Q: Why Does my Wood Need Protection?
A: Wood on the exterior of your home takes quite a beating. Rain, snow, mildew, mold, and the sun’s rays can quickly destroy the looks and condition of exterior wood. Constant cycles of temperature varying as much as 60 degrees in a single day, along with wet/dry cycles will shrink and expand wood, leading to cracking, checking, and splitting. Cleaning and sealing will not only moisturize the dry wood but provide a beautiful finish that resists graying and protects against mildew.
Q: I want to preserve my new deck or fence, when should I stain or seal it?
A: Depending on the type of wood your new deck is built with determines the time frame to start protecting it. Cedar and redwood decks can be stained and sealed within a matter of weeks. Even though the deck is new, there are some preparation steps before applying a stain or sealer. Pressure treated lumber, which is usually southern yellow pine (which is generally wet and recently pressure treated with liquid preservatives) needs a little more time to dry. We recommend waiting three to six months before applying a wood finish, and then re-applying it one year later because the wood may have not absorbed as much preservative as an older deck or fence.
Q: Why is my deck gray?
A: The gray look on your deck comes as a result of sun exposure. These UV rays damage the surface of your wood leaving it dull and gray.
Q: I have pressure treated lumber. Isn’t that enough?
A: Pressure treating is a process by which a chemical known as CCA (outlawed in December 2003) or ACQ is infused by high pressure into wood. Although this typically protects wood from insect decay and ground contact, the wood remains vulnerable to surface weathering.
Q: Why Seal Wood?
A: Humans use wood because of its excellent structural characteristics as a building material to improve our physical lives. It is also aesthetically appealing.
When wood was part of a living tree it had a fairly stable moisture content summer through winter and was protected by its bark, oils and other constituents. But when harvested and used as bare lumber, particularly outdoors, these protective features are gone and lumber, left unprotected, wood has a short remaining physical existence. Sunlight exposure (Ultra Violet Energy Degradation) attacks its physical surface integrity. Microbiological organisms use it as a residence and food source. Wet/Dry cycles of rain and standing water, then sun cause wood to first swell, then shrink in a process of dimensional instability that causes cracking, twisting and the ability of water and biological attackers to easily get deeper into the lumber. Left unprotected, this process reduces wood’s physical strength and aesthetic value.
Q: Why use a tinted sealer/ stain for my wood fence or deck?
It is a common misconception that if the water beads up on your exterior wood (like wax on a car) it is protected. This is absolutely not true! This is a marketing technique of coating manufacturers.
While it is helpful to prevent water damage, the main reason to treat your wood is for UV damage. If left untreated, the Sun’s ultraviolet rays will oxidize and damage the exposed layer of wood cells. When using a transparent tinted wood deck stain or sealer, the tint will act like “sunglasses” for your wood. This is very important if you want to have your wood keep its natural color.
Q: Why use oil-based sealers/ stains?
A: Oils penetrate bare, dry wood to moisturize and fortify near-surface layers with water repellent, beauty enhancing effects. Unlike other approaches that use hard synthetic ingredients to bind, plug and form a barrier on the wood surface, oils look great, last well and are easy to redo. Moisturizing your wood with oil protects against wet/dry cycles and damaging ultra violet rays from the sun. Oil based products beautify and keep exterior wood looking protected and “natural”. Also, utilizing a semidrying, penetrating oil sealer system allows your protective finish to be easily maintained when needed, bringing back your wood to near-original condition.
All exterior protective wood finishes weather and need to be re-applied periodically. We think using an oil system is simply the best approach for achieving the best protection, appearance and ease of periodic maintenance.
Q: How long does the wood treatment last?
A: Flat surfaces are usually the most vulnerable and need maintenance in 1-2 years. Just because there is still some color left on your deck, doesn’t mean the finish is still effective. Vertical surfaces such as deck railing and fences will typically last 2-3 times longer than horizontal surfaces.
Q: Do you have different product and color options?
A: Call us and we can discuss a wide range of color options and products for making your deck, fence, or siding look great. From custom colors, to using a particular product, we want you to be happy with the outcome of your project. Some color options may require additional cost.
Q: When do I pick a color?
A: You can begin by looking at our color options in the photo gallery. Most photos will have the color labeled.
Q: The color applied seems darker than the color I selected, is this normal?
A: Yes, all colors will go on 2-3 shades darker than the samples. As the finish works its way deeper into your wood it will then lighten up. It can take up to 30 days to reach final color.
Q: How do I get on your schedule?
A: Return your signed contract to us and you will be placed on our schedule in the order it was received. We work on a first come, first serve basis.
Q: How does the weather factor in?
A: The cleaning and preparatory work can be done in just about any weather. We require dry weather to apply the finish and temperatures above 40 degrees.
Q: Can you help remove the furniture and accessories on the deck?
A: We ask that you remove any furniture, plants, etc.. that you can. If there is something that is too heavy or awkward to remove, we will move it or work around it. We ask that you replace the furniture after the project is complete and the required drying time is reached. If you need special help or are not able to return the furniture, please call our office and we will see if we can help.
Q: Do I need to be home while you are here?
A: No, we work on many homes without the homeowners present. In rare cases we will require access to the home and that will be pre-arranged.
Q: My second level deck does not have steps, do you need to come through the home?
A: No, we will access the deck from an extension ladder.
Q: Will you be using our water and electricity?
A: Yes, we will require access to your outside water spigots and electricity.
Q: Do you protect surrounding vegetation?
A: Yes, we will take every precaution possible to minimize any damage to the surrounding vegetation. We would suggest that any shrubs or bushes that are touching deck or fence be trimmed back.
Q: How long do I need to stay off my deck after treatment?
A: We recommend that you stay off the deck for 24-48 Hours.
Q: Can I use my deck between the cleaning and sealing?
A: You can, but we ask that you try to keep it as clean as possible and not return the furniture so it will dry.
Q: What happens if it rains shortly after the deck is treated?
A: It can rain within minutes after the deck is treated with no adverse effects. If you notice any water spots, please give our office a call.
Q: Do you offer a warranty?
A: Although there may be manufacturers and applicators that make claims guaranteeing the life of an exterior wood finish, unfortunately I will not. There are too many variables that determine how long of a service life a product has (sun, rain exposure, large animals, traffic, and age of wood). I will recommend the maintenance intervals that you should expect based on your individual project.
Q: Do you offer payment plans?
A: No, but we do accept credit cards (subject to a 2% processing fee).
Q: When is final payment due?
A: Upon completion of the project, our terms are Net 5 Days.
Q: Do you offer carpentry services?
A: We do minor repairs, but in case of major or structural issues, we will refer you to a carpenter.
Q: How long has Decksavers been in business?
A: Started in 1992, the current owner has been operating the business since April 1997.
Q: What about these commercials on television and displays in the home/ hardware stores that are selling products to Restore, or Revive my old weathered, worn-out deck?
A: Resurfacing Products: In the past few years just about every coating manufacturer, and paint store has come out with a “miracle product” to fill in cracks ¼ inch wide, fill in knots, and lock down splinters. Most of these products are marketed to do-it-yourselfers promising incredible results. We have seen these products in action after they have been applied. They tend to peel (sometimes in sheets), and do not fill in cracks quite as wide as manufacturers claim.
Note: I am experimenting with one product that seems to be standing up well to cold weather and traffic. Upon further evaluation of this product I may begin offering it to my customers.
Q: What is the white, salty residue coming out of the boards on my deck?
A: Defects in Pressure Treated Southern Yellow Pine
When sap bleeds from a board it is a “pitch pocket”. Pitch pockets can last for years. The “sap” oozing from your deck boards is a natural product of the wood, and it’s really pitch, not sap. Running pitch has nothing to do with stains, sealers, or waterproofing the deck. It resides in “pitch pockets” in wood, and when the wood gets hot enough, it melts and runs out. This is most common in yellow pine. You’re most likely to notice pitch problems on the sunny areas of the deck than in shaded sections, as those are the areas on the deck that absorb the most heat. Kiln dried lumber that has been heated to more than 160 degrees usually does not suffer from this problem. The high kiln temperatures solidify the pitch and prevent it from turning to liquid again. Evidently, the pressure treated lumber used on your deck wasn’t dried at a high enough temperature to cause this solidification. There is not a lot you can do about the problem except live with it. A bit of mineral spirits or goo-be-gone on a rag will remove it quickly. Eventually pitch pockets run dry.