Deck Care

Deck Care

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How to keep the rot away

Q: I’m a little confused about the types of products that are used on exterior wood. What’s the difference between a “water repellent” and a “wood preservative”? Are there any products that combine the two?

— Betty Lou, Salisbury, MD

A: Tom Silva replies: A wood preservative contains chemicals that kill the fungi and insects that discolor or destroy wood. Wood preservatives are classified as pesticides, so their use is strictly regulated by environmental laws. They should be handled and disposed of with care, following the instructions on the label.

A water repellent is a penetrating wood finish loaded with oils or waxes designed to prevent water from soaking into wood. Organisms that discolor or degrade wood need water to survive, and a water-repellent treatment makes it harder for them to grow, as long as it is reapplied to bare wood every year or two. Water repellents also stabilize wood somewhat, reducing its tendency to check (crack) and warp.

Water repellents that contain a small amount of wood preservative are called, not surprisingly, water-repellent wood preservatives. Although it’s easy to think of these products as being primarily for decking and siding that won’t receive a top coat of paint, applying a water-repellent wood preservative to all sides of a piece of exterior wood before painting provides the best protection against decay and doesn’t need to be reapplied until the paint fails.

About the author:

Native Charlestonian, born and raised on Edgewater Park Charleston SC Worked in the construction industry since I was 10 years old. Started out helping an engineer build seawalls at lake near Monks Corner, Ruscon Heavy Construction,Finish Carpentry with Ross and Edgewood Builders, Edgewater became incorporated in 1988. Our Showroom was built out by myself an a few friends. Anything worth doing is worth doing right the first time so we research the best products and professionall install them in house I will personally supervise your job and make the changes needed to make it as close to perfect as humanly possible.

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We are located in Unit D at 2487 Ashley River Road in Charleston, South Carolina.

Telephone: (843) 364-3700
Email: magnus@edgewaterkitchens.com

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