Mount Baker Swiss-style Chalet in Dark Chocolate

Stain requires re-coating often

Spiders, wire brushes, and 100 gallons of stain later . . .

Client: Larry and Pam L.

City: Seattle

Neighborhood: Mount Baker

Date Completed: September, 2005

Date of photo: October, 2009

Products: Benjamin Moore brand Alkyd Semi-solid exterior stain. Benjamin Moore brand MooreGlo exterior semi-gloss paint.

Methods: Our clients had recently purchased this Mount Baker neighborhood home and had reason to believe the exterior had not been re-stained in over 20 years. Judging from the “thirsty” look of the siding and shingles, I had to concur. Stain, unlike paint, does not protect surfaces by covering what’s underneath. It soaks into the wood and protects by lending its protective properties to its host. Unlike paint, it never really cures and continues to slowly evaporate over time if not sealed with an impermeable top-coat. Exterior surfaces should really be re-coated every five years (if not more often). Allowed to weather any longer, and the surface in question, although it might still retain the coloration of the stain it formerly contained, will not be protected against the elements. Over time the elements wreak havoc on the un-protected wood, which eventually becomes essentially hollow.

In this case the wood was so thirsty for stain that even slight agitation with a paint scraper would virtually destroy the shingles and siding. Accordingly we had to prep the house using almost exclusively gentle wire brushing. ┬áThere were also more spiders than I ever imagined existed. When it came time to apply the new stain we decided to spray the new stain on with an airless prayer (to speed the application process) and “back-brush” the stain to work it into the surfaces evenly, aiding the penetration of the product. Within minutes we knew that we had underestimated materials costs by a very significant amount. The more stain we applied the more the house drank. I had estimated that such a “thirsty” house would require about 40 gallons of stain. Before we were done we had applied nearly 100 gallons of stain to the house. What you see in the picture above is more stain than wood.

The results, though not mind-blowing, are amazing compared to what we began with. . . you’ll have to trust me. In 2005 I lacked the forethought to think we’d ever have this cool website and need pictures for it!


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