You need to protect your wood from damage as it saves you the cost of repairing or replacing it. Some of the ways of protecting your wood from UV and moisture damage include sealing and staining. Not many people can differentiate between sealant and stain when treating their wood.
This is primarily because sealing and staining are relatively similar to each other. Let’s first examine how to differentiate between the two as it is necessary to know when to apply sealant and when to use stain.
Should You Stain or Seal your Wood – All you need to know
Don’t confuse stain, sealant, and paint.
Sealing your wood will help you protect it from moisture damage since sealants have water repellant properties. They also have a thick viscosity compared to stains. However, sealants do not have pigmentation and, therefore, provide less UV protection compared to stains.
Since stains have pigmentation, your wood will be effectively protected against UV damage while also adding color to the deck. However, your wood will not have the perfect protection from moisture damage.
On the other hand, paint, whether oil-based or latex, protects your wood from moisture and UV damage. Nonetheless, the effectiveness of even the best deck paint does not guarantee the best protection from UV and moisture damage compared to sealant or paint. Furthermore, if there is any moisture left when applying paint, the final work will have bubbles and eventually leads to the paint peeling off.
A sealant is a transparent finish applied on wood surfaces. The primary aim of using a sealant on a wooden surface is to prevent moisture from getting into the wood. This is because excess moisture makes the wood rot and also leads to fungal growth.
Nonetheless, water is not the only thing that adversely affects wood. When wood is exposed to excess sunlight, it loses its original color. The rays of the sun also lead to cracks that could split your wood. Unfortunately, sealers cannot protect the wood from sun rays for long periods.
Therefore, when you apply a sealer on your wood, ensure you reapply another layer in 3-6 months, depending on how extreme the sun is and the duration that your wood is exposed to the rays. One advantage of using a sealer is that it does not need much expertise to apply. It is also a cheap product.
A stain is a form of finish applied to wood that helps alter the appearance while also protecting it from damage. Stain penetrates wood effectively because it has pigment that allows it to be absorbed by the wood and changes its color.
The stain protects the wood from the rays of the sun, making it last longer. Same as sealers, stains also protect the wood from being affected by moisture. Stains come in different forms, as some are transparent, while others are semi-transparent. Some stains are also opaque.
The opacity of the stain depends on your preferences and the type of surface to be treated. Unlike applying a sealer, it is a lot more complicated when applying a stain. As such, this task requires a professional. Applying a stain is costly compared to a sealer, but stains usually last five times as long as sealers. Therefore, it is economical to use stains.
When to Use a Sealant
Choosing what to use to treat your wood depends on whether the wood is for outdoor or indoor use. For indoor furniture, you may choose to use a sealant, primarily because your wood will have an appealing beauty and does not require much protection from the rays of the sun or moisture from frost.
You may have a piece of furniture that is unappealing still strong. Because you need your table to look smarter than before and protect it from damage, you will need to seal it. The first step is sanding away the old finish on the table. For this task, you will not need extremely rough sandpaper as it would damage the surface of the antique piece. Use fairly smooth sandpaper and ensure the surface of your wool is evenly smooth.
The next step is to clean the wood with a dry cloth and ensure no particles are left on the surface. Then, apply the base coat of the sealer. After leaving the first coat to dry, sand the surface again, clean it, and apply the second coat. Once the second coat is dry, your furniture will be as good as new.
Dos and Don’ts When Sealing your Deck
You might think that working on your backyard deck is an easy job that requires no professional help, but you might find yourself spending more than you expected if you do not follow the right procedure. Sealing a wooden deck requires techniques that help in ensuring you have the best results.
Therefore, there are some things that you should do or not do when sealing your deck if you want the results to be perfect.
A new Deck should be sealed when it is at least 30 days old.
You may have an urge to seal your deck immediately after setting it up. However, preservatives in the wood you have used may need about a month before the wood is ready to soak up the sealant. After 30 days, pour some water on the wood, and if it does not absorb the water, it still is not ready for sealing. The wood will be ready when the wood can absorb water.
It is worth noting that you should not wait for too long because the wood may end up being damaged if left unsealed for long since the deck is exposed to both moisture and ultraviolet rays.
Repair, wash, and sand the deck before you seal.
To ensure you have the perfect end-product, you should prepare your surface properly before sealing. It would be best to repair or replace any broken or loose wood to prevent any hazards in the future. After repair, wash the deck using pressure water to help in scrubbing the surface and then leave it to dry for one day.
The next step is to sand the wood using sandpaper or a sanding disk. Ensure you use an effective sanding tool to remove the wood’s top layer, as it could prevent the sealant from working effectively.
If you intend to work on a previously stained deck, ensure you sand the entire surface. Any surface that has stain protection will prevent the sealant from working effectively.
After sanding, vacuum or sweep the surface thoroughly to banish any particles that could prevent you from having a smooth finish.
Do not apply a sealant to any frosty or damp surface.
If you apply a sealant to a damp surface, your final product will be uneven and splotchy, and the sealant will not effectively protect your deck. The sealant could also bead up on the moisture, and thus the wood will not absorb the sealant. As a result, your deck will be a mess that could also be a slipping hazard. Ensure that your deck is completely dry before sealing it.
Use the proper technique and tools to seal your deck
You can use a paintbrush roller or paint sprayer to apply sealant on your deck. While using a roller or paintbrush, you can apply the sealant while standing and using a pole or while kneeling and using kneepads to prevent irritation on your knees due to friction. Do not hurry to finish the work as you may end up leaving some parts without sealant.
You should note that thick sealant may easily peel off, while too light sealant may not work effectively. Therefore, avoid applying too much or too little sealant, and you will have satisfactory results. If you want to apply a second coat, ensure that the first coat is dry by leaving it for at least 24 hours.
Be wary of the time of day and temperature.
Ensure that you begin working on your deck when the temperature and time of day are ideal. It is ideal to begin working on a dry morning to avoid working when the sun is shining bright as the sealant may quickly evaporate and prevent adequate absorption.
Apply a sealant once per year
It is a general rule that sealants should be applied once every year. This is especially so if you live in sunnier regions such as California. However, those living in northern regions may use their decks for up to three years before reapplying sealant. However, they should be vigilant when applying and ensure the entire surface is sealed as it provides long-term protection against moisture from melting snow.
Do not use the deck for 2 days.
Although sealant may feel dry if you touch it some hours after application, it is advisable not to use your deck immediately. You should wait for 48 hours before you can use your deck. Remind every individual in the household not to use the deck until the 48 hours are over to ensure maximum protection for your wood.
When to Use a Stain
If your furniture is for outdoor use, you will need to stain your wood, mainly because the stain is more durable than sealant, especially for protection against UV damage.
You might have a dog and want to build a house for it. Since this structure will be located outside your house, the material needs to be strong enough to withstand winter, spring, fall, and summer. As such, you will need to stain your wood. You will first need to contact a professional woodsman and ensure they stain your wood for durability. From there, you can build your doghouse without having to worry about the wood being affected by the change in the climate.
Not using a sealer is that a doghouse doesn’t need to have a pleasant look. Also, a doghouse should be build using material that can stand the test of time. It should be able to withstand climatic changes. While making this house, ensure that the roofing is pointed and not flat. A flat roof may cave in as it is not strong enough to hold colossal snow or water amounts.
Dos and Don’ts When Staining Your Wood Floor
You may also want to stain your wood floor as it protects it from damage and gives it an appealing look. However, ensure you use the right procedure when applying stains on your wood for good results. Here are some of the dos and don’ts when staining your wood floor.
Wear protective gear
When working with stains, ensure you have protective gear, including gloves, mask, shoe covers, and overall. The gloves will help protect your hands from having contact with the stain because, as the name indicates, the stain will not come out easily once you have it on your hands; the overall and shoe covers will also protect your clothes and shoes from coming into contact with the stain. Finally, the mask protects against the chemicals used to manufacture the stain that could be harmful once inhaled.
Mix the stain properly
For satisfactory results, ensure that you mix the stain properly before you begin to apply. Properly stirring the stain ensures your floor has a uniform color and the pigment is not lighter in some areas. If you are using more than one can of stain, be sure to mix the stain in one container as one product may differ from the other.
When you mix the two cans, you can rest assured that your floor will have a uniform finish.
Don’t use cleaning products.
By now, you know that you should thoroughly clean your surface before applying any finish. However, you should not use any cleaning products because they have ingredients that could prevent the stain from penetrating your wood. Use clean water, and if possible, use a horse pipe with efficient water pressure.
Should You Stain or Seal your Wood – conclusion
In conclusion, sealers and stains are some of the most effective ways of preventing your wood from delaying. However, the two have some differences and similarities. Using a sealer or stain will depend on where you intend to apply and how long you want the treatment to last. Nonetheless, both solutions have proven to be effective.