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How to Seal a Cedar Deck: Sealing Tips to Preserve Your Decking & Keep it Stunning

Updated: Mar 26

Cedar decking is a popular choice for homeowners because of its natural beauty and durability. However, to ensure that your cedar deck lasts for its entire lifespan, it is important to seal it properly.

In this blog post, we will go over the importance of sealing a cedar deck, the step-by-step process of how to seal a cedar deck, and when the best time is to seal a new cedar deck.

We will also discuss the best products to use for sealing your cedar deck and provide tips on how to care for a cedar deck and maintain it.

Quality Cedar Products can meet all your cedar board needs. This blog is informational only and not a replacement for expert advice. Please consult a professional before starting any building project as your needs and specifications may vary and it may not reflect the most current building codes, regulations, or industry standards.

What Does It Mean to Seal a Cedar Deck?

Sealing a cedar deck (different from staining a cedar deck) is the process of applying a protective coating to the wood to help prevent water damage, fading, and other forms of wear and tear. Sealing increases your cedar decking lifespan, as well as maintains its beauty and durability.

Why Cedar Deck Sealing Is So Important

Cedar decking is a popular choice for homeowners because of its natural beauty and durability. However, to ensure that your cedar deck lasts for its full lifespan, cedar deck sealing becomes essential.

In this section, we will dive into the reasons why cedar deck sealing is so important, including some specific examples.

But first, it’s worth answering the question “Does cedar need to be treated?”. Cedar has a fair amount of natural resistance so it’s not strictly necessary, but it’s extremely beneficial to increase its longevity and maintain its appearance.

Now let’s jump into the benefits.

Protection from Water Damage

Water is one of the biggest enemies of cedar decking. Without sealing a cedar deck properly, it can absorb water, leading to rot, mold, and mildew. Imagine a scenario where your deck is constantly exposed to rain and snow, the water will penetrate the wood causing it to warp, crack, and eventually collapse.

Properly sealing your cedar deck creates a barrier that protects the wood from water damage, preventing the aforementioned issues and prolonging the life of your deck.

Protection from Fading

Cedar has a unique grain pattern and a warm, natural color that can fade over time without proper protection. The sun's UV rays can cause the wood to gray and lose its natural color. Imagine your once vibrant cedar deck, now dull and grayed, losing its appeal and value.

Sealing a cedar deck helps to retain its color and enhance its natural beauty for a stunning outdoor space that will continue to look beautiful for years to come. You won’t have to restore a cedar deck as soon if you take the time to protect it from fading in the first place!

Protection from Insect Infestation

Cedar is naturally resistant to insects, but without proper sealing, it can still be susceptible to infestation. Termites, carpenter ants, and other wood-destroying insects can cause significant damage to your cedar deck. Sealing your cedar deck creates a barrier that protects the wood from insects and prolongs the life of your deck, saving you from costly repairs.


A slippery deck can be a safety hazard. Without proper cedar deck sealing, it can become slick when wet. Sealing your cedar deck increases its slip resistance and makes it safer to walk on, especially during wet conditions.

Ease of Maintenance

Sealed cedar decking can be easier to clean and maintain, which can save you time and effort in the long run. Properly sealed cedar decks are more resistant to dirt and grime and require less frequent cleaning. We’ve seen some people asking “Can cedar be painted?”. Cedar can be painted, but it is not recommended as it may cause the wood to rot and decrease the natural resistance of the wood to insects and decay. Maintenance is a lot easier without paint involved.

In the next section, we’ll explain in detail how to seal a new cedar deck yourself with the best methods possible.

How to Seal a Cedar Deck: Step-by-Step Guide to Sealing Cedar Decking

Properly sealing your cedar deck is crucial in maintaining its beauty and prolonging its lifespan. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to seal a cedar deck:

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Before you begin sealing your cedar deck, it is important to prepare the surface. First, clean your cedar decking with mild detergent and water. This will remove any dirt, grime, or debris that may be on the surface of the wood. Be sure to rinse the surface thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely.

It is also important to make sure that the wood is in good condition before sealing. Look for any signs of rot, insect infestation, or other damage that may need to be repaired before sealing.

Having clean cedar decking has so many benefits and is an essential step before sealing. It allows for a smooth and even application of the sealant, and it also allows for the removal of any dirt, grime, mildew, mold, or other substances that may have accumulated over time. Use a mild detergent solution and a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the surface of the deck.

Rinse the deck thoroughly with water and allow it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Sanding the Surface

Sand the surface of the deck lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots and remove any remaining debris. This will help the sealant adhere better to the surface of the wood.

Step 3: Applying the Sealant

Now that the surface is clean and smooth, it's time to apply the sealant. Start by stirring the sealant thoroughly to ensure that it is evenly mixed.

Using a paint roller or brush, apply a thin and even coat of sealant to the entire surface of the deck. Be sure to work in small sections and pay close attention to the edges and corners, as these areas are more susceptible to water damage.

When choosing a sealant for your cedar deck, it's important to select one that is specifically formulated for use on wood surfaces. You can choose between a clear sealant, a semi-transparent, or a solid color stain. Clear sealant allows the natural color of the wood to shine through, while semi-transparent and solid color stains can add a new color to your deck.

Each type of sealant has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it's important to consider your personal preferences and the conditions of your deck. We’ll talk more about the specific products shortly.

Step 4: Allow the Sealant to Dry

Once you have applied the sealant, allow it to dry completely before using the deck. The drying time will vary depending on the type of sealant and the weather conditions. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying times and recoating instructions.

Step 5: Repeat the process

Repeat the process of cleaning, sanding, and applying a sealant to your cedar deck every 2-3 years or as needed, depending on the weather conditions and the amount of

foot traffic on the deck.

Over time, the sealant will wear away and need to be reapplied to maintain the protection of your cedar deck. By keeping up with regular maintenance, you can help to extend the life of your deck and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Now that you know how to seal a new cedar deck, here is the extra information you need to know.

When to Seal a New Cedar Deck - How Long Should You Wait?

Knowing when to seal a new cedar deck is essential. It is recommended to wait at least 90 days before sealing a new cedar deck to allow the wood to dry and adjust to its new environment. Additionally, it's best to avoid sealing on hot and sunny days or when there is a chance of rain.

Check the humidity level as well. If the humidity is too high, the deck will not dry completely. Make sure to follow the sealant manufacturer's recommendations for the ideal temperature and humidity for proper application.

What is the Best Product to Seal a Cedar Deck?

When it comes to sealing a cedar deck, there are many options available on the market. Some popular brands include Sansin, Cutek & Sikkens. These brands offer a variety of sealant options, including clear sealants, semi-transparent stains, and solid color stains.

Still Need to Build Your Deck? Quality Cedar Products Has You Covered

If you're still in the process of building your cedar deck, Quality Cedar Products has you covered. We are a trusted western red cedar lumber supplier - you can trust that our cedar deck boards will be up to your standards. We primarily work with contractors and lumber yards, but homeowners can also count on us for their decking needs.

What sets Quality Cedar Products apart is our unique process of sorting and grading the lumber by hand. This ensures that you're getting the best quality product and that your deck will be built to last. Our quality guarantee is the cherry on top. You can enjoy peace of mind by partnering with us.

Wrapping Up Our Guide on How to Seal a Cedar Deck

To wrap up, sealing a cedar deck is an essential step in protecting your investment and preserving its natural beauty.

By following the steps outlined in this guide and keeping up with regular maintenance, you can ensure that your cedar deck is properly sealed and protected.

If you're interested in other cedar products, we also sell high-quality cedar fence posts, sound barrier fencing, and cedar wood for saunas among other products. These products can add value and aesthetics to your home, and are sure to last for a long time.

G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated does not assume any liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information provided in this blog post. The reader is solely responsible for any actions taken based on the information presented. Any reliance on the information is at the reader's own risk. G&B Wholesale Lumber Incorporated is not responsible for any loss, injury, or damage that may occur as a result of following the suggestions, tips, or recommendations provided in this blog post. Building projects involve inherent risks, and it is essential to exercise caution, obtain proper permits, and engage qualified professionals to ensure safety and compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. The inclusion of external links, references, or recommendations in this blog post does not constitute endorsement or guarantee the quality, reliability, or suitability of the linked sources. The reader should independently verify the information and assess its relevance to their specific circumstances. The author reserves the right to modify, update, or remove the content of this blog post at any time without prior notice. It is recommended to check for the most recent updates or consult with professionals to ensure the information is current and applicable. By reading this blog post, the reader acknowledges and accepts the above disclaimer and agrees to use the information provided responsibly and at their own discretion.

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