Pro­file

Con­sid­er­ing your log home’s stain op­tions? Scott Roes­ner gives us the inside scoop on wa­ter-based acrylics.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

Acrylic Stain, Ex­plained

Visit enough log homes and there will be no doubt in your mind about the value of proper wood re­fin­ish­ing. Left un­pro­tected, a lit­tle rain and in­tense sun is all it takes to make regal lum­ber look aban­doned. To avoid warped wood and the dreaded fade to gray, you have your choice be­tween oil-based and wa­ter-based (acrylic) stains. Both have their ad­van­tages, but to get a sense of proper acrylic ap­pli­ca­tion and the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of wa­ter­based, we spoke with Scott Roes­ner, sales and mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for Struc­tures Wood Care, for an inside look at acrylics.

LHL: What is the first thing a home­owner who’s opted for an acrylic stain should do?

Scott: One very important thing to keep in mind about acrylic is the prepa­ra­tion. Acrylic fin­ishes dry very quickly, which is great be­cause that al­lows you to re-coat in 2 to 4 hours. How­ever, this quick-dry­ing fac­tor doesn’t give it much time to pen­e­trate into the wood grain. You must give the prod­uct some­thing to grab hold of so it can bond with the logs. Giv­ing the wood a scuffed sur­face to ad­here to is the best way to do this. Scuff-sanding isn’t bear­ing down on the wood so much that your shoul­ders and arms be­come very sore. Scuff­ing means to re­move just enough of the sur­face wood that it feels rough when you run your fin­gers across it. I tell ev­ery­one that you should “scuff” sand the wood with 40- to 80-grit sand­pa­per on a ran­dom or­bital sander.

LHL: Af­ter sanding, what’s the next step?

Scott: When the sanding is done, I rec­om­mend you wash the sur­face to re­move the dust and any pos­si­ble sur­face con­tam­i­nates. Use a qual­ity sid­ing wash or a mix­ture of TSP (trisodium phos­phate), bleach and wa­ter. It’s very important that the cleaned sur­face dry for at least

three solid days. You don’t want to trap mois­ture be­hind the new fin­ish you are putting on!

LHL: Be­sides a quick dry­ing time, what are other ben­e­fits of acrylics?

Scott: One big ben­e­fit to acrylics is that they don’t tend to darken year af­ter year. Acrylic resins are nat­u­rally re­sis­tant to the ef­fects of ul­tra­vi­o­let rays. They pro­vide a very hard but flex­i­ble sur­face that is ex­tremely good at pro­tect­ing your wood from both sun and wa­ter. A good ex­te­rior acrylic stain will also con­tain ex­tra UV in­hibitors, along with a fungi­cide and mildew­cide that de­ters the growth of those con­tam­i­nates on your fin­ished sur­face.

LHL: Is any up­keep re­quired?

Scott: As with any ex­te­rior fin­ish, you are go­ing to have to do main­te­nance coats. The time re­quired be­tween this ad­di­tional coat in the fu­ture is go­ing to be di­rectly re­lated to your ex­po­sure to the sun, wa­ter and how of­ten you wash your sur­faces of con­tam­i­nates.

LHL: Is acrylic an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly fin­ish?

Scott: A cou­ple of the friendli­est en­vi­ron­men­tal at­tributes of an acrylic is that it is VOC com­pli­ant in all 50 states. In other words, no of­fen­sive odors. The sec­ond ben­e­fit is it has the ease of soap and wa­ter cleanup, rather than re­quir­ing harsh chem­i­cal cleansers.

LHL: How can you en­sure you get the most out ev­ery coat?

Scott: The best ad­vice I could give any­one is to ap­ply your prod­uct with a good-qual­ity brush. This is go­ing to give you the best and long­est last­ing coat­ing you can ex­pect. It will also give you the abil­ity to “feel” if there is too much, or too lit­tle, prod­uct be­ing ap­plied. In ad­di­tion, brush­ing will al­low you to work ex­tra prod­uct into the cracks and the knots with­out hav­ing ugly drip marks later.

LHL: Is there any­thing a home­owner should ab­so­lutely NOT do?

Scott: Do not ap­ply an acrylic fin­ish to a dirty and/or smooth sur­face. You’ll only be ask­ing for your beau­ti­ful project to fail much too early. Af­ter all your time, en­ergy and in­vest­ment, no one wants to see that.

Acrylic stains sit on the wood, rather than pen­e­trate it, so you need to give them some­thing to ad­here to. Make sure to clean the sur­face, lightly scuff-sand it and then ap­ply the stain for beau­ti­ful and long-last­ing re­sults.

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