How Often Should I Stain or Seal My Deck?

As the seasons pass and the weather changes, exposure to the elements can quickly wear out the wood of a deck, leading to splitting, twisting and rotting. In order to prevent this, homeowners and professional painters apply stain or seal the deck and woodwork. Unfortunately, these protective coatings will wear out, so it is important to ask, “how often should I seal my deck?” The answer depends on the kind of material you used to seal it with.

Transparent stains provide some coloration to the wood, but very little protective value. Decks with a transparent stain should be coated with a sealer to extend the life of the wood.

Semitransparent stains provide both color and protection of the wood, while still allowing some wood-grain to show through. Decks coated with a semitransparent stain should usually be recoated every year.

Solid stains are almost like a paint, and provide several years of protection for your woodwork. Rather than penetrating into the wood, they remain more on the surface, and they do not allow the natural grain of the wood to show through. Solid stains require recoating after 4-5 years, on average.

Sealers do not provide any coloration of the wood, but they protect it against moisture that causes rot and splitting. Most sealers last one cycle of seasons and should be renewed each year.

Before re-staining or resealing your deck, it is important to make sure it is clean and free from previous sealers. Use a pressure washer and a cleaning wash to gently prepare your deck to receive the new coat of sealer or stain.

Do you know how soon you can walk on your painted deck?

If you have any questions you’d like answered here, ask us via twitter or Facebook.