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Everybody knows that if you leave wood exposed to the sun, wind, and rain, it won't be good for much except burning. Leave your deck untreated and you can expect it to turn grey with age. What's more, the decking boards are likely to cup, warp, and split. Let this go on too long, and you'll be facing major repairs — or even replacing sections of the deck. Sealing your deck is a three-part process that involves removing old stains or coatings, cleaning the wood, and sealing it against weather damage. If your deck has never been sealed, you obviously won't have to strip it. But brand new wood will require special pre-stain preparation. Finally, as always, work safely. Wear rubber gloves, close-toed shoes, a long-sleeved shirt and pants when applying deck chemicals to minimize the chance of skin irritation. Also, wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from back spray. Follow all manufacturer's safety instructions.