Finishing exterior wood with durable, long lasting quality products

Posted on May 17, 2015

We've already covered the restoration and finishing of exterior wood surfaces such as patios, terraces and porches in a previous article. After showing you how to give your exterior wood a fresh new look and briefly introducing a few exterior finishing products, it's now time to show you how to actually apply them.

Pareo, Broda Pro-Tek-Tor and LifeTime : Three penetrating products

Why opt for penetrating products rather than varnish or acrylic dyes, since the latter are usually much cheaper? Let's see...

  1. Varnish and cheap acrylic stains create films on the surface of the wood, and will inevitably end up cracking, peeling or flaking. If you use varnish, it takes a single, very small crack for water to infiltrate between the wood and the film and completely ruin the finish from inside. Once it's happened, you'll have to completely strip and sand the surface, only to start again from scratch.
  2. Acrylic stains mask the wood grain rather than enhance it and showing wood's natural beauty.
  3. Varnishes, unless you're using very expensive marine ones, offer very little to no resistance to UV rays and will allow the wood to turn gray, thanks to sunlight.
  4. The durability of exterior acrylic stains and varnishes is usually much shorter than penetrating products, which protect the wood from within.

So, sure, acrylic stains and varnishes are cheaper, but in the long run, their limited durability, weak aesthetics (especially once they've started breaking down), along with the fact that they're almost impossible to maintain (i.e. you have to remove them completely and start from scratch every 1 or 2 years) should be taken into account when you're looking for an exterior finishing product. Sometimes, paying a little more from the beginning may end up saving you a lot of time in the long run...and money too!

Penetrating products cost a little more but provide a durable finish, are easy to care for, and therefore save you a lot of worries, while providing a much more pleasing look. Convinced? Let's go hands-on! But first, make sure your timber is properly cleaned and completely rid of any other finishing product. This part is often taken too lightly, and can cause many problems along the way. Make sure it's done thoroughly!

Pareo finishing oil, from Prato-Verde

Pareo is a penetrating oil finish designed specifically for outdoor use. Once dried, Pareo waterproofs timber and prevents discoloration caused by UV rays. The product data sheet will provide all the information needed to make a flawless application, but we'll highlight the most important points here.

Tips when using Pareo finishing oil

- Make sure the wood contains 15% moisture or less before applying, since wood with too much humidity will prevent oil to penetrate deep into the wood, and consequently, will not offer the same protection and durability.
- In the case of new, chemically treated wood, you'll have to wait one year before you can use Pareo, as the chemical treatment, like water, will prevent oil to penetrate the wood properly within the first year.
- It is important not to apply this product directly under sunlight or when temperatures are below 10 ° C.
- The wood must be completely dry, clean and sanded with 80 grit sandpaper.
- For sawn timber application or to obtain a lighter coloration, it is possible to dilute Pareo with equal or less content of the colorless base.
- It is important to wipe off any excess oil with a cotton cloth. The oil that remains on the surface during the drying process will not dry out and become sticky.
- If more than 24 hours have passed since the first coat, do a light sanding with 120 grit paper before applying the second coat.

Why Pareo?

Offering a good price / quality and great durability, Pareo is the product you want if aesthetics is the most important criteria of your finishing project. because this exterior finishing oil enhances wood's details rather than masking them.

Broda Pro-Tek-Tor

Broda Pro-Tek-Tor DR (for Decks and Rails) and Pro-Tek-Tor SLT (for Sidings, Logs and Timber) are interesting alternatives to Pareo. These are oil and water emulsions, which offer good durability and very low VOC contents. Unlike Pareo, Pro-Tek-Tor does not need to be wiped off after application: only allow drying for 24 to 48 hours between the 2 required coats and you're done. Its coverage is slightly lower than Pareo (since it contains water, which evaporates during the drying process) and the product will slightly mask the details of wood, but it has the advantage of being available in 65 rich and vibrant colors, and offers an excellent price / quality ratio. The instructions for preparation and use can be found by clicking on the name of the products above, by clicking the "How to Use" tab under the color chart.

Tips when using Broda Pro-Tek-Tor

  • Avoid application when temperature is low and it might rain or snow within the next 48 to 72 hours and do not apply at temperatures below 1 ° C.
  • Stir the product regularly with a stick before and during application. Do not shake the can.
  • The wood must be completely dry, clean and sanded with 80 grit sandpaper.
  • Water-based and waterborne coatings react with metal. Any metal contamination must be removed before applying Pro-Tek-Tor.
  • Do not apply under direct sunlight.
  • For exterior applications, if the surface is hot to the touch, wet the surface before applying the first coat.
  • For sawn timber application or to obtain a less intense color, it is possible to dilute Pro-Tek-Tor with an equal or lesser content of colorless base.

Why Pro-Tek-Tor?

Broda Pro-Tek-Tor is an excellent investment for those seeking an easy to use product without compromising on quality. Although it will mask some details on the wood when compared with Pareo, its availability in several bright, vibrant colors (see the adirondack chairs above, which are finished with Pro-Tek-Tor) will seal the deal for many.

LifeTime Wood Treatment

LifeTime is an extremely popular product for people seeking an economical, environmentally friendly, easy to use, and maintenance free product, while maintaining a certain level of aesthetic. It provides the appearance of barn wood, graying wood thanks to the work of the rain and sun. No sanding required, a single application and the wood will be protected for its useful life. LifeTime can also be applied to wet wood or wood treated in the first year. A truly worry-free product.

Tips on using LifeTime

  • For large projects, one can prepare a large amount of the product and soak the wood directly into the mixture.
  • LifeTime gives very good results, which will be more apparent 6 months to 1 year after application, given enough time for the sun and the rain to do their magic.
  • No maintenance required except regular cleaning with soapy water and a brush once a year, as you would do for any exterior wood surface.
  • The effect of LifeTime varies depending on the essence of wood that you use. Although it ends up giving a silvery gray effect on most species of wood after 12 months, some species, such as white pine, will instead turn to dark brown. See product page for more details.
  • To accelerate the aging process of wood and the apparition of a silver patina, just let the wood dry for 1 or 2 days in normal condition, then dampen the wood with clear water every 2 weeks, using a garden hose.

Why LifeTime?

LifeTime is ideal for those who want a durable finish and quality, but do not have the time or inclination to care and maintain wood treated with Pareo or Pro-Tek-Tor. However, you need to appreciate the look of aged wood, similar to old barn wood. LifeTime's environment friendly formula will appeal to those who want to minimize their environmental footprint, and is also suitable for tight budgets without compromising durability.

Wood finishing blog

Ardec's blog offers original content regarding the universe of wood finishing: techniques and tricks of the trade, project ideas, tools and products.

Pareo - Exterior Finishing Oil
by Prato-Verde
from $2.95
LifeTime Wood Treatment
by LifeTime
from $18.95
Pro-Tek-Tor DR
by Broda
from $99.95
Pro-Tek-Tor SLT
by Broda
from $99.95

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