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The ticket to a perfect deck is to get the best deck sealer. This product can protect your wood surface from damaging weather conditions, water, or any other chemicals. Because of this, it is best to seal your deck properly and preserve it for the long run.
Table of Contents
- 1 Defining a Deck Sealer
- 2 How to a Wood Deck
- 3 Deck Stain vs. Deck Sealer
- 4 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Deck Sealer
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Defining a Deck Sealer
A deck sealant is a coat that sits on top of the wood surface and dries to a transparent finish. It is a clear seal that can be applied on top of wooden decks to protect your wood from the problem of wear and tear. This protection is in the form of a barrier that will be able to protect your wood from sunshine, temperature, mildew, and so on. Although this barrier is quite protective, it can also maintain and enhance the natural outlook of the wooden surface.
These deck sealants come in different forms, and you should choose one depending on the type of wood you will be using. You should also consider your surrounding environmental conditions and the type of surface that you will be working on. Although the deck sealer protects from weather, molds, and so on, it is not a permanent solution to these problems. You will still need to perform regular maintenance because the direct rays from the sun will dry out the wood, even after sealing it.
Why Should You Use a Deck Sealant?
Wood is the most used surface material in homes. Although it is the best material, it can also fade and crack in the long run if you do not take care of it properly. The best deck sealant will ensure that your wood remains in the best order and that its durability is enhanced. The following are some of the reasons why you should use a deck sealant:
- A deck sealer protects the wood surface from things like molds, mildew, and so on.
- It adds a coat as a means of protecting the wooden surface from harmful UV rays and sunlight.
- It protects the wood from water damage.
- It also enhances the durability of the wood surface by preventing wear and tear.
- It prevents the wood surface from cracking.
- It enhances the natural appearance of the wooden surface.
How to a Wood Deck
Since we have covered all the best deck sealers that you can opt for on the market, it is only fair that we look at how you can apply it to your wood. The process is quite easy, and you can do it yourself without requiring the help of a handyman. Follow the simple steps below.
Wait for the Right Weather
Check the weather before you plan on sealing your deck. Make sure there will be no rain for a few days while you are focusing on the sealing process. You must have at least two days to apply the sealer properly and let it cure. The right temperature for the sealer application falls within 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 32 degrees Celsius). You would not want to put effort into a deck that would get ruined soon after by the wrong weather.
Sanding the Deck
Once you have figured out the correct weather, you can start to prepare the wood. You can begin by sanding the wood. Sanding is an important process that allows the sealer to effectively penetrate the wood. You must sand all over the deck to expose all the areas of the surface. Ensure that you remove any existing paints, varnishes, and so on before you apply the first sealer application. This process may be quite tiring, but it is worth it!
Cleaning the Deck
You must make sure that the deck surface is clean from debris before it is ready to be sealed. So, after sanding, spray down all over the deck to get rid of any excess debris and dirt. Clean between the rags and cracks of the deck. Leave everything to dry completely before applying the sealer.
Preparing the Sealer
At this stage, most of the hard part would have been completed. Stir the wood sealant and ensure that it has a good consistency. You should not shake the bottle of the sealant, as this might cause bubbles. So do not shake it, just stir! If you are spraying the sealer, then remember to thin it first before you apply it.
Applying the Wood Deck Sealer
You can either brush or spray on your sealer. It is not advisable to brush the deck because the process can take a lot of time. Moreover, you will end up having brush marks and streaks on the surface. Thus, it is best to use a paint sprayer because it leaves fast and smooth results.
When applying the sealer, make sure that you start from the outer edge and work your spraying process in. Always spray paint in the direction of the door or exit. Other wood deck sealers require back rolling. You should use a clean roller or brush to spread the sealer more evenly.
The application process is the same for a clear sealer, stain, or a combination of the two. Once you have applied the first layer, you must leave it to dry. Review and check the drying time recommended by the manufacturer for that specific product.
Repeating the Application Process
When you are done with the first seal coat, then it will be time to work on the second coat. All you have to do is repeat the same application process. You can repeat this process a couple of times until you have achieved the right finish. Water-based sealers are quite thin, and therefore they dry much faster. These fast-drying sealants tend to require additional coats.
The Finer Details
The last process is to make sure that every corner or curve is completely covered by the sealer. A regular paintbrush can work very well in getting the sealer between any gaps, cracks, or difficult places that might have been missed during the application.
It is important to check all the areas, as even a small area can let moisture in, and this will end up damaging a large surface area of the deck. When you have completed the whole process, leave everything to dry for at least 24 to 48 hours in order to make sure that the sealer is cured properly.
Oil-Based and Water-Based Deck Sealants
The process of choosing deck treatment depends on whether you would use an oil- or water-based sealer. The two options are readily available, and they offer different results. Water-based deck sealants are safe to use and are eco-friendly. They do not contain any harmful chemicals. They are easy to clean and can be used for a variety of projects. The sealers dry quite fast, but they are not nearly as durable as oil-based sealers.
Oil-based sealers, on the other hand, have much strength and durability. These features are important when it comes to decks because a deck experiences more extreme weather conditions and damages. But oil-based sealers tend to contain toxic solvents and chemicals. The sealers are not easy to clean and you should be cautious during the application process. They are quite expensive, and they take a long time to dry.
Deck Stain vs. Deck Sealer
A deck stain and deck sealer are often confused by most people because they do not know the difference between the two. A deck sealer is a topcoat that is laid on top of the wooden surface, while a deck stain soaks into the wooden surface. There is a certain level of pigmentation that is available in a deck stain, the amount of which will determine the opacity of the stain. The opacity of a deck stain ranges from semi-transparent to opaque.
The best advantage of using a stain is that it can prevent additional UV rays from getting to the wooden surface, which is enhanced by the dark color of the stains. Thus, the darker the stain, the greater the extent of the UV protection. Moreover, stains come in different colors to add different effects to the wooden surface. On the other hand, sealers tend to be transparent and maintain the original quality of the wood without compromising or changing it.
Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Deck Sealer
The following is a list of some of the factors that you must consider when looking for the best deck sealer. Each product that is sold on the market is unique and different, meaning that there is a wide variety from which you can choose the best sealer for your particular project. We will take you through some of the most important characteristics to consider when purchasing a deck sealer.
Colored or Clear
Deck sealers come in different hues like clear, tinted, or pigmented. We recommend using a clear deck sealer if you are looking to showcase the natural look of the wood. Tinted sealers offer an attractive layer or coat that will help to enhance the original beauty of the wood. Clear deck sealers offer less protection, however, than their tinted counterparts. If you are opting for a deck sealer-and-stain combination, then you must go for a colored product. The color of the stain offers great resistance to UV rays. Thus, you should match each color of the sealer to the wood’s color.
Durability is the most important feature when choosing a deck sealer. A clear deck sealer keeps the wood looking new. Moreover, it is there to protect the wood from other elements like fluctuations in temperature, UV rays, oil, molds, mildew, and so on. The top-rated products when it comes to deck sealers should have a tough exterior and offer a high level of protection.
Ease of Application
You should consider how easy it will be to apply the deck sealer and if it matches your method of application. Exterior Wood sealers come in different textures depending on the method of application. Their drying times are quite different.
If you prefer the spraying method, then you should buy a thin deck sealer that is compatible with a spraying machine. You should be wary about oil-based sealers because they form bubbles on the surface during application. On the other hand, water-based sealers are easy to apply and they are recommended especially for beginners.
When choosing your best deck sealer, you should consider the environment. Anything that poses a threat to the environment is not recommended. This means that you should consider the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in the sealer.
In some areas and industries, they have strict restrictions against VOC components and their production. Water-based products tend to have a low amount of VOC material, which means that a lower amount of VOC will be released into the air and environment. This also benefits your health.
A deck sealer leaves a mess when it is applied to surfaces. The overall time needed to clean up the substance makes a whole lot of difference on the project. Oil-based products tend to require a lot of time for the solvent to be cleaned, like a paint thinner or acetone. Water-based products are quite easy to clean with only soap and water.
Other oil-based sealers take a lot of time to dry up; some even take up to two days. This means that if it suddenly rains, then the whole project would be messed up. Consider the drying time of the product you are about to purchase before you use it on your project. Water-based sealers do tend to dry much faster, so they are the best choice.
Preparation and Maintenance
Is it possible to just apply the sealer to the deck, or do you need a few hours to prepare the deck first before application? Well, you need to know the type of deck you are dealing with before you begin using the sealer. This is because other decks must be stripped down to bare wood before you begin applying the sealer. Other decks require you to paint on top of old sealers. Thus, oil-based sealers are quite tough and require less preparation time.
The best deck sealer makes the process of keeping and protecting your wood quite easy. The best deck sealer is important in preventing harmful weather conditions from getting on your wood. The above product reviews will help you in making the right choice when purchasing the best product for your deck. By following this guide, you are sure to obtain a fantastic and smooth finish on your deck.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Is Better, Staining or Sealing a Deck?
It is often advised to use a combination of a stain and sealer. This is because a stain provides protection from UV rays, and sealers on the other hand protect from water and weather damages. Thus, using a combination of the two will offer a more protective layer.
How Many Times Should You Apply a Deck Sealer?
The number of times you should apply is based on the type of sealer you are using and the outside temperatures. However, the rule of thumb suggests that you should apply it again after about three years.
How Long Does a Deck Sealer Take to Dry?
This also depends on the type of sealer and the climate changes. Some sealers take at least a few hours to dry, while others take up to two days. It is best to leave the sealer on the deck for at least 24 hours so that it can dry properly.
Does Pressure-Treated Wood Need a Sealer?
The best combination would be to use a stain and sealer in one. Or you can also opt for a deck water sealer. You can also get products that are only suitable for pressure-treated wood.
What Is the Best Application Method for Applying a Seal?
You can use either a roller, brush, or sprayer for the application process. However, sprayers are the best when it comes to applying a sealer to your wooden surface. It requires more effort if you use a natural-bristled brush. Moreover, you will not be able to get any paint in the cracks or corners of your deck.
I was born in 1984 and have been into woodworking since 2005 and woodturning since 2011. Because of my love for wood and woodworking, I started woodhappen.com to teach other enthusiasts about how to finish and seal wood, the best woodworking tools, the different types of wood, and everything else related to wood! See my full profile