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Protect your exterior projects with the right sealers
Exterior sealers provide excellent protection for decks and wood surfaces,
driveways, patios and sidewalks. They seal porous surfaces so that a finish
coat can develop a uniform sheen. They also protect the finish coat on masonry
from alkalinity and efflorescence (a white crust of salt), and they seal out
moisture. Before you learn about all of your available options, consider the
following questions and start assessing your project needs:
Type, Base, Color, Life and Surface Preparation
Without proper sealing, exterior wood and masonry are quickly destroyed by the harsh weather and traffic they endure. When purchasing sealers, you have a wide array of choices. Some of your options will be determined by your intended applications and others are simply determined by your preference. A high-quality sealer recommended for the specific task you plan to undertake will protect better and save you money on resealing in the future, so make sure you consider the long-term benefits of various sealers in addition to the initial price tag.
Type: The term “sealers” is generally used to include wood repellents, water-repellent preservatives, wood toners and concrete sealers, though naming and features can vary widely by manufacturer. Many sealers are named according to their recommended application. However, the manufacturer often calls out additional uses. For example, a brick and stone sealer may also be appropriate for stucco and cement.
|Type||What You Should Know|
|Water Repellents (Water Sealers)||
|Water-Repellent Wood Preservatives||
Base: Like paints and stains, sealers are available in water-based and oil-based variations. Water-based sealers allow moisture to escape, whereas oil-based sealers can trap moisture in the wood, which can cause rot and decay. Water-based sealers also provide natural mildew resistance, while oil-based sealers may feed the growth of mildew if they don’t contain added mildewcides. Oil-based sealers, however, offer better penetration.
Opacity and Color: The more pigments a sealer has, the more opaque it
is and the more it will mask the surface. Though clear water repellents may
have a slight tint to bring out the natural look of the surface beneath, they
have virtually no opacity. Most wood toners are semi-transparent, so they
change the color of the wood but don’t hide the grain completely.
Life: Life is how long the sealer lasts before needing to be reapplied,
so a longer life will save you time, effort and money, while keeping the
surface better protected and looking great. Sealers with more opacity have a
longer life, but sealer life is reduced on surfaces that are highly trafficked
or exposed to harsh conditions.
Surface Preparation: Take the time to prepare the surface according to
manufacturer instructions, or you’ll end up wasting more time and money
resealing in the long run. If the surface has been painted previously, the
paint should be removed, though you can spot-seal bare areas on a painted
surface. Once bare, the surface needs to be clean, dry and free of mildew,
dust and loose wood fibers.
Paintable Sealer: Using a sealer prior to priming and painting can extend the life of your paint job. Look for a sealer that specifically says that it can be painted; otherwise your primer or paint may not adhere correctly.
Primer/Sealer: Some manufactures offer combination primer/sealer, saving you from applying them separately if both are needed. These products combine the benefits of sealers and primers for better paint performance on porous surfaces.
Sheen: Sealers are available in a variety of finishes from flat to high gloss. A high gloss creates a sleek, wet look, dries hard and tends to protect better from abrasions. Glossier surfaces are also easier to clean but tend to highlight surface imperfections and may be slick when wet.
To make your projects faster, easier and better looking, you need the right rollers, sprayers, brushes and other applicators.
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