Good maintenance extends life of both finish and Cedar Wood Structures
A cedar wood structures that dries after wetting will last longer than one that stays damp. Good maintenance practices for cedar decks include allowing proper water drainage; keeping the surface free of dirt, leaves, pine-needles and other debris; and moving planters, benches and other deck accessories from time to time to permit the deck beneath them to dry thoroughly.
Restoring Wood finishes
Proper cleaning and surface preparation by either chemical or mechanical means is essential to the successful restoration of a cedar wood surface and deck. Negligence in removing dirt, mildew, algae, stains and weathered residues will lead to an unsightly wood surface and early failure of subsequently applied coatings.
Deck or cedar wood surfaces should be refinished when the cedar starts to lose its color. The new finish needs to absorb into the wood. Finishing too soon leads to inadequate absorption. Finishing too late leads to excessive degradation of the wood surface.
Commercially available deck and wood cleaners and restorers generally fall into three categories: paint strippers, bleaches, and oxalic acid-based formulas. These products contain hazardous ingredients and should be used with caution.
Paint strippers will also remove oil-based stains and latex stains. Most are supplied as ready-to-use liquids. After use, residual stripper should be thoroughly rinsed from the wood surface before any other coating is applied.
Bleaches are effective in counteracting mildew but do little to remove dirt or other surface deposits. Aggressive scrubbing with caustic cleaners such as bleach will remove surface wood fibers and result in the wood having a rough, unnatural whitish tone.
Oxalic acid-based products remove extractives bleed and iron stains but are not effective against mildew. After application of these products the deck should be thoroughly washed with clean water and allowed to dry completely before finishing.
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