Cleaning and Sealing a Deck

So you're looking to seal your deck but you don't know where to start? Well we're here to help you out. 

Step 1: The Water Test

The first step is performing a water test. This is the easiest way to ensure that the wood can absorb sealer or finish. Simply sprinkle a little water on the deck. If the water soaks in immediately, the deck can be sealed. If it beads up or stands on the deck, your deck may not need sealing yet.

Step 2: Clearing, Repairing and Sanding

Before sealing the deck you'll want to get it ready. This process begins simply by removing all furniture from the deck area. Next you'll want to go through and sand down any splintered areas you may have and replace boards where necessary. If there are plants or shrubs near the deck you'll want to spray them with water and then cover them with plastic.

Step 3: Cleaning

Now comes the chemical deck cleaner. There are several types of applications that range from those applied with a pressure washer to those put on with a roller or brush. Whichever you choose, have someone help you by scrubbing trouble areas and back rolling or spreading puddles of cleaner along the deck area. After the cleaner has soaked in, spray everything with a garden hose or pressure washer, then allow the deck to dry for two days.

Step 4: Sealing

Once the cleaning is complete and the deck is thoroughly dry you can begin the sealing process. It's best to two days in a row of dry warm weather for the sealing. Remember to stir the sealer rather than shaking it. Shaking the sealer can result in bubbles forming in the finish.

Apply a thin, even coat of sealer over a two to three board section with a paint roller with an extension handle, or a sprayer. Keep in mind that two thin coats are better than one thick coat that doesn't properly adhere or dry. You can use a paintbrush to apply the sealer or stain in corners and other difficult areas.

Allow the deck to dry completely and voila! Your deck is now sealed and protected from the water and weather!