Erase signs of harsh winter weather on exterior wood in five steps

Spruce up home exteriors for spring with tips from OLYMPIC Exterior Stains experts

PITTSBURGH, May 15, 2010 – Long after the snow melts, the signs of harsh winter weather remain, leaving wooden decks, doors, shutters and sheds looking shabby. Repairing, replacing and refinishing wood in preparation for spring can seem overwhelming, but the experts at OLYMPIC(R) Exterior Stains offer the following tips for tackling the task one step at a time.

  1. Take stock of your home’s exterior wood and evaluate what needs to be replaced and what can be saved. Harsh weather can cause old or unprotected wood to warp, crack, grow mold and mildew. Look for rotten or unsafe pieces and replace them before beginning the next step. Prepare the rest of your wood for cleaning. Remove all furniture and cover surrounding plants and bushes. While it is important to cover surrounding vegetation with a sheet or cloth before cleaning, Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner is biodegradable and will not harm spring blooms.
  2. Test for success. Two easy tests can help determine if cleaning exterior wood is enough or if re-staining is necessary to protect and beautify:
    • Water Absorption Test – Pour a small cup of water on a few horizontal surfaces. If water is absorbed in less than 10 minutes, or if the surface color darkens, then it is time to stain or seal.
    • Tape Peel Test – For older, weathered wood, cut a small “X” in two or three random spots on the wood’s surface using a putty knife or sharp blade. Cover the cuts with duct tape, press it down firmly and then quickly pull it off. If flakes of old wood stain are stuck on the tape, then you must first sand the surface or apply Olympic Stain Stripper to reveal a fresh layer of wood before staining.
  3. Clean and prepare. Snow and winter weather deposit a layer of dirt that must be removed before stain can be applied.  Cleaning allows for better stain penetration, maximum adhesion and uniformity of color. Many use power washers to clean wood, but this can drive dirt deeper into the wood grain and potentially damage and splinter wood.  It is best to use a cleaning product suited to the type of wood you have. For heavy-duty cleaning action on the majority of wood types, including composites, a product such as Olympic Premium Deck Cleaner helps rinse away dirt and mildew stains in minutes without labor-intensive scrubbing. For a gentler touch, Olympic Deck Brightener and similar products suit tannin-rich woods such as cedar and redwood.
  4. Protect with stain. After cleaning each surface, choose the protective waterproof sealant or stain product and color that best suits the project: clear, toner, semi-transparent or solid-color stain. For systematic instructions on staining, color palettes and descriptions of Olympic MAXIMUM(R) Stains and Sealants, visit Once you’ve selected a color, test it on a small hidden area to determine how quickly your wood will absorb and retain a stain color. Different wood types vary in color, texture and absorbency, and stain absorbency varies due to temperature and humidity as well. All of these factors affect the final color.
  5. Apply finishing touches. When the deck, shutters and front door once again look like new, consider decorating with potted flowers or furniture to complement the refreshed exterior wood.

Olympic Exterior Stains are manufactured by the architectural coatings business of PPG Industries and available at paint, hardware and home improvement stores such as Lowe’s. For more information on Olympic products, visit

About PPG
PPG Industries’ vision is to continue to be the world’s leading coatings and specialty products company. Founded in 1883, the company serves customers in industrial, transportation, consumer products, and construction markets and aftermarkets. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, PPG operates in more than 60 countries around the globe. Sales in 2009 were $12.2 billion. PPG shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: PPG). For more information, visit

Maximum and Olympic are registered trademarks of PPG Architectural Finishes, Inc.
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Misty Walker
PPG Architectural Coatings

Katie Heldstab