Apr 12 2012

Types of Concrete Sealers

Concrete Sealers

Concrete Sealers

The concrete surfaces around your home are quickly destroyed by harsh weather conditions and excessive traffic. It’s important to protect a concrete surface with a long lasting concrete sealer to help prevent cracking, chipping, and pitting. A high quality concrete sealer is recommended for better protection and longer lasting results saving you money on frequent resealing. Always consider the benefits of a longer lasting finish in conjunction with the initial price.

There are many different types of concrete sealers to meet your specific needs. Defy Heavy Duty Water Repellent is an excellent product that creates a barrier of protection on concrete surfaces. It gives excellent freeze/thaw protection and it blocks out road salts and de-icing chemicals which can quickly deteriorate concrete. The Defy Concrete Sealer also repels water and many other stains and oils. It’s non film forming and won’t alter the appearance of the cement.

Another recommend concrete sealer is SuperSeal. It comes in a matte finish as well as semi-gloss and gloss. The matte will slightly darken the surface but has a reduced shine. The more glossy finishes give the surface a “wet look” while still providing plenty of protection. SuperSeal is good on all concrete surfaces and brick pavers. It blocks out moisture and helps preserve the appearance of colored concrete as well.

Surebond Water Repelling Sealer is an excellent water based penetrating sealer that works well on retention walls, concrete, and brick pavers. Its natural look won’t affect the appearance of the surface and it’s both fast drying and environmentally friendly.

For protecting stamped concrete, decorative concrete, brick, stone, and masonry surfaces MasonrySaver Decorative Concrete Sealer is a great choice. This non-yellowing acrylic polymer blend sealer is designed for stamped and decorative concrete. It can be applied over both water and solvent based sealers with no adhesion issues.

These are just a few products that stood out as the best concrete sealers that should meet any of your concrete sealing needs. Protect your investment and maintain your property value by sealing and preserving all your brick, masonry, and concrete surfaces.

Mar 25 2012

TWP 100 Series

TWP 100 Series

TWP 100 Series

When it comes to preserving any exterior wood surface, it’s important to know that the wood stain you use can make all the difference. For the do-it-yourselfer there isn’t anything more essential than getting good results. Whether it’s a wood deck, fence, cedar shakes, wood siding, or other wood structure, choosing the right deck stain will make or break the project.

When searching for the right deck stain for your situation you should consider many different factors – overall appearance, stain longevity, ease of application, price, and so on. What you want to avoid is using the wrong exterior stain. Many of the deck stains sold at the home centers are inferior in comparison to a contractor grade stain.

Try to steer clear of deck stains that are heavy pigmented and color solid. Also stay away from stains that are 100% acrylic and/or have silicone in them. These types of wood stains stay on top of the surface and form a film similar to paint. Climate and temperature changes cause these film forming stains to crack, flake, and peel leaving your deck or other wood structure in worse shape than it was. Once this type of deck stain does fail, it’s extremely costly and labor intensive to remove but a necessary evil to restore the wood. It’s best just to avoid these types of deck stains all together.

Most wood experts agree a better choice is a semi-transparent deck stain such as TWP 100 series. This non film-forming deck stain protects against water and UV damage by penetrating deep into the wood. TWP 100 deck stain is mold and mildew resistant to prevent wood rot, decay, and structural damage. The TWP Stain is an easy to apply formula which makes it the perfect deck stain for the enthusiastic do-it-yourselfer looking for professional results.

With over half a dozen tones to choose from, you’ll get the look you want and the protection you need. See why the experts recommend TWP 100 series deck stain. Experience lasting results and protect your investment for years of enjoyment.

For a low VOC version visit TWP 1500 Series

Mar 20 2012

Properly Preparing a Wood Deck for Stain

Deck Cleaned

Deck Cleaned

When you’ve come to the decision to refinish your deck it’s important to understand the right and wrong way to do it. Cleaning a deck is the most crucial step in the wood restoration process. While some people may think the only thing that matters is the brand or type of deck stain they use, it’s really the preparation of the wood surface that makes the most difference.

A properly cleaned deck will hold a deck stain for a certain amount of time. If that same deck is not cleaned correctly and the same deck stain is used, it’s certain it won’t look as good or last as long. So regardless of the deck stain, the surface preparation is what will determine a lasting finish.

This isn’t to say that the brand of deck stain you use isn’t important or that the application methods don’t matter. Those are important factors as well, but it starts with the prep work. Get the prep work wrong and you might as well throw in the towel.

The few common mistakes that homeowners will make in preparing their wood deck for a new finish is not cleaning the deck at all, not using the right deck cleaners, or not using a deck brightener.

First of all, let’s be clear, you have to clean the wood before you stain it. This doesn’t mean to blow it off with a leaf blower or rinse it with the garden hose. A contractor grade deck cleaner should be used with a pressure washer or a stiff broom. This will loosen the dirt and gray wood fibers to reveal new wood. If an old stain is present, you need to use a deck stripper instead of a cleaner. The deck stripper will soften the old stain as well as remove dirt and gray wood fibers.

After cleaning or stripping the deck, whichever is the case, the wood then needs to be brightened back to the proper pH so the deck stain will penetrate properly. This is not a hard step but a very necessary step. After washing the deck, a deck brightener is applied, allowed to dwell, and then rinsed off. Now the wood is prepped correctly. After it dries for several days the deck stain can be applied.

Skipping any of these steps, or not using a quality 2-step deck restoration system will give you poor results. The deck won’t look as good and the deck stain won’t last as long. Do the right prep work with quality cleaners and use a good deck stain and you’ll get results like the pros.

Mar 15 2012

Wood and Deck Strippers – Removing Failing Deck Stains

To properly restore a deck it’s necessary to first clean the wood. This includes removing any old failing deck stain that may still be present. When old stain is left on a deck the new stain can’t penetrate the wood properly and you simply worsen the problem. It’s essential to strip a deck back down to bare wood to open up the pours so the new deck stain can dive deep into the wood and provide lasting protection.

To remove old failing deck stains you have to use a quality deck stripper. These deck strippers are strong enough to remove most clear and tinted semi-transparent stains, film forming clear sealers, and water sealers along with pollutants like dirt, mold, mildew, and mill glaze found on newer wood.

Peeling Deck Stain

Peeling Deck Stain

When dealing with a solid deck stain or paint there are no guarantees. The big box stores offer some of the worst deck stains you can use. They are usually 100% acrylic or silicone enhanced products that always end up peeling but are extremely tough to remove once they’ve been applied.

Your best bet is to apply a strong deck stripper and allow it to dwell for 30 minutes sprinkling it with water to keep it active. You may have to repeat this step several times. Remove as much of the deck stain as possible for the best results. Areas where the stain might have been over applied to begin with may need to be sanded to reveal bare wood again.

The best way to avoid a problem with solid stains or deck paints is to not use them in the first place. They are time consuming and expensive to rid once they have failed. If you are dealing with a stubborn deck stain, a quality deck stripper and a lot of patience is your best bet but beware there are no guarantees.

Once a deck has been stripped, it’s best to apply a wood brightener. This will brighten the wood back to the proper pH level allowing the new deck stain to penetrate properly.

Mar 9 2012

Is Staining a Pressure Treated Deck Necessary

Pressure Treated Pine

Pressure Treated Pine

There seems to be some confusion on the part of consumers concerning pressure treated decks. This is one of the most popular choices for deck lumber due to its durability and fair cost. Through our experience, we have found that many homeowners are under the impression that pressure treated wood does not need to be stained or sealed.

The main reason that some homeowners think this is due to the word “treated.” Many people believe that treated means that it’s already protected from the weather. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

The chemical treating process that is normally done at the lumber mill, is to deter termites and other insects from eating the wood and nothing more. Similar to railroad ties and utility poles being treated with creosote, pressure treated lumber for residential use is normally treated with preservatives like sodium borates and chromate copper arsenate.

The wood is placed inside a locked cylinder then vacuum and pressure are both applied to force the preservatives into the wood, thus “pressure treated.” Again, it’s all to deter bugs and some types of fungal decay but there is no protection at all from the sun’s UV rays or moisture.

Therefore, like other woods used for deck construction, pressure treated lumber needs to have an aftermarket deck stain or sealer applied to it for sufficient sun and moisture protection. When pressure treated lumber is protected properly with a deck stain, and maintained every couple of years, it can withstand the elements for a very long time.

Pine Deck Stain

Mar 5 2012

Deck Stains – Water Based vs. Oil Based

It’s highly important to protect your exterior wood surfaces such as decks, fences, wood siding, outdoor furniture, and other exterior structures. These surfaces are subjected to unforgiving weather conditions during all seasons. A quality wood stain will save you time and money spent on wood maintenance.

Unlike paint, which forms a film atop the surface, wood decking stains penetrate the surface providing better protection and allowing the wood characteristics to show through. Whether you want to make the wood grain pop out with a semi-transparent deck stain or hide it with a more solid color, it’s important that you provide some measure of protection. Another choice is whether to go with oil based deck stain or water based.

Water Based Deck Stain

Water Based Deck Stain

Water Based Deck Stains

Water based wood stains will normally adhere better to a surface that has formerly been painted or stained with an oil based stain. A water based stain will also retain its color better than oil. They are more breathable meaning they won’t trap moisture which can cause a stain to fail. Other factors worth noting with water based stains are fewer odors, a quicker drying time, are non-flammable, and they clean up with soap and water. Water based wood stains are usually recommended for woods that naturally resist rot and decay, for example cypress, redwood, and cedar.

Oil Based Deck Stains

Oil based wood stains are commonly suggested for wood decks, fences, gazebos, and other surfaces exposed to harsh weather. They offer better penetration than a water based stain and excellent durability in tough conditions. A longer drying time is expected, but this actually allows the stain to accomplish a more even finish.

Oil Based Deck Stain

Oil Based Deck Stain

Hybrid Deck Stains

Some deck stain manufacturers offer a hybrid wood stain consisting of both water based latex and oil. These hybrid type wood stains offer some of the benefits of both water and oil based stains.

Choosing an exterior wood stain should depend on the situation and the surface you are staining. Many factors can determine whether you should use an oil or water based stain. Ask yourself what you are looking for in a stain – durability over better color retention – easy cleanup over a more even finish and so on. Research the stain and see what others are saying about it before you make a decision and be sure you are getting a quality wood stain so you get the results you want.