How to Clean, Seal, and Stain Your Wood Deck for Summer

Is your wood deck ready for BBQ season? Photo via VisualHunt.com

Is your wood deck ready for BBQ season? Photo via VisualHunt.com

Summer is coming, which means your BBQ grill will probably be working hard on the weekends, and your deck will see plenty of foot traffic. Is your deck looking a little dull and bleached? It’s probably time for a good clean and a reapplication of a sealer. Cleaning and sealing your deck on an annual or semi-annual basis doesn’t just keep your wooden deck looking great, it can also increase the life of your deck, so you can avoid the expense of repairing or replacing it.

So, book an upcoming weekend and get ready to spend some time in the sun.

Materials:

  • Broom
  • Deck cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Power washer
  • Rollers
  • Roller trays
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Paint brush
  • Sealer/Stain

Step One: Clear Deck

Clear your deck of everything that can move, including your glorious grill, deck furniture, plants, and other decorative items. If you have items built into the deck or that can’t be moved, cover them with old sheets or drop cloths to protect them.

Step Two: Quick Upkeep

Before you clean your deck, do a visual inspection to see if there are any areas that need a little repair. Nail down raised nails or replace loose ones. Sand down splinters and tighten loose railings.

Step Three: The Deep Clean

Your deck is bound to collect a lot of dirt, crumbs, and maybe a few unwanted deposits from the local birds. Use the broom to get all the dirt and leaves off. Follow the instructions on the back to prepare the deck cleaner and then give your deck a good scrub down. Let it sit for the appropriate amount of time (usually 10 – 20 minutes) and then use the power washer to clean it off. Different areas of San Diego have different water regulations, so make sure this water usage is allowed.

Step Four: Test Sealer

Before you purchase sealer, make sure your deck needs it. After your boards are dry from the washing, dribble some water on the boards. Does the water bead or soak into the wood? If it beads, then you probably don’t need to seal. If it soaks in, it’s time to re-seal. You can choose to purchase clear sealer that will show off the natural grain of your boards, toner that adds a touch of color, semi-transparent stain that tints the wood, or a solid stain.

When you pick a sealer, test it out on a small, out-of-the way area of your deck to make sure you like the color.

Step Five: Apply Sealer

Put on those gloves and make sure to mix your sealer well before pouring it into the application tray. Apply the sealer to vertical sections of the deck first, like the posts, so that if the sealer drips down, it won’t land on finished areas.

Using a roller, apply a thin layer of sealer in long, steady strokes across the floor of the wood deck. Back-brush each stroke to even out the application and to avoid the appearance of stroke marks. For smaller, hard-to-reach places, use the paint brush. Again, use long strokes and avoid the appearance of stroke marks.

Step Six: Wait

When you are finished, give the sealer time to dry. Usually, 12 hours is a good wait period, but check your sealer for specific instructions. For extra powerful sealing, it’s a good idea to add a second layer of sealer the next day. It is always better to add two thin layers of sealer than one thick layer.

Step Seven: Enjoy

Congratulations, your wood deck is spic-an-span and sealed up tight so the harmful UV rays of the sun can’t hurt it. Now you can move all your furniture back into place and get that grill going. Celebratory steaks, anyone?

We hope you and your deck have a glorious summer. If you notice any major problems with your deck during your initial visual inspection, give Best-Rate Repair a call. We want your summer to be fun, but most of all, safe!

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