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Cabot FAQs on Wood Care

Cedar deck care - Prep and Staining (Cabot FAQ#53)

Q: I have a three year old cedar deck. It looks bad. I was planning to refinish it but have some questions. What prep treatment do you suggest for a deck wash (bleach), etc.? What stain sealer do you suggest to protect, yet let the beauty of the wood remain?

A: We would recommend using Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Cleaner on your entire deck surface. Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Cleaner is specially formulated to remove mildew, mold, algae and dirt from most deck surfaces. The cleaner can be removed by either a high-pressure garden hose or a powerwasher. For a semi-transparent finish, we then recommend applying one coat of Cabot Decking Stain (1400 Series)in the color of your choice. Cabot Decking Stains are extremely durable stains for use on all types of wood decking. These stains bring out the full beauty of the wood grain and provide deep-penetrating wood protection. Cabot Decking Stains have an alkyd-resin base that provide an extremely tough and scuff-resistant finish. These stains are also water repellent and mildew resistant and are formulated to resist cracking, peeling and blistering.

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Treating an extremely weathered deck (Cabot FAQ#57)

Q: I have a deck that has been neglected and beat up, but is sound. The pressure-treated lumber was installed 20 years ago. I saw your good rating in Consumer Reports for your Decking Stain. Every few years I have bleached this deck, but never treated except once with a competitor's clear stain. Wood is not rotten, but terribly open and weathered. There is no "natural beauty" left. Which of your products would you recommend for penetrating this wood and stopping its demise and giving it a good solid gray-colored appearance? I realize that anything I do at this point will not be perfect! I should say I'm not worried about cost, and could do more than one coat.

A: Cabot would recommend staining your deck when the moisture content is 15% or lower. Since the majority of people do not have moisture meters to check the moisture content, normally we recommend waiting 3-5 days after the last rain for your wood to dry out. We would then recommend staining when the temperatures are 50 degrees or higher for 48 hours, including the night temperatures. Cabot Decking Stains (1400 Series) are extremely durable stains for use on all types of wood decking. These stains bring out the full beauty of the wood grain and provide deep-penetrating wood protection. These stains are water-repellent, mildew-resistant and will also resist cracking, peeling and blistering. I would recommend trying a 4oz. liquid sample can to test the appearance. The sample cans are available for any of Cabot's exterior products in all Cabot colors.

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Waiting before staining cedar (Cabot FAQ#58)

Q: I just put in a new backyard deck. How long should I wait before I stain it? I am getting a lot of conflicting answers from stain dealers. Also, since it is a new cedar deck, do I need to do anything else besides power wash it for preparation? I was assuming that your cleaners were really for older wood that has decayed. I really like your products and will probably go with your company to help preserve my deck.

A: Cabot would recommend coating your new cedar decking as soon as you see water soak directly into the wood. This normally occurs after approximately 2-3 weeks depending on the exposure. In the past, the recommendation for weathering was a lot longer, however this new information has been provided to us by the American Forest Products Laboratory from results of their recent testing. It is always a good idea to clean any surface with Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Cleaner prior to staining. By cleaning, you are helping to ensure a contaminant-free surface.

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Deck staining (Cabot FAQ#61)

Q: We are planning to treat our deck which is 4 years old. We had used a clear finish the first year, but obviously it didn't last long. We recently had the deck cleaned, but it has rained at least twice since. Our local paint store worker recommended waiting until the summer or after a long dry spell when there wouldn't be dew or frost, but it will require that we clean again. He recommended the Clear Solution, but it was not rated in the July 98 Consumer Reports we were reading which had us leaning toward the Decking Stain. We are hoping for a recommendation from you, as well as samples. Thanks, we look forward to your response.

A: Cabot would recommend staining your deck when the moisture content is 15% or lower. Since the majority of homeowners do not have moisture meters to check the moisture content, normally we recommend waiting 3-5 days after the last rain for your wood to dry out. We would then recommend staining when the temperatures are 50 degrees or higher for 48 hours, including the night temperatures. Cabot Clear Solution is a premium translucent finish formulated to enhance the natural beauty of exterior wood surfaces. It is designed to leave the wood in its most natural state, showing the rich grain and character. Cabot Clear Solution (3000 series) provides superior protection from sun and water damage and was specifically created to weather slowly over time-without cracking, peeling or blistering. We would recommend evaluating re-staining approximately every 1-2 years depending on the exposure your deck receives. Cabot Decking Stains (1400 Series) are extremely durable stains for use on all types of wood decking. These stains bring out the full beauty of the wood grain and provide deep-penetrating wood protection. These stains are water repellent, mildew resistant and will also resist cracking, peeling and blistering and will last for approximately 2-4 years.

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Washing surface prior to staining (Cabot FAQ#112)

Q: Should I clean my new deck prior to staining?

A: It is a common misconception that new wood does not need to be washed prior to staining, or that clear water alone is sufficient in removing surface contamination. However, quite commonly, low levels of microscopic mildew spores exist on wood surfaces and are not visible to the naked eye. When these spores are stained or painted over, they can begin to colonize and cause problems. The only way to remove and kill these spores is by using a bleach solution like Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Cleaner #8002, prior to staining.

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Cabot Deck Stain Clear vs. Clear Solution (Cabot GEN#68)

Q: What are the differences between Cabot Deck Stain Clear and the Clear Solution products? Why might you choose one product over the other? Which one lasts longer? I have a deck which is one year old and the previous clear treatment we applied last year looks terrible. We would like to maintain the natural look of the cedar if possible.

A: Decks are considered high-maintenance surfaces due to the horizontal exposure they receive, and to preserve a deck finish, maintenance is a necessity. Clear finishes that do not contain any UV resistance, like Cabot Clear Decking Stain,#1400 when applied to decks, will require reapplication every 6 months to 1 year. Cabot Clear Solution, #3000 contains U.V. resistors and will require evaluation every 1-2 years on a deck surface. Both products are water repellent and mildew resistant.

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Deck preparation (Cabot GEN#112)

Q: I have a 3 year old deck and I maintain it annually. It currently is in good shape but the stain I used (from a competitor) didn't keep it's color for very long. My question is, since my deck still repels water do I need to do anything other than power washing the dirt and residue off of it? I want to make sure that when I put on your product that it is going to be absorbed and the color is going to last. Thank You

A: You ask a good question. If water is being repelled, then a coating will have a tough time penetrating or adhering (depending upon how the specific product is supposed to perform). If you intend to use Cabot Decking Stain, the decking boards must be not only clean and dry, but porous as well. Cabot Problem-Solver Wood Stripper will do a good job at removing the older stain. The Problem-Solver Wood stripper is available in two formulations for removal of oil or water-based finishes. The stripping process and possibly pressure washing may bring the boards back to a state where they will allow a stain to soak in. A good test is the water. If a few drops of water soak in, so will the stain. Also, consider this...if the stain is still repelling the water, it's still performing. You may just need to clean the deck this season.



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