Chris Marshall: I have not used UNAXOL , but their website suggests the clear sealer is actually a water-based wood lacquer. Give the sealer coat a light sanding, and then apply a minimum of three coats of varnish with light sanding between each coat. You have to maintain a wet edge with the sealer, which means that you stain each piece of wood completely so that you don’t stop working until you reach the end of that piece of wood or it intersects with another piece of wood.
Painting, or using a solid-color stain with no sealer, will only help trap that moisture in the wood. Apply one coat of a good-quality stain-blocking acrylic latex primer, followed by two topcoats of a good-quality acrylic latex exterior house paint. To refinish, a thorough cleaning of the wood with a stiff bristle brush is usually adequate before applying the water-repellent sealer or penetrating stain finish.
The wood was then wiped down with a tack cloth – which has a special sticky coating that removes all of the dust and sanding residue. This dimensional stability in turn gives longer life to the exterior varnish because it no longer has to stretch and shrink with the wood The exterior varnish returns the favor by providing UV protection, without which the epoxy would rapidly deteriorate. The pigment builds up in the pores, darkening them more than the surface wood which highlights the character in the wood rather than obscuring it. And some stain colors look very natural on mahogany like Old Masters Dark Mahogany” color.
It contains additional pigments providing a subtle coloration while still allowing the grain of the wood to show through. The best deck stain or best deck sealer that is neither water or oil based is OneTime Wood Protector and it also happens to be our all-time favorite. If used as a pretreatment for paint, apply to bare, dry wood when it is above 50°F, and use only a single coat or excess wax buildup on the surface could affect the paint adhesion.
Wood conditioner is very helpful on woods like pine or fir that sometimes take stain unevenly. It also contains no solvents, although its MSDS does list the use of titanium dioxide in its exterior versions (we used interior). If desired, apply stain, such as Minwax® Wood Finish Stain, to unfinished, interior wood surfaces. However, unless the product is formulated as an exterior product, it will rapidly degrade. Annually, clean thoroughly with deck detergent from a home center or hardware store.
Our photo (left), shows an early paint failure due to improper surface preparation and use of a skim-coat of crack filler over rough-surfaced wood clapboards. Do this every other year or so and your outdoor furniture and playset will look fantastic instead of resembling a 50-year-old fishing pier. Unfortunately, there is no finish that will magically preserve the look of new wood.
As we discuss at STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS , Algae or Mold Stains on Building Siding may be due to a combination of shade, moisture, and a building surface that uses a material or coating that is particularly conducive to algae or mold growth. These products may remove the weathered wood surface; some care should be exercised not to remove excess wood. If you’re unsure of the type and condition of the wood, have its moisture content tested by the dealer (less than 12 percent is ideal) and use an oil-based, semi-transparent exterior 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. However, it also hides the wood grain, only allowing some of the texture of wood to show through.
Consumer Reports – One of the most reliable testing centers in the country, Consumer Reports rated nine popular deck stains, based on how each brand and type performed on a testing deck built for this purpose. A great option for a solid painted look on deck floors is Sikkens Rubbol Solid DEK , which is a flexible, breathable hybrid oil / water floor coating (not a paint).. It looks like paint, but performs like a stain-no film to peel when properly applied. The biggest drawback is probably that paint hides the wood grain, thereby erasing one of the biggest upside features of a real wood deck. If an old stain is present, you need to use a deck stripper instead of a cleaner.