Deck stains

Deck stains

Deck Stains are exterior wood coatings that are used primarily for the protection and enhancement of exterior decking. Deck Stains are also known as: Deck Sealers, Deck Coatings, Deck Finishes, and Deck Paints. Deck stain's "sealing" abilities will protect the wood from water absorption, environmental stains, and household spills. The "stain" will enhance the natural wood tones by adding different colors or pigments. Deck stains will minimize rotting and decay of the wood preserving the wood lignin and strengthening the cellular structure. Composed of Trans Oxides and Resins, deck stains will prolong the natural oxidation (graying) of the wood by "absorbing" the Ultra Violet Radiation.

There are many different types of Decking Stains available to consumers.

1. Solid or Opaque Deck Stains are heavily pigmented. They will cover the wood similar to a paint and are considered film-forming in the fact that they do not penetrate completely into the wood. They offer the best UV Protection but are prone to wear and peeling. Colors can be tinted similar to a paint.

2. Semi-Solid Deck Stains are very high in pigment with a slight transparency. Offers exceptional UV protection and better penetration then a Opaque Stain. Typically very rich or dark in color due to the high pigment.

3. Semi-Transparent Deck Stains are the most popular as they offering great UV protection and penetration. Colors are more natural looking.

4. Transparent Deck Stains offer the lowest amount of UV protection since they contain the least amount of pigment. Penetration into the wood is superb as well. Colors are very natural looking.

5. Fluoropolymer Deck Stains are polymer resins in a class and category by themselves... Chemically and in terms of functionality. This category of sealers provide nearly 100% UV ultra violet light protection, total water proofing, complete protection against oxidation (no fading or color loss of substrate), protection against salt, acids and most chemicals found in very harsh environments, as well as rust, corrosion and tarnish prevention. Some are antimicrobial resulting in no growth of bacteria, viruses, mold, fungus, mildew, algae or even barnacles. All have low surface energy resulting in being oleo phobic (repels oil and grease) so that the surface becomes easy to clean or even self-cleaning in the rain.

Once the finish breaks down from natural weathering the wood will require another application. The longevity of deck stains typically on average range from 1–3 years on horizontal surfaces and 2–4 years on vertical surfaces before another coat should be applied.

Deck Stains can be applied to a variety of decking materials. Cedar, Pressure-Treated Wood, Redwood, and Hardwoods are some of the popular types.

Deck Stain Failures

The main reason for deck stain failure is poor preparation. Why is this critical? Well for a coating to adhere properly there needs to be a correct pH level on that deck surface. For instance, you often see deck cleaners with the ingredient "Sodium Hypochlorite" and this is the chemical name for bleach. The problem with this type of deck cleaner is that it changes the pH level of the wood surface and there is no feasible way to counteract the action of the bleach. All that you can do is dilute it.

Proper deck cleaners will contain "sodium percarbonate" for cleaning a deck that has not been sealed. For a deck where you must remove a previous finish, the main ingredient needs to be "sodium hydroxide" or the finish will not be removed without using too much water pressure.

Both the sodium percarbonate (cleaner) and the sodium hydroxide (striper) needs to be followed up with an Oxalic Acid, Citric Acid or a combination of both acids for the best results. What the acid does is neutralize the sodium percarbonate or sodium hydroxide to bring the wood back to a neutral pH level. You will see the color of the wood change right before your eyes as the pH level returns to normal.[1]

Note: Deck stains are available in oil-based formulas and water-based formulas. Deck stains mainly come in two forms, penetrating and film forming. Oil based deck stains are normally of the penetrating type of deck stain. Water based or low VOC stains are normally film forming stains[2][3]


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