly, repairing any damage, and allowing the deck to dry completely. By taking the time to prepare your deck properly, you can achieve a longer-lasting, more effective seal.


Cleaning the Deck


The first step in preparing your deck for sealing is to clean it meticulously. Start by removing all furniture, plants, and other items from the deck surface. Sweep the deck to clear away any loose debris, such as leaves, dirt, and dust. This initial step is essential to ensure that the cleaning agents and sealant can penetrate the wood surface without obstruction.


Next, wash the deck using a suitable cleaning solution. You can choose a commercial deck cleaner specifically designed for this purpose or create a homemade solution using a mix of water and mild detergent. Apply the cleaner to the deck using a brush or sprayer, making sure to cover all areas thoroughly. For heavily soiled decks or those with mold and mildew, consider using a more robust cleaner or a mixture of water and oxygen bleach.



Repairing Any Damage


After cleaning, inspect your deck carefully for any signs of damage. Look for issues such as cracked, split, or warped boards, as well as loose or protruding nails and screws. Addressing these problems before sealing will help ensure a smooth, even application and enhance the deck's overall durability.


Allowing the Deck to Dry


Once the deck is clean and all repairs have been made, the final step in preparation is to allow the deck to dry completely. Depending on the weather conditions, this drying process can take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours or longer. It is crucial that the wood is completely dry before applying the sealant, as moisture trapped under the sealant can lead to a variety of problems, including blistering, peeling, and wood decay.


Maintaining Your Sealed Deck


  • Regular Cleaning: Keep your deck clean by sweeping it regularly and washing it periodically with a mild detergent and water. Avoid using harsh chemicals or high-pressure washing, as these can damage the sealant.
  • Inspecting for Damage: Regularly inspect your deck for signs of damage, such as cracks, splinters, or loose boards. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage.
  • Reapplying Sealant: Over time, the sealant will wear down, and you’ll need to reapply it. Depending on the type of sealant used and the weather conditions, you may need to reseal your deck every 1-3 years. Perform a water test by sprinkling water on the deck; if it absorbs into the wood instead of beading up, it’s time to reseal.



Deck Seal

Hawthorn VIC, Australia

Phone: 1800-332-525