There are few things that look as good when they are properly maintained as a wooden garage or any other type of building made out of wood. The keyword here is the words ‘properly maintained’. Wood is susceptible to having such things as dirt, mold and mildew collect on it just like any other type of building material. It needs to be periodically sprayed off and every few years it needs a nice coat of stain put on it to protect the wood and enhance its natural looks. Here is how to go about staining a wood building such as a wooden garage.
Gather the Tools
You should have available when you do the job such things as a good pressure washer, some fine grit sandpaper for wood, TSP substitute, cloths for cleanup, several short and long handled stain brushes, a stain sprayer (optional), plastic or cloth sheeting to protect unstained areas and a few rolls of painters masking tape.
Staining can be looked at as just another form of painting. Just like painting it requires that the surface to be stained be thoroughly prepared beforehand so that the stain actually contacts the surface of the wood instead of being applied over mildew, dirt, bird poop, dust or other things that will prevent the stain from doing its job.
A good pressure washing will usually do the trick with a light solution of TSP substitute mixed in. Be careful not to use an aggressive cutting nozzle on the pressure washer because wood has a soft quality to it and it can be easily damaged.
Make sure you get as close to having the original wood surface as possible; this will leave you with the ideal surface to accept a good coat of stain that can penetrate the wood to protect it better.
Get any rough spots out by lightly sanding by hand with the fine grit wood sandpaper if necessary. Make sure during this process that you have gotten all the wood fuzz (felting) off the surface of the wood too. After you are satisfied that you have the wood as close to the original surface as you can get, then allow it to thoroughly dry before going on to the next step.
Mask and Cover
Before you can start the staining process you must first do such things as cover plant beds and other areas with cloth or plastic that you certainly don’t want to get stain on. The stain will kill vegetation and be very difficult to get off of other surfaces that it gets on. It is also a good time to cover any windows with plastic or newspaper that the wooden garage or other building may have.
Lastly you want to use the masking tape to cover such things as door handles, wall fixtures or anything else attached to the wooden garages that you don’t want to get stain on. Take one long good walk around the building just to ensure that you have everything protected that you need to before applying the stain.
Apply the First Coat of Stain
It is very important to mix the stain thoroughly before starting. That oily stuff on the surface of the can or bucket is the glue that makes the stain adhere to the surface and stay in place for a long period of time. Mix in 5 gallon buckets with a mixing tool on the end of an electric drill if possible.
The preferred way of applying stain is with some sort of power sprayer; stain can be applied really well with even a cheap power sprayer because it has such a thin consistency. When using a sprayer, make sure not to skimp on the stain; this is a big project that you only want to do every 3 – 5 years so make sure you do it right.
Liberally applying the stain gives you the best chance of getting a significant amount of it to penetrate into the words surface, which is the ideal situation for longevity. Don’t mistake for what was just said as being you need to make a sloppy mess either.
Back Brush the Stain ‘Immediately’ After it’s Applied
Once you have applied the stain you will then need to do what is called back brushing with the stain brushes. This helps even out the stain and it really adds to the overall appearance of the finished product. It also helps to have a few friends around to help with this tedious step (Hint: having some pizza and beverages will be good incentive for them come help). Make sure during this step you pay attention to pushing the stain into all the depressions and uneven surface areas.
You must work fairly quickly during this part of the project so you can spread it before the stain dries; that is why it is wise to start the staining job on the areas that are not getting direct sun at the time of the application.
Repeat Steps 4 And 5 In Order
This is no time to step back and admire your work even though it is looking good. After the first coat is completely dry you will then need to add a second coat to make the wood look even better and to get the treatment it needs to protect it for the next several years.
Apply the Clear Coat (Optional)
This is another step that will help preserve the wood and make it look good. Some people don’t like to do it and others feel they must have it. You need to select a clear coat that won’t seal the wood totally because it needs to breathe a little. Once again don’t apply the clear coat until the second coat of stain is completely dry.
If you have done your preparation properly and followed the steps in this article then you should have one nice looking and well protected wooden garage or other wood building now. Spray it off with a hose or pressure wash it once or twice a year to keep it looking good until the next time you stain it again.