The following is a guest post by Rodney Southern.
Cleaning and sealing your deck can seem like an intimidating task, but really it is a simple, step-based task that anyone can do. The more temperate month of May is ideal to do this task as it is warm, but not so hot that the sealer will not spread evenly. Also, you won’t get a nasty sunburn! Here is a quick, seven-step guide explaining how to clean and seal a deck with ease.
Check the Sealant on Your Deck
It is silly to spend the money and time on sealing a deck that is already holding back the water, right? To check whether your deck is already sealed properly, simply spray it down and look to see if it is beading up. If it is, you have no worries. Move on to simply cleaning the deck.
Check for Splinters, Nails, Loose Boards, etc
Clear the entire deck of chairs, tables, and anything that might be in your way. Get on your knees and inspect the boards one by one, being careful not to miss any surface areas. Look for raised areas, splinters, popped nails, and damage.
If you have damage, fix it. If you can’t fix the damage, see about a professional helping you out. If you want to fix it yourself but don’t know how, here is a good tutorial for fixing your deck planks. Regardless, don’t lay fresh sealant down on damaged boards. You will have a mess to deal with.
Wash the Deck
Some folks use soapy water but I like to use good old fashioned water and a scrub brush. This allows you to keep a natural look to the deck and it avoids some of the discoloration that soap and chemicals can leave behind. Elbow grease will remove the debris just fine.
Rinse and Let Dry
Whatever you do, do not apply sealant to a dirty or wet deck. After cleaning the deck, let it sit for a day with nobody walking on it. Let it dry naturally and completely.
Inspect for Debris
When you come back the next day, walk across the deck and make sure there are no wet areas or standing water. This is very important because you could otherwise seal the water into the wood. That kind of defeats the purpose. If you have to let it sit another day, go ahead. Make sure the deck is totally dry and clear of any debris. Sweep completely.
Pick out the sealant you want for your deck carefully. Here is an awesome buying guide from Lowe’s to help you out with that. This sealant will not be especially cheap, but a new deck costs a good bit more. Apply the sealant with a clean, dry paint roller. Start in one corner and back your way out carefully. Paint the seats and benches first. Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Always paint what is in front of you and never what is behind you.
Let Dry and Enjoy!
At this point, it is a waiting game. Do not go near your deck for a day or two, and when you return, voila! You will have a beautiful, like-new deck to enjoy without fear of water damage.
Rodney Southern is a long time content writer specializing in a wide array of niches both online and in print. His work has been featured on sites such as Yahoo.com, The Sporting News and numerous others over an eleven plus year career. He was the National Call for Content Winner for 2008. Southern resides in Greensboro, NC with his wife, Julie, and identical twin daughters, Valerie and Brooke.