New Wood Should Be Protected...
In the past it was believed that new wood needed to weather or "season" before applying any type of finish.
Research now shows that waiting can cause surface degradation that interferes with the adhesion of the finish coat.
If new wood is very wet it should be allowed to dry. We recommend waiting 7-30 days and no longer than 2 months after
construction for sealing.
Pressure-treated wood is chemically injected to resist rot, decay and termite penetration.
However, it needs a seal to prevent water damage such as cracking, splitting and warping.
Redwood and cedar are supposed to have a natural impervious nature to the elements, because of tannin resin.
That may have been the case for old-growth lumber, which had a sizeable amount of resin to protect the wood. In the
last 20 years or so, we've gotten almost exclusively into young-growth timber, which has nowhere near the natural
tannin protection of the older wood.
New wood may have a surface condition called "mill glaze", which is a nearly impenetrable glaze of hard resins
heated and polished by the passage of machining knives. Mill Glazing can be removed by power washing with special
biodegradable cleaners or sanding.
The Life of Exterior Wood
All unprotected wood exposed to exterior weathering is susceptible to erosion and biological attack. This natural
weathering process results in wood changing its appearance from the beauty of new wood to various shades of gray
and eventually to black. Left unprotected, new wood's durability, beauty and natural coloration is under constant
attack. The enemies of your exterior wood surfaces are:
Degradation by Ultraviolet Light - Sunlight. Solar radiation is the most damaging component of the outdoor
environment affecting every exposed surface. The first change you will notice in your exterior wood will be the
damage inflicted by sunlight. This will be seen by an initial color change from its beautiful golden, orange-brown
color to gray. This color change is actually the decomposition of lignin (nature's glue for holding wood cells together);
as it progresses the wood color darkens.
Leaching - Swelling/Shrinking due to Water Absorption by the Wood. Sun and rain cycles cause moisture
fluctuations in the wood. The shrinking and swelling stresses the wood causing checks and splits to develop.
Hydrolysis (as in acid rain attack) is also a contributor to this degradation of your wood.
Decay Promoting Microorganisms - Fungi, Mold and Mildew. Wood's natural protectants leach out in a
relatively short time and allow colonization by wood-inhabiting fungi. Once established, and aided by favorable
climatic conditions, these microorganisms can have a rapid, devastating effect causing your wood to become soft,
stringy, pitted, cracked or even to crumble.
With all of these factors, (sunlight, water and fungi, attacking your untreated exterior wood) you will soon
notice your wood becoming "spongy", boards on decks and fences begin to warp, split, and crack, and in severe
exposures; wood rot becomes evident.
Protect Your Exterior Wood!
To keep your exterior wood looking like new and avoid the expense of replacing unsightly damaged wood; it is
necessary to apply a water resistant coating. This will protect your wood from those enemies we just discussed;
sunlight, leaching, and decay
To remain effective, sealers must be renewed -- usually every year or two. When wood absorbs moisture, its fibers swell.
Over time the surface becomes rougher and small cracks are likely to open. This does not usually cause structural flaws
right away. But eventually fasteners may loosen and the boards tend to develop small cracks, called checks.
How Fast Wood Weathers is Dependant on Many Factors...
Slope - Verticals and horizontals will reach different shades as they are exposed to different levels of sun,
dirt and moisture. The more horizontal wood is, the more likely it is to suffer decay from fungi.
Direction - South-facing wood suffers because it experiences the greatest swings in temperature and humidity,
leading to more splits and other degradation.
Shading - Wood shaded by trees is more likely to develop mold, mildew, and decay than unshaded wood.
How to get the most out of a new or refinished deck.
Proper ventilation is needed to prevent moisture buildup...
Standing water can lead to premature wood damage. Gaps between boards must be free from dirt, debris and twigs; allowing
water to drain freely. Air needs to flow in, and around, your deck to prevent moisture buildup. If your deck is over 24"
high, make sure air can enter from the sides. Gaps between the boards can be opened, and vents can be installed to solve
Keep decks clear of foreign debris
Sweep the deck often. Hose it down when dirt accumulates. Scrub it down at least twice a year to remove dirt and decaying matter.
Many decks are home to a barbecue grill. Grills leak grease, oil and ashes. It's like a kitchen floor -- you have to clean
it up right away. The more you let that stuff soak in, the more chance for it to damage the finish. It's easier to keep up
than to fix once it's messed up.
Adequate drainage is needed for potted plants. Therefore drain holes are located at the bottom of most pots. Setting the pot or
planter on the deck surface will leave a stain and may start wood decay in that area. Moisture never has a chance to evaporate
between the deck and planter. For large plants use a few cedar or treated 2x2's to separate the planter from the deck. Deck
stand-offs can be used not only for planters. They can also be used for umbrella stands or other flat heavy objects of any size,
Deck stand-offs are small decks that are made out of cedar or treated pine.
Don't Give Up!
In spite of the relentless enemies our exterior wood surfaces face, not only can they be restored, in most cases, to look like new,
but also they can also be easily maintained! The transformation process involves repair, mold and mildew removal, wood surface
preparation; and application of a protective coating.
Contact a Representative Today!