Thinking about maintenance treatments for your outdoor flooring can be daunting. Especially if your reference point is past experience with softwood like cedar, or even northern species of hardwoods like pine.
But it doesn’t have to be, especially if you’ve got a durable exotic hardwood like ipe or cumaru, and you read and apply the tips we’ve gathered for you below.
- Know what kind of wood it is
Softwoods like cedar have characteristics very different from hardwoods like teak, ipe or cumaru. Softwoods are, well, soft, quite porous and will absorb stains, sealants and other products much more quickly and deeply than their hardwood cousins. Knowing this will help you determine what the right approach is for your spring fine-tuning.
- Choose the right products for the type of wood
Whether you buy at a big box outlet or a specialty provider, be sure to check what type of wood the product is designed for. Something made to work with softwood will likely be too thick to absorb into a dense, high-resin content hardwood.
- Understand the different types of cleaning and when each should be used
Does your wood floor just have a bit of dust on it? Or have a year’s worth of BBQ parties left dollops of greasy residue? Are you close to a freeway or in cottage country? It all makes a difference. Dust can be swept and damp-mopped. Grease or urban pollution will need a more careful, thorough cleansing.
- Use “water-based” products carefully
They’re easy to clean up and generally have lower odours. Water-based products are usually a little finickier with respect to the workable temperature. In our experience there’s nothing as good for wood – whether soft or hard – than a high quality oil-based product.
- Follow instructions on the product containers!
We all like to “wing it” a little here and there. But to properly protect your investment, and save you time and trouble down the road, we recommend you follow the directions on the product label. For example, if the can says not to apply in temperatures below 10 degrees, there’s a good reason! If it tells you to wait 12 hours between coats, we believe you will be happier in the long run if you do what they tell you!