DIY: Deck Cleaning and Sealing

The Story of our Deck

We needed to put in a new deck just a few years ago. Our old one was starting to rot and it had been painted by the previous owners. It did not look that great so we decided to just replace it. My father-in-law came over to help us with that project. We used a nice exotic hardwood and it looked just beautiful.

The second year it was installed we re-sealed it and because we had a hard time sealing it after installation we asked if they had a better sealer or stain to put on the wood. The worker at the lumber yard said they had good luck with a new stain so we gave it a try. Well after just a year our deck looked awful again. Well it was much less than a year but we have a rainy season here called November until the 4th of July, in which staining a deck can be risky business because of all the rainy days. So staining it again was going to have to wait for summer.

The third year of our deck, life got busy and so our ugly half worn out stain on the deck remained for another year. So this year I was determined to get it stained or sealed. So we took a trip back to the lumber yard where we had purchased the wood and the other sealers/stain in the past and asked what they were recommending. Well the gentleman my husband talked to was honest that in our climate and with the hardness of the wood it is hard to keep a stain/sealer on the wood. We bought what was recommended and hoped it would last at least through our rainy season.

Our Experience this Time

My Part of this Job

So one day while my husband was at work, I got out the Sun Frog crystals and a stiff brush on a handle and got to work. I knew the deck was really quite dirty and I knew the old stain at least the bits and pieces left needed to be removed. Well I was impressed with how well the deck cleaner worked. It really got all the dirt and stain off quite well. But it was also a long hard job of scrubbing and rinsing, applying more cleaner and then repeat the scrubbing. After about four hours the deck was cleaned and looked really nice.

My Husband’s Part

My husband came home and was really impressed with how it looked. We were not certain we were going to get it that clean after a year of neglect in our watery climate. Since the new oil stain we purchased recommended cleaning the deck and then pressure washing it too. My husband got the job of pressure washing the deck that evening. Lucky for us we went in on a new gas pressure washer with our neighbor so we co-own one to use.

The Sealing Process

We had to let it dry over the weekend and then it was time to apply the new oil sealer. In the past we have used a garden sprayer to apply the stain and then wipe off the excess as we went. It worked alright at first but as more deck was finished it was harder to get to some areas to wipe the excess off. So we opted to apply the stain this time with a brush. So with my husband on one side of each board and myself on the other, we worked to oil seal the deck. I would highly recommend the brushing method of applying sealer or stain. It was so much easier and much less wasted product in the end.

It took us just a little over an hour to oil seal the deck and it looks so nice. Now we are hopeful that this will help to protect our deck during our rainy season and keep it looking nice. We so love the look of the exotic hardwood but the maintenance was something we were not expecting. The worker at the lumber yard said we could let it just be without any sealer and just do the cleaning each year and it would last a very long time. It being hardwood and all, but we really like the colors in it. So we are hopeful this new sealer will do the trick and at least last a year at a time.

Here are the picture of our deck as we went along.

Before after two years of no cleaning or sealing this deck just looked awful. Those brown bits on the wood is the old sealer that had not worn off yet.


This is the deck after cleaning with the Sun Frog crystals. Doesn’t this look oh so much better.


The finished deck up close.


Total cost of this project was $62. That includes both the cleaner and oil sealer. We had the rest of the items needed to complete the project. I have no idea what it would cost to have someone do this job for us. But I know if you can scrub, rinse and paint with a little patience you can do this job yourself.

 The steps we used to do our deck cleaning and re-sealing

1. It is a must to really get the deck clean and I would really recommend using the Sun Frog Crystals, it doesn’t have any chlorine bleach and it did not harm our plants near the deck. Just follow the directions on the jar and you will be just fine.

2. The next step is to let the deck dry or if recommended by the manufacturer of the sealing product pressure wash the deck.

3. Let the deck dry. After all the cleaning and pressure washing our deck was really wet. Make sure to let it dry well. Our oil sealer recommended waiting 48 hours so be sure to check the label on your sealer and wait the time. You would hate to have put in all this work and have it not seal properly due to wetness in the wood.

4. If it is recommended to apply the sealer with a brush or sprayer, I would say from our experience brushing it on was by far the better way to go. We used less product and it was much easier to apply in the long run with less excess to wipe off in the end.

5. Make sure to let the deck dry fully before replacing any of the planters back on the deck or letting anyone walk on it. We roped ours off until it was dry to make sure no one set foot on it. A few years back we walked on the deck too soon and as the deck sealer started to wear off you could see the shoe marks.

6. Enjoy your beautifully sealed deck.

4 thoughts on “DIY: Deck Cleaning and Sealing”

  1. Your deck looks great! We have not treated our deck since we bought our home 3 years ago and it is looking sad. My husband pressure washed the upper half (it is a 2-layer deck) and it took him about 4 hours to do it. Some of the deck still looks greenish from the mold(?) that grows on certain surfaces here in our humid climate. I think I’m going to try some of the Sun Crystals you suggested to see if that might help.

  2. Great work. I have used a sprayer before to apply stain and sealant. It worked fine for me. I even bought a small electric spray gun for a larger job I had to do. I really like the finished product. The deck looks like it belongs in a zen garden. I hope you enjoy it.

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