EXPERT TIPS ON EXTERIOR WOOD FINISHES
Many home owners want the good looks of beautiful timber to enhance the appearance of their home. Whether it be by cladding or the most popular addition of a timber deck for outdoor entertaining. Having once decided to beautify your home with timber the next most important step is how to maintain the good looks of your timber for many years to come by choosing the right exterior wood finish.
To properly understand exterior wood finishes it is important to recognise that these popular products fall into three broad categories. There are transparent (oils), semi-transparent (oils or acrylics containing some pigments) and solid timber colour (paint) wood finishes.
- Transparent wood finishes are applied in one or more thin coats depending on the manufacturers recommendations. They will look the best, highlight the grain of the timber but unfortunately doesn't last very long in U.V rich sunny parts of the world.
- Semi-transparent wood finishes are also applied in relatively thin coatings that allow both the grain and texture of the underlying timber to show through. These will last for longer periods, anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the brand, as the pigments in the coating will give more protection against U.V damage.
- Solid timber finishes contain more pigment than semi-transparent varieties. They may still reveal the texture of the wood, but not the grain. Because they are more highly pigmented, they have good "hiding" ability, which makes them a better choice for blemished wood. They are more or less a paint.
Wood finishes come in oil based and acrylic-based formulations. Oil-based finishes tend to penetrate wood, while acrylic finishes form a protective film on the surfaces. However there are now acrylic wood finishes coming onto the market which combine both the advantages of penetration and top-coating. Floods Spa-N-Deck penetrates well with the first coat and forms a hard and abrasive resistant top coating with subsequent applications.
SURFACE PREPARATION - The Make or Break of a Good Job
One of the most important tasks is the proper preparation of the timber surface. It is essential when applying any type of timber finish. The whole surface has to be free of all dirt, dust and mildew, before a successful job can be achieved. New wood often contains some mill glaze from the milling process, which often prevents the finish from adhering properly. You can remove mill glaze by either sanding with a suitable grit or use one of the new wood care products on the market, remove both mill glaze and help open the wood pores as well as cleaning the wood. The Flood Company has brought out two products which prepare all types of outdoor wood for successful coating. Not only will the remove mill glaze and open the wood pores but it also thoroughly cleans the wood removing any unsightly blemishes which may show through the eventual finish. These two products are Powerlift and Spa-N-Deck Surface Prep. Powerlift will remove residuals of old stains, preservatives and oils as well as tannin bleeds whilst the Spa-N-Deck Surface Prep will thoroughly clean the surfaces and restore the look of new wood without bleaching it.
New bare wood that has been weathered for more than a few weeks should be treated first with Powerlift to open the pores and remove mill glaze. Then follow with Spa-N-Deck Surface Prep to clean the surfaces. Finally, carefully power wash the surface with plain water to remove any residue of the cleaning material. All this will help to remove loose fibres and provide a fresh, clean and stable surface to enable the timber finish to deeply penetrate and adhere to the timber as well as offer a good base for the subsequent top coats. Be careful not to mar or gouge the wood with timber washer. Old timber with residue of previous finishes should be treated in a similar fashion. Powerlift, Spa-N-Deck Surface Prep and power washing. Dirty, grey wood without previous finishes just needs treatment with Spa-N-Deck Surface Prep followed by power washing.
APPLYING WOOD FINISHES
When coating decking boards start a few boards at a time for their whole length to avoid lap marks. Then move on to the next few boards and continue in this manner until reaching the end.
Use a Quality Wood Finish
Unlike paints, which are often applied over a primer and in multiple coats, exterior timber finishes are typically applied directly to unprimed timber. Whatever product you use, make sure it is a high quality timber finish to best withstand the elements and to maintain a good appearance - for example, a top quality 100% acrylic exterior timber finish such as Spa-N-Deck 100% Acrylic Timber Finish. Such a product will provide maximum adhesion to the timber surface, and will resist fading and mildew growth much better than economy pruducts will. Even so, keep in mind that because of their relatively thin film, exterior finishes may need to be reapplied more often than paint. Flood's Spa-N-Deck is long lasting (3 to 5 times longer than conventional timber finishes and oils).They are the only timber finish that comes with a 2-4 year guarantee against peeling, blistering or cracking.
COATING SPA-N-DECK SYSTEM
There are three products that make up the system (1) Powerlift (2) Spa-N-Deck Prep (3) Spa-N-Deck Acrylic Coating, we need to have a clear understanding about these products.
Powerlift; - Three detergents mixed together in a secret mix that works powerfully on timbers. Lets face it we have to look at timber as a natural product and so in nature the timber is protected by natural occurring processes and these protectorates have to be removed to allow any decking products to soak in and fill up the pores of the timber. So we will look at two situations: new timber and previously coated timbers.
New Timber: - Timbers fall into the category of having natural occurring oils such as our eucalyptus timbers, natural occurring greasy timbers, mostly local timbers from Asia, and lastly timbers which have a degree of tannin from brown to red as in merbau. All of the above will have to be treated with Powerlift, to bring to the surface those naturally occurring contaminants and then with the scrubbing action to remove the surface contaminants. They are not bad contaminants so to say because they protect the timber, but to get any new product into the wood they have to be removed so they can be replaced. If you wish you can just use Powerlift and then what ever decking product you choose. If you choose to go this way you have to make sure the timber is sufficiently dry, but the naturally occurring tannins will be brought to the surface and then cleaned, will leave behind a residue of colour which may be not pleasing, but if you wish, you need to go no further in the cleaning process. Incidentally if you are going to use decking oils add 10% - 15% Penetrol and you will get better penetration into the wood.
Previously Coated Timber
If you want to remove any existing faded product., whether decking stain, decking oil, linseed or water repellant oil or any decking oil containing lanoline, you should use Powerlift to remove this .Any film bearing product such as acrylic decking system as acrylic decking system such as Spa-N-Deck, if it is more than three years in the direct sun Powerlift could shift it. Remember this is not a paint stripper it contains no harmful ingredients, so any film bearing product, that you wish to remove has to be approached differently, such as using flood's Citristrip to blister the film and to scrap it away, then use Powerlift to remove the rest of what is left. Again the coating sustem is your choice.
Spa-N-Deck Prep; It is powerful medium with oxalic acid added to open the grain and to remove the last scrap of tannin etc. When the using the prep after powerlift the resulting process brings back the natural colour of the timber. (incidentally oxalic acid is the toxic leaves of a rhubarb plant) You will find if our cleaning process is used you will get a better result and thus a better job then any others on the market, if you choose not to use Flood's Spa-N-Deck product you must wait for the timber to dry sufficiently .
Spa-N-Deck Acrylic; This is a unique product and there is no other product like it on the market. It is unique because you save time by not having to wait for the cleaning products to dry, you use the prep straight after the Powerlift and while the timber is damp after the prep has been used and flushed off you apply the first treatment of Spa-N-Deck acrylic using the water to draw it down into the timber.In simple words it is a (1), (2), (3) process one after the other and no waiting period. It is an "in the timber, on the timber" product. Most finishes fall into one of the two categories - a surfac sealer or a penetrating finish. Various industry experts will argue the benefits of one or the other, but why try to choose when you can combine the best attributes of both into one finish? Surfaces film lie on top of the timber and do not dive into the surface as a penetrating finish does. While surface sealers form a protective layer on the top of the timber, which allows for for longer-lasting colour retention, they can be easily scuffed off with heavy foot traffic or sliding furiture. Surface films can also clog the timber pores,and with repeated use, cause build-up that can peel and flake. Especially in hard tropical environment the timber makes big movements between rain and sunshine. In exterior usage, varnishes or sealer are mostly the big loser because of cracks resulting from shrinking and expanding process. The next rain will penetrate into the timber through the cracks and can't vaporize out. As a result of this cycling process the timber underneath the protective layer starts fouling. After a short period, the timber loses strength and has to be replaced. A penetrating finish drives into the timber working from the inside out and allowing for longer protection from natures damaging elements. A penetrating finish, however, does not retain colour as well as a surface film and can fade at a faster rate. The Flood's Spa-N-Deck 100% acrylic timber finish offers the best of both types of finishes by combining the superior qualities of both penetration as well as a protective and abrasion resistant top layer.
Flood's Spa-N-Deck timber finish is guaranteed against cracking and peeling for 2 years on decks and 4 years on vertical surfaces.