Deck or Porch Remodel or Addition

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

Who do I hire to get my deck sealed?

Many deck contractors, painters and construction services can seal your deck. The best way to find the right professional to seal your deck is by searching online. Because there’s a wide range of professionals who can seal decks,  using online resources and an app (like Thumbtack) can help you quickly find the top-rated professionals in your area and compare them. Be sure to base your decision on customers’ ratings and reviews, paying particular attention to any customer-uploaded photographs of the pro’s work.

Should you put a sealer over a stain?

It's not required that you put a sealer over the stain on your deck, but adding a finish may add a useful extra layer of protection. However, the sealer should be applied properly by a professional who understands the interaction between it and the stain below. You don’t want your sealer to cause the stain to peel, so consult with a deck sealing professional first.

What are the advantages of sealing a deck?

If you want your deck to last as long as possible and retain its natural beauty, consider adding a sealer to it. From protecting your wood to enhancing its grain, here are the main benefits of adding a sealer to your deck: 

  • Wood decks usually need only one to two coats of sealer.
  • Sealing gives wood a beautiful, natural finish.
  • Sealers enhance the wood’s natural grain and beauty.
  • It’s possible to apply paint on top of sealers.
  • Sealers protect wood from water and rot.

How often should you seal your deck?

It depends on the climate, your deck’s age, its condition and the type of sealer you use.  Some experts recommend adding a sealing product at least once a year, while others advise every three years. If your deck is frequently in hot, direct sunlight or harsh conditions like rain, high humidity or snow, you'll likely need to apply a seal at least once a year. Contact a deck sealing professional near you to find out if it’s time to re-seal your deck.

Should I stain or seal my deck?

Whether you stain or seal your deck depends on what you are trying to achieve. Staining is ideal for those who want to protect their decks from water and UV rays but also desire a certain color. The downside of staining is that the color can quickly wear away on areas of high traffic. Sealers also protect against water, but they don’t penetrate the wood. If you’re stuck on whether you should apply stain or a sealer (or both), talk to a deck sealing professional in your area.

How long should you wait before sealing a new deck?

Wait until the wood is free of moisture before you seal it. This could take a few weeks, a month or several months — it all depends on the wood, the climate and other factors. Chat with a deck sealing professional near you. They should be able to examine your deck, test it for moisture and help you determine how many more days or weeks you should wait before sealing it.

What is the best sealer for a deck?

The best sealer for a deck is one that can protect it against the elements, repel water and show off your deck’s natural beauty and grain. Water-based sealers are common among deck owners and more environmentally friendly. Oil-based sealers tend to be more durable and last longer. 

Clear deck sealers bring out your wood’s grain but don’t block UV rays, making the best choice for a deck sealer is one that inhibits UV through chemicals and colors. The best balance usually comes from a semi-transparent sealer.

Do I need to sand my deck before sealing?

Yes, you’ll likely need to sand your deck before applying a sealer. The reason for this is related to pressure washing. When you run a pressure washer over wood, it causes very small fibers to separate and rise off of the wood’s surface. Step on these once it’s dried out and you’ll get splinters — which is where sanding comes in. Sanding your deck after you pressure wash it ensures you will have a smooth surface that’s not only comfortable but ready to accept the sealant.

How do you prepare a deck for sealing?

Preparing a deck for sealing involves using a number of different tools as well as knowing how to identify potential problem areas before moving forward — a process that’s as much experience as it is a skill. Sealing a deck involves a significant amount of effort, materials and time, making it a great job for a professional

The process typically involves repairing the deck, pressure washing and scrubbing it, sanding it down, letting it dry and sealing it — all at the correct pressure, temperature and humidity.

How much does it cost to build a deck?

The cost of building a new deck or porch is $1,500. However, this price can vary depending on a few different factors. The square footage of the space, the type of materials to be used, the intricacy of the project and your specific region can cause the price to fluctuate. To find out how much your new deck will cost, get free estimates from the best deck contractors near you.

For more information, read “How much does it cost to build a deck or porch?

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