How to Clean and Seal a Deck

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How to Clean and Seal a Deck

A nicely decorated deck is a wonderful place to enjoy family gatherings or simply bask in pleasant weather and relax. However, over time UV rays from the sun as well as inclement weather can wreak havoc on a wood deck. Cleaning and sealing a damaged deck can breathe new life into the wood and help to protect it from the inevitable elements. With just a few materials and a little bit of effort, a deck can remain beautiful for seasons to come.


Materials for cleaning and sealing a deck

Before cleaning and sealing a deck, collect all the necessary materials, including:

  • Garden hose
  • Deck cleaner or deck brightener
  • Paint roller with long handle attachment
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Deck sealant
  • Stiff bristle broom

Be sure to read the package instructions on any cleaning agent or sealant, as different brands may require special tools.


Test the wood

Before cleaning or sealing a deck, users should ensure that the wood is in a state such that it can absorb the sealant. The most efficient way to do this is to perform a water test. In order to water test a deck, homeowners can simply sprinkle some water from a garden hose or watering can onto the deck. If the water is readily absorbed, the wood is ready for sealant. If the water beads up, the deck does not require sealing yet. 


Clean the deck

When a deck easily absorbs water and requires sealing, it is essential that it is clean and dry first. Otherwise, the sealant can trap dirt and debris, creating permanent bumps and spots on the deck.

Prepare deck for cleaning

Homeowners should be sure to prepare both the deck and the surrounding areas for the cleaning and sealing process. Remove all outdoor furniture, barbecue grills, and other large items such as umbrellas or storage containers from the deck and set aside. It is also a good idea to cover any surrounding plants with clear plastic sheets to avoid any chemical splatter that could damage them. When the deck is clear, be sure to sweep up any dirt and debris and make any required repairs, such as replacing broken boards or sanding down rough areas.

Apply a cleaning agent

When the deck is ready, apply the cleaning agent of choice. Both deck brighteners and diluted bleach can work for this purpose. Be sure to thoroughly read the package instructions for application. For instance, some cleaning agents require a wet surface to begin, while others require the deck to be dry. It is also important that the cleaner not puddle or pool in any areas, which can lead to damage. Having two people for the project, one to apply the cleaner with a sprayer or paint roller, and the other to spread out any puddles, can be especially helpful.

Rinse and dry

Allow the cleaner to soak into the wood for the time indicated on the package directions. Then, thoroughly rinse the deck off with clean water and allow the deck to dry undisturbed. Do not replace furniture before the deck is completely dry. When the deck is clean and dry, which can take up to two days, it is ready for sealing.


Seal the deck

Because deck sealant needs to dry, try to find at least two consecutive days that are predicted to be dry and warm, but not too hot, and use these for sealing. Keep in mind that a basic sealant can keep water and dirt away from the wood while keeping the wood's natural colour and texture. To change the deck's colour, choose a water resistant wood stain rather than a sealant.

If any debris has accumulated between cleaning the deck and sealing it, be sure to sweep it away, but do not wet the deck. Apply the sealant or stain using a paint roller or paint pad with a long handle attachment. Be sure to apply in the same direction as the wood grain. Allow the sealant to dry for at least a day before using the deck.


How to buy deck cleaner and sealant on eBay

Shopping on eBay is a great way to collect all the materials necessary to clean and seal a deck. Use the search box on any page of the site to look for a "paint roller" or "wood brightener". Take advantage of the messaging system on eBay to ask the seller you choose any questions about colours, materials, or shipping that you have. Undertaking a home improvement project such as cleaning and sealing a deck may seem daunting, but with the right tools, you and your family can enjoy a refreshed deck in just a few days.

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