Wood is a very simple building material, yet due to its unique characteristics, it can be used for a variety of exterior building applications. Without protection, however, wood can deteriorate easily due to sun and moisture exposure. Applying a finish to the exterior wood of your home can enhance its appearance and prevent deterioration.
More often than not though, exterior finishes for wood are short lived in durability. This is due to the wrong kind of finish being applied to the wood surface or to not following recommended application procedures. It is important to try and properly maintain the finish on the outside of your home in order to reduce your overall spending costs.
The following are tips you can apply when finishing the exterior wood of your home:
This typically tends to be on the exterior of homes that were built in the 70s and 80s, and are most often stained with a light semi-transparent stain. Products without pigments are considered to be a clear or transparent finish and offer little or no protection against the sun. This specific type of stain does not last long and needs to be refinished every three to five years in order to keep it looking fresh and new.
Deteriorating wood siding tends to be common in neighborhoods in Colorado, where a lot of the houses experience exterior chipping of the wood due to such a dry climate. The wood can also become “sun burned” and won’t hold paint even if you prime it first. It is important to stay consistent with re-finishing your wood so you can avoid these problems.
In order to keep your outside deck looking as good as new, it is important to re-stain it every year. Transparent stains can deteriorate quickly, so try to choose an opaque stain. An easy way to remember which stains are best is to think of them as sunscreen. The darker the stain, the more protection; the lighter the stain, the less protection.
No wood finish will last forever, but if you choose one of low-quality, restoration will need to happen sooner rather than later.
This type of finish is called film-finish, and it forms a film or coating on the wood surface that provides a barrier between the wood and the elements. A film-finish tends to crack, as wood expands and contracts during normal moisture cycling, so water gets underneath the finish and deteriorates the wood. It’s best to try and avoid these finishes if you’re looking for more than a quick fix.
These finishes are composed of a combination of drying oils, such as linseed oil, and solvent. Some of these products contain a blend of oils and resins to enhance its durability. These finishes penetrate the deepest into the wood to give it a finish from the inside out.
Penetrating finishes are great because they provide long-term water repellency, and unlike film-formers, they don’t trap moisture in the wood and do not peel or blister. Eventually though, even this finish fails due to oxidization and becomes chalky looking. By rinsing and recoating, the wood can be maintained and renewed.
Companies such as Messmer’s, Superdeck, and Cabot offer high quality exterior finishes and are a good choice to use for the interior and exterior of your home. For top of the line stains and finishes, I’d go with Sikkens.
Not sure you want to take care of refinishing your home’s exterior on your own? Give us a call and we’ll be happy to take care of it for you!