Outdoor Staining Tips
I received some information from CIL recently on their Ultra Premium (yes, that’s right: it’s higher than “premium”) outdoor stain. For those concerned about off-gassing, the stain is low-VOC. The folks at CIL also say it’s long-lasting. I guess it’s too early to hear from any testers, but if you have used the product, please comment below.
CIL also offers some helpful tips, which come at the right time. I know many of you will be freshening up that deck or fence in the next couple of weeks.
“Trees have only one layer of bark for protection, so there’s no need to apply multiple coats of stain to wood surfaces,” says Shaun Noble, marketing manager, who recommends applying a maximum of two light, even coats of stain to achieve the desired colour appearance and surface protection. “For best performance, stains must penetrate as deep into the wood as possible, and rather than protecting the wood, a thick coating of stain doesn’t provide enough breathing room for the wood and actually leads to peeling, flaking and moisture damage.”
Preparation is key: Be aware that preparation can make or break a stain project, so ensure that the surface to be stained is ready before you begin. Wood must be clean and free of dirt, dust, mildew, algae, moss, leaves, and loose wood fibres. It must also be dry. As a rule of thumb, wait at least three days after a rainfall or washing before starting your job, or use an electronic moisture meter to be sure. Hold off on staining new wood surfaces for at least a month. For woods like cedar, redwood or spruce that have a polished or glazed finish, use an exterior, biodegradable wood-wash solution or sand the surface first to ensure proper penetration of the stain.
Pre-treat deck wood: Horizontal wood surfaces such as decks are most vulnerable to weather damage from the sun, rain and snow, so pre-treatment of the wood is critical. A good quality penetrating stain should be applied before constructing the deck to ensure that all sides, including end cuts, help control the amount of moisture that will naturally pass through the wood and allow it to breathe. If the deck is already built, coat as many ends, sides and edges as are accessible.
Weather matters: Making sure Mother Nature is on your side can extend the life of your stain project significantly. It is best to stain when the temperature is between 10° C and 27°C. Stain shouldn’t be applied if the thermometer falls below 10° C and if rain is expected within 24 hours after application. On a warm day, feel the wood surface before starting the job–if the surface is too hot to touch, it’s too hot to stain, as doing so will reduce penetration of the coating.
Apply like a pro: The ideal application tool for staining is a brush. Rollers, sprays and pads can also be used, but may cause more pooling of the stain. To avoid lap marks, start at one edge of the wood plank and complete a full board length at a time. Stir the stain thoroughly in the can with a slow lifting motion before and, occasionally during, use. For best results, apply the stain in the shade. Follow the sun as you work so that you’re always out of direct sunlight. Avoid application late in the day to reduce the chance of dew, condensation or frost on the surface before it’s dry.
That seems pretty thorough. Do you have any other tips to add?