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Home Improvement

Best Wood Protector

One of the reasons why we paint and varnish wood is to protect it. All types of weather have harsh affects on wood, ultimately destroying its natural beauty and utility if the wood isn't protected. This comes into conflict with our aesthetic desires at times, wanting to leave the wood unfinished, as to enjoy its natural beauty. This is especially true of exterior wood projects, such as decks, fences, and cedar shake shingles.

Sun and heat tend to dry out the wood in these projects. This is actually more of a problem than water causes, as the types of wood used for these projects withstands water damage well. However, there is no such thing as a wood that withstands the affects of sun and heat, without drying out.

Dry wood is more brittle, making it more easily damaged by wind, hail, heavy rain, and objects falling on it. Splintering is common, which can make surfaces like wood decks dangerous for inhabitants of the home.

The way to prevent wood from becoming damaged by sun and heat, without having to paint or varnish it, is to use a wood protector. These oil based products moisturize the wood and seal it, to hold in the moisture. With a wood protector applied, wood fences, shingles and decks last longer, with less splintering and cracking. The cost of the finish is more than compensated for by the cost savings of not having to make replacements prematurely.

At the same time, these products waterproof the wood, preventing water from entering in and causing water rot. Some also have bug inhibiting capabilities, which help keep termites and other wood eating insects out of the wood.

These products are usually sprayed on with an airless paint sprayer, although they can be brushed or rolled on as well. The main reason that airless sprayers are used is to save time. They don’t need to be applied neatly, although you should be careful of overspray.

In some cases, wood protectors are tinted slightly, although in most cases they are transparent. This doesn't mean that they don’t affect the color of the wood though, as the natural wetting action of applying them tends to darken the wood somewhat, bringing out the natural grain and beauty of the wood.

One Time Wood Sealer

OneTime is a very unique product in this category, in that it isn’t oil or water based. Instead, this is an acrylic resin product which is UV cured. When applied, the resin actually soaks into the wood, bonding with the wood fibers. There is no outgassing while drying and no VOCs, which should make the EPA happy. However, the curing process takes a full two days of sunshine to accomplish; so be sure to check the weather before using it. The product can be used on new or old wood, the only requirement is that previous paint and stain be removed. While the product’s color will fade with time, the protection for the wood is guaranteed to last a full seven years.

Thompson’s TH.021802-03 VOC Compliant Water Seal

Thompson’s is a personal favorite of mine, which I have had very good results in using. This is an oil based product, which soaks into the wood providing what the manufacturer calls “three way protection.” It waterproofs the wood, so it won’t be affected by the moisture; protects the wood against rot and mildew; and has a UV absorber to retard fading from sunlight. I might add to that the protection it offers against the wood drying out and cracking. Thompson’s comes in various colors and can be applied to any wood, even if it has previously been painted, stained or is weathered. Oil based stains and paints can be used over it.

Olympic 56400A/01 Maximum clear Waterproofing Sealant

Olympic is another oil-based product, which soaks into the wood much like Thompson’s does. Although they offer tinted versions, this clear contains advanced UV inhibitors, which actually work better than the tinted versions. It also protects against mold, mildew and algae. It also has a “scuffguard formulation” which protects the wood from discoloration caused by scuffing and scraping. The product is guaranteed to protect water damage and graying for a minimum of two years on decks and three years on fences and siding. It is 100 percent VOC compliant.

Preserva Wood

Preserva-Wood is a unique product in that it is intended for use in restoring weathered wood and not just preserving it (which it does also). This is a totally organic formula, which uses no acids, corrosives or bleach. The unique blend of resin and oil penetrates wood cell structure, restoring the cells and restoring the surface of the wood. Once treated wood returns to looking new again. Since it penetrates the cells, it doesn’t leave anything on the surface to peel or chip. The finish resists, mold, mildew and algae, as well as splitting and warping.

Zinsser & Co 1901 Green Wood Preservative

This is a different sort of wood preservative, primarily intended to protect wood from termites and other wood eating insects. It gives the wood the green tint of being pressure treated, although that isn’t what it is doing. The green color comes from the copper oxide that is in the product. AT the same time, it protects the wood from rot and decay, like other wood preserving products do. This product is most effective when applied to wood before it is put in the ground.

Rich the Tool Man

Before embarking on the current stage of my life, I spent 15 years as a Manufacturing Engineer in both the medical equipment field (medical electronics) and automotive engineering (city transit buses). After that, I owned a small construction company, mostly doing residential remodeling and commercial tenant finishes. I am no longer in either of these fields, but still get my hands plenty dirty as a consummate do-it-yourselfer; working on everything from remodeling my own home to rebuilding my car’s engines. My hobby (when I can find the time) is woodworking; making everything from toilet paper holders, to shelves, to music stands for my own home. My wife long ago gave up the idea that a two car garage is for parking two cars; it is my workshop.

While I cannot claim to having worked professionally with all types of tools, I have worked professionally with some. This comes from my previous careers, where I had to specify, buy and at times live with those decisions. Additionally, I would have to say that my engineering background has given me a thorough understanding of the construction of such tools. So, while I may not have used a particular type of tool personally, I have the knowledge to cut through all the advertising hype and statistics; in order to get at the truth of how well a tool will operate and last.

In my current career as a writer, I've written over 90 books. This includes my own titles and those I've written on contract. I've also written a complete website on how to build your own home.

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