Sealing / Staining Your Deck
The thing to remember about decks is that they do not last forever. However, your deck will last you a very long time if you continue to regularly take care of it. Just as the sun damages our own skin, the sun also damages your deck, unless it is properly sealed. Sealing a deck will not keep all the harmful rays of the sun away from your deck, but it will dramatically reduce the amount that gets through to it. Water is also an element that that will damage your deck if it gets through to the inside of the wood. Sealing your deck will protect it against these two harmful elements.
Having your deck sealed is a multi-step process witch should be preformed by a deck restoration specialist. The first step is to use the proper cleaning solution to resale the specific issued of each deck, graying, mold mildew, existing stains etc. If your deck is showing signs of a chalky gray color then it is definitely suffering from water damage.
The next step requires the deck to either be pressure washed then sanded. This process removes any previous stains, sealants, residues, oils, debris etc. The idea is to get the wood stripped down and raw. The new sealing will not work as well unless it is put on a raw surface. Once you get the wood to this state, the stain and sealant can be applied. You should repeat this process every 3-5 years to ensure that the deck continues to look good with minimal splintering and discoloration.
Sealing your deck may seem like a major project, but it helps to think about how much money it is saving you to have this maintenance done. If the wood does not get sealed periodically, it will start to lose its strength and end up needing to be replaced much earlier than you anticipated. The process of sealing your deck is much cheaper than a new deck. The truth is that every year that you go without treating your deck, you take years off its life.