How Do You Seal The Ends Of Deck Boards

How Do You Seal The Ends Of Deck Boards?

I recently installed a new deck in my backyard, and I was so excited to seal the deck. I was unsure what kind of sealant to use or how long to wait, so I spoke to a contractor to get all the information. One of the first questions I needed an answer to was how do you seal the ends of deck boards.

According to experts, you must seal the ends of deck boards before installing the decking. Sealing the deck boards helps create a protective barrier that prevents end splitting and checking. Use a wax emulsion to the ends of each board, being careful not to apply the coats unevenly or too thick.

I was unsure if I needed to use a sealant or wax and if I needed to seal the ends before or after installing the deck. The contractor was very helpful in answering these questions. I also did additional research to ensure I don’t make unnecessary mistakes with my deck ends. I thought other people might benefit from the information I found, so I wanted to share it.

How Do You Seal The Ends Of Deck Boards

How To Seal The Ends Of Deck Boards

When installing a new deck, one of the most crucial steps is to seal the ends of the deck boards. The reason for this is to prevent end splitting or checking. End splitting happens when wood gains or loses moisture too rapidly.

Moisture typically enters the wood through the end grain and thus needs to be sealed off to stop the wood from splitting and cracking over time. The checking of the wood can create issues with the surface of the wood as well. It is due to the cracks traveling upwards and splitting the surface of the wood.

It means that you will need to replace multiple boards more frequently. So sealing the ends of your deck boards might seem unnecessary, but you will have less maintenance and save money in the long run as the boards will last longer.The Steps To Sealing The Ends Of Deck Boards

Having the right supplies for sealing your deck board ends is important. Here are the supplies and steps you need to take to protect the end grain of your deck boards.

What You Will Need

The supplies you will need to seal your deck board ends include,

  • A paintbrush or painting sponge,
  • The sealant of your choice (a wax emulsion works great),
  • Some clean rags,
  • A dry area where you can seal the boards and leave them to dry without getting exposed to the elements.

The Steps You Need To Take

Below are the measures you need to take to seal the ends of your deck boards.

Step 1

It would be best to line the board up, so the end grain is easily accessible.

Step 2

Then take the brush or sponge and dip it into the was emulsion. Wipe off the excess on the container’s rim as too much of the wax emulsion at a time won’t penetrate the wood and leave a mess.

If the wax emulsion is layered on too thickly, it will discolor the ends of the board and create a slippery surface.

Step 3

Apply the wax emulsion to the end boards. You must use short light strokes to get an even application.

Try not to go over onto the surface of the boards. If you accidentally get some wax emulsion on the surface of the ends, you need to wipe the wax off with a clean rag before it sets to ensure it won’t stain. Be sure to cover the entire end of the board.

If you want to ensure the water gets away from the boards, you can apply some of the emulsion to the sides of the boards.

Step 4

After allowing the first coat to set and dry for at least 24 hours, you can apply two additional coats of the wax emulsion, letting each coat set and dry for a full day. That way, the boards are correctly sealed off, and you won’t need to worry about cracks and checking.

How Do You Seal The Ends Of Deck Boards

Tips When Sealing The Ends Of Deck Boards

When sealing the ends of your deck boards, certain tips will help you get the best seal on the ends of your deck boards.

  • Always add the wax emulsion to the ends of the deck boards before installing them; it helps to protect the boards in the hard-to-reach areas.
  • It’s vital not to use too much wax emulsion at a time as it will do more harm than good; your boards will become discolored, and the wax won’t set entirely and thus be less effective.
  • Ensure you seal the ends of your boards in a dry open space that is well ventilated to ensure the wax sets properly and that the night air or rain won’t penetrate the wood before the wax has set.
  • Ensure you don’t confuse deck wax with stain, sealant, or paint. Using the right product to seal the ends of your deck boards is very important.
  • Before you seal off the ends of your deck, you need to prepare the decking by washing the boards and leaving them to dry fully. Doing this will ensure any stains, oils, or dirt that can negatively affect your boards are removed, and the ends are clean and ready to be sealed.
  • If you find that the ends of the boards are wet, you must wait until they are completely dry before you apply the wax.

We have loads of other deck advice on the site and have listed some below. If the information you need is not listed try a search as new content is added by the day!


If you are preparing to install a new deck, you must remember to seal the ends of your deck boards. For the best results, you should do this before installing the deck, as doing it afterward won’t give your boards the protection they need.

When you live in a rainy area, you can seal the sides of the deck boards and the ends to ensure your deck gets the maximum protection. You can seal the ends off using the correct wax emulsion. Remember to leave the boards to dry for 24 hours between each coat, so the wax has enough time to set properly.


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