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Exterior Wood Finishes for Decks, Siding, and Raised Bed Gardens

Your Choices Include Paint, Penetrating Sealers, and Stains

© 2012 by All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission. Author’s Google profile

Box with Zebrawood Drawer Faces

Wood is the most basic and beautiful of all building materials, but due to its organic nature it has to be protected from the elements in order to avoid dry rot and against pests like carpenter ants and termites.

Your choice of wood sealer for a particular item depends on a number of things. Do you want to bring out the beauty of the grain in your Adirondack chair project? Do you insist on organics and non-toxic products for backyard decks or raised bed gardens?

Do you want to incorporate a specific color wood stain for your cedar siding? Whatever, you’re in luck; the choices on the market today are greater than they ever were.

Choosing a Sealer for Decks and Raised Bed Gardens

Sealer products need to be chosen with care because they inevitably come in contact with adults, children, and your pets. One of the best ones I’ve seen on the market is the Non-Toxic Wood Treatment Wood Sealers made by CedarCide.

The CedarCide company refers to their products as wood stabilizers and claim that they provide a one-time, lifetime treatment. I’m eager to try them out.

They put it like this, “Our cedar oil based, organic wood treatment products are safe and non toxic to people, pets and the planet. Our natural pesticides offer homeowners treated wood alternatives that are 100% non toxic. All of our non toxic wood treatment products for deck and garden applications feature perpetual protection from termites, carpenter ants, wood rot, and fungal attack.”

High self-praise indeed, but I’ve got to admit, the video on their site is very impressive. I am planning on trying it out this spring.

Exterior Wood Finishes Appropriate for Your Patio Furniture

Your wooden patio furniture has different requirements than your metal, plastic, or PVC items. The concept is not to “coat” your wood as paint does, but to apply a finish that completely penetrates and fills the outer cells of the wood’s surface

This effectively will seal out Mother Nature’s moisture and will protect it also from damage due to bumping, dropping, etc.

The finish I like to use is a very traditional one called tung oil. There are various formulations today depending on manufacturer, but the original formulation was made from the nuts of native tung trees.

The ancient Chinese discovered the unique qualities and applied it to the exterior of their wooden sailing ships as a waterproofing method.

Danish oil is a similar wood finish. It’s really a varnish/oil blend (no Danes were sacrificed to make this product), so it avails the same penetrating capability of tung oil, but it will usually dry more quickly.

It should be pointed out that neither of these oil finishes should be used on butcher block countertops or maple cutting boards, “just because it’s handy”. Only food-quality mineral oil (or other food-grade products) should be used for food-contact wood surfaces.

Finishes for Wood Siding

The finish products for siding are usually clear or they have an added stain. The range of shades are seemingly endless. Because high-quality siding is costly and protects your house, it is advisable not to skimp on a sealer and/or finish.

Some homeowners choose to finish their picket fences to match the siding on their home and attached garage or deck. This is why some home improvement projects should be considered in advance.

When you are deciding on a brand of finish, ensure that you shoot for high quality name brands like Benjamin Moore, Behr, Cabot, etc. You should know that some stains are built into the sealer but also feature UV protection.

If you are dealing with a new siding project remember that all surfaces need to be primed and sealed. Many contractors will skip this step to save both time and money. Don’t do this.

Seal the back, sides, ends, and cut surfaces. This is referred to backpriming. It is done to be sure that no moisture can come into contact with the wood in any area, whether you can see it or not.

If your building contractor is doing the job rather than yourself, insist that he takes this step. The bottom line? Take care of all exterior wood products.



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© 2012 All rights reserved; content may not be copied, rewritten, or republished without author’s written permission.