Stain Your Deck Before Nature Reclaims It

Posted on 02. May, 2012 by in Deck Staining

This is a very simple topic, and it’s quite easy to understand.  If you don’t stain, seal, and protect your Jacksonville deck, fence, or other exterior wood, nature will slowly reclaim the wood and turn it back to dust.  Granted, your deck isn’t going to just turn to dust overnight, but from the moment a tree is cut down and milled into lumber for our use, the wood is going through a deterioration process.

By the time the wood gets to your house, whether you pick it up yourself at the home improvement store, or a contractor brings it to build something beautiful and useful for you, the wood is already drying out, and it’s natural fluids are slowly depleting from the wood.  It’s natural resins are drying and hardening, and before long the wood will start to naturally crack, check, and peel, depending on how it was cut, and what section of the tree it comes from.

When a tree is alive and growing, the wood inside is protected by the bark, and it’s nourished by the liquid sap that runs through the tree. However, once a tree is cut down, it’s skinned of it’s bark, and sap no longer flows through the wood.  The cells start to die, and your tree is now lumber, and it will lumber along a slow path of deterioration without protection.

Let’s talk about some of the things that wood does when it is turned into lumber, and left outdoors, exposed to the elements.  Many people don’t think of this, but wood moves water through a capillary action, and this continues even when the wood is dead.  It doesn’t magically become an inert object.  Wood actually “drinks” water up and along it’s entire length, just like it would if it were still alive due to this capillary action.  Wood like that on many Jacksonville fences which stands upright, will usually start to rot first near the ground where it stays moist most often, but the rest of the wood is still sucking up the moisture just as well.

As time passes, your wood goes through numerous spells of wet and dry.  When it’s wet, the wood swells up with moisture (that capillary action again), and when it dries up, the wood shrinks back to it’s natural size. When wood is growing as a tree, the wood is round, and grows in rings of soft and harder sections.  When it’s milled into lumber, these rings are what you see as the wood grain on the surface, but inside the boards, they are still physically rounded.  After repeated wet and dry cycles, these rings can separate from each other, causing checking, peeling, and cracking.

The wood for your Jacksonville deck or fence not only has to compete with wet and dry cycles, but massive changes in temperature as well, which also help to stress the wood over time.  Your deck can have temperature differences as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit between the sun and shade, but Jacksonville also has very cold spells during winter with temperatures below the freezing mark, and temperatures that can exceed 100F on the hottest days.

It’s very clear that the wood on Jacksonville decks and fences can be stressed to the max, reaching all kinds of extremes, but there is still more.  Jacksonville, Florida is in the area of the United States known for the heaviest mold, mildew, and algae growth, thanks to our high humidity and somewhat tropical temperatures most of the year. This means that your unstained deck is subject to some of the worst mold, mildew, and algae growth in the country.

Mold, mildew, algae, and fungus are nature’s recyclers.  They slowly help break down everything that falls to the forest floor, and they do the same thing with your deck, fence, or other exterior wood.  Algae and fungus actually feed on the wood.  With the help of other microorganisms, water, the wood used to build your deck, fence, or put siding on your home will eventually break down from the abuse.

This is why it’s imperative that you stain and seal your Jacksonville deck, fence, and other wood.  Staining your deck protects it from nature’s onslaught.  The right stains have UV inhibitors that stop the graying of the wood. This graying of the wood is actually a sunburn on the surface of your wood, and the fibers that have grayed are decayed, and must be removed to give a good finish. The proper stains will also have mildewcides which will help prevent the regrowth of algae and mold, and with regular maintenance, you can stop the damage caused by nature’s recyclers.

Remember, staining your decks, fences, and other exterior wood prolongs their life, and reduces waste.  Many people will let their deck rot until it’s too late, then simply replace it with new wood. That means more trees are being cut down almost for nothing! We can help save trees, and keep your exterior wood looking beautiful over the long haul, so give Weathered Wood Restoration LLC a call today.

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