Five Tips for Wood Finishing Like a Pro 11202

Five Tips for Wood Finishing Like a Pro

Finishing a deck, shed or fence is on a lot of DIY to-do lists. While these may seem like large projects to take on, a mix of the right tools with top quality products can help you complete the task with a terrific end result. Here are five tips from PPG ProLuxe that will help you stain wood surfaces like a professional:

Prep the surface

The most important part of finishing a wood project is good surface preparation. Considering that improper or insufficient surface preparation leads to 85 percent of all coating failures, according to the Paint Decorating Contractors of America, preparation is the key step in finishing your surface right.

  • Clean the surface to remove dirt, debris and flaking from the original finish. You can do this with a power washer or by scrubbing the surface with a stiff-bristled brush and a cleaner such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) or a commercial cleaner. Redwood, cedar and mahogany require cleaners specially formulated for those types of woods.
  • If you\’re stripping finish, follow manufacturer instructions carefully. Work in small areas so the chemical compound won\’t dry before you get a chance to clean it off.
  • Once dried, sanding may be required to remove the remaining finish and ensure a smooth surface.

Choose the finish

To select your finish, consider the following: How old is the deck/siding/fence? What kind of wood is the surface made of? What type of finish is currently on the surface? What kind of finish are you looking for? What is the size of the deck/siding/fence?

  • Translucent – Pigmented finish that adds colors to the wood, while still allowing the wood grain and texture to be visible. Wood color and porosity have a direct impact on the final color and appearance.
  • Semi-transparent – Adds color to the wood. Products in this category still show wood grain and texture while hiding a little of its natural appearance. Wood color and porosity have a direct impact on the final color and appearance.
  • Solid – If applied correctly, this type of finish does not show any wood grain. The type of wood does not have an impact on the final color, it only depends on the finish product used.

Coverage varies according to the type of wood and the type of stain you\’re using. Follow the manufacturer\’s instructions for calculating how much stain you need.

Use the right tools

Make sure to choose the appropriate application tool for your finish. Rollers and sprayers cover a larger area than brushes, but not all finishes are suitable for these application methods. Be sure to check the product for best recommendations. In general, oil based products require a premium china bristle brush, and for water based products a high quality nylon polyester brush is best. Brushes should be used for narrow or tight areas such as railings and steps.

Read the instructions

Before beginning application, read all manufacturer directions. This can help troubleshoot ahead of time and make the application process go smoothly.

Take your time

When applying your finish, take your time and do it right. Short cuts will only lead to problems down the road.

To learn more about selecting the best finish for your exterior wood finish projects, visit


PPG ProLuxe


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