How To Protect Your Wood Deck From Weather & Maintain Its Integrity

December 22nd, 2022 | by Jim Gates

how to protect decks from weather

Whether you’re entertaining friends, playing grill-master, or soaking in the sun on a summer day, your wood deck is a valuable part of your life. 

So it makes sense that you want to extend its life and protect your investment.

But how can you maintain your wood deck’s integrity and shield it from the elements?

In this article, we discuss why the sealant you choose matters and provide tips for how to protect your wooden deck from the weather.

Table of Contents

Can You Weatherproof a Wood Deck?

Yes, you can protect your wood deck from the ravages of weather, but the process has to be done ‘just so.’ 

Whether your wood deck is weatherproofed or not depends on:

  1. The sealer you’re using; and
  2. The technique and tools you use to apply the sealer

How Do You Weatherproof a Deck?

Because of the large amount of rain in the Portland area, to effectively weatherproof a wood deck, you will need to seal it once a year. 

The deck will then need to be sanded down or stripped to remove the existing sealant and resealed every three to four years. 

Are you ready to install a new deck? The professional team at Three Rivers Custom Decks has over 25 years of experience in designing and installing decks and outdoor living spaces. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.


Our Number One Tip To Protect Your Wood Deck From Weather: Sealant Matters

If you want to properly protect your wood deck from weather and make it last as long as possible, you must focus on the sealant. 

Without the right type of sealant, proper application, and regular maintenance, it is unlikely that your deck will survive the elements. 

How to Properly Seal Wooden Decks

The first thing you need to know about how to weatherproof a deck is the most effective way to apply sealant. Here are a few pro tips for optimal success: 

  • Always apply the sealant to a dry surface. Has it rained or snowed recently? Is your deck damp or frosty? If so, don’t risk it. Applying sealant to a deck that is holding moisture may result in an uneven, beaded, or splotchy finish that will not effectively protect your deck. Allow a wet deck to dry for at least 24 hours before applying sealant. 
  • Use the right tools and techniques. For sealing your deck, you will need a:
    • Paintbrush
    • Paint roller; or 
    • Paint sprayer

Work slowly and methodically, making sure each inch of the deck receives adequate, even coverage. If the sealant is too thick, it may peel or chip, so be sure to only apply one coat at a time.

  • Choose the right temperature and time of day. Seal your deck on a day when temperatures are between 50 and 90℉. Begin working in the morning, since the hot afternoon sun can cause your sealant to evaporate too quickly and may keep it from absorbing properly.
  • Wait 30 days before applying a sealant to a new deck. We get it. You’ve got a new deck and just want to get the project fully completed. But new wood contains preservatives, and it takes around 30 days for those to evaporate enough to allow the wood to absorb a sealant. 
  • Wash, sand, and repair your deck before applying sealant. Prep is critical to successful deck sealing. Do you have broken boards? Repair them. Use a power washer to scrub the surface. 

Allow 24 hours of dry time before sanding with 60- to 150- grit sandpaper. When sanding, be sure to equally sand the entire surface to ensure optimal absorption. When the wood is fully dry, vacuuming is recommended to remove every last particle of dust before applying the sealant. 

  • Don’t use your deck for 24 hours after applying a wood sealer.

How To Pick the Best Sealant for Your Wood Deck

Different products may be applied to your wood deck for varying levels of protection. These include: 

  • Sealants are generally applied to protect the wood from moisture damage. Their viscosity is thicker than stains, and they also contain water-repellant or waterproofing properties. Sealants typically do not have UV protection because most of them lack the pigmentation that naturally blocks UV rays.
  • Stains are pigmented, so they add color and protect the deck against UV damage. They generally provide moderate moisture protection.
  • Paint (latex or oil-based) protects against both moisture and UV damage but generally doesn’t hold up as long as sealant or stain. 

A 2-in-1 stain-and-sealant product offers both durable moisture and UV protection.


how to protect wooden deck from weather


Additional Tips on How To Protect Wood Decks From Weather

How To Protect Your Wood Deck From Weather in the Summer Months

Add Coverage

A great way to easily protect your wood deck from the elements is to cover it with a roof or pergola.

The benefits of covered decks include:

  • Year-round protection for the wood from the sun, wind, and moisture.
  • A comfortable place for you to relax during the hot summer months.

Avoid Using a Pressure Washer Too Often To Clean Your Deck

Power washing your wood too frequently can cause it to lose its waterproofing capabilities. 

In the Portland area, we recommend pressure washing your deck no more than every one to three years. This allows you to give the deck a deep cleaning to remove any debris, dirt, or mold that can wear down the finish. 

Power washing too frequently can lead to mold and mildew due to improper drying in some climates.

How To Protect Your Wood Deck From Weather in the Winter Months

Make Repairs Prior to Winter

Winters in the Pacific Northwest can be wet, and exposure to ice and cold temperatures can take their toll on your wood deck. 

By making any needed repairs before winter, you can ensure your deck is strong enough to withstand whatever winter has in store.

Remove and Store Planters and Furniture

Before winter, wash any outdoor furniture and planters and remove them from your deck, if possible. 

This will prevent them from leaving marks on the surface of your deck due to weathering from the elements.

Avoid Using Salt on Your Deck

Rock salt should never be used on a wooden deck. 

While it may help you maintain your footing on slick deck boards, it is also:

  • Corrosive
  • Poisonous’ and 
  • Unsafe for the environment

Ice melt is a good alternative that will give you a sure footing and protect your investment.


how to protect your deck from weather


Ready To Install or Upgrade to a Custom Deck in Portland? Three Rivers Custom Decks Has Been Serving the Area for Over 25+ Years

Whether you’re wanting to install a new deck or upgrade your current one, look no further than Three Rivers Custom Decks.

Serving Portland and the surrounding areas, Three Rivers Custom Decks specializes in creating unique, beautiful outdoor living spaces. 

Our custom decks are created from the highest-quality deck material options on the market. From beautiful natural wood to PVC and composite options, we’re confident we can make your vision for a custom deck a reality.

Contact us today for your free, no-obligation consultation.