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Top 10 Myths for Exterior Wood and Deck Restoration

1. New wood does not need to be cleaned. This is not true. New wood needs to be prepped with a wood cleaner and a wood brightener. This will remove dirt, grime, and mill glaze. These two steps will "open" the wood pores allowing the stain to penetrate better. The better the wood stain absorbs, the better it will work.

2. If I apply an extra coat it will last longer. Applying extra coatings will not make the stain last longer. This will cause a "buildup" of the stain on top of the surface instead of penetrating "into" the surface. In actuality over application can cause the stain to prematurely fail.

3. Wood or Deck Stripping is Difficult. Stripping the wood of an old transparent or semi-transparent stain is not that difficult, but it does depend on the finish and amount of previous coatings. The Wood Stripper works by penetrating through the old coating and "softening" the bond between the wood cells and the stain. In many cases, it is easier and more beneficial to use a wood stripper instead of a wood cleaner.

4. Applying a Water-Based Stain is easier than applying an Oil-Based. In our opinion, it is just as easy or easier to apply an oil-based wood stain. Water-based stains will dry faster than oil-based. It can be beneficial to have a stain that does not dry too fast. Less chance for overlaps.

5. A deck can be properly prepped for $99. The $99 Deck Cleaning coupon from a local pressure washing company is a marketing gimmick. To properly prep your wood you will need to use a wood stripper or wood cleaner followed by a wood brightener. It is just impossible to have your deck prepped for $99 properly. Be aware of any contractor who says they can do this for a "cheap" price. They will probably end up damaging your wood.Cry

6. Extended Warranties. Any warranty that claims over 2 years on a horizontal surface is either limited or is playing the numbers game on claims. Nothing will look perfect after two to three years. They will all wear and most importantly fade from the UV exposure. If you read the warranty claims you will see they are limited by saying words such as "resists fading" or "normal wear and tear". At best all you will get is product replacement.

7. Beading Water is Important. This is just plain wrong. Beading water is a misconception that consumers expect after seeing television commercials saying it is important. The only way to bead water is to seal the surface completely by using a wax or silicone. It is better to have a wood stain that "sheds" water and still allows the wood to be able to breathe.

8. No need to use a Wood Brightener. The use of a wood Brightener is essential to neutralize the pH balance of the wood after the use of a Wood Stripper or Wood Cleaner. This will lighten the wood and give your stain better results! It is also the easiest and least expensive step in the entire process.

9. Big Box Stores sell the best products. Most of the products you find at Big Box stores are mediocre at best. In fact, many of these products have major issues and some even have had class action lawsuits against them.

10. Wood Stains should be "shiny" like my hardwood floor. This is actually a very bad idea. When you apply a wood stain that builds like a varnish on your wood, you will have many issues. The finish will blister and peel. In addition, it will be extremely difficult or impossible to fix. Most likely sanding of the deck will be needed. It is best to have a wood or deck stain the penetrates into the wood leaving a dull or "matte" finish.

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  • We will reply to your comment shortly
    The Sealer Store · 07/08/2012
    Absolutely not true. Cleaners and stain strippers are mild caustics that will raise the pH. It is very noticeable and will darken the overall appearance of the wood. The wood brightener is a mild acid that cancels or "neutralizes" the caustics. This results in lightening or "brightening" of the wood's appearance. As for opening the pores, a mild acid will help to remove mill glaze on new wood.
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    John02 · 07/08/2012
    Using Wood Brightener is nothing but a useless invention by the industry. The instructions say to wash thoroughly after applying, so how can you "change pH" if any residue is washed away ??. Wood by itself, has no pH, only water of all chemicals in this world has pH. And how exactly acidity of the Brightener will open up pores in the wood ? I'm yet to get an answer on that.
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    The Sealer Store · 05/07/2010
    I believe the Behr warranty is 5 or 7 years. Either way it is a joke as is any warranty that claims more then a couple of years on a horizontal surface.

    This comment was overheard from a Behr representative at a national convention this Spring:

    "Our deck stain peels like a snake shedding its skin after one season" That is very true. Too bad they make up the ridiculous warranties :o
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    Palmetto Home & Deck · 05/06/2010
    I had a perspective customer once that insisted I apply a Behr Stain to his deck that claimed to have a 25 year warranty. I tried to explain to him how the warranties worked, but he still believed in the 25 year warranty.

    I actually went on line and found the small print that went with the warranty. The deck had to first be cleaned with Behr's wood cleaner. The have Behr's wood brightener applied. (neither of which are contractor grade products). Then the wood had to be a certain moisture content. I agree with this but read on.

    The stain then had to be applied at a specific rate and at a specific mill thickness.

    If all these things were met and the stain failed, Behr reserved to right to determine the final decision to honor the warranty at their discretion. Then they reserved the right to replace the stain at a prorated cost of the original purchase and only then if you still had proof of that purchase IE cash register receipt.

    So if you paid $100.00 for your 25 year warranty stain and if you did everything right to the letter, Behr might give you back $10.00.

    I wouldn't use the product he insisted on and the owner found a local painter that gladly applied the the homeowners choice of product. It would be interesting to know what the owner thinks about his stain choice now because these stains do fail and looks horrible in a couple of years if that long. But, I didn't see anything in that warranty that said the deck would look good for 25 years.