In the previous Decksouth blog, we talked about how to clean your deck. Now let’s take a look at the next step: sealing your deck, starting with these three key questions.
First, does your deck need to be sealed?
Try this simple test: When you wet down the deck with a hose, does the water bead? If it does, you probably don’t need to seal the deck at this time.
What kind of finish to use: Clear, Semi-Transparent or Solid?
There are two basic types of deck finishes: sealers and stains. Sealers are clear and have no color. Stains are either semi-transparent (just a little color or “tone” added) or solid colors. There are advantages for each type of finish.
Using a clear finish allows the natural grain of the wood to shine through. It’s also easier to apply because it doesn’t leave any lap marks during application. If you want more protection from UV rays, however, consider using a solid-color or semi-transparent finish. A solid-color finish offers the most protection against the sun, but it needs to be formulated specifically for decks, or it won’t be able to handle the foot traffic. Whatever your choice, make sure that the product is water-repellent, has a mildewcide and protects against UV rays. Some products only repel water.
Oil-based or Water-based?
This is a choice between effectiveness and convenience. An oil-based finish penetrates the wood to provide more protection, but a water-based finish is easier to clean up and is more forgiving if there’s any moisture in the wood.