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Sealing Exotic Hardwood Like Ipé On Decks For Pressure Washers
Hardwoods love Ready Seal, including Ipé and Larch. As the best penetrating sealer on the market, RS is the only oil that will dive as deep into the wood. It takes a little extra work to accomplish great results, but it is well worth it. When applying Ready Seal on any hardwood, we will give you some hints on how to get the best results.
Exotic woods have been used on decks for years. Ipé wood has been appearing all over the country on high-end decks for a dozen years or more, and it looks like this trend will go on for years to come. The proper way of taking care of Ipé has been a somewhat controversial topic ever since the wood first started appearing on America’s decks and porches.
First, Ipé does not really need to be protected like pressure-treated wood does. It is naturally protected from the effects of sun and rain and insects – except for a little “silvering” from the sun over time.
As contractors who sell sealing services, you will want to ignore the statement above. You are willing to work hard to convince potential customers of the value of sealing that wood. If the customer looks at Ipé with its silver color as undesirable, then we are in business.
Cleaning Ipé is no different than cleaning any other wood. The same cleaners and brighteners will work just fine. The challenge comes in your choice of sealers. Ipé is so dense that even a super-penetrating sealer like Ready Seal does not dive in deep quickly. This is an odd thing to say, since I have seen Ready Seal penetrate everything from plastic to glass. This Ipé is some tough stuff. Ready Seal has to be re-applied every six months to maintain a decent appearance.
Not all customers are willing to pay for service like this twice each year. The easy answer for a lot of contractors and property owners is simply to opt for the best product designed specifically for hardwood - DRP Best Hardwood Formula. This unique sealer will penetrate and adhere beautifully, enhancing the grain appearance. It will hold it's color well for two years, making you a hero to your customers.
Using this sealer protects the wood from graying and protects the wood from weather.
Ordinary coatings like acrylic sealers or linseed oil sealers eventually fail under the duress of weather and use, too. Usually a good quality coating will last for two years, but some won’t even give you that. They scratch when furniture moves on the surface and they show traffic pattern wear. And with all of the money the customer shells out for these services, what good have you really done for that wood? I just don’t believe a coating adds any benefit to the wood itself. It protects against graying, but that’s about all it does.
Consider this: wood that is regularly sealed retains both shape and flexibility years longer than untreated wood.
If you prefer using an oil on hardwood, consider the DRP oil-based sealing product as well as using Ready Seal. It can be applied while the wood is wet, and as it dries it gets pulled down into the wood without the massaging that Ready Seal requires.
Sealing with Ready Seal is not really as hard as it sounds. Apply this oil and massage it well into the wood. This is the perfect time to use a flat stain pad, a lambswool applicator, the sealer paintbrush we sell, or even a terrycloth rag. This work takes a little extra time, but it helps the sealer penetrate deep into the wood.
Next, if possible, let the first coat sit a day (or even several hours) before applying the second coat. This allows for deeper penetration from the second coat.
The drawback to using Ready Seal on Ipé is that the sealer does not penetrate very deeply on the first application. New Ipé often won’t accept a heavier spread rate than around 300 square feet per gallon, and to get that amount into the wood you have to push it in with a brush. (That 5.5” Wooster brush with a 5’ handle makes quick work of brushing a deck, by the way.)
Sealing has to be done again after six months, only this time the Ready Seal will penetrate much deeper. The reason it does is because the wood is drier (it really needs that oil to refill cells) and the path down into the wood has been primed by the first application. Seal the wood once again after twelve months, and every twelve months after that – and the Ipé will take on (and keep) the look of fine furniture.
Using Ready Seal will enhance the look of the wood and will add to its overall durability. No coating, so there is no peeling - ever.
The customer who spent big dollars to buy Ipé in the first place needs to be sold on your overall plan for protecting his wood. He needs to learn why one sealer is better for the wood than another. He needs to know about coatings, which can fail and which require stripping before re-applying. He needs to understand the difference between different oils and how they work.
For these reasons, I strongly suggest against looking at sealing Ipé as a one-time job. Instead, I recommend approaching the customer as the person who will maintain the wood over time. Explain your choice of Ready Seal and this application method and the idea that you will treat the wood several times over the first couple of years in order to keep the appearance perfect. Instead of quoting for a single cleaning and sealing, why not quote an annual amount? I believe that I (as a consumer) would choose a contractor who would treat my wood twice each year for $1200 over a contractor offering a single treatment for $1000.
Finally, set the customer's expectations properly. This wood is expensive, and the customer understands that maintaining wood like that is different from maintaining pressure-treated wood. Suggest that the customer have you clean and seal the deck three times in the first 18 months. After that, annual treatments should be fine. Each time the wood is gently cleaned and re-sealed, the sealer penetrates more and the deck looks better. By the third or fourth treatment, the deck will have the finish of furniture.
And you get to service a high-end customer frequently, which adds to your bottom line...
When quoting this kind of work, keep a couple of facts in mind. First, Ready Seal costs you less than most coatings. Second, you will only use about half as much product the first time you seal. So, while cleaning the wood takes the same process as with any other wood, the sealing takes about the same amount of time but costs a lot less for materials.
If you go with DRP Hardwood formula, the cost is similar to Ready Seal but you save yourself days of drying tinme. You get better penetration with DRP when you seal the wood while it is wet, because the drying action pulls the sealer down into the wood without all of the massaging needed.
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Sealing Exotic Hardwood Like Ipé On Decks For Pressure Washers
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