How do you choose the best wood deck coating? Here’s all the information you need to know.
A wooden deck in your garden can add a whole new level of polish to the area. It’s always great to have somewhere to sit and enjoy the outdoors or entertain friends. Like everywhere else in your home though, you’ll need to take good care of it if you want it to last.
Here’s why you’ll need to coat your wood deck, and how to find the best coating for your needs.
Why Wood Deck Coating Is Essential
Firstly, let’s look at why you need that wood deck coating. If you install a stone or slab patio in your yard, then that won’t need to be coated. A wooden deck, on the other hand, is going to need some more care.
Wood will be vulnerable to the elements, as well as any pests, like termites, that want to attack it. When you have a deck built, the wood used should have been pressure treated to ensure it will last for a long time. However, you’ll need to do more than that to protect the deck when you’re using it.
A good coating will seal a deck up against water, one of its main enemies. When water can’t get into the wood, you’ll see that it can’t get damaged by mold or fungal issues. That prevents the wood from splitting and cracking, keeping the finish looking good. It also makes it safer, as rotting wood will be unsafe to walk on.
As such, you’ll want to find a wood deck coating that suits your needs. Luckily, there are a lot of options out there.
Picking The Right Wood Deck Coating
How do you know which coating is right for you? Firstly, you’ll need to know what’s out there. There are three main types of coating that you can choose from.
Paint: This is an opaque sealant, that lets you add color to the wood itself. This sits on top of the wood and creates a seal.
Stain: Rather than changing the look of the wood, a stain will create a new tone in the wood’s color. It will sink into the wood and protect it.
Oil or clear preserver: This is something that you’ll want to use if you want a more natural look for your wood deck.
Which one should you choose for your deck? It all depends on the finish and level of protection that you want for your deck. The look of the deck will have the main deciding factor. If you want it to stand out, painting it with a deck paint will get what you want. If you want to keep the grain of the wood, then staining will be your best bet.
You’ll also want to think about the upkeep of the sealant, too. Typically, paint will need more upkeep as it sits on top of the wood, so it’s liable to flaking off. As stains and oils sink into it, they’ll need redoing less often.
All are reliable options for your wood deck though, so once you pick one you’ll be ready to apply it.
Tips For Sealing Your Wood Deck
Now you’ve picked a sealant product, you want to ensure it’s properly applied. That way, you won’t have to worry about it needing to be redone before you’re ready to come back to it. You’ll also ensure that you’ll get the proper level of protection for it.
Pick the right time to seal your deck: Sealing your deck is all about picking the right time. If you seal it at the wrong time, you won’t get the best results. Luckily, it’s not too hard to pick the right moment for you. Firstly, you’ll need to give your deck 30 days after being installed before you can seal it. This will let it dry out, so you can properly seal it. You can test this by pouring some water on the deck. If it beads up, then you’ll need a few more days until it’s ready.
You’ll also want the right weather to seal your deck. Wait for a run of dry days, so you can seal it without the rain getting into your deck.
Check for broken wood and other issues: Now you want to check for any issues that would get in the way of you sealing the deck. For example, if you find any broken boards, replace them before you get started. You’ll also want to look for mold or signs of pests such as termites. Deal with these issues first, so you don’t undo all your hard work in sealing the deck.
Wash the deck down: Before you can seal it, the deck needs to be fully washed down. Sweep it down, and then wash it with a power washer to clean it off. Let that dry for 24 hours, so it’s fully dry. Then use sandpaper to sand the surface, which removes any barriers to the sealant you’ll use. This is especially important when you’re resealing a deck, as you’ll want to remove any previous sealant before you put more on.
Apply your sealant: Now you’re ready to apply the sealant to the deck. You can use a paintbrush or roller for the job, or even use a paint sprayer. Work from one corner and go slowly, to ensure that every part of the deck is covered.
Typically, you’ll only need one coat of sealant. Any more than that and the sealant could start chipping or flaking off. If you do need a second coat though, wait at least 24 hours between coats so you can be sure that it’ll stay in good condition.
Stay off the deck: Finally, you’ll want to stay off the deck for at least 48 hours. This gives the sealant enough time to cure before you can start moving furniture back on it and using it. If you do this though, you should get a year of strong protection from it.
Now you know just why sealing your deck is so important. Seal it now, and you’ll stop a lot of common deck issues in their tracks.