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Stains & Sealers

Our Own Sun Brite Deck Oil.

First, deck sealers are products that protect the wood from sun and water damage to some extent. The best ones contain color, which encourages many folks to refer to them as stains. The term “deck sealer” and “deck stain” actually mean the same thing.

If a consumer has heard of a particular brand of deck sealer, it is probably because of great marketing more than because it is a great product. The most familiar and popular brand name is considered by most professionals to be the worst product to use for many reasons. Why the difference of opinions?

Professional deck restoration contractors clean and seal dozens or hundreds of decks every year. Their depth of experience with cleaning and sealing products automatically creates preferences for and against certain brands of products.

How does a professional choose a particular deck stain? Actually, most contractors offer one or two different products to fit different circumstances. The decision on which product to buy is the result of a series of answers to important questions for a contractor.

• How easy is the product to purchase?
• How will my customer see this product? (i.e. Is it a “green” product? Is it durable?)
• How easy is it to prepare the wood for the sealer?
• How easy is it to apply?
• Does the product leave lap marks or drip marks?
• How long does it take the product to dry to the touch?
• How long does it take the product to dry enough for foot traffic and furniture?
• How beautiful/natural is the color?
• How long does the color last?
• Does the protection hold up for two full years on horizontal surfaces?
• Does the finish hold up for two full years on horizontal surfaces?
• Can the finish be scratched?
• At the end of two years, can I put on a new application without stripping the old application off?
• If I have to strip the finish off for any reason, how difficult/expensive is the process?

Our company has used and sold enough wood products since 1998 to treat 30 million square feet of wood. That gives us a perspective that most small companies never get to. Over the years we have tested and sold only products that meet our standards, based on the questions above. Our clients are contractors and homeowners who appreciate getting the best products – whether these products are popular with (or even known by) the general public. Most consumers have never heard of any of the three products we have selected to offer, but those that have used them come back year after year.

We could have handled a hundred different brands of deck stains. Instead, we have chosen just three: DRP Best, Ready Seal, and our own Sun Brite Deck Oil.

Two of these products (Ready Seal and Sun Brite Deck Oil) are oil sealers, which most contractors prefer. Oil sealers replenish the wood and keep it in the best physical condition. True oil sealers like these have been disappearing at a rapid rate because of the typical cost of quality oil sealers and the negative environmental impact of oil sealers made to meet low price points. The two oil sealers we offer are terrific winners because they keep costs within reach and because they have the lowest possible environmental impact. The only “oil” sealers available in the price range of our deck stains are made with alkyd oil, which is almost impossible to work with once it is on any wood. Like most contractors we know, we avoid alkyd products.

The third sealer we offer (DRP Best) is a water-borne sealer. Water-borne products are very environmentally sound and the tools you use with them clean up with soap and water.

The rule of thumb is simple: if you are working on wood that is near wetlands or rivers or lakes, using a water-borne sealer is your best choice. If you are working in other areas, an oil sealer is better for the wood.

DIFFERENCES:

Why do we offer two different oil sealers? The answer is simple: each sealer has different performance and application parameters. Both are ecologically sound, and both nourish the wood.

Ready Seal is made with paraffinic oil, which is lightweight and penetrates deeply into the wood. Sun Brite Deck Oil is part paraffinic oil and part linseed oil, which means it penetrates deeply but more of the oil stays at the surface of the wood.

Going back to the questions we have whenever we judge the performance of a deck sealing product, let’s compare the sealers we have available:

Q:How easy is the product to purchase?
A: All three sealers are sold with freight-included pricing on the Sun Brite online store.

Q: How will my customer see this product? (i.e. Is it a “green” product? Is it durable?)
A: All three sealers have extremely low amounts of Volatile Organic Compounds in the formulas, making them among the most environmentally sound products in each class. All three products last longer than the two year ‘norm’ for deck sealing products.

Q: How easy is it to prepare the wood for the sealer?
A: Each sealer is a transparent or semi-transparent product, so the wood will keep the same overall appearance it has after washing. Therefore a quality effort while cleaning of the wood will result in a better looking final finish.

Q: How easy is it to apply?
A: All three products are extremely easy to apply. All three are designed for either sprayer or brush applications. Ready Seal is applied in two light coats, while DRP Best and Sun Brite Deck Oil are designed to be applied in just one coat.

Q: Does the product leave lap marks or drip marks?
A: Many other products really can’t look good on a deck unless you apply them like a paint, being careful to not leave brush or lap marks. Ready Seal eliminates all lap marks, brush marks, and drip marks. DRP Best and Sun Brite Deck Oil eliminate lap and brush marks, and minimize the possibility of brush marks.

Q: How long does it take the product to dry to the touch?
A: Ready Seal soaks into the wood immediately, so the wood can be walked on within 30 minutes. It takes about two weeks to fully dry below the surface. Sun Brite Deck Oil and DRP Best each require about 4 hours time to be dry to the touch and a full day to be fully dry.

Q: How long does it take the product to dry enough for foot traffic and furniture?
A: You can replace furniture and walk on Ready Seal the same day it is done. DRP Best and Sun Brite Deck Oil should be allowed to full dry before you replace the deck furniture and walk on it.

Q: How beautiful/natural is the color?
A: The color in each product is intended to look like natural wood instead of being paint-like colors. That means that Walnut stain should look like a dark brown natural walnut wood. There is no way to predict the actual color that will result on any deck, however, because there is infinite variations in the color of the wood you will be starting with. There are also nice differences in the appearance of the different products. Ready Seal color is soft without any sheen at all. Sun Brite Deck Oil color is soft and natural as well, with a very slight sheen at the surface. DRP Best color is strong with a modest sheen on the surface. There several pictures on this web site of decks and homes finished with these products for you to look at.

Q: How long does the color last?
A: The color in Ready Seal starts out darker than you might expect but lightens about two shades over the first two weeks as it dries beneath the surface. The color continues to lighten every month thereafter, and the color begins to look a little faded at about 18 months or so. The protection is still quite strong, and the product will continue to protect the wood for up to five years. A simple maintenance cleaning and re-sealing, and it looks absolutely great all over again.

The color in DRP Best starts out pronounced, and the color stays within 85% of that level throughout the two year evaluation. A simple maintenance cleaning and re-sealing after two years will start it all over again.

The color in Sun Brite Deck Oil starts out looking deep, and it maintains about 80% of the color intensity throughout the entire two-year aging process. A simple maintenance cleaning and re-sealing will rejuvenate the deck completely.

Q: Does the protection hold up for two full years on horizontal surfaces and four years on the vertical surfaces?
A: YES, for all three products.

Q: Can the finish be scratched?
A: It is impossible to scratch the finish of either Ready Seal or Sun Brite Deck Oil. The color penetrates well into the wood, so scratches cannot show.

Q: At the end of two years, can I put on a new application without stripping the old application off?
A: Absolutely! We chose these products because the characteristics of each included the ability to re-coat the surface without stripping the old finish off. The only exception is with DRP Best – if the owner lets the finish go without maintenance (after two years on a horizontal surface) the finish may begin to crack and flake. In that case, the old finish should be stripped off before re-applying a new finish.

Q: If I have to strip the finish off for any reason, how difficult/expensive is the process?
A: All three products, even the DRP Best water-borne sealer, can be easily removed 100% with a good deck stripper like Rip It! in about 10 minutes of dwell time.
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