DECK PREPARATION Before sealing/staining your wood deck, we recommend cleaning it first with a deck cleaner. Most deck cleaners are easy to apply with a pump style yard sprayer, and then are rinsed off with a hose. Sealing your deck before cleaning will seal in existing dirt and debris.
CEDAR DECKS Approximately 30 60 days after your deck has been installed, (depending on the amount of sunlight your deck gets) we recommend that you apply a quality sealer. If you choose a clear sealer, your deck will be protected, but the color will turn to a light grey. If you would like the deck to maintain a color, you must use a colored sealer. Since new cedar deck floors have some mill glaze on them, it is recommended that you first treat your deck with a stripper/cleaner designed for cedar decks. Some of our customers find that colored sealers don't always adhere well to the floor, so we recommend that you go to a reputable paint store for a recommendation on a good quality sealer and proper application techniques. We have found a good rule of thumb is that the higher the cost of a sealer, the better it's performance over time. We don't recommend the use of Thompson's Deck sealer or low cost products, you typically get what you pay for. 2 3 gallons should cover a 300 400 square foot deck. Most often, the floor will need to be sealed every 1 - 3 years, and the railing every other time.
TREATED DECKS Approximately 90 - 120 days after your deck has been installed, your deck should be cleaned with a deck cleaner, then sealed. Treated deck floors tend to be a little easier to stain, as they are more porous and seem to accept stains more easily.
COMPOSITE DECKS - All exterior building materials require periodic cleaning. The newer, capped composite products are easier to keep clean that the older porous products. If you have one of the older, porous products, it is recommended that you clean it with a composite deck cleaner when you feel the need. These cleaners are sold at most hardware store (Home Depot, Fleet Farm, Menards, etc). If you have a Trex deck, you can go to www.trex.com under warranty and care for more information on care/cleaning for your deck.
If you have any specific questions, we recommend speaking with a local paint store or lumber yard.