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Tag Archives: finishes

  • Finish that Douglas Fir II

    Posted on July 14, 2011 by Nicole

    As we mentioned in our last post about finishing Douglas fir, the finish itself can take much of the credit for protecting wood from the elements. And, in this post, when we say elements we mean those found indoors: shoes, toys, pets, spilled drinks, and other pesky household mini-storms. What are the things you should consider before finishing your Douglas fir? Read on, friends.

    Indoor Finishing Projects
    Interior projects, though sheltered from the forces of nature, still need to be protected from life’s hustle and bustle. Unprotected Douglas fir flooring can't compete with feet, furniture, and falling objects. Unfinished paneling in a bathroom would warp from all that hot shower steam. But, also know that you too play a part in prolonging your indoor wood – we’ll talk about some preventative measures to follow after finishing.

    finish wood floor

    Ahh, the gleam of a finished wood floor.

    Choose a finish with interior on the label. You’ll find both water-based and oil-based products. And really, either will do the job – it comes down to your personal preference and what you want your Douglas fir to look like. Water-based finishes dry faster, are less odorous and leave your fir with a more natural-looking finish. Oil-based products give you more time to get a smoother finish because they take longer to dry, but they’re smellier and leave your wood with an amber-like tone. When it comes to cost, water-based finishes tend to be more expensive.

    Should you go with a penetrating finish or surface finish? Again, this comes down to preference. Keep in mind that a penetrating finish soaks into the wood and helps bring out the wood’s natural beauty because they’re oil-based. A surface or topcoat finish forms a layer around the wood so nothing can get in. There are two schools of thought on the merits of each: 1) Wood needs to breathe and benefits from a penetrating finish; or, 2) Wood needs to be shielded which is what a surface finish does best.

    If you see polyurethane on the label know that the product is essentially made from plastic. Hence its shiny appearance. Polyurethanes do a darn good job at protecting against wear and tear, but come with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which affect indoor air quality. Polyurethanes work best on harder-wearing surfaces like flooring.

    Moist conditions + preventative measures
    Keep wood away from water. If little hands drop a juice cup, be quick to wipe it up and air it dry. And, keep your wood clean, especially your floors. Sweep, vacuum, and dust regularly because dirt and grit is wood’s number one enemy.

    Dry conditions + preventative measures
    We also suggest keeping wood away from direct heat and sunlight. Excessive exposure to either will break down the finish and yellow the wood. And if you're seriously dedicated, during very dry conditions, use a home humidifier to keep moisture in the air to keep wood from losing its own natural moisture.

    No matter what your wood, or where it is located, a wood finish will help it last. Keep in mind the tips above, and talk to the expert at your local DIY store before you embark on finishing your Douglas fir.

    - Nicole Morales

    This post was posted in Douglas Fir Flooring, Douglas Fir Trim, Care & Maintenance and was tagged with Douglas-fir, Douglas fir flooring, douglas fir floors, fir flooring, flooring finishes, finishes, maintaining wood floors, maintaining fir floors, douglas fir trim, wood trim, finished doug fir flooring, douglas fir paneling

  • Finish that Douglas Fir

    Posted on May 19, 2011 by Nicole

    Never mind the aesthetics, a wood’s finish protects it from premature, well, everything. We’re talking aging, shading, cracking, warping, and everything else life throws its way. We’ve said it before and we’re happy to say it again: the finish is essential to the lifetime of your wood, like how putting on pants in the morning is essential to keeping your job. But, any pair won’t do – you’ve got to know before you go. You wouldn’t wear Wranglers to the boss’ black-tie event or tailored-trousers to Saturday’s team-building in the backwoods. The same goes for how you finish your Douglas fir.

    We’d like to point out that Douglas fir is a fine timber product. CVG Doug fir is the strongest ‘softwood’ around because of its tight-grain properties, making it more resistant to the elements and more durable for both interior and exterior projects. You’ll get the best of both beauty and brawn with Douglas fir. The weather’s nice, so we’re inclined to start with outdoor applications as you think about firing up that grill.

    Outdoor Projects
    Exterior projects include siding, decking, porch soffits, board & batt, and even patio furniture. Any outside wood needs to be made into a force-to-be-reckoned-with because it’ll be up against Mother Nature and she too, has her bad days. So, when you’re shopping for a finish, look for exterior on the label. Once you find that, consider your climate type.

    outdoor wood finish

    Whatever your wood finishing project, it cannot be as difficult as this one.

    Moist climates + Finishes
    Opt for a label that has a water-repellent preservative or WRP. Your wood will thank you by avoiding mildew growth, a nasty combination with wood. It’s also less likely to swell, split, and warp from water exposure. Choose a penetrating finish for wood that will be hard hit with H2O – these finishes stop water absorption.

    And, after the rainy season, be sure to “test” your wood. If water beads and runs off, the finish is still good. If water soaks in, it’s time to reapply the finish – generally every 12 to 24 months.

    Dry climates + Finishes
    The sun and dry climates go hand in hand as does wood that cracks, spots, and yellows when left untreated in dry places. So, choose an exterior finish that contains UV blockers. Some water-repellent preservatives (WRPs) protect against UV radiation, but double check, especially if you’re living la vida loca in Arizona, which has 300 days of pure sunshine per year.

    Keep in mind that in drier climates, wood loses moisture. Hence, the cracking and shrinking. You may see both WRP and WR – water-repellent – on labels. What’s the difference? WRPs contain mildewcides and fungicides stopping spores that thrive in moist climates. However, we recommend using a WRP with a pigment commonly referred to as semi-transparent stain for wood in sunny places. The pigment adds another layer of protection from the sun, prolonging its life.

    • Always pre-treat bare wood with a finish or preservative before painting.
    • If using pre-existing wood, be sure to check for timber rot (dry or wet) before refinishing. Rot decays wood.
    • Take care applying that first finish to new wood. If done poorly, your wood will tell you so later down the line (and there’s really little that can be done to remedy future problems).
    • Always stick with the same type of finish – penetrating or surface – when it’s time to reapply.
    • Test different types of finishes using small blocks from your wood project to help you decide the best finishing product for your Douglas fir and your needs.

  • The Lowdown on Stains and Finishes: Use on Douglas Fir and other Woods

    Posted on February 25, 2011 by nell

    Let’s discuss the application of stains and finishes on your Douglas fir. Unlike the stain on your best button-up or the frayed finish on your go-to denim, the stains and finishes we’ll be talking about beautify and protect your wood. But, researching stains and finishes can be about as much fun as deciding where to take the family for dinner when your mother-in-law is gluten intolerant. This is one headache we hope to relieve by reviewing the function of stains and finishes, how that applies to your project, and recommended uses. And we’ll throw in a little bit of extra information that we hope is useful to you.


    So, what function do stains and finishes serve? That answer is simple. A stain’s job is to accentuate the wood grain. Let’s say you’ve just installed your Douglas fir flooring and you feel a different tint will really show it off. Stain it. When it comes to a finish, it will protect wood from damage and deterioration and should be the last step in your DIY project. Think of it this way, a stain is like an accessory; it’s not required, but it looks nice. As for the finish, it is essential to extending the lifetime of your wood, like putting on your pants in the morning is essential to keeping your job.

    Your Project

    What are you working on? Are you replacing the siding on the sunny side of your house or installing wainscoting in the bathroom? It matters if your project is indoors or outdoors. Or if it's in the bathroom or kitchen, which have different conditions from the living room or your bedroom, for example.

    prefinished douglas fir

    Pre-finished, un-stained, CVG Douglas Fir Flooring.

    Also, what do you want the finished product to look like? Do you want a natural finish or would you like to add color without painting? The answers to these questions make a difference, especially if you want to save yourself from making multiple trips to the home improvement store. So, know before you go.

    Recommended Uses

    Let’s start with stains. Use an exterior stain for siding, shingles, decks, and patio furniture. To protect against mildew, decay, and warping choose a water-repellent stain that protects the wood against weather. Indoor woodwork, furniture, and flooring should get an interior stain. An oil-based interior stain offers smoother application with longer drying time, while a water-based stain dries more quickly, is less odorous, and makes for easier cleanup.

    Know your colors, too. Are you into au naturel or do you prefer bold and bright? If you want to accentuate the natural grains in your wood, a dye-based stain will penetrate the pores. Dye-based stains are ideal for very fine or close-grained woods like CVG Douglas fir. Pigment-based stains tend to hide the natural grain because they sit on the surface, but they do leave your wood with an impressive color effect. They work best on less dense woods.

    Wood finishes are generally referred to as either penetrating or surface. Penetrating finishes “soak” into the wood and leave you with a more natural look. They are also easy to apply, but can be messy. If looking to finish your log cabin, consider Linseed oil. Tung oil is food-friendly so use it for butcher-block countertops. To create a look of luster on your indoor trim and paneling, try Danish oil.

    Surface or topcoat finishes form a film around the wood and shield it from most everything. For woods that are bound to take a beating – siding, trim, patio furniture – use a surface finish. Expect to see shellac, lacquer, and polyurethane on labels while walking down the wood finish aisle. Again, save yourself the guesswork and frustration by knowing what you need before you go. For instance, decorative wood items get a glossy-shine from shellac. Lacquer also leaves a gloss, but it’s tougher than shellac and comes in multiple colors. It’s typically recommended for furniture.

    Two other popular finishes are polyurethane and spar urethane. Both are clear surface finishes, but spar urethane is recommended for wood in climates with extreme temperature changes. It has a higher oil-to-resin ratio that helps it work harder and longer to protect your wood from sun damage and water exposure. Although there are polyurethane finishes for exterior woods, its oil-to-resin content is lower than spar urethane. This results in reduced breathing room for your wood as it expands and contracts during seasonal changes, and it may be more prone to yellowing from the sun’s rays. Look for UV-resistant and water clear on the label to prevent this from happening. Polyurethanes are recommended as a finish for floors and cabinetry because they resist scuffing. As for choosing an oil or water-based finish, consider the item you are finishing and your preferences as the qualities found in finishes are similar in oil or water-based stains.

    Additional information to consider
    For DIY-ers looking for greener home improvement options, there are environmentally preferable products. Water-based stains and water-based finishes tend to be more earth-friendly, as are finishes made from plant oils and waxes. Other products boast low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) common in cleaning supplies, paints, and lacquers, which is certainly a breath of fresh air. Ask your home improvement specialist for greener products, or shop online.

    Now that we’ve helped to pinpoint your project needs, you can be in and out of that home improvement store with plenty of time leftover to take your mother-in-law to dinner.

    - Nicole Morales

    This post was posted in All Entries, Douglas Fir Flooring, Douglas Fir Trim and was tagged with Douglas fir flooring, fir flooring, flooring stains, flooring finishes, stains, finishes

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