Some people often wonder when and how to use a wood stain and sealer to achieve a better finish on their wooden deck. In this article, you will find the answers to those questions, and we will also talk to you about pore filling and application.
Strictly speaking, any finish that forms a film on the wood can be used as a sealer. Not necessarily; you have to have a carpenter’s workshop or be a do-it-yourselfer to work with this sealer product.
That’s why some coatings are so good at this task on their own that they are called “self-sealing” finishes. Other finishes are not and benefit from unique sealers.
Consequently, shellac and oil-based finishes (including oil, varnish, and Danish polyurethane) work so well on their own that they do not require any unique sealer underneath. Some finishers prefer to dilute these materials’ first coat to make them dry faster or sand more quickly, but that is strictly a personal choice.
Also, lacquer and water-based coatings, on the other hand, work better on the sealer. The right wood stain and sealer will fix contaminating oils and waxes, reduce the number of coats needed by preventing excessive absorption, improve adhesion, and reduce grain lift, especially under water-based coatings.
However, it is essential to note that wood also plays an important role. With very dense woods, such as boxwood, sealer can usually be omitted.
For this reason, spongy or absorbent woods, such as poplar and most softwoods, can benefit significantly from the sealer, especially under the lacquer. The sealer layer wraps around the porous wood, preventing the first layers of paint from being excessively absorbed.
Some cedars and members of the Dalbergia genus, including rosewood, cocobolo, and African blackwood, contain antioxidants that prevent oil-based finishes from curing but do not affect shellac, lacquer, or most water-based coatings.
For this reason, it is recommended to use a super-concentrated Nitro sealer (photo above) or sealer based on nitrocellulose, maleic, and alkyd resins as a gloss and adhesion primer. Before applying oil-based finishes to these woods.
You can apply the wood stain and sealer as you would any coating with a brush, gun, or pad, but that is not always the best. After one coat, the final grain and fluffy areas may still be “hungry” and not sufficiently sealed, while the denser, flat-grained regions are beginning to build up too much coating. There is a way to avoid this.
If you were to dip a piece of wood into the sealer, letting it soak up as much as possible at the end of the grain or fluffy areas, then remove it and clean the entire surface. The more and less absorbent areas would be satiated, but the excess finish would not pile up on top.
Although it is not always practical to immerse the parts in a vat of sealant, you can approach this by flooding the sealant by hand and then cleaning it. I use an abrasive nylon pad as an applicator and then wash it with paper towels while it is still wet. Wear gloves and work on small areas at a time so that the sealer does not dry out before cleaning.
Of course, this method’s advantage is that it allows the final grain to absorb as much of the sealer as possible, but it cleans flat-grained surfaces that tend to drink less. Once the sealer is dry, the whole part is sealed evenly, and the next coat of finish will be applied in the same way to all areas.