How to Care for Lumber Structures

Lumber is an organic material, and because of this, it will break down over time — especially if it’s used in outdoor structures. UV rays from the sun can degrade wood fibers, while exposure to moisture causes the wood to expand and contract, over and over. Some woods (like redwood and cedar) are practically impervious to mother nature, while others need protection from the elements.

There are two prevalent ways to protect your wood: staining or painting. Both have their advantages, but they are two different approaches.

Why Choose Stain?

Natural wood finishes are a great choice for various applications, like residential property fences or commercial landscaping structures. No two pieces of lumber are the same, and staining allows for the uniqueness of the wood to shine through. Choosing oil-based stains protects the wood from UV rays and extreme moisture because it seeps into the wood.

There was once a time when all wood stain was brown, but paint and stain manufacturers now offer a wide range of colors and finishes. You can stain wood to match any surrounding style and decor. Staining is a great option when you’re working with high-quality lumber with interesting grain patterns or if the structure will remain outdoors and exposed to the weather.

Why Choose Paint?

Unlike wood stain, paint is opaque and will cover the natural grain of your lumber. To really showcase your home, garden, or commercial property, bright paint can catch the eye of anyone passing by and add to the curb appeal of any building. Choose more economical lumber (like Douglas fir) if you plan to paint; the uniformity of wood grain isn’t necessarily the most important factor.

Just as there are now various wood stains to choose from, you also have a range of paint finishes and colors to use on wood. Different types of paint (like latex-based) can seal the wood against sunlight and moisture, creating a barrier and improving the longevity of the wood and the structure.

What about Pressure-Treated Wood?

Caring for pressure-treated wood is a little different. Wooden decks, railings, and landscaping structures are all commonly made of pressure-treated lumber and need a little extra TLC. This lumber is prone to shrinking, swelling, mildew growth, and UV fading. The first step to protecting these lumber structures — even if they’re new — is by cleaning with a formula that includes mildewcide.

Next, treat the pressure-treated lumber with a water-repellent sealant. Keep up with an annual maintenance schedule, and add in regular maintenance steps if your lumber structure is located in a climate that is regularly exposed to the elements. It’s not recommended that pressure-treated wood is finished with conventional paints and stains or even sanded down.

Start with the Right Lumber

Care and maintenance of your lumber structures become much easier when working with a lumber wholesaler; it’s important to start with top-quality, well-selected wood. As a wholesale lumber brokerage operation, we purchase lumber from dozens of sawmills and suppliers around the country and facilitate direct mill shipments to our customers. We are experienced with custom requirements and demanding specifications, and we are sensitive to the individual needs of our customers. We are more than capable of delivering wholesale, direct mill shipments of hardwood and softwood lumber on time and spec.

If you do business with us, we will never leave you in the dark because that is not how we do business. We understand the importance and necessity of honesty and integrity when conducting business, and we instill those values in the work we do daily. Whether it is railroads, mining, commercial, industrial, or residential, we have the experience and expertise to get you the exact lumber product you need when you need it, so contact us today if you’re interested!.