Clear seler for PT deck in the tropics?

cayboundMarch 12, 2010

I'm finishing a PT wood deck (5/4 deck boards) in the Bahamas and would appreciate suggestions for a low maintenance sealer which will allow the boards to grey out. Yup, sun, humidity, salt air - oh my!

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Thanks Barefoot! If I need a product with stain for UV to prolong the life of the wood, so be it, but I'm not averse to "greying". Maintenance in this climate is a bear, so I don't want to add a needy deck finish to the list...

    Bookmark   March 17, 2010 at 8:51AM
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I also wanted a clear, low maintenance sealer. Following is my nightmare that at least tells you of one product NOT to use. It may give you some tips.

I have "had it" with deck stain. Information in this area of expertise is confusing and often erroneous. Most subjects, I can research and obtain clear answers. There seem to be no clear answers or consensus regarding deck staining. It's very frustrating! I bought a home with a large older deck stained gray (appeared to have many old coats). I first got some deck cleaner and some Thompson's Water Seal Waterproofer Plus Clear Wood Protector. I was just going to reseal the old gray deck as it was started to show signs that it was no longer protected. The directions said to wash the deck first. I washed the deck and some of the stain came off in places in the deck was all blotchy.

I wanted the natural wood with just a clear sealer on it that I could apply more sealer to once or twice a year. I researched and therefore decided to strip the deck and start over. I stripped the old gray stain/finish off until it was the original PT pine color. (8 gallons of stripper and countless hours of scrubbing). I think it is pressure treated pine lumber. I then researched and decided to sand the wood (since it was highly suggested I do so).

I had no idea what kind of sealer to apply. I did more research and finally decided on Australian Timber Oil (As it was also highly suggested by many) in Natural (samples showed a pine color). (Although choosing a good stain or sealer is very confusing.) I wanted a natural wood look so I could simply gently wash the deck once or twice a year and reseal. I didn't really care if I had to apply sealer often or not. I just never wanted to have to strip colored stain again. I very lightly applied the natural stain and then wiped back over with a cloth. Once applied to the soft lumber, the stain was not Natural in color but was brown - dark brown. I absolutely did not overapply. In fact it dried within a few hours.
After further research, I have learned much.

First of all, Australian Timber Oil is for hard woods only even though the directions state it can be applied to softer woods. The soft woods absorb the stain too quickly. Sanding made the wood absorb the stain even more quickly. Thus, the "Natural" stain went on dark brown.

In addition, soft woods outdoors like PT are notoriously difficult to stain without getting blotchy. I found a great site explaining how to prevent this by sealing the wood prior to staining. Here is the article:

If someone ever has small areas where they overapplied the stain or stain stays tacky and doesn't dry, I found a great tip (although this was not my problem): Simply wipe or mop those areas with mineral spirits.

Now, I'm just going to wait for it wear off some and when it's time to seal or condition again, I'll maybe apply some clear oil based product. Not sure yet. Would love suggestions. I'm just going to live with the blotchy appearance unless there are suggestions that don't involve stripping again.

Also, only gently wash decks or some of the stain may come off and give a blotchy appearance.

In my case, sanding didn't seem to do anything to help at all except waste a lot of time and effort.

I kind of wish I had not even cleaned the deck that first time and had just applied the thompson's water seal and been done with it.

As time goes on, I may have more tips I learned the "hard" way.

I just don't understand why this subject seems so difficult to research and why there is no one place that could have explained some of this and consolidated all the tips. Also I wish there were more explanations, such as: Why exactly do so many people slam Thompson's water seal? They say it has wax but then don't explain why wax is bad. They say it doesn't last long, but maybe someone out here doesn't care how long it lasts or how often they have to put it on.

No one explained that Australian Timber Oil would apply MUCH darker to soft woods. They just said it worked great on soft woods.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 5:26PM
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