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What You Should Know Before Using a Clear Wood Finish

Our customers often ask us for a clear or “natural” finish that will protect their wood.  The truth is, clear finishes may provide water repellency, resistance against mold and mildew and insecticidal properties.  However,  clear finishes do not  protect your log home from UV rays that cause weathering and graying of your home’s exterior, decks and rails.  With most clear finishes you will notice graying wood within 1-2 years of initial application.

Why will the exterior of your home turn gray if you only use a clear finish to protect it?   UV rays break down the lignan fibers in the wood which in turn causes the wood to gray.  

Semi-transparent, tinted wood finishes provide your wood with UV protection.  Different stain brands contain various UV inhibitors, but the rule of thumb is the darker the tint of the stain, the better the UV protection for your house.  If your house is located in a high sun area, where it is fully exposed for hours at a time, LogFinish.com recommends going using a finish with a medium to dark tint.

If your deck or wood exteriors are weathered and gray and you are looking to clean them up, re-stain and bring the wood back to it’s natural color, we recommend using an oxalic acid based product like X-180 Weathered Wood Restorer from American Building Restoration.  This product is a wood cleaner and brightener and will take the gray out of lightly to severely discolored wood.

Another option for cleaning gray, weathered wood is oxygen based detergent and brightening cleaners like All Wood Cleaner from New Image Coatings.  This is cleaner has very low environmental impact, can be used safely over water and will not harm plants.  All Wood Cleaner harnesses the power of oxygen to clean and brighten wood without harsh chemicals.

When cleaning your deck or exterior wood we do not recommend using bleach.  Bleach can cause streaking, spotting and even break down wood fibers.

 

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