How to Weatherproof a Wood Deck

Tips for Restoring a Wood Deck to its Original Beauty

By Mark J. Donovan

Rain, snow and ultraviolet sunlight can wreak havoc to a wood deck. If left unchecked eventual deck boards will begin to fade in color. In addition the wood decking boards will cup, check, warp, and crack. Mold and mildew growth is also a common problem on frequently wet deck surfaces. Consequently it is important to regularly weatherproof a wood deck to keep it looking beautiful and ensure its structural integrity.

To restore and weatherproof a wood deck to its original beauty you first need to clean the deck surface. A pressure washer with a commercial deck cleaner solution works best, however, great care needs to be taken when using the pressure washer.

Make sure to hold the pressure washer nozzle approximately 18 inches away from the deck surface and always keep it moving over the decking surface to ensure that you do not damage the decking boards. Also make sure to clean the deck railings.

Power washing a deck does not always restore a wood deck to its original color. Sometimes the wood deck boards can still look a little dark. To lighten up the deck boards apply a commercial deck wash and brightening solution to the deck surface using a sprayer or long handle stiff brush. This type of solution typically includes bleach of some percentage that will help lighten the wood and give it a more even color tone.

If weatherproofing the deck on a sunny day first hose down the deck with water before applying the wash and brightening solution.

 Tips on weatherproofing a wood deck.

After spraying on the solution use a long handle stiff brush to scrub the deck and to remove any residual mold and mildew stains. Then allow the solution to soak into the deck boards for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterwards rinse off the deck with a water hose.

Once the deck has been cleaned and had time to thoroughly dry, you can then begin to weatherproof the wood deck in earnest by applying a water sealer.

A deck waterproof sealer is specially formulated to repel moisture and protect the wood deck boards from ultraviolet sunlight. Deck waterproof sealers are available in both clear and tinted shades. Before applying a deck waterproof sealer make sure you check the weather forecast first. Typically a deck sealer needs 24 to 48 hours of rain free weather to thoroughly dry.

There are a number of ways you can apply a deck water sealer to weatherproof a wood deck surface. I use a roller and a 4 inch wide brush as it is the most economical way to apply it.

Initially I roll the deck sealer onto a small section of the deck and then use the brush to work the sealer into the wood.

Deck Installation Bid Sheet

I find this method works best for weatherproofing the deck as the deck sealer really gets pushed into the wood grain. Alternatively you can use a long handle paint pad to initially apply the water sealer. Also, you can buy or rent a sprayer to initially apply the deck sealer.

As with the roller, work in small sections at a time when applying the sealer with either of these two alternative tools. Also, you’ll still need to work the deck water sealer into the wood with a brush after initially applying it.

To apply a deck water sealer to the deck railings a sprayer works the fastest, however you waste a lot of deck sealer. The most cost effective way to weatherproof wood deck railings is to apply the deck water sealer with a brush. Unfortunately it is a slow process. However, the water sealer will hold up best with this approach and you’ll save money on fewer cans of deck water sealer.

For help on building a deck, see’s Deck Installation Bid Sheet. The Deck Installation Bid Sheet will teach your how to hire the right deck contractor, and help to ensure that your deck project is completed on time and budget.

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