Surface Preparation and Cleaning
For New Wood Surfaces:
Here the objective is to clean off any surface grime and residue and prepare the wood to receive protection from the finish you will apply later.
Many people use a bleach solution to clean their wood but we do not recommend using bleach. The chlorine in bleach destroys the lignin in wood and lignin is the glue” that holds the cells of your log or wood together. This will create a fuzzy look on the surface of the wood. It is also hazardous for you to work with. If you decide to use this method use a mild solution rinse very well and you will need to remove the fuzz by scrubbing with a bristle brush or using an Osborne buffing brush on a variable speed sander/polisher. We also encourage you to verify you are back to a neutral pH after rinsing by using pH Test Strips.
Instead of bleach we carry a range of products to assist you: Wood Cleaners and Wood Brighteners. They can be used for your wood home and deck. Apply these products using a brush or sprayer agitate gently and rinse off.
A word or two needs to be said about removing mill-glaze from milled wood. This occurs because new planers can produce lumber at extremely high speeds and the result is fused wood resins and compacted wood fibers. You’ll find this most often on deck material and milled logs. This surface makes it very difficult for the finish you apply to do its job. DEFY Wood Cleaner (Timber Wash) can be used to help remove mill glaze and open the wood’s pores to accept your wood stain.
For wood that has a finish/stain applied that is in good shape:
For gray/weathered wood:
These situations first require the removal of mold mildew water stains tannin bleeding discolored wood fibers. The second (often optional) step involves the application of a neutralizer and brightener.
Suggestions include DEFY Wood Cleaner (Timber Wash) followed by DEFY Wood Brightener (TimberBrite) to futher lighten gray weathered wood or CPR or PROx Nontoxic Deck Cleaner or Wood ReNew. Instructions will vary depending on the product but generally you’ll apply the product using a plastic garden sprayer. Saturate the area and leave on for 5-15 minutes. The time varies depending on the condition of the wood. Rinse well with a pressure washer (see explanation below). You may find a few areas that need additional work. Repeat the procedure above taking care to keep the surrounding work area saturated with water so your cleaning solution will only work on the area you want it to.
For wood whose finish has failed (severely degraded):
Here the goal is to remove the balance of the remaining finish and make sure the rest of the wood is clean and ready for new finish/stain to be applied. If the finish is flaking off try DEFY Wood Cleaner CPR or PROx Nontoxic Deck Cleaner. If the finish is harder to remove you’ll need to use a stripper such as DEFY Wood Stain Stripper (followed by DEFY Wood Brightener to neutralize it) Clear Strip Smart Strip or S-100 Finish Remover.
Rinse thoroughly using a pressure waster capable of generating 1000 to 2500 #psi. If it’s too powerful and is damaging the wood hold the wand further from your work area and/or use a wider spraying tip. Start with a 25 degree fan tip and hold it approximately 18″ from the surface. Make even sweeping motions (similar to using a paint sprayer). it is better to pass over the same area overlapping slightly. Periodically check the logs or lumber to make sure you are not being too aggressive and damaging the outer layer of wood. If so it will have a fuzzy look similar to the bleach-treated wood discussed earlier. This fuzz is loose wood fibers and needs to be removed for the finish to adhere properly. Try a Doodle Bug Pad or bristle brush when the wood is wet or leave it to dry and use an Osborne Buffing Brush on a variable speed sander/polisher.
Wood Finishes to Protect Your Home and Deck
Generally to protect your wood from the sun’s UV rays exterior finishes must have a tint/color of some sort. This is like a sun screen for the wood. They should also have mold and mildew protection. Most clear exterior finishes will allow your wood to turn gray which is fine if that’s the color you want. If you really don’t want to put a tint/color on your wood new nano technology has brought us DEFY Extreme Clear Finish which is a true clear with great UV protection.
For Interior Application:
Remember that wood gets touched a lot on the interior (especially around light switches) so applying a satin or gloss finish to your wood will make cleanup easy. Here the use of clear finishes is fine if you wish.
You can select from a range of excellent Interior Log and Wood stains/finishes.