The enemies of any wood surface are moisture & UV exposure from the sun. The goal of any stain is to show the natural beauty of wood while protecting it from moisture and sun exposure, but stain by its self has very little resistance to the harsh UV rays. Adding another layer of protection over the stain will help add more strength to the coating system without covering the beautiful attributes of the natural wood.
Wood decays in three ways:
Delamination – multiple cycles of expanding and contracting due to wet and dry conditions causes the wood fibers to eventually expand and stay expanded. You see this type on the ends of boards that swell up and then never shrink back down. Keeping the wood sealed and protected will prevent this from happening.
UV Decay – UV rays break down Lingin, the natural “glue” in all wood that holds all the wood fibers together. Unprotected wood will eventually break down and the grain will get rough and wood fibers will become loose. A stain with good UV protection will slow this process down and annual or bi-annual maintenance coats are necessary.
Microbial Decay – Basically “rot”. Three things are necessary for all organic material to begin the cycle of decay. Heat, water, and oxygen. We can’t do too much about the heat since we can’t control the weather, but we can control the moisture intrusion with proper design and construction and we can seal out the oxygen with a quality stain that is maintained. Rot is to wood-like rust is to metal. Keep the moisture and oxygen away from metal and it will dramatically slow down the rusting process. The same goes for wood.
A few years ago, ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING became one of only a few Los Angeles, California based contractors to get certified through the Benjamin Moore certification program Not only were we trained on all the different types of wood species and how to protect them, but we have also educated us in a new line of exterior stains called ArborCoat, which is a Premium Waterborne Exterior Stain System.
ArborCoat is an advanced technology that combines the penetrating attributes of a traditional oil-based (alkyd) stain with the more durable and long-lasting surface coat of a water-based (acrylic) stain.
ArborCoat has a clear coat that goes over their stains that literally only has to be cleaned with their “Clean” solution product and rinsed with water before it can then be recoated with the clear coat. No scraping, no sanding, just clean and recoat. Very easy and cost-effective to do each year. A homeowner could even do it themselves if they wanted to.
The clear coat preserves the color and finish of the stain and acts as a “sacrificial” coating that is reapplied every year to year and a half. It contains a small amount of wax that also helps with preventing moisture intrusion.
An annual to bi-annual maintenance is the way to go. A quick clean and recoat every so often will keep your stained woods looking nice making them last for years and years. Unfortunately, most homeowners skip this step and they let the stain degrade past a point where a maintenance coat won’t do the trick. They end up having to strip and re-stain all over again, which is much more costly.
A little money spent each year will be far more cost-effective in the long run than a complete strip and stain every 5 to 7 years. If let go for too long, stained surfaces that are not maintained will rot or decay, and then it will cost you more to have the wood replaced. Setting up an annual maintenance plan with your painting contractor is a great idea. Contact ALLBRiGHT 1-800-PAINTING to learn more about how we stain and finish natural wood surfaces.