How to Seal a Deck

Harsh winter weather is just around the corner, and many of us are beginning to prepare our homes for the onslaught of cold temperatures, snow storms, and dryness. Preparing your wooden deck is an often-overlooked chore on your to-do list, but it is an essential step toward preserving the integrity and structure of your back porch or patio. The best way to prevent winter weather from damaging the material is to provide a stain or sealer before the cold weather comes. Though this may seem counterintuitive (wouldn’t it make sense to do it after the winter?), applying a coat of sealer will protect the wood all season long. Here’s what you’ll need: 


  • Sandpaper 
  • Paintbrush 
  • Paint roller with extension handle 
  • Sealer of your choice 


Step 1: Check your local weather forecast. Find at least two days of dry weather where temperatures are between 50- and 90-degrees Fahrenheit. That shouldn’t be too difficult for this time of year. Remove all deck furniture and plants. 


Step 2: Sand your entire deck in the direction of the gain. Be sure to wear a safety mask so you don’t inhale the sawdust. Be sure to dive in popped nails or replace them with deck screws. Sweep off all loose debris and clean between cracks, ensuring the entire deck is dry. 


Step 3: Cover all nearby plants and siding with plastic sheeting. This will be enough protection. 


Step 4: Stir the sealer thoroughly taking care not to shake the container. Bubbles may form 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 sprayer. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat, and don’t allow the finish to puddle.  


Step 5: Repeat Step 4 for the entire deck, using a paintbrush to apply sealer in corners and other difficult areas. Though a second coat is optional, it is a good idea for winter weather preparation.  


Step 6: Rinse the plastic covering on plants and siding before removing it. Allow the deck to dry completely for two days.  

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