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Hardwood Stain Finishes

Hardwood decks are an interesting surface. The hardiness of their wood doesn’t require a maintenance coating for durability but their color will fade and turn gray with exposure. Folks pay a lot of money to try and keep their decks looking fresh but there are very few products recommended for hard woods like Mahogany, Ipe, Pau Lope and Teak. Their unique nature requires unique care and treatment.

The problem with exotic woods is that they are so dense that stains and paints have reduced penetration and, later, oils in the wood can migrate to the surface where it affects adhesion. The result is that stains designed to penetrate into the wood fiber cannot and so sit on the surface where they can take more than a week to dry and, worse yet, are likely peel later.

Benjamin Moore’s Hardwood Finish  is a  solvent based transparent stain formulated to penetrate, protect, and beautify exterior wood decking, fencing, siding, shakes, and furniture. Beautify is a term that I understand means “to even out discolorations”. Trans-Oxide pigments are combined with a  penetrating alkyd resin to provide the sun protection, abrasion, and mildew resistance.

Sikkens recommends their Cetol SRD Translucent Wood Finish for hardwood deck care.  This is a one coat, non-film forming, translucent alkyd oil wood finish. It likewise uses trans-oxide type pigments for color and U-V resistance.

When applied correctly, these two products do not produce a film so there is nothing to peel. Initial preparation is extensive, especially with Sikkens’ inclusion of sanding and wiping the new wood down with acetone in one of their optional prep techniques. Both Sikkens and Ben Moore’s products should be back brushed  to ensure penetration and to avoid an uneven finish.

Interestingly, Sikkens does not recommend their SRD Semi-transparent stain for hardwoods.

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