Think your deck is impervious to damage because it’s new? Think again. Even pressure-treated wood begins to deteriorate in less than a week if left untreated.
Pressure-treated wood is highly resilient to pests and rotting, but it’s still vulnerable to the harsh extremes of weather. Decks need year-round protection from rain, ultraviolet rays, molds and mildew. To protect your deck, try these expert tips:
Preparation: If your deck needs a makeover, it will have to be prepared and treated first. To decide where to begin, perform the water bead test. Splash a few drops of water on several areas of your deck. If the droplets are absorbed into the wood, it’s ready for cleaning. If the water beads, you will have to remove the existing sealant. Apply a product such as Olympic Stain Stripper to remove previous layers of oil and latex finishes. After sealant is stripped, replace any damaged deck boards and reattach loose decking before cleaning.
Cleaning: To make sure the stain or sealant you apply is most effective, you will need to remove any dirt, algae, mildew or other materials first. Staining or sealing a dirty wood surface can cause premature failure of the stain’s protective quality, and the materials trapped under the stain or sealant may continue to damage the wood.
A cleaner such as Olympic Deck Cleaner lets you rinse away dirt and mildew, leaving the wood ready for protection. If flowers surround your deck, consider using a gentler formula, like Olympic Oxy Deck.
Sealing: To identify the right type of stain, consider how you want the finished product to appear and how often you want to maintain the deck. For example, if you prefer the natural beauty of wood, select a clear stain or a toner. These allow the natural wood grain and color to show through, while protecting the wood for three to five years. If you prefer a finish with deeper color, semitransparent stains add additional pigment to the wood and offer added UV ray protection.
For rich, vibrant colors and even longer protection of the wood, consider a solid-color stain. Olympic offers a full line of stains and sealants, ranging from clear sealants to solid stains.
Once you buy the stain or sealant, apply it according to manufacturer instructions. All the products mentioned above are available at local home improvement, paint and hardware stores, as well as Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouses.
Your deck will look better and last longer if you protect it against the elements.
The article will give you the information on wood railings. The information is necessary for installation of all wood products and railings in particular. It will also give you tips on wood care to make it long lasting.
Wooden railing is the first choice for any owner or the builder as the elegance and the style that you get from wooden railings is nothing compared to other materials. Some time the light reflection from all sources disturbs you. Wood does not reflect light as much as steel does, a kind of sereneness, and tranquility that you get from use of wood, you cannot get from any other material.
- Advantages Of Wood Railings
There are many advantages of wooden railings particularly indoor railings.
1. The elegance of wood is unmatched by anything else.
2. Contrary to popular belief, wood railings are maintenance free, particularly those used indoors. A nice polishing, a coat of lacquer while installing, is all that is required, and no further maintenance is required.
3. Another advantage of wood is that it massive in construction and will last for several decades if not centuries.
4. With its wide top, children (and some times grown ups too!) enjoy the wood railing sliding down the railing for coming down instead of coming down by steps. Oh what fun!
- Choice Of Wood For Railings
Wooden stock rails, balusters and newel can be made in Burma teak, Cherry, Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Walnut, Mahogany, Poplar, Beech, Yellow Pine, Ash or Cedar. Many manufacturers can give you the top rail design that you desire or dream. Manufacturers use CAD systems, CNC machinery, and hand artistry, to give you any rail profile, baluster turnings or newel post.
Care Of Wood In General, Railing In Particular
Wood when properly treated and cared for requires no maintenance. The major enemy of wood is the life forms capable of living and thriving on wood. The microscopic life starts first and then it is like a jungle, where the food chain starts. Therefore if you treat wood with chemicals to stop the growth of micro-organisms and keep water away from it, the possibility of wood rot gets much less. Regular cleaning, annual polishing, waxing when the wood railing looks dull is all that is required for caring the wood articles and railing in general. Out-door railings may require painting to keep them looking new.
Vertical blinds not only add value and beauty to your room but are also an inexpensive way to decorate your rooms. Vertical blinds come in various materials and provide a good alternative to curtains or shutters.
Vertical blinds provide better light control than horizontal blinds and have also proved to be steadier than horizontal blinds. As vertical blinds can be opened sideways, these work not only for windows but also for doors. A combination of vertical blinds with sliding glass doors can do wonders to your room. Vertical blinds can be opened from either side or from the middle.
The vanes of your vertical blinds can be made either from aluminum, vinyl, wood, faux wood, or fabric. The choice of material will depend on your personal preferences. Aluminum blinds are a low-cost option and are durable and easy to maintain. Vinyl blinds are best for high-humidity locations such as kitchens or bathrooms.
If you have wooden furniture in your room then vertical wood blinds will be a good choice. Wood blinds are best suited for stable and humidity-controlled environments. Wood blinds come in both solid colors and wood tones. Due to their natural look and better insulation capabilities, wood blinds are the most expensive. Wood blinds need more care than vinyl or aluminum blinds. However, if you want the look of wood but the advantages of vinyl blinds, then you can go for faux wood vertical blinds. These wood look-alikes are made of a combination of wood and vinyl; are easy to clean and do not fade or crack.
Vertical blind made of fabric are the best option for your living room. Owing to their opacity, fabric vertical blinds do not stop light totally from entering your room. Thus, giving a wonderful effect of light and shade to your room. Fabric vertical blinds will need inserts, which provide stability for the tilting mechanism of your blinds and are also useful for sustaining the life of the fabric.
Vertical blinds may be controlled by either a cord or a safety wand. Wands have become more popular nowadays as they have the dual advantage of being more functional and durable than cords. A simple twist of the wand will rotate open or close the vanes while pulling the wand across the blind will draw the vanes back and forth.
Proper care is important for your vertical blinds. Vinyl and aluminum vertical blinds can be cleaned with a damp soft cloth, wood or fabric blinds may be feather dusted or vacuumed.
This solid wood furniture buying guide looks into facts about purchasing traditional furniture in solid wood. To begin with, if you really like preserving furniture, you ought to ask yourself a few questions before you start the hunt.
1. What is the particular styling you are looking for?
2. How long do you wish to keep the furniture?
3. Does it require regular maintenance?
4. Is it too outdated to be out of vogue say ten years from now?
5. Would you get bored looking at it some years from now?
Most of us like to preserve furniture for the value it holds. The style and theme, or something from the era that makes all the spending worthwhile!
Solid wood or Hardwood furniture: It is important to know the difference between hardwoods and softwood. Hardwood is sourced from non-needled tree like maple, cherry or mahogany. The wood is reputed for its robustness and durability, but is difficult for any carving and detailed form of wood work. Make sure solid wood furniture actually has solid wood on all furniture parts and pieces. Also, solid wood expands and contracts as per temperature and humidity changes, so furniture done in plywood and framed in veneered solid wood may be a good idea to purchase.
Solid woods are dried slowly in kilns till it retains about six percent moisture content. Then it is cut and shaped into pieces that provide the structural integrity of the furniture. Such solid wood pieces may include legs, casing and details that support the furniture. The joints are often given additional strength with bonding glues. To ensure a good job and whether furniture is properly joined, you can lift it by one corner and see. On lifting, the furniture should stay firm and retain its shape without racking or twisting.
Softwoods: Derived from needle-bearing trees such as pine or cedar, softwood is great for carving and their surface can be carved, but the wood may look weathered due to its soft surface that can easily be marked and blemished
Plywood and Particle Board : Use of non-solid wood to construct furniture has been the most misunderstood concept. As solid wood can expand and contract as per humidity changes in the weather, it is important to use plywood or ground wood to help with achieving a stable and user-friendly product. Especially in door and table construction, solid wood needs to have a flat base to reinforce the required stability. Plywood products manufactured of ground up wood are robust and less prone to warp or split. These large flat panels are usually framed in solid wood and covered by veneers to recreate the look of one large piece of wood. Veneering is a process by itself, and is explained in the next point.
Veneers : Veneering is a process that allows the natural grain to emerge beautifully on the surface. Traditional bedroom furniture and dining tabletops and dressers used veneering with a thin slice of wood selected for its outstanding character. Veneering has been used traditionally, dating back to ancient Egypt and Rome in the 17th Century. We find wood veneers in different types of furniture and pricing today. The advantages of veneering are many. In covering the core panels, veneers are often applied fashioning patterns that actually enhance the beauty of any furniture piece by many folds. Usually, more expensive woods which would be too costly or fragile to use as structural parts are used as veneers.
The Finish : Finishing plays a vital role in the appearance of any furniture. The finest furniture sold these days usually involves an intricate finishing process to achieve the flawless look. Involving different steps, once a furniture piece is ready it is thoroughly sanded or wiped. To highlight the wood grain, sometimes steel wool is used. For traditional designs, fly specking or distressing is undertaken to bestow the piece with antique looks.
Later, a sanding sealer is applied during final finish. A final sanding is done prior to the application of the top coat. Also, lacquering is done; it is used during last step for the final look, giving the piece its finished appearance. Lacquering whether done in matt, flat or glossy finish can endow a piece with great beauty and also make it waterproof and durable for the long run.
Engraving or Printing : Veneering is a costly process and to cut the cost, there is a method that is used to reproduce the wood grain. The wooden image is applied on top of flat panels like a look alike. If you are looking for the original thing, try to check the surface closely, when engraved, the grain will look even and uniform, almost flawless with no texture variation which is a sign that it can’t be done from a piece of wood. Engraving and printing is normally done on the insides of a furniture piece that makes the finish less expensive. However, one of the major drawbacks of such an alternative is that it is not resistant and the grains may easily come off when exposed to water or any solvent.
For solid wood furniture like cabinets and storage units, you may want to make sure that the drawers are jointly secure and dovetailed for easy gliding. Also, pay attention to the doors so that they swing open easily without squeaking or rubbing, and that long doors are attached with study hinges. Practical details should help you check out with the manufacturer before you make the move.
It is very true that hardwood floors will increase the value of your home. However, if your wood floors are damaged they could actually detract from your home’s overall value not to mention aesthetic appeal. Scratches, scuffs and gouges are the most common problems wood floor owners face. Squeaking can also be an annoying issue. Before you can begin repairing, you need to determine the extent of the damage. If the stain or scratch has not penetrated the wood, you’re dealing with a surface problem, these are generally easier to deal with. If the stain or scratch has penetrated into the wood the fix is bit more involved but still not too difficult.
Surface scratches can usually be repaired with touch-up kit made for urethane finishes, you can find these at just about any wood flooring retailer or online. Removing surface stains depends on the type of stain it is. Most commonly you’ll be dealing with water and pet stains. For these use a wood floor cleaner developed specifically for urethane finishes to remove the stain. More stubborn stains may require additional scrubbing with the cleaner and a wood flooring scrub pad made for urethane floors.
For scratches that have penetrated into the wood you should be able simply wax the area until the scratch is no longer visible. Scuff marks can be taken care by using steel wool to rub in the wax and then hand buffing the area. Just be careful when using something abrasive like steel wool on your wood floors, if you rub too hard you could cause more damage to the wood. For water stains rub the spot with fine steel wool and then wax. If this doesn’t get the stain out completely, lightly sand the area with fine sandpaper, and clean it using steel wool and mineral spirits or a wood floor cleaner . Once the floor is dry, apply stain, wax it and then hand buff it.
For penetrated pet stains rub the spot with fine steel wool and wax. If this doesn’t get the stain out completely, lightly sand the area with fine sandpaper, and clean it using steel wool and mineral spirits or a wood floor cleaner . Once the floor is dry, apply stain, wax it and then hand buff it. If the stain is really stubborn, apply a household bleach or vinegar and allow it to soak for an hour. Rinse the floor with a damp cloth, wipe dry and smooth with fine sandpaper. Once again apply stain, wax it and hand buff it.
Regular maintenance can help prevent scratches and stains from penetrating into the wood. Be sure to vacuum and/or dry mop your wood flooring once a week. Be sure never to wax a floor that has been coated with a polyurethane finish. That would make it impossible to re-coat your wood floor in the future without first sanding it.
Hard wood flooring remains a popular choice in home decorating. The warmth and beauty of hardwood adds to the value of your home. You have a variety of choices in colors and styles of wood. There is an option for every home from traditional to contemporary.
Choosing Hard Wood Flooring
You have several choices in styles for the overall look of your hardwood floor.
o Plank style flooring material is wide and resembles several strips of wood together in one plank. The planks are between three and six inches wide. The benefit of planks is the installation is a bit faster, since the planks cover a wider area than individual strips.
o Strips are smaller, up to three inches wide at most. These are beneficial for making the room appear larger.
o Solid flooring is one large piece of wood. These vary in thickness and are a custom made floor. They can be refinished many times over the life of the floor.
o Parquet floors are squares of hardwood that resemble ceramic tiles in size. Some are glued and others are nailed down. The squares can be arranged in a geometric design for a unique look.
Your other major choice in hardwood flooring is to get one that is unfinished or come pre finished. Pre finished floors come with a factory finish. These are very popular and easier to install. However, they are more expensive. Many find the additional price worth the money, as it saves time in staining and sanding.
Unfinished flooring must be finished after the floor is installed. You stain and coat the wood with urethane to protect the finish. The sanding and finishing process takes several days. You need to allow sufficient time for the surface to cure at each stage in the process before sanding. The floor must be sanded after each stage of the finishing process. Floor sanders can be used for this process.
Installing Hard Wood Flooring
Proper measurement is essential when ordering materials for your room. You will need a saw to cut the planks of wood to fit around corners and through doorways. For a more professional look, remove all the baseboards and trim before you start. Replace these after the installation is complete. The seams should be staggered as the planks are laid.
Before the installation process is started, be sure the subfloor is level. This should be done for any floor including hardwood, bamboo flooring, cork flooring or pergo flooring. If the floor isn’t level, use asphalt tiles to level it prior to beginning the installation.
Special paper can be used under the hardwood to avoid squeaking sounds when you walk on the floor. The planks should be nailed through the subfloor and into the joists for a stable floor that won’t move. Start the installation in the center of the room and move outward for the best, most even look.
Once the floor is laid, it needs to be sanded. Floor sanders can be rented through home improvement centers or any store that rents tools. Sand the floor evenly and don’t stay too long in any one area of the room. This can cause uneven spots.
Keeping Hard Wood Flooring Looking its Best
The care needed depends on the finish on your particular floor. Refer to the manufacturer’s directions regarding the care of pre finished floors. If your floor is finished with urethane, sweep a few times each week to remove dirt and dust. Wipe spills with a damp towel, but don’t use a very wet mop. This can damage the floor.
If the floors are waxed, you will need to buff occasionally and wax the floor. Using area rugs and door mats can help keep the floor from becoming very dirty. Protect the wood with pads on the legs of all your furniture. This will help prevent scratches and damage to the wood.
When the weather gets colder, many homeowners face a dilemma: to keep their patio furniture outside, with proper weatherproofing, or take it inside and try to accommodate in a basement or garage. But with teak patio furniture, you will no longer want to stash the patio set in the basement. Instead, you will want to flaunt it all year long.
Teak patio furniture is becoming more popular each day, with more designers exploring the timeless charm of teak wood. This wood, which grows in Burma, Indonesia and other exotic locations, is extremely durable, light and convenient, and it ages with a stunning grace.
According to historians, woven wicker furniture was first used in ancient Egypt. But since that time teak has become a favorite of garden furniture manufacturers only in the beginning of the 20th century, when white garden furniture has been labeled as boring and the prominent garden decorator Gertrude Jekyll claimed that gray- or green-toned garden furniture is more attractive. Since teak weathers to a beautiful silvery gray, it has soon become a popular wood of choice for many garden and patio furniture manufacturers.
Teak is one of the most valuable woods today. Teak wood grows in severe climatic conditions in Burma and Indonesia. Teak is a very hard wood resistant to wind, pests, sun, and humidity. In addition, teak does not splinter. For centuries, teak was used in marine building, which means that teak patio furniture can be easily left outside even in harsh climate conditions.
One of the most remarkable features of teak wood is its ability to change color with age. When new, its color varies from light to dark brown and over years becomes a light silver gray. The first “gray hair” in teak furniture will be noticeable after three to four months of use, depending on how contrasting the climate conditions are in your area. For example, if you have cold nights and hot sunny days, teak patio furniture will turn to gray faster. Natural teak will become gray in about a year.
To preserve this beautiful taupe shade of gray, you can wash the teak patio furniture every spring with mild detergent and water. To prevent dust accumulation you may wash the furniture with your regular garden hose, keeping the water pressure at low.
Even though teak wood does not splinter, it may develop small cracks with time. Teak wood contains a high amount of natural wood oils, so it will not develop deep structural cracks. There is no need to treat teak wood with any kind of wood sprays or oils to protect it; however, the teak wood oil does create a pretty surface sheen. You may apply oil when you plan to leave the teak furniture outside for a long period of time, or when the wood starts to show gray.
Since in most cases teak wood is left untreated when used for teak patio furniture, you should avoid spilling food or drinks on the wood surface. If you do happen to “leave your mark”, don’t use any harsh detergents to remove it. Any marks will eventually fade with time. When the stain is noticeable, you may scrub the area with mild sandpaper. Ultra-violet rays also damage the sheen of the teak furniture, and an annual treatment with properly labeled teak wood oil is recommended. Make sure that your teak wood furniture is clean and dry before treating, because you don’t want to trap any water under the coat of oil.
If you are thinking of adding simple but beautiful effects to your room but have a budget constraint then window blinds are what you should be looking for. Window blinds will not only change the look of you room but also will also give you privacy and allow you to control the amount of light that enters your room.
Choosing the perfect blinds for your room may be a difficult task given the innumerable options available. But if your room has wooden furniture and light warm tones then wood blinds will be the right choice. Wood blinds are available in both solid colors and wood tones. They may range from light tones to deep wood tones. Oak, maple, cherry or mahogany – choose the type that will match with your furniture.
Woods blinds add a natural feel to your room but these are the most costly among all the various types of blind available in the market. Wood blinds need proper care so that they last long and is not meant for humid conditions. They are best suited for humidity-controlled environments. However, for humid areas you can use faux wood blinds. These wood look-alikes are a combination of vinyl and wood and require less attention than real wood blinds. These can be used for your bathrooms or kitchens. They don’t tend to warp unlike blinds made of real wood and are stain resistant.
Woven wood blinds may also be an option for your rooms. These are made from wood, bamboo, grass and jute and are available in different colors, grains or textures. Woven wood blinds can be custom made to suit the requirements of the room. They give a natural and airy look to the room and can also provide protection against extreme weather conditions. Trims can be added to your blinds to add a decorative effect. Woven wood blinds has the advantage of being custom made to let the right amount of light enter the room and create the perfect ambience.
Wood blinds may be vertical or horizontal. Vertical wood blinds provide a warm and elegant look to the room. They provide more insulation than horizontal blinds as these can be opened either from one of the sides or from the middle. The size of the slats is also an important consideration. Slats come in different widths ranging from one to two or three inches and should be chosen according to the size of your windows.
There didn’t used to be as many choices in building materials as there are today. Something was either made of wood, metal or stone. Materials had to be harvested or mined and then fashioned into whatever shape needed to construct the finished product. Today it is much different. New, synthetic and composite materials are cropping up everywhere and are proving to be not only a viable alternative to natural materials, but one that makes like a bit easier.
How Faux Wood is Made
Faux simply means that it is not genuine or real. When referring to wood, it means that although it is not real wood, it looks just like it. However, that is where the commonality ends. It may look just like real wood, which is of course the desired look, but it behaves very differently.
The faux wood used in shutters is actually a polyurethane material. In short it is a really strong plastic. This compressed, man-made material is consistent from the inside out. This has great significance when being used to make shutters.
Shutters are often cut to size in order to fit into specific window measurements. Because of this, a “raw” edge is left on the top or bottom. With real wood, the cut edge would need to be refinished – either painted or stained – to match the face of the shutter. With faux wood, the material is the same from the core out. When you cut the surface, it does not splinter and even better, it is the same colour throughout. There is no touch-up refinishing required!
The Advantages of Faux Wood
Real wood is very porous. It is greatly affected by moisture and temperature changes. Just take a look at how interior doors seem to not close quite right during the hot, humid summer months, but work just fine in the winter. That is because with heat and humidity – or moisture of any kind – wood will expand and warp. When the weather turns colder, the wood then condenses to its original size. Moisture can also cause warping that is not restored once the weather changes.
With faux wood, there is no change in size or shape just because of the weather. Faux wood also maintains a bright finished look without frequent painting. It can be washed with mild detergents and look as new as the day it was installed.
Wood shutters are constructed by stapling the slats with tiny staples to the frame of the shutter. This can cause a problem over time with the staples working their way out. Then the slats to the shutter start to fall out. The slats on faux wood shutters are able to be attached with strong adhesives that don’t become detatched with time.
Many faux woods are treated with dust repellents too. This causes dust in the air to flutter on by instead of sticking to the shutter’s surface. This makes housekeeping chores much lighter. Wood shutters can require very frequent dusting to keep them clean.
Faux wood shutters can be used inside and outside the window. They resist fading in the sunlight too. They can be used alone in interior decorating, or in place of a shade or sheers as a backdrop to draperies or valances.
There is nothing like wood furniture to add elegance and beauty to a home. Whether it is a thick, all-natural butchers block table, an Art Deco wooden dresser, a simple mahogany dining room table or a sleek, modern coffee table, wood furniture is a staple in homes across America and the world. Make sure your wood tables, vanities and dressers stay gorgeous for generations to come with these simple solutions and guidelines.
Stain, Stain, Go Away!
Ever gasped after a child inadvertently left a giant scratch in the surface of your dining room table? Or cringed when a well-meaning adult accidentally knocked over a drink onto your beautiful wood coffee table? Well, fear not. One of the best attributes of wood furniture is that it is simple to touch up or renew its original luster.
Small nicks and scratches can usually be disguised with the help of a store-bought scratch cover product. For larger scratches, try using a felt tip pen or shoe polish in a color closely matched to the finish of the furniture piece. Shoe polish applicator bottles filled with the stain work well for the cover-up job, as do Sharpie markers. Coloring in the scratch is easy and surprisingly effective.
Get rid of pesky water spots on your wood furniture by allowing the spots to dry completely, then rubbing real mayonnaise onto it with a soft cloth, until the spots disappear. Erase color rings left on tables by cups and glasses with a homemade mixture of cigarette ashes and cooking oil. Prep the stain first by scrubbing it with an abrasive pad or sandpaper. Then, rub the oil and ash concoction into the wood.
And what about candle wax, marring the beautiful finish of your wood dining room table? Wait until the wax cools, then apply ice. Once the wax becomes extremely hard and brittle, gently scrape it off with a plastic spatula. Finally, polish the table with a rich cream polish, and buff away any residue.
Prevent serious damage to your wood furniture by taking care not to position it in direct sunlight. Unless you are going for the weathered picnic table look, shield all wood furniture from the drying influence of the sun. Also, protect your dining room table’s finish using an inexpensive table pad when the table is not in use.
When eating a meal or entertaining guests, use a tablecloth or placemats to protect the finish of a wood table, especially when serving hot food. Place hot serving dishes atop a hot pad and candle holders over a large felt protector with a plastic top, since plastic prevents wax from running.
Use coasters beneath all glasses and mugs to protect your coffee table, dining room table and wood dressers from unsightly rings and water spots. Beware, because not all coasters are created equal. Metal coasters can sweat onto the wood, and plastic coasters can react with certain finishes on some wood furniture pieces. So consider choosing wooden coasters with felt backing and a waterproof material on top to further ensure the longevity of your wood table tops. The best coasters are those that taper up on the sides, preventing leakage.
Proper Care and Cleaning
Polishing wood furniture every week goes a long way toward protecting the finish from damage and helping your wood tables, chairs and dressers look their best. Beware, though, of cheap polishes, or any polish that contains silicone or alcohol. Alcohol can do permanent damage to a wood surface, as can any household cleaner that contains ammonia. An excellent polish can be easily made at home, by combining lemon oil with 3 parts olive oil.
Now that you know about polishes, don’t forget to clean your wood furniture as well. Regular cleaning is especially important for coffee tables and dining room tables where food and drink are daily staples. Use a very mild soap, such as a diluted mixture of hand soap and water, as a cleaning agent for your wood furniture. And if you really want to ensure your dining room table or heirloom wood desk stays beautiful, have your wood furniture buffed and polished by a professional service once or twice a year.
Now you are fully armed to properly care for your wood furniture. And don’t be disheartened if you are unable to make a nick or small stain disappear completely. Signs of use can add character to a piece of wood furniture, and are often barely noticeable. Whether it is a dresser, coffee table, bookshelf, desk, or dining room table, wood furniture is the perfect addition to any home.