How To Choose The Best Deck Sealer And Apply It | SEAL-ONCE© How To Choose The Best Deck Sealer And Apply It | SEAL-ONCE©

How to Choose the Best Deck Sealer and Apply It

wood deck with two outdoor chairs on a sunny day

Are you wondering how to choose the best deck sealer? There are several kinds of deck sealer, so it’s important to know what you should look for when picking out a product.

The deck sealer you choose should be a good match for the type of deck you have. Is it an old deck or a brand new deck? Another factor to take into consideration is the type of climate the deck will reside in and what weather conditions it will have to withstand.

You should also think about what your budget for deck sealer will be, as you’ll want to get the best value for your hard-earned money.

One of the most important parts of helping deck sealer to work properly is the way in which it’s applied. We’ll talk about some tips to get the best application possible for your deck sealer.

First, let’s go over the options you have for sealing your deck.

What Are Your Deck Sealer Options?

There are a few different kinds of protectants that you can you use on your deck. They usually fall into three categories: stains, paints, and sealers. People often refer to all three as being deck sealers. 

Deck stain’s main benefit is to add pigment and bring out the natural wood grain pattern. Deck stain also helps protect the wood from UV rays from the sun that will cause fading and can sometimes even damage the wood’s integrity. Stains usually contain some protectants but don’t have the same coverage by themselves as a sealer or paint.

Deck paint usually has the protecting power of a sealer and stain, but it is different in that it covers up the wood’s natural color and grain. Deck paint offers more protection from harmful UV rays as it is completely opaque, so the sun can’t damage the surface of the wood. 

The main reason some people might choose deck paint is if they want their deck to have a solid and bold color. 

A deck sealer generally refers to a clear sealant that’s applied after the wood has had a stain applied. A sealant protects the wood by completely sealing it so that water, dirt, and other damaging substances can’t enter.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one deck sealer, Seal-Once® has a line of products for any type of deck. Seal-Once® Nano+Poly wood sealer is both a wood stain and sealer that is available in either clear or 8 different ready-mixed colors.

What Kind Of Deck Do You Have?

It is important to think about the type of deck you have when choosing your deck sealer. Is it a patio deck, a pool deck, or a deck that overlooks the ocean?

A deck that’s exposed to ocean air will need extra protection. The salt from the ocean can very quickly eat away at the wood of your deck. A good choice of deck sealer for this will have a high amount of enamel, epoxy, or other sealers that are resistant to deterioration from chemicals like salt.

This applies even if your deck isn’t directly on a beach or touching the ocean. Salt air can actually travel as much as 50 miles inland, and anything in this proximity is susceptible to corrosion.  

Similarly, a deck that’s attached or adjacent to a swimming pool will need a stronger deck sealer. Pool chemicals like chlorine and other additives will quickly discolor a deck if not treated properly. Sealers for pool decks are specially formulated to resist chlorine and other chemicals. 

Both saltwater and pool water can penetrate deep into the wood fibers of your deck. In addition to using the correct deck sealer, you should periodically hose off the deck and perform regular cleaning. This is important to keep salt or chlorine water from pooling and continuously sitting on the surface of your deck, which can rapidly progress wear.  

A deck that sits directly on the ground is also exposed to more moisture than one that’s suspended above the ground.

Decks are also made with different materials and may need a special treatment depending on the types of wood they are made of. Exotic woods in particular may require special attention and a special type of sealer. 

In What Climate Is The Deck?

Wood will expand and contract based on the season and temperature of the air. If you live in a place with extreme cold or heat, this can be especially damaging if you haven’t correctly sealed your deck. 

Water and moisture that’s allowed to seep into wood will expand as it turns to ice, often causing whole boards of wood to split and break.

Even if you don’t have particularly extreme weather, just the changing of the seasons from warm to cold can be enough to warp an untreated deck.

A high-quality deck sealer will help protect your deck from the changing seasons and keep wood from warping or splitting.

What is Your Budget?

You will want to consider the price of the product to make sure you’re getting the most value for your deck sealer budget. Deck sealer is a vital part of keeping your deck from deteriorating, so it pays to use the highest quality you can afford.

However, just because a deck sealer is the most expensive doesn’t mean the quality is any better than a reasonably priced sealer.

You might opt for a cheaper option to try to save money, but you’ll actually end up spending more money when the low-quality deck sealer ends up wearing away after only a year of use. 

Some of the best quality deck sealers can last up to 6 years on horizontal surfaces and 10 years on vertical surfaces. This is because horizontal surfaces, like the base of your deck, will get more exposer to the sun and elements.

Therefore, it’s actually less expensive in the long run to buy a high-quality deck sealer that will last longer. You’ll also save time and money by not having to do the labor of preparing and resealing your deck every year. 

If money is tight, sealing your deck with something cheaper is absolutely better than not sealing it at all.  

The most value for deck sealer is usually found in those that have an all-in-one quality. Meaning that they are a stain, paint, and sealant all in one product. 

All-in-one deck sealers will save you time, as you will only need to do a couple of coats with one product. As opposed to having to do multiple coats with two or three different products.

How To Prepare Your Deck For Sealer

Now that you know how to pick the right kind of deck sealer, here are several things you need to take into account before you start sealing your deck.

Is it a newly built or installed deck? A good rule of thumb is to wait at least 30 days after a new deck is in place to put any kind of protection on it.

Most decks use pressure-treated wood, sometimes referred to as ‘weather-treated’ wood. Pressure-treated wood is made by placing wood into a chamber and using high pressure to force chemical preservatives all the way into the center.

This wood will last over ten times as long as regular wood, but it will need time to thoroughly dry and settle before sealing. The wood will probably even feel wet or damp to the touch when freshly installed. 

Applying deck sealers to wood that hasn’t properly dried can cause several issues. Mainly, the deck sealer will not properly bond to the deck. Deck sealer will penetrate and fill any openings in the wood, but it won’t be able to do that if the pressure-treated wood isn’t dry.  

Also, the deck will most likely contract in size a bit once the wood has had time to dry. If you applied any deck sealer or paint before it dried, it will possibly crack and expose the wood. Even though the cracks may be very small, this is enough to let moisture in and cause deterioration, negating the point of the deck sealer entirely. 

Though you don’t want to apply deck sealer too early, you also don’t want to wait too long. You should apply your protectants and deck sealer as soon as the wood is dry. Otherwise, you run the risk of the sun, moisture, or weather causing damage. 

Older Decks 

You’ll want to take some extra steps first if you’re applying deck sealer to an older deck or one that has previously been sealed or painted. 

First, make sure to look for any repairs that may need to be made. Replacing things like screws, hardware, or pieces of wood beforehand will eliminate unnecessary work by not having to go back and reseal these later. 

This will also make the final product look better by doing the sealant all at once. Painting separate pieces even only a day or two later can cause slight variation in color and be an eyesore.

After you’ve made any repairs, thoroughly wash and allow the deck to dry. This will make the next step easier. 

Finally, sand the deck with a medium to large grit, removing any old paint or protectants. Doing this is very important, as it will allow the new deck sealer to thoroughly and completely soak into the wood. 

Finish up by sanding the deck with a fine grit to give it a nice smooth and even surface to apply the deck sealer. Sweep or vacuum the deck to remove any debris and leave a clean surface to work with. 

How To Apply Deck Sealer 

The simplest yet effective way to apply deck sealer is with paint rollers and brushes. You may opt to use a paint sprayer if you have a very large deck or multiple decks to paint. If you do choose a paint sprayer, make sure to buy a deck sealer that is made to use in paint sprayers. 

Whichever method you choose, make sure you use tarps or plastic sheeting to protect anything you don’t want to get deck sealer on accidentally. 

If you’re using a paint roller, you’ll want to use a slow-medium speed and apply enough pressure to allow the deck sealer to get into any cracks or crevices in the wood. If you use the paint roller too fast, you’ll end up spraying tiny droplets of sealant, and you just won’t get good coverage.  

Using too much pressure or rolling too slowly could make the end result look goopy and have a weird texture, depending on the thickness of your deck sealer. Applying deck sealer isn’t hard, but your technique can have an effect on the way it looks if you rush or don’t pay attention to what you’re doing. 

If you’re using a paint sprayer, it’s just as important to make sure you’re taking your time. Thoroughly read the operation manual for the sprayer, and you should even do some practicing on spare pieces of wood or cardboard.

The key to spraying any kind of paint is a gentle, even motion of the sprayer. You want to start and end your spray off of the wood; this avoids any build-up of deck sealer that creates those ugly spraypaint splatter marks. 

When you’re done using the paint sprayer, be sure to empty it of any extra deck sealer and follow the manufacturer’s directions on cleaning and storage of the tool. Not cleaning your sprayer after using it will result in the paint drying and clogging the mechanisms

After you apply the sealer, it is important to let it dry properly. Drying time may vary depending on the chemical properties of the sealer you use, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Where To Get Deck Sealer

Any home improvement store will sell a variety of different kinds of deck sealers. You can even find companies that sell wood sealers and deck sealers online, and they’ll ship them right to your front door. 

Wood sealers by Seal-Once® are environmentally friendly as well as safer and more pleasant to use due to their low VOC content. Their non-toxic formula is completely safe for pets, people, and plants.

Seal-Once has a proprietary nano-technology that penetrates deep into wood and bonds to it at the microscopic level. This wood sealer also comes in a Marine version that is perfect for use on decks near the ocean or large bodies of water.

The special marine formula deck sealer by Seal-Once® is perfect for docks, pool decks, and other walkways near water. Check out the full line of wood sealers to find the best choice for your deck.