Maintaining Cedar Decking
This article is about using a quality Wood Deck Sealer in response to a letter from Ms. F. from Ontario, Canada in April 2007:
"Should I paint or stain
What is your professional opinion of painting or staining pretreated cedar decking?
Should I leave it in it's natural state or should I use a water sealant for longer life
I am against painting or staining, am I wrong
Thank you for your professional comments."
Ms. F, first of all thank you for writing in to home-improvement-and-financing.com with your question on maintaining pretreated cedar decking.
Actually I do have very strong opinions about how to treat Cedar and I can see that they are in line with your own inclinations.
The best (and most expensive) decks are made out of Redwood or indeed Cedar and they usually maintain their strong rich tones well throughout the year if a quality wood deck sealer is applied.
Deck builders using more economical timbers often stain them to get the look that Cedar wood gives you - you should never need to stain cedar because you already have one of the best quality timber for outdoor decking purposes.
I have seen other types of wood, usually pine - stained to shades of green or even purple to good effect and the grain of the wood was always visible through the stain.
I am sure that people who paint decking have their reasons - like hiding faults in the timber planks laid to decking - or to match a color scheme - but they should remember that once you have painted a deck you really can't go back to natural wood without replacing all the timbers.
There are two ways to live with cedar, one is to let it go to it's natural DRY tone, or it's weathered look - as it weathers to a light silver gray shade over time, the other is to do your utmost to preserve it's "as new" rich glowing tones.
Nurture your cedar deck with maintenance once or twice a year (depending on how extreme your weather is) by applying a cedar wood deck sealer - before the heat of the summer and before the wet of the winter - and the natural qualities within cedar wood, that protect it from insects, rot and decay will help protect your investment for the rest of the year.
A wood sealer preservative will protect your Cedar decking from the rain and from rot - a sealer preservative is usually applied to redwood or cedar as well as other timbers, to help preserve the woods natural qualities - to act as a water repellent and to help maintain the original color and tones of the wood by helping to block ultraviolet rays.
If you have left your cedar deck to age to it's natural weathered look but now decide that you want to bring it back to it's "as new" former glory - you can apply a deck brightening solution (you should be able to get product advice for a cedar deck from your local home improvement store) - then let the deck totally dry before you apply a coat of the wood deck sealer.
Make sure the wood is dry enough to absorb the sealer before applying - you can test this by putting a few drops of water onto the surface of a plank of decking to see if the water is absorbed - if the water stays in droplets on the wood and isn't dry enough to absorb liquid - leave this task for another day when the wood is dry.
An example of a quality sealer would be Wolman's Clear Sealer Preservative - water repellent Sealer - please make sure that the surface of your deck is smooth and clean of any grit and dust before applying (even by using a vacuum cleaner if necessary) - and of course please follow the product instructions carefully for the use of the sealant you decide to use and the safety equipment you should wear.
If any of our visitors have additional advice or would like to relate their experiences on deck maintenance or products used - I would love to hear from you - just write in using our Have Your Say Form and I will post useful messages to the end of this article.
Mrs F, I hope that this article answers your queries on how to treat your cedar deck - and I hope it also helps other visitors to home-improvement-and-financing.com - to prepare their wood deck for the heat of the summer or the cold, wet of the winter by using a quality Wood Deck Sealer.
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