deck maintenance tips

When to Seal a New Deck? Here’s What You Should Know

Whether to host a family barbecue or enjoy your morning coffee on, wooden decks are one of the most desirable additions to a home. You can personalize it with any stain that you want and you can move your gatherings away from the grass where pests may bother you and your guests. If you’ve installed a new deck recently, you probably know that sealing the deck is an important step. If you’re wondering when to seal a deck, keep reading to learn more!

When to Seal a New Deck

So, you’ve finished building your deck and you’re wondering when to seal a new wood deck. While you’re probably anxious to seal and protect your new investment, it’s important to wait to seal it. Here’s what to consider before sealing your new deck:


Many suppliers will spray preservative spray on their wood to keep it from rotting and attracting pests. If you’re wondering when to seal a new pressure-treated deck, the answer is 2 to 6 months. Even after you’ve waited for 6 months, you’ll want to perform a test before planning to seal the deck. To test the wood for readiness, pour some water on it. If the water beads and doesn’t soak into the wood, then the wood still isn’t ready. Give the wood a few more days before attempting the water test again. You’ll know that the deck is ready for sealant when you pour the water on the deck and it soaks into the wood. Once you know the deck is ready for sealant, you’ll want to get it done as soon as possible. The sooner you can seal the deck the lower your risk of damage from UV rays and moisture will be. 

Remember Your Materials and Goal

While a safe time to wait to seal a pressure-treated deck is 2 to 6 months, the amount of time you wait should also depend on your materials and goal. For example, if you’re wondering when to seal a new cedar deck, you may want to do it sooner than 2 months. This is because cedar has a natural grain that you may want to preserve and show in your finished deck.

Prep the Deck Before Applying Sealant

Now that you know when to stain and seal a new deck, it’s important that the prep work is completed.

If you don’t have the materials or time to prep or seal your deck, you’ll find a professional’s help is a huge asset. They have all the necessary tools to prep your deck and apply a sealant that will keep your deck protected through the wettest seasons.

Before the deck can absorb sealant, the wood should be clean and sanded. Since the deck is new, you shouldn’t have to worry about repairing it before sealing it.

However, if there are any nicks, boards loose, or other imperfections that have accumulated during your wait time, you’ll want to ask your professional to repair those before moving forward with sealant. 

To wash the new deck, your laborer will use a power washer to remove any dirt, mildew, or other debris that may be stuck to it. When sealing a deck, it’s important to have a smooth and clean surface, so power washing will ensure the best results.

Allow the deck to dry for at least a full day before moving forward with other prep work. Once the deck is dry, the surface will need sanding. Your professional should have power tools on hand for the job, so it will be done quickly. It’s important to sand the deck before sealing it because the new wood can create a barrier that stops sealant from sticking.

Once the deck has been sanded, it will need to be vacuumed or swept thoroughly. As we mentioned before, a clean surface is essential when applying sealant, so you won’t want the dust from the wood covering the deck.

What to Keep in Mind

Once you have a fair understanding of the waiting period before sealing the deck and the prep work, there are some details you’ll want to think about. These are:

Seal the Deck When It’s Dry

When you’re ready to have someone seal your deck, look for a patch of clear weather that lasts for at least 2-3 days.

As your pro applies the sealant, they’ll need a dry surface otherwise you may notice patchiness or streaks. Don’t attempt to seal the deck the day after a storm or shower, as the deck will need a day to dry.

Also, don’t plan to seal the deck if the forecast is calling for rain the next day. The sealant will need at least 24 hours to dry. This can be tough in Chicago, as we receive quite a bit of rain, but mid-late summer would be a great time to work on this project.

This same idea applies to frost or snow. 

Plan for the Right Time of Day

If you’re hiring a professional to seal your deck before summer ends, you’ll want to pay attention to the temperature and time of day before sealing it. If it’s too hot out, the sealant will evaporate quickly. So, try to plan your project for the early morning before it’s too hot out.

Maintaining the Sealant

Once your deck is sealed, it’s important to maintain the deck. To do this, you’ll want to seal the deck at least once per year. You can do this yourself or have a pro do it for the best results. If you’re using stain on the deck as well, this is another maintenance task you’ll want to perform once per year.

Are You Ready to Seal Your Deck?

If you’re wondering when to seal a new deck, it’s essential to do your research before starting the project. Failing to follow the necessary steps could leave you with a deck that’s not properly protected. If you’re interested in having a professional in the Chicago area seal, stain, or repair your deck, give us a call today!