How Do You Know If Your Outdoor Deck Needs Sealant?

Who needs another complicated decision in their life? It seems like simplification is the most desirable thing these days, especially if you’re a homeowner. The more you can simplify and economize your list of home projects and maintenance issues, the better it is for you and your family.

Outdoor decks are an amenity that millions of American homeowners enjoy every year, and for good reason. They provide vital square footage for entertaining and relaxing. They also provide an attractive and functional “transitional space” between the interior of the home and the exterior.

But what about maintenance? Are outdoor decks complicated to maintain? Do I need to apply sealant to my deck, and if so, how often? These are common questions from homeowners, whether they’ve built a new deck, had a deck resurfaced, or have purchased a home with an existing deck and want to know how to take care of it.

Natural wood or composite?

Let’s address this question first, since more and more people are going for composite decking these days. Everyone knows that composite decking is supposed to be low maintenance — so does it require sealant or not?

The short answer is that composite decking generally does not require sealant. However, if you don’t seal a composite deck, you’ll need to clean it thoroughly at least once a year. It’s important to realize that you can apply sealant to most types of outdoor decking, and doing so will minimize your cleaning and maintenance requirements over the short term.

In terms of natural wood deck, regular sealant is highly recommended in order to protect the wood against rain, wind, snow, dirt and other elements. Not doing so can cause your deck to age rapidly, taking years off the “life expectancy” of your deck.

Stains versus sealants

There’s quite a bit of confusion about stains and sealants, and which one is right for a given deck. The answer is quite simple. Solid and semi-transparent stains offer a high degree of protection for your wood, but also a degree of coloration. Transparent stains may alter the color slightly, but do not offer much protection.

Sealants, on the other hand, do not color the wood at all. They do, however, provide waterproofing and protection against rot, warping, splitting and other common problems with natural wood decking.

How often to apply stains and sealants?

Stains generally give you two or three years of solid coloration and protection from the elements before they need to be renewed. Sealants provide one season of protection, and homeowners who are serious about protecting their decks will usually apply sealant to a natural hardwood deck once a year.

Where to get your questions answered

Best maintenance practices can be a little confusing when it comes to hardwood and composite decks of different varieties. There are so many different types of decking material today that it can be hard to know exactly what to do. The best course of action is to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions (if you know who manufactured your decking material), or to consult an outdoor deck specialist who can tell you with greater clarity how to protect your deck through the seasons with a minimum of hassle.

Client Testimonials

J.Widener from Newton, NJ

“Outstanding team. Very impressed with the whole process and the most with my new beautiful deck!”

S.Long from Franklin Township, NJ

“The deck looks FANTASTIC. I still can’t believe that Deck Guardian was able to resurface my old, ugly deck. Our neighbors have stopped by to comment on how great the deck looks. The attention to detail, work ethic and professionalism set this company apart. I highly recommend Deck Guardian!”

M.Lewis from Fleminton, NJ

“We have received numerous compliments from Neighbor’s and friend’s who think that the finished project looks terrific. Not only do I appreciate the “quality job”, but I really appreciate the professional manner Skip handled all the details!”

L.Cohen from West Orange, NJ

“When I came home yesterday, I could not believe how amazing my newly resurfaced deck looked. Crew did an amazing job. It was also a pleasure to work with your salesperson, very professional and knowledgeable!”

S.Smith from Chester Township, NJ

“I’m completely impressed. I have dealt with my share of contractors as I have been updating my home for several years. Deck Guardian gets the gold medal. Deck Guardian restored my 10 year old deck & fence to a brand new condition. I am amazed!”

P.Tang from Westfield, NJ

“Deck Guardian Team did a good and pleasant job to give us a professional service and a beautiful new deck, without replacing it. We love the color and the way it feels like. Highly recommended!”

Kathryn Barchi from Piscataway, NJ

“My husband and I had recently moved into a new home and quite quickly we learned of so many things that both us and the home inspector missed prior to the purchase; the deck being one huge item. We quite desperately wanted to use our deck and know that it was safe for us, our kids, our pups, and our guests, which in the original state, was definitely not the case. Deck Guardian to the rescue! The Deck Guardian team, from the free estimate to the point of project close, were quite wonderful to work with entirely. They even pointed out additional things we had missed with regards to the safety of our deck. Of course, best of all, the Deck Guardian team was able to work within our budget, while giving us back our deck with a new lease on life. Deck Guardian far exceeded our expectations and for that, my husband and I can not thank them enough!!!”

Jessica Ravitz from Skillman, NJ

“Deck Guardian completed an amazing deck replacement project for us in less than 2 weeks after we signed our contract. Not only did they provide an extremely competitive price, we got a beautiful deck that so greatly exceeded our expectations! Everyone at Deck Guardian is wonderful – from the estimator, the crew and the administrative staff – very friendly, professional, meticulous and hard working. We are so pleased and give the highest recommendation!!! Thank you Deck Guardian!”

Paul Cichello from Bridgewater, NJ

“I contacted Deck Guardian and was given an estimate the very next day. The representative was very knowledgeable and fair. The workers were polite and professional. We are satisfied with our new deck and would recommend Deck Guardian to anyone who wants quality work.”