Flood Australia.
Wood care and painting solutions.



Q&A Woodcare products

Q: Why should I finish my wood?

A: Some people wonder why wood should be finished at all. After all, some wooden structures have lasted hundreds of years. This is true, but not all wooden structures will last hundreds of years if unprotected. Weather and the wood itself can develop rot and deteriorate to the point of collapse. Another thing to consider is appearance. If you think natural wood will retain its colour, this is not correct. Sunlight turns all woods yellowish or brownish, then grey. After the initial colour change and greying, further changes develop slowly. Dark woods eventually become lighter and light woods darker. Damage from sun and water, which gets into the wood and makes it alternately expand and contract as it goes through wetting and drying cycles, can lead to surface checks, which can then develop into cracks. Flood wood care products can help protect against this damage. Another problem with bare wood is mildew. If a surface is left unprotected, mildew will cover it, making it look grey or black. The problem is that on the way to a uniform grey or black colour — if you like that look — the wood takes on a blotchy look. Overall, mildew is not dangerous but it isn't visually appealing and can be the reason for allergies in some people.

Q: My deck has weathered to grey and I would like to restore the natural wood tone. How do I go about it?

A: Cleaning the deck with Flood WOODPREP will remove dirt and stains from your wood while brightening the grey colour back to the natural wood tone. Once the deck has dried, you can finish it with Flood SPA-N-Deck.Either will enhance the natural beauty of the wood while protecting it from exposure to sun and bad weather.

Q: What is extractive bleeding?

A: Extractive (tannin) bleeding is the washing away of water-soluble colour from within your wood. Extractives are most evident in darker-coloured wood, but they can be found to some degree in nearly all woods except pressure-treated pine. The two most notable effects of extractive bleeding are fading and nail staining. To remove tannin use Flood POWERLIFT.

Q: Why should I use Flood POWERLIFT instead of Flood WOODPREP to clean my pressure-treated wood?

A: Both products work very well on pressure-treated wood. Flood WOOD CLEANER is a cleaner and brightener and good for yearly cleaning. Flood POWERLIFT is a remover and should be your choice if a weathered oil, preservative or sealant finish is present or if the wood is extremely dirty.

Q: Will Flood WOODPREP bring a natural colour back to all wood?

A: Flood WOODPREP will not bring the natural colour back to pressure-treated wood, because technically its natural colours were lost when it was treated. For other woods, the answer is yes, unless the discoloration is from some treatment or finish used in the past that has permanently discoloured it. In some cases, you may have to use a stronger solution and allow it to remain on the surface longer.

Q: What is the difference between the various categories of stain colours?

A: Exterior stains typically fall into three basic categories: clear/toner (translucent), semi-transparent and solid colour, depending on the percentage of solid pigments or resins present in the mixture. The less pigment in the stain, the more the wood grain shows through. Alternatively, the more pigment in the stain, the more opaque the colour.

Q: How do you know if a clear wood finish is good?

A: The best exterior clear wood finishes are high in resin solids and contain UV absorbers and mildewcides. They perform by penetrating into the wood cells and curing to become part of the cell structure. In this way, they become an effective barrier to ultraviolet radiation and moisture attack. UV absorbers and mildewcides combine to maintain the natural beauty of the wood for a much longer period than water repellents and wood preservatives

Q: What can I use to remove old paint from my deck?

A: In order to achieve the beautiful finish you want, you need to begin with a clean, dry surface. A paint stripper can be used to remove even the most stubborn coatings like acrylic or oil-based solid colour or semi-transparent paints.

Q: I just built a beautiful new deck with pressure-treated wood. I am very concerned that I put the right product on my deck right away to protect it. What is the best product to apply now?

A: Although pressure-treated wood resists insects and decay, it's still vulnerable to moisture and sun damage. The same is true for other exterior wood. Regardless of whether the wood is new or weathered, it needs to be protected to prevent discolouration, splitting and warping. Many new wood surfaces can have a hard, shiny condition called mill glaze that prevents maximum penetration and adhesion of a finish. It's important that this is removed, along with other factory-applied sealers and natural wood chemicals, and the wood fibres are opened before you apply a penetrating finish like Flood SPA-N-Deck for long-term protection. To test if the wood can accept a penetrating finish, sprinkle water on the surface — if water is absorbed within a minute or two, the surface is ready for finishing. If water is not absorbed, wait 30 days and re-test. Or, treat the surface with Flood WOODPREP at a ratio of one litre of Flood WOODPREP to one litre of water, scrub with a stiff, synthetic brush, and rinse or pressure wash off. Then re-test for absorbency. If water is absorbed, then it is OK to continue coating with Flood wood finishes.

Q: Looks like there are countless layers of sealers, finishes or waxes on my deck. How do I get down to the clean bare wood to start fresh?

A: Old finishes, sealers and dirt can build up over the years to give your deck a hazy, weather-worn look. Flood POWERLIFT is specifically designed to get under and lift off old finishes, sealers and dirt from your deck. Flood POWERLIFT will give you a clean, sound surface for refinishing. A powerful lift-off is essential for a great finish.

Q: What about new wood? Do I still have to clean it? Isn't it already clean?

A: Just because wood is new doesn't make it clean. Lying around in the lumberyard can subject it to a variety of contaminants, including algae, dirt, mildew, tannins and more. There may also be mill glaze present which needs to be removed. Always treat new wood with Flood POWERLIFT to remove mill glaze and open the pores of the wood to guarantee strong adhesion of any top coats.

Q: The fence surrounding my yard was painted with red acrylic paint. How do I remove this?

A: Fences, decks, railings or weatherboards — whatever you're stripping, getting through to the bare wood is critical.

Q: Is there a difference between sealers, and stains or paint?

A: Yes, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Often clear or wood tone finishes are called sealers but even that can be confusing. Look for finishes that penetrate into the wood to provide protection from the inside out. Sealers that sit on the surface are prone to wear from the elements and foot traffic. Stains, on the other hand, include semi-transparent but can also mean solid colour paint finishes in some countries.

Q: How can I prevent mould and mildew?

A: There is a simple answer. Treat the wood with Flood MOULD ACTION to neutralise any existing mould and add a few drops of Flood VC175 TROPICAL MOULD KILLER to the top coat to prevent any further mould growth. Mildew and mould spores occur naturally and will grow on moist, shady wood common on many decks. Alternatively a bleach and water solution will remove the mould and mildew stains, but, unless preventive action is taken, the mould will return. Using a penetrating finish that prevents the contact between the wood, moisture and mould spores will reduce mould growth. Also, regular cleaning with Flood DEKSWOOD CLEANER AND BRIGHTENER will prevent mould build-up.

Q: My deck is grey. How do I get it clean?

A: The grey results from the reaction of the sun's UV rays with the wood fibres of the deck. First, clean the deck with Flood WOODPREP, to remove the grey without damaging the wood. Then, apply a penetrating clear or toned finish.

Q: The stain on my deck is worn and peeling. Can I just re-coat it?

A: Unfortunately, the answer is no. The old coating will need to be removed before a new finish can be applied. Look for an outdoor paint stripper like Flood POWERLIFT, if it is a matter of old oils or sealants. Stripping the deck is not difficult, but be sure to follow the label directions closely. Once the deck has been cleaned down to the bare wood, neutralise the surface and apply a clear or semi-transparent wood finishes or a solid paint.

Q: I stained my deck last year; do I need to re-stain this year?

A: Probably not, especially if using Flood wood finishes. If the finish is sound and there is no sign of wear, you probably only need to clean the deck. Look for cleaner, like Flood DEKSWOOD CLEANER AND BRIGHTENER, and follow the label instructions. Your deck will be clean and the colour restored without bleaching.

Q: What do I need to do before I can re-stain broken or warped wood?

A: If your decking, fences, weatherboards are warped, split or broken you need to re-nail or replace them before applying a finish.

Q: Why is treated wood called "pressure-treated"?

A: The wood is inserted into a sealed cylindrical tank about 2-3 metres in diameter by 20 metres long. The tank is completely filled with a diluted solution of chemical and water and then pressurized. This pressure forces the chemical into the wood fibres, making it "pressure-treated."

Q: Does the treatment in all treated wood prevent mould and mildew?

A: No. In fact, most treated timber is not mould and mildew resistant. Some treated material does contain a mould inhibitor. In some timber yards timber will appear to be dirty or even have black spots. That is mould!

Q: Why does some timber warp before it is used?

A: The treating process restores moisture to the wood. Wood stored in very dry or sunny conditions will dry too quickly, thus causing warping. For this reason, most material is stored in covered sheds. If material is to be stored outside, it should be out of direct sunlight, until the project is ready.

Q: How do I choose the right wood finish for my deck?

A: First, ask yourself: what do you want your deck to look like? If you like the natural beauty of wood, look for a clear or toned penetrating finish. These finishes enhance the wood grain and character while providing protection from water and the sun's UV rays. Expect the finish to last 1-3 years depending on climatic conditions. Oil finishes will not last as long. Expect 6 to 12 months depending on the severity of the local climate. If you want to add a touch of colour but still want to see the grain of the wood, a semi-transparent finish is what you need. Expect these finishes to last 1 to 3 years depending again on the severity of the local climate. Older decks, outdoor furniture and siding often benefit from the hiding power of solid paint. On a properly prepared surface these paints provide long-lasting protection and stand up to heavy foot traffic. Expect solid colour paint to last 5 years on decks and up to 15 years on vertical surfaces.

Q: Why do I have to re-coat my deck every year?

A: You don't. Finish longevity depends on its clarity and how it is applied. The sun's UV rays penetrate the finish and breakdown the surface of the wood beneath. Darker and more opaque finishes prevent the rays from penetrating and the finishes last longer. Top quality clear and wood tone finishes can be expected to last 2 to 3 years depending on the local climatic conditions.

Q: I'm confused about using bleach on wood. Should bleach be used to maintain wood?

A: Like other exterior wood care products, chlorine bleach has a function if used correctly and carefully. If mildew is present, use a mixture of bleach and water but neutralize it after 5-10 minutes with an acid-based product like Flood DEKSWOOD CLEANER & BRIGHTENER and flush the wood with large amounts of clean water. Neutralization will help prevent damage from the bleach. Alternatively use more user friendly Flood MOULD ACTION to neutralise any existing mould or mildew. There are some products that require the use of bleach prior to application to sterilize the wood and to raise the pH of the wood to an acceptable level. Note: Bleach is not a cleaner and it will not remove dirt.

Q: How do varnishes and polyurethane sealants compare to clear wood finishes?

A: Varnishes and polyurethane sealants are clear coatings that protect the wood by forming a continuous film of resin over the wood surface. They do not penetrate into the fibres are are generally only suitable for small surfaces such as doors and outdoor furniture. Unlike a finish, they fail by cracking and peeling and are very difficult to recoat.