Should You Seal a Pressure Treated Deck
By Mark J. Donovan
||Question: Hi Mark, I have had some deck work done to our camp in Maine recently and have a question about whether or not it is necessary to seal a pressure treated deck. The deck contractor who did the work says you don’t need to put a sealer on a pressure treated deck. I’ve always been under the opinion that after the deck has had some time to dry out that I need to apply a deck sealer. I am interested on your thoughts on whether or not it is wise to seal a pressure treated deck.
Answer: O.V. To answer your question succinctly I am of the same opinion as you, and so are the treated lumber manufacturers. I think your deck contractor either does not know what he is talking about, or more likely he doesn’t want to be bothered in coming back to your deck project to seal it.
If the pressure treated deck is left unsealed inevitably, like any other type of wooden deck, Mother Nature will have its way with it. The wood will begin to check and split and water will slowly begin to work its way into it and begin the decaying process. In addition, mold and mildew growth will begin to occur as the moisture soaks into the cracks.
|If you plan on applying a clear deck sealer to a pressure treated deck it is best to wait at least a couple of months to allow the pressure treated lumber to dry out. You can test to see if the deck is ready for a sealer by spilling a little water on it. If the water runs off of it or beads up then it is not yet ready to seal. If the water absorbs into it then it is ready for a sealer. A roller and brush work great for applying a clear deck sealer. Just make sure to not apply too much and that the weather forecast is dry for 24 to 48 hours.
Otherwise you’ll end up with a sticky deck that takes many months to fully dry out. In addition, the deck may begin to peel if you apply too much deck sealer.
I personally like using a semi-transparent stain on my pressure treated decks. This way you add a little color to the wood while still allowing the texture and beauty of the wood to shine through. In addition, there is no peeling to worry about. Years ago I use to apply clear water sealers to my decks and inevitably they would peel. To remove the old sealer I had no choice but to sand down the entire deck.
For help on building a deck, see HomeAdditionPlus.com’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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