Wood Finishes



New!!  December 3, 1999  -   Check out the new tip on Peeling and Cracking.

Finish failures and their cures............Exterior finished wood surfaces are refinished usually as the old finish deteriorates or for purely aesthetic reasons such as a change in color or type of finish.  However, too frequent a refinishing can be expensive, especially with paint, and can lead to finish build up and subsequent cracking, peeling, cross grain cracking, or other severe failure problems.  In many cases, a dirty paint or other finish can simply be refreshed by washing with a mild detergent and water and refinishing postponed.

With outdoor finished wood, the areas that deteriorate the fastest are those exposed to the greatest amount if sun and rain, usually on the south and west sides of a building.   Under normal conditions, the finish deteriorates first by soiling or accumulating slight chalk ( as with a paint) or erode away ( as with semitransparent penetrating stain.)

Many finishes can sometimes become discolored by dirt, mildew, blue stain, wood extractives, pitch and metal such as iron, making refinishing necessary.  Finish failure or discoloration can be eliminated only by identifying and correcting the problem.

Information taken from Wood Design and Building fall 1999 - Number 9 - Tech Notes Exterior Wood Finishes Part 3: Finish Failures and their Cures.  William C. Fiest, Ph.D.

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