Step-by-Step Guides: Clean & Protect Your Deck
Choose the Right Look & Deck Protection
Existing decks should be tested to determine if it's time to re-treat by splashing water on the surface. If it's absorbed rapidly, darkening the wood, it's time to reapply a waterproofer. If water beads up or otherwise sits on top of surface, then surface does not need protection at this time.
When choosing a deck finish you need to consider the characteristics of each type of finish and the ultimate look you want to achieve.
- Both Thompson's® WaterSeal® Wood Protectors and Thompson's® WaterSeal® stains offer color choices, effective waterproofing protection, a UV and a mildew resistant coating, all in a single application.
New decks should be treated without delay. It does not take long for exposed wood to be damaged. New pressure-treated lumber should be treated immediately with Thompson's® WaterSeal® Advanced Waterproofers, or 30 days after installation with other Thompson's® WaterSeal® Waterproofers.
Preparation is Critical
Existing decks should be inspected for loose or damaged boards, and repaired if necessary.
All exterior wood, from decks to fences to siding, should be cleaned before sealing, staining or painting. Cleaning is a crucial step to long-lasting protection, and will improve the durability of a waterproofer or stain.
- Before cleaning, be sure to remove all items from the deck and protect plants and other items on the deck that cannot be moved.
- When cleaning, use an appropriate deck cleaner, power-washer, or a combination, to remove stains from dirt, mildew as well as other prior finishes.
- Follow product label application instructions carefully.
Each Thompson's® WaterSeal® cleaning product will make weathered wood look new, but your choice of cleaner will be based on the type of soils or coatings on the wood, and sometimes by the type of wood.
Treating The Deck
- After cleaning, your wood will need protection from water damage. It is important to wait 2-3 days, depending on weather conditions, for the wood to dry thoroughly before applying a Thompson's® WaterSeal® waterproofer or stain.
- For the convenience of a one-day project, Thompson's® WaterSeal® Advanced waterproofers can be applied to damp, freshly cleaned wood, and you get the highest levels of waterproofing available.
- When treating your deck and applying a Thompson's® WaterSeal® waterproofer or stain, follow the product's label application instructions.
- Avoid lap marks by applying waterproofer along the boards lengthwise to one or two boards at a time.
- To choose an applicator, remember that paint/stain pads (on long handles) are often one of the best applicators to use for great results in applying a waterproofer coating.
- If a sprayer is used, back-brush to even out finish.
- Brushes are particularly effective in tight or hard-to-reach spaces.
- Follow package directions to clean tools with either mineral spirits or soap and water.