When deciding to refinish your redwood or cedar deck, you have two choices of finishes: sealer, which prevents wood from absorbing water and delays the weathering process, and stain, which colors and seals the wood.
Most people prefer a clear finish for redwood or cedar, but if the color of your deck isn't your primary concern, use a semitransparent stain.
Avoid direct sunlight when you're working -- and don't apply a new finish if rain is expected within 24 hours.
Tools and Materials
Pressure sprayer or paint roller and pan
Sealer or stain (check label for coverage)
Step 1. Test the wood surface by sprinkling water on it. If the wood absorbs water quickly, it's ready to be sealed. If the wood doesn't absorb water, let it dry for several weeks before sealing.
Step 2. Sand rough or glossy areas and vacuum the deck. Apply clear sealer or stain to all wood surfaces, using a pressure sprayer or paint roller. If possible, also apply sealer to the underside of decking and to joists, beams, and posts.
Step 3. Use a paintbrush to work sealer into cracks that could trap water, and to smooth out drips and runs. Porous wood may require a second coat of staining sealer for even coverage.
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