Lumber is a common outdoor building material for everything from fences to porches. Unlike chain link, concrete, or other materials, wood offers a nice natural look to landscaping and can be more easily changed and redesigned. Maintaining wood can be more involved, but a good wood stain can provide years of protection for any outdoor project. Here are some ways stain can help maintain your deck, fence, pergola, or patio cover.
Water is the biggest enemy to 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. Wood stain 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.
Protection from Sunlight
Sun damage appears on wooden landscape structures as a discoloration, and can cause cracking and splintering. The splintering and cracking can be really worrisome for people who love going barefoot or have children and pets running around. Adding wood stain will block the UV rays that damage the lumber.
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 a home owner should be well informed of upkeep and the benefits of each.
Paint gives the home owner more 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 paints don’t protect floors and decking from foot traffic.
While paint offers some protection, wood stain offers the maximum amount of protection. It can be found in a number of shades, or be clear to preserve the color of the wood. Stain will stand up to more foot traffic than paint and gives the wood a natural look. Staining does require a number of applications before it’s finished and will need restaining every three to five years. Stain also take longer to dry than paint, so it should have an extra day or two to dry before adding furniture.
When to Stain
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.