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How To Finish A Deck

How To Finish a Deck?

Finishing a deck is difficult, but the proper process and approach can transform it into a beautiful outdoor space. A deck finish is like putting sunscreen on the wood. It protects the deck from various elements, which can lead to wear and tear sooner.
If you’re looking to enhance the beauty of your wood deck or protect it from the elements, the first step is to understand the steps involved. Let’s break down the process into easy-to-follow steps, ensuring you have all the necessary tools to achieve a perfect wood deck finish.

Why Finish Your Deck?

Have you ever thought about why finishing your deck is so important? A deck finish protects the wood from moisture, UV rays, and daily wear and tear. It enhances the natural beauty of the wood and prevents common issues such as wrapping and rotting. A well-enhanced deck gives an aesthetically pleasing view to your deck with a long-lasting effect.

Why Finish Your Deck

Types of Deck Finishes

You have several options for deck finishes, and every type offers different benefits. But it’s crucial to understand what they are and how they work.

Deck Sealers

Deck sealers protect wood by repelling water. They penetrate the wood and create a protective barrier, preventing moisture from sleeping. Sealers are clear or lightly tinted, allowing wood’s natural beauty to shine through.

Hempshield Wood Finish and Deck Sealer

Deck Stains

Deck stains add color to the wood while also providing protection. They come in various shades, vibrant colors, and natural wood tones. Stains can be semi-transparent, allowing the wood grain to show or solid, providing a more opaque finish.

Hemp Shield Stain Color

Deck Paints

Deck Paints offer a thick, protective layer covering the wood grain. They come in various colors and can be an excellent option for a bold, new look on your deck. The only disadvantage is that deck paints tend to peel and chip over it. It requires more maintenance than other finishes.

Choosing the Right Deck Finish

Selecting the right deck finish depends on several factors, including the type of wood, the climate in your area, and your personal preferences. For example, a water-repellent sealer might be the best choice in a wet environment. On the other hand, if you want to make your deck aesthetically pleasing and enhance the natural beauty of the wood, a semi-transparent stain could be ideal. Before choosing the right deck finish, research thoroughly and find the best option.

Preparing Your Deck

Preparing your deck before applying any finish ensures that the finish adheres well and lasts longer.

Cleaning the Deck

Start by thoroughly cleaning the deck to remove dirt, grime, or an old finish. You can use a commercial deck cleaner or make your own using water, bleach, and dish soap. Apply the cleaner, scrub the deck with a stiff brush, and rinse it thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer. Allow the deck to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Deck Cleaning

Sanding the Deck

Sanding is crucial for achieving a smooth, even surface. It removes any remaining old finish and opens up the wood pores, allowing the new finish to penetrate better. Use a power sander for large areas and a hand sander for comers and edges. Be sure to sand along the grain of the wood and use fine-grit sandpaper for the best results.

Deck Sanding

Applying Deck Finish

After your deck is clean and smooth, it’s time to apply the finish. The application process remains similar and straightforward, even if you’re using a sealer, stain, or paint.

Using a Deck Sealer

If you’ve chosen a deck sealer, stir it well to ensure an even consistency. With a paintbrush or roller, apply a thin and even coat following the direction of the wood grain. Be sure to cover all surfaces, including the edges and ends of the boards. Allow the sealer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before applying a second coat.

Applying Deck Stain

Applying a deck stain is similar to applying a sealer. Stir the paint thoroughly and apply it evenly with a brush or roller. Use a rag to wipe off excess stains after application for a more natural look. This process helps highlight the wood grain and gives a more uniform appearance. Let the paint dry completely before allowing foot traffic on the deck.


Finishing a deck might seem like a lot of work, but the results are well worth it. A beautifully finished deck enhances your outdoor space and protects your investment for years. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can achieve a stunning wood deck finish that you’ll be proud of.


1. How often should I reseal my deck?

Resolving your deck every 1-3 years is generally recommended, depending on the type of sealer used and the local climate conditions.

2. Can I apply a new finish over an old one?

It’s best to remove the old finish first. Cleaning and sanding the deck ensures the new finish adheres properly and looks even.

3. What’s the best time of year to finish my deck?

Spring and fall are ideal for finishing your deck because the temperatures are mild, and there’s usually less humidity. Avoid finishing your deck in extreme heat or cold.

4. How can I prevent my deck finish from peeling?

Proper preparation, including cleaning and sanding, is critical. Also, avoid overapplying the finish and follow the manufacturer’s drying time recommendations.

5. Can I use a deck sealer and stain together?

Some products combine sealing and staining in one, but typically, you would choose one or the other. If you want both benefits, look for a stain with sealing properties.

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