Lumber is a common outdoor building material used for everything from fences to porches. Unlike chain link, concrete, or other materials, wood offers a nice, natural look to your hardscaping and can be easily changed and redesigned. Maintaining wood can be difficult, but a good wood stain can provide many benefits and years of protection for any outdoor project. Here are some ways stain can help maintain your deck, fence, pergola, or patio cover.
Why Does My Wood Need Staining?
Wood is a natural product, and is prone to decay, graying, insect infestation, and mildew. Wood stain serves two very important purposes. It improves the look of your wood structure, and it protects your investment from wear and tear over time. Staining your wood hardscaping is especially important if you live in an area with a harsh climate.
Learn More: The 4-1-1 on Hardscape Maintenance
Water is the biggest enemy of wood. Waterlogged wood will rot more quickly, will warp, and water can also cause stains on the surface of the wood. It is particularly important to protect wood from rotting. Once rot is present, the lumber will have to be replaced, which can be costly. One of the biggest benefits of wood stain is that it offers a layer of protection from rain, snow, spills and any other sources of liquid. Once the stain is applied, water and other liquids will roll away and be unable to reach the wood surface.
Protection from Sunlight
Sun damage can cause discoloration, cracking, and splintering on your wood structure. The splintering and cracking can be really worrisome for people who love going barefoot or have children and pets running around. Adding wood stain can help block the UV rays that cause damage to the lumber.
To keep unwanted pests off of your wood structures, regular maintenance is a must. Staining creates a barrier between the wood and damaging insects such as termites, carpenter ants, and wood-boring beetles. This is especially important in more humid climates, like Texas, where wood-loving insects thrive.
Paint vs. Stain
Many people prefer to paint their wooden structures instead of staining them. Each method has its perks, but before choosing one over the other, make sure you’re well informed of the upkeep and benefits of each.
Paint gives the homeowner many options to personalize the structure. Never use interior paint for outdoor projects. Interior paint is not created to cope with the elements and will not protect wooden surfaces. Exterior paint can and will safeguard wood for a time. A homeowner will only need to repaint every four to six years. But keep in mind, paints don’t protect floors and decking from foot traffic.
There’s no denying that the benefits of wood stain are well worth the investment. While paint does offer some protection, wood stain offers even more. This can be especially important in areas with harsh weather conditions. It can be found in a number of shades and can stand up to more foot traffic than paint. Stain gives the wood a much more natural look, especially when applied as a clear coat. It does require a number of applications before it’s finished and will need restaining every three to five years. But the resultsStain takes a bit longer to dry than paint, so it should have an extra day or two to dry before adding furniture.
When to Stain
For a fence or wood structure that will last for years to come, we recommend staining every three to five years. Fall and spring are the best times to apply wood stain. Without the chill winter wind or hot sun, the stain application will be most effective. It should also be done on a dry day when the weather forecast is calling for at least three or four days of clear, sunny weather.
Protect Your Investment
The harsh Texas climate can make it difficult to keep up the appearance of your outdoor wood structures. The hot summer sun and frigid winter temperatures can do a lot of damage, and could result in your fence or wood structure needing to be replaced if it’s not maintained properly. Applying stain can help protect and prolong the life of your wood and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.