Tag Archives: how to restore wood

Restoration of Old Wood | Making the Right Decision on Appearance


Example Photo Used for Descriptive Purposes Only

The 100 Year old Trellis

100 Year old Trellis Seattle
The following question was recently asked by a potential client on restoring a 100 plus year old cedar trellis and it made me think of  the best way to answer him. In this post I will be discussing some problems and issues you might face in deciding whether to restore your wood project.

I have included the actual E-mail with some edits to make it easier to understand as well as some photos for clarification and a wee bit of redesign on the layout…. for appearances’ sake ! Hopefully this exchange helps you in deciding what the result of a restoration would look like and what the challenges are in achieving a client’s desired look as well as limitations on just what a restoration can do. 

In your opinion, would the end result of your restoration produce a renewed natural look to the cedar?


We could get the trellis to look like it was installed yesterday. We could also make it look completely natural. Unfortunately the problem with that process is as follows:

Cedar is a porous semi moderate softwood. It can not be sealed. It depends on the pores it possesses naturally to soak in and let out moisture. I mention this because the longest lasting option in making wood look natural are all polyurethane based clear coats that seal the wood.


Softwoods and Hardwoods and Why it Matters 

wood pore differences hardwood v softwood

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Cedar pores are larger,spread out farther and dispersed to keep and release moisture. Hardwood pores are tighter, closer and more numerous. Cedar must breathe and have the ability to release moisture because its pore system is much larger and spread out then the hardwood .

The best application for cedar is an oil based semi-transparent stain. The best option in choosing a color would be to go as rich and unnatural as possible with the understanding that the color will fade out, as all do. By going darker you are prolonging the maintenance schedule.

It is also easier to keep up a darker color, because maintenance would consist of lightly reapplying as opposed to doing a whole restoration from start to finish to keep the cedar in top shape, appearance wise. For examples sake, this quote from the Cedar bureau, discusses a deck, but the type of lumber is the same and the process is the same: 

 From the Cedar Bureau:

Decks should never be allowed to weather before finishing.The simplest, but most labor-intensive, finish to keep up on a cedar deck is a water-repellent preservative, which may have to be applied annually. The next easiest is a semi-transparent oil-based stain. Both types of finishes are extremely effective in stopping the absorption of water and are recommended


Decisions on Appearance and Why we Don’t Get Involved 


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A water repellant preservative is essentially a clear coat that reflects water with no pigment in it. A semi-transparent oil based stain is an oil with pigment added to it. The differences in maintenance and longevity between an oil and a water repellant preservative are striking. I’ve attached a handy video to help explain it better. 

As a professional my job is to recommend the best option based on experience and to preserve and protect your project, while providing the most cost-effective option  . The final decision on appearance, however, is the clients.

I may like a purple deck with green stripes, you may think me a circus clown. I leave the decision on color to the client for that reason.

What I can do is pick up to ( 3 ) samples to show you what you might get after the restoration is done. To further your understanding of what the trellis might look like after a restoration with a semi transparent stain I have attached a visual aide :


Deck Restoration Methods and Means

deck restoration seattle coupon



Soft Wash IconWood deck restoration Seattle is the process of bringing back the natural appearance to wooden structures such as cedar roofs, cedar decks, gazebos and patio furniture. The climate in Seattle is wet, damp and lacking in sunlight; this leads wooden decks to develop:

  • Moss, Fungus and Lichen.
  • Micro cracks from the stresses of constant rain and sporadic sunlight.
  • Weathering: wood uses weathering to protect itself from our climate.

Although your wood deck in Seattle may look like it needs replacing, most of the time a restoration can bring it back to life. The process of wood deck restoration Seattle is accomplished using certain tools and chemicals and done in a certain order. The first step would be a survey of the structure to be restored.



magnifying glassBefore starting any restoration project a survey of the structure must be done. Some common questions asked by wood restoration experts are:

  • What type of wood is the deck, gazebo or roof made of?
  • What type of maintenance was previously done? If the wood structure has been previously stained, a different procedure would be called for.
  • Is the damage to the wooden structure on a surface level or will boards and shingles need to be replaced?
  • Is the structure infected by moss and lichen or black algae? If so a treatment before cleaning must be done to rid the deck of these.
  • What is most cost effective to the customer and what procedure will last the longest?

By starting with a good survey it gives both the customer and the restoration expert the opportunity to take the measured steps required in bringing back the wooden structure to its original appearance. Different types of wood require different types of cleaning procedures and chemicals. The woods condition and its current appearance will give the restoration company, a starting point on what needs to be done next.



There are steps to properly restoring wood. Certain chemicals are used for each step in the process; wood restoration is also done in a standard order:



110312_0553_DeckRestora3.jpgDepending on what the deck restoration Seattle expert believes is appropriate for cleaning; the deck, gazebo or roof is usually sprayed with a mixture of oxygen bleach or a trisodium/sodium hypochlorite cocktail. Unlike Seattle expert which offer various services, if you are looking for a company that solely experts in providing power washing services then you should learn more about Hanover powerwashing pros. This is done to lessen the amount of time it will take to power wash the structure. Power washing by the expert is done with the utmost care to limit the furring of the wood, usually at a PSI of 1000 or lower for wood structures. Benefit more from York powerwashing pros!


Deck Restoration SeattleThe process of brightening can be accomplished with either oxalic acid or citric acid or a brightening agent of the restoration experts choosing. This process also helps to neutralize the effects of having used heavy cleaners on wood. It also helps to bring out the woods natural color and grain patterns.


An-oiled-cedar-roofAfter brightening and neutralizing your deck or roof, a sealer, stain or weatherproofing product should be applied to extend the life of the cleaning and protect the wooden structure from UV rays and rain. Sealcoatimg forms an integral part of the repair and renovation process, since they prevent harmful rays and other forces of nature from eroding crucial surfaces (check out hanover-sealcoating.com to learn more)The product can vary by the customers or restoration experts’ opinion on the best method for the type of structure. For instance, a cedar roof would receive an oiling while a deck would receive a stain with rain and UV inhibitors.

Appearance and the customers concerns also determine the right product to use. There are many products out there today that contain algae resistant chemicals and coloring to add both protection and improved appearance to the cleaned, brightened and stained wooden deck, roof, gazebo or furniture.


Seattle is home to over 150 days of rain a year. Moss, Lichen and mold are a problem we are constantly battling to control. Decks are an inviting environment for the growth of moss and lichen, and are also victims to the effects of weathering. Proper care and maintenance of wooden structures should be done on a yearly basis. Choosing the right chemicals, tools and procedures can either enhance or ruin a deck. Whether you are considering doing-it-yourself or are seeking a professional for advice you are welcome to call us with any questions or concerns.