|Sealing For Long Lasting Decks And Fences
Wood Decks by:
|Jamar Remodeling Inc
Building trust and Quality in North Carolina
|Jamar Properties offers custom home building and house remodeling services in the Charlotte – Concord area, NC
Please call us at 704-796-1437 or email us at : Marlen@JamarHouses.com
Address: 229 Patrick Avenue, Concord, NC 28025
In just 12 months or so, wood that is left outdoors unprotected will display signs of
deterioration. The pieces of lumber that make up decks and fences will, sooner or later,
begin to deteriorate. Rain and sunlight are Nature's two main tools for bearing down on
unprotected wood and other materials.
For instance, wood that is left outside becomes weak and gray because the sun's rays
work to rupture the wood's internal fibers. Rain, on the other hand, causes wood to swell,
making it spongy. This swell-shrink cycle becomes a daily occurrence, as dew comes in
the mornings and the harsh rays of the suns bear down on the wood in the afternoons.
This cycle expedites the wood's determination. Decks and fences that are on their way to
deteriorating will have surfaces that are grayed, deformed and split.
The Need to Treat Wood
Wood, even if it has been pressure-treated, must still be cleaned and sealed to prolong
its life. Decks and fences made of pressure-treated wood still require regular cleaning and
sealing to ensure that they stay in good condition. While decks and fences made of
pressurized wood, cedar, cypress and other exotic woods are safe from insect infestation,
but they are not invulnerable to weather's corrosive effects. Wood that does not have
protective coating can pose a danger in just seven years.
When is Wood Ready for Sealing?
When is the right time to seal wood? Some say that wood should be sealed after a year
so that the wood is completely dry. However, a year is too long a time to wait to seal wood.
During this time, the wood would have incurred too much damage, most of which cannot
be reversed. Wood can be completely dry and ready for sealing in two or three months. It
has been found that wood that has been sealed within three months is much more
durable and look better than wood that has been sealed after one year.
You can easily tell if the wood is ready for sealing. Professionals use an electric moisture
meter to determine if the wood can be sealed. However, a simpler method is to sprinkle
drops of water on the surface of the wood. If the water is quickly absorbed, it means that
the wood is dry enough that it is ready for sealing.
Preparing the Wood for Sealing
To prepare the wood for sealing, thoroughly clean the wood. Get rid of mold, mildew, dirt
and algae that may be present on the wood. Wood that is properly cleaned has open
pores and balanced pH, allowing the sealer to adhere to the wood fiber.
Choosing the Cleaning Agent
What kind of cleaning agent should be used on decks and fences to prepare it for
sealing? Cleaning compounds include acidic cleaners, alkaline cleaners and pH neutral
cleaners. If you are undertaking the fence or deck cleaning yourself, pH-natural powdered
cleaners are safe to use. However, most home improvement stores recommend the use of
acid-based cleaning compounds since, compared to alkaline-based cleaning compounds,
they are much safer to use by the average homeowner. There is one caveat to
acid-based cleaning compounds: they are not really that effective at cleaning wood. The
alkaline-based cleaning compounds, which are used by professionals, are more effective.
Professionals use a two-step cleaning process. First, they clean wood with alkaline
cleaners and then follow it up with an acidic brightener. With this cleaning method, the
wood's natural colors emerge, bringing out the wooden deck or fence's beauty even
Pressure Washing Wood
Pressure washing is one way to clean wood with or without cleaners mixed with the water.
However, because water impacts the wood at a high velocity, the wood's surface can
become damaged. In order for this cleaning method to be successful and not damage the
wood, the right amount of pressure must be applied and the right cleaning solution must
be used. If you are pressure washing the wood, be careful not to apply too much
pressure. It may be a good idea to use a commercial pressure washing company. In
addition keep in mind that pressure washers that are for rent are typically designed to
have a pressure of 1750 to 3500 psi, which is all right if you are pressure washing a
concrete fence or deck, or if you are trying to peel off old paint. These pressure washers,
though, are too much for wood. The ideal for pressure washing wood is between 500 and
500 psi. In addition, never pressure wash wood with hot water. Doing so will sharply raise
the wood grain.
Striping are indentation marks left on the wood when pressure washing the wood is
improperly done -- such as starting and stopping the cleaning stroke as the wand of the
pressure washing is aimed very close to the surface of the wood. Striping causes the
wood fence or deck to look uneven an appear as if it was poorly constructed.
If the wood fence or deck needs to be re-sealed, the old coat of sealer should be
stripped. This is because most sealers have ingredients that should be removed before
any re-sealing is done. To strip the wood of the old sealer, harsh chemical strippers are
used. This type of job is better given to a professional.
Selecting the Sealer
Once you have your wood deck or fence cleaned up and prepared for sealing, the next
step is to choose the sealer to use. In this regard, you need to think about how much you
are prepared to spend for a wood sealer. Sealers are either wax-based, oil based or
acrylic. Latex-based sealers have been introduced recently. The price of sealers vary.
Consider your budget when choosing a sealer. However, don't be willing to pay for the
cheapest sealer. The saying, "You get what you pay for" holds true in this case.
Sealers that are waxed-based are typically available at do-it-yourself shops. You will likely
see them being advertised on TV. Wax-based sealers are cheap to produce, which is why
manufacturers are able to spend money on advertising. Wax-based sealers cost between
$12 and $15 per gallon. Be aware that wax-based sealers will seal your wood fence or
deck for just a short time -- about eight months. After that time, wood that has been
sealed with wax-based sealers often blacken. Unless you are really short on cash, don't
use wax-based sealers as they are not able to provide protection to wood decks and
Oil-based sealers are derived from either crude oil or vegetable oils such as tung or
linseed oil. Crude oil sealer is able to penetrate wood better, so the result is wood that
looks natural and soft. On the other hand, vegetable oils give wood some sheen, making
it look like the wood has been varnished. Vegetable oil sealers have natural sugars and
starches, which can encourage mildew and mold growth. In addition, vegetable oil sealers
can be difficult to remove. If you plan on re-sealing wood that has been previously sealed
with a vegetable oil sealer, you will need to strip the previous sealer first.
Crude-based oil sealers don't need to be stripped if the wood is being prepared for
re-sealing. A new layer of the same crude-based oil sealer can simply be applied over the
old layer of sealer. Crude-based sealers, unlike vegetable oil sealers, are easy to strip.
More importantly, they are cheap, but effective.
Oil-based sealers that are sold in most do-it-yourself stores contain a little vegetable oil.
These sealers last from 12 to 18 months. You can buy a gallon of oil-based sealers for
$15 to $30.
About the Author
David Lee is an expert on pressure washing and concrete cleaning. For more information
see Atlanta pressure washing or Atlanta concrete cleaning or Atlanta roof cleaning .
Article source: http://www.goarticles.com/cgi-bin/showa.cgi?C=546288
Deck covered with two feet of snow