A high-quality sealer or a stain will be able to get right in and penetrate the wood grain to seal it properly, allowing moisture the chance to escape from the wood. These products will not chip, nor will they crack or peel as the wood of the deck shrinks and swells. The more of a tint your stain has, the better protection your deck will have from moisture and fading.
Never stain your deck when it is wet. Always make sure that your deck has completely dried after washing, typically waiting for about three days in weather that is nice and dry. Once your deck is dry, you can then apply your sealer or semi-transparent stain. Deck professionals will often say that a semi-transparent stain or one that is oil-based will give you the most natural look possible.
Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.