If you ask around you may receive a variety of answers as to how long you should wait to seal your deck following construction. Your carpenter may tell you three months, your father may tell you a year. These varied responses have a lot to do with the lumber industry, and how its procedures have changed over the years.
Your father may have built a deck thirty years ago, but thirty years ago the lumber industry was cutting down old-growth trees for use. Old-growth trees are overly saturated with resins and natural oils. The use of such lumber for decking meant that decks were protected longer from UV damage than they are from the lumber used today.
These days, lumber is harvested from tree farms and younger growth trees. Young-growth trees have far fewer natural oils than old-growth trees. The result is immediate UV penetration.
UV rays affect wood decking immediately by breaking down the lignin, a naturally occurring glue that holds wood fibers together. Our professionals at Seal-A-Deck understand the evolving industries involved in bringing to life the deck you’ve always wanted. We use the most innovative and current methods to prolong the life of your deck and give it the look you desire.
So, here’s an answer for you: How long you should wait before sealing your brand new deck all depends on the product you are planning to use.
If you are looking to preserve the beautiful rich grain of, say, a mahogany or cedar decking, we recommend sealing the deck with a translucent penetrating stain within 1-2 weeks of construction. This will ensure minimal or no UV damage and give your deck that natural look.
However, if you are planning to apply an opaque deck stain (also known as solid deck stain), it is recommended to wait one month for some of the natural oils and resins to be extracted by UV rays. This will create a microscopic void that the thicker, solid stain will fill and adhere to.
An opaque deck stain looks like paint; however, its thinner nature gives it elasticity, allowing it to expand and contract during seasonal changes. It is less susceptible to peeling than paint but more susceptible to peeling than translucent sealers, which will never peel. Because an opaque stain is a thicker product that dries on the surface, as opposed to a pigmented waterproofing sealer, it penetrates the surface and preserves the wood.