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Old 07-26-2012, 11:29 AM   #1
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


Alright, I'll keep this as short as possible. My father and I built this deck over the past year. All of the lumber (with the exception of the pine trim boards on the two roof girders) is PT and has sat exposed for a year to let the moisture content get to an acceptable level (this stuff was WET with I installed it last summer).

I still need to remove some pencil marks and grade stamps on some of the wood, and as such, that leads to my first question. I've read conflicting arguments online concerning sanding vs. cleaning agents to prep the deck. Since I have grade stamps and pencil lines to remove, I'm assuming cleaners won't work, correct? Can I just sand the entire thing, rinse, and be ready for the sealant, or should I sand, apply cleaner, rinse, then apply the sealer?

I'm looking for the most effective method followed by the most EFFICIENT method.

Secondly, I want to retain the natural look of the dried lumber. No solid or semi-solid stains. However, after researching, it looks like many don't recommend a 100% clear sealer (unless it has UV protection) since they aren't effective at preventing the gray look. I have ~500 sq.ft of decking, with 90% of it being under roof (see picture below), but the 10% is my main concern. I would PREFER a water based sealant simply for health handling/cleanup/disposal, but if an oil-based is absolutely much better, then I'll take recommendations there as well.

Any suggestions/opinions would be appreciated. Thanks.

Picture of the deck:


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Old 07-26-2012, 04:51 PM   #2
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


With wood that new and no previous stain/paint on there you can probably skip the sanding and go right to the cleaner. I am not sure if the cleaner will remove the pencil marks though. Any stain will have to have some level of pigment otherwise it is a sealer. Any sealers tend to act more like a poly and don't come off till they peel and chip off. Oil based stains will tend to fade and wear away over time but rarely peel. Being you have that roof over the deck I think you will get years and years out of a stain. I personally would go with a natural Sikkens SDR Oil stain. And nice job on the deck. That looks sweet.

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Old 07-26-2012, 07:33 PM   #3
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


Keep in mind that clear sealers or semitransparent stains need to penetrate the wood to be durable. Here's a simple test. Take a spray bottle of water and mist the wood. If the water beads up like wax paper then you will need to lightly sand with 120 grit sandpaper after you clean the surface with a product like simple green. If the water beads but the soaks onto the wood then it is a matter of cleaning the surface then allowing that to dry and using a good quality semitransparent stain in a natural color.

It's the pigment in the stain that protects the wood from graying out. The more pigment, the better the protection. The downside is that too much pigment will pop and peel off the surface because it lays on top and doesn't penetrate the wood.

Clear sealer will protect the wood from moisture but will allow the wood to weather to a gray color. My experience is to go with a stain that has a least a hint of color to it to give your wood better protection than using a clear sealer regardless of brand.

Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:23 AM   #4
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


Oil is better. period. Decks are guaranteed maintenance no matter what product you chose. The only way to avoid maintenance coating is to not use wood. That being said, the oil penetrates deeper and doesnt form a film on top. It will chalk/fade in color faster that a waterbased product, but when a waterbased product fails (which all deck stains will fail) it peels and causes more maint. issues. Oil stains just need cleaned and re-stained when they are ready to accept more stain. I trust Rymar brand xtreme weather. It smells bad, but is actually a low voc oil. It is a one-coat, 60% solids stain with sunseal. It uses industrial strength pigments as well which last longer and protect UV better than anything ive seen on the market. Rymar has succeeded where sikkens SRD has failed in my experience. But, neither last forever. . . and you are guaranteed to have to do it all over again, and again, and again.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:44 AM   #5
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


Second question...would you suggest staining/sealing the underside as well since it's exposed under the patio?
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:32 AM   #6
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


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Originally Posted by mgh-pa View Post
Second question...would you suggest staining/sealing the underside as well since it's exposed under the patio?
Yes.......it will look so much better......stain from above will trickle through the cracks and roll to the underside of the deck leaving unsightly stain/drip marks. Best to finish the underside for best protection and it will look so much better aesthetically.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


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Second question...would you suggest staining/sealing the underside as well since it's exposed under the patio?
I would vote against it. While stain is better than paint it still seals water fairly well, water WILL get into the deck boards through cracks and screws, once it's inside the deck board if it can't escape through the bottom... Well I think we can all see where this is going.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #8
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


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I would vote against it. While stain is better than paint it still seals water fairly well, water WILL get into the deck boards through cracks and screws, once it's inside the deck board if it can't escape through the bottom... Well I think we can all see where this is going.
Not gonna argue with a guy who's specialty is decks. Most of the time I do the undersides if they are prominently visible. I will be changing my plan of attack after reading Robert's post..........thanks Robert!

P.S. I hate doing decks.......they rank right up there with shutters and doors as major PITA's.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:12 PM   #9
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


robert, would you recommend a permeable semi-trans on the underside for extra water sealing?
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Old 08-10-2012, 08:37 AM   #10
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


Thanks, everyone. I got everything cleaned and prepped the other day, and now it rains yesterday and today. No rain in the forecast for tomorrow, Sunday, or Monday. Not sure when I'm going to get a chance to let it dry out, stain, and THEN get 24hrs of no rain. Is it better to risk it on the back end (i.e. the wood not being 100% dry from a previous rain) rather than on the end (i.e. raining within the 24hr post-stain window)?
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:21 AM   #11
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


With Ready Seal it can rain right after you coat the deck. Other sealers require at least 24 hrs to dry.
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Old 08-10-2012, 11:32 AM   #12
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A Topic That's Beaten To Death:NEW Deck Sealer/Prep


I'd say go oil based for sure.
I put my deck in and almost 2 months later I pressure washed it and sanded it lightly with a random orbit hand sander (my back!) and sealed it with water based... now it looks like someone spilled 30 ashtrays all over the deck. I don't know if the water based sealer interacted the the PT wood or what, or I didn't wait long enough?
Go oil is my vote, that's what I'll do when I pressure wash/ sand my deck again next summer.

It looks much worse than this now, twice as bad. This is after a light rain:


Last edited by John in NC; 08-10-2012 at 11:36 AM.
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