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Category Archives: Exterior Staining
The following is information regarding clear coat technology and products for exterior stain systems involving clear film-forming products. We recommend using clear coatings over most semi-transparent and transparent stains. The addition of a clear coat will allow multiple benefits, which we describe below.
Transparent stains and toners allow the wood on your home to look the most natural. However, having to re-coat every 2-3 years can become very costly to the maintenance of your home. The harsh elements at high altitudes can wear away stains in as little as 2 years and start oxidizing the wood, turning it black and breaking up the wood fibers. The additional of either a water born clear or an oil born clear over the stain will allow a number of benefits.
WHAT IS A CLEAR COAT (FILM FORMING) PRODUCT?
Essentially, a clear coat is a protective coat to block moisture and UV light from degrading your wood, discoloring the stain and destroying the fibers in the wood.
These products are intended to be applied over a number of types of exterior wood at large volumes. These products protect exterior wood much like a varnish protects your front door, lacquer protects your furniture and polyurethane protects your floors.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN BENEFITS?
1. Brilliant appearance. Consistent sheen throughout.
2. Longevity of stain product – depending on the product and stain used, an additional 3-5 years could be added.
3. Maintenance coats – future coats will be more economical as only a clear coat will need to be applied in the future. Once the sheen starts fading it is time to re-apply.
4. Maintenance coats – only sides where the coatings sheen is fading can be recoated without having to worry about the color changing with additional stain coats darkening the wood.
5. There has been a strong demand in the industry for these products and the technology has advanced to make these coatings practical and economical.
1. Cost. These products are usually twice the price of a moderate to good stain. They can run upward to $90.00 / gallon. The additional labor in applying these coatings also adds to the expenses. I feel as though it is money well spent.
If you are looking for a premium appearance and less maintenance to your home, clear film forming products are your best option.
Not all products are equal and you get what you pay for has been the old adage. It proves true time and time again. This picture is an example of a waterborne semi-transparent stain (Olympic). We only like to plug products we use on a regular basis and that we know will hold up against the elements. Olympic stain is one of our favorites due to the natural sheen it produces once dried. The only potential downfall is that this particular product can be heavy in pigment and act more like a semi-solid. The following is a list of some of our favorites:
Olympic: Semi-transparent Water-Oil modified (waterborne)
Sherwin Williams – Woodscapes Semi-transparent waterborne
Sherwin Williams – Woodscapes Solid – Latex
Cabot – Solid Stain
When deciding which finish to apply to your home the use of water based semi and solid stain products will give you the longest lasting finish. The one downside as there is to anything… you do lose that rich wood grain with the semi-transparents versus the transparent toners.
This home in Blue River, Colorado was originally weathered , dark and damaged and in need of TLC. The homeowner was concerned that the wood could be brought back to its near-original state. The fascia boards were dry cracked and almost black due to the oxidation of the wood.
The selection of products is one of the most important factors in getting a good stain job with longevity and less future maintenence costs. The 300 plus days of sun at an altitude of 10,000 feet will tear down the finish on exterior wood in as little as a few years. One way to lengthen your woods finish is to use a high quality solid water- born stain on your fascias and decks. This surfaces are always the first to show wear and tear. The pigments in water based stains are more reflective of the UV light than the natural solvent based pigments.
Preparing and washing the wood effectively is another important factor. Transparent stains will show the flaws and weathered surfaces of damaged woods, so it is very important to clean and brighten the cedar siding with the right products and with care, as to not damage the wood.
The fascia on this home should last 5-7 years. Re-coating the horizontal surfaces of the decks every other year will allow the solid based stains to keep the wood smooth and fresh for years to come.
This home in Copper Mountain Colorado is one of many of the house staining projects we complete yearly in the Summit County Colorado area. A large percentage of the projects we complete are in the Breckenridge area. This is an example of a semi-transparent and solid stain craft design. The olive hues of the logs and the burgundy colors contrast with the natural setting. When staining log homes extra care is needed to assure the chinking remains clear of stain. It simply has to be done the old fashioned way…by hand.
There is not a more difficult surface to keep refreshed and new looking than a horizontal deck surface. It takes the use of high quality coatings and stains along with regular maintainence to keep your decking in tip-top shape. We have 13 years of experience staining exterior siding, decks, doors and furniture. We always consult with every client on the varying issues exterior woods can cause.
It takes constant maintenance…
Staining and finishing new wood is obviously the best way to finish correctly and allow for years of brilliance. Using a high quality stain and sealer designed for decks will work better than a general exterior stain. Previously finished exterior wood MUST be prepared correctly in order to get a new look.
Preperation – Cleaning the wood with a TSP solution or a manufactured wood cleaner and brightener is always the first step in preparing old wood. Pressure washing the solution and removing the dusted and flaking previous coat is also essential. Once the decking is clean and washed allow for the wood to dry.
Wood Types -
Cedar and Pine. A large majority of deck wood is composed of these species. Both woods are cost effective to build with and can be finished to a quality appearance. These softer woods will fade and change color with UV, water and mildew. Keeping a coat of sealer and stain on the surfaces every year or two will keep the finish looking nice.
Exotics – Mahagony, Teak and Ipe. We see a fair amount of decks built with these hardwoods in the mountain regions. Decks take a beating in the high country and these species of wood can withstand the elements like no other. Special attention needs to be taken when staining/re-finishing/coating a hardwood deck. The hardwoods require a special stain that will penetrate the dense molecular structure and dry evenly. These exotic stains contain high quality oxide pigments and the three following oils: Tung oil, Lindseed OIl and refined Paraffin. Using a high quality brush to apply these stains and wipe excess will allow for the wood to remain brilliant. Preperaring hardwoods for transparent stains takes a little extra work.
Finishes: Depending on the appearance you are looking for and the condition of the wood there are a number of options. Many of these finishes also come in Water-born and solvent based (oil) products.
Clear – Gives crystal clear protection without color, and allows wood to gray naturally.
Transparent – Offers maximum grain clarity with a hint of color; best for wood in excellent condition. By far the most popular finish.
Semi-Transparent – Gives moderate hide to wood grain with subtle color; best for wood in fair to good condition.
Solid Color – Maximum hide with an opaque finish; best for weathered wood or problem surfaces.
We will talk more in future posts about Exterior staining products. We look forward to working with you!