How To Care For Your Finishes ~
Painted, Stained, Varnished, Interior, Exterior and Decks

Interior:

Walls

Freshly painted walls will take up to a month to become fully cured. Once they are cured, always wash them using a mild detergent and a clean, soft cloth. Using light, circular strokes, start at the center of the stain and gently wash outwards, decreasing pressure as you get further from the stain. Be careful not to apply too much pressure as this may cause the paint to burnish, leaving a shiny spot on your wall. Stubborn stains may not be fully removed and could require the paint to simply be touched up.

How to care for your painted walls

Wood

Stained and varnished wood will give you years of beauty with very little maintenance. Most wood surfaces can be maintained using commonly available cleaners such as Pledge and Murphy's Oil Soap.

The most important thing to consider with wood is moisture. Excessive moisture (especially around wood windows) will cause wood to swell, which will break open the finish. Once this happens, water is allowed directly into the wood, causing the finish to fail which could lead to wood rot. To avoid condensation on your windows, make sure you maintain an appropriate humidity level within your home.

Likewise, not enough humidity can also be harmful to the wood in your home. If the air in your home is too dry, it can cause your wood to shrink. This will potentially open up unsightly gaps and joints. Please refer to the chart below for recommended humidity levels in your home. You can also contact your builder or heating and air conditioning contractor for more detailed information.

Outside
Temperature    
Relative
Humidity
-20° F15% or less
-10° F15% to 20%
   0° F20% to 25%
+10° F25% to 30%
+20° F30% to 35%

Exterior

Siding

Generally speaking, exterior finishes will require very little maintenance. Rinsing the house off with clean water a couple times per year should be sufficient to keep you paint looking great for years.

Homes prone to mold or mildew (shaded sides of home) can be doused with a solution of 1 part household bleach to 3 parts water then rinsed with clean water. Do not allow the bleach/water mixture to dry prior to rinsing!

With the extremes of our Minnesota climate, wood siding will require a small amount of paint maintenance every year. To extend the life and good looks of your new exterior paint finish, once a year spend a couple hours inspecting your siding for new cracks and any newly loosened paint. Simply scrape those areas clean then touch them up.

How to care for your exterior home siding

Decks

No matter what the paint stores or other painters tell you, the truth is, stains and sealers will only look good on deck floors for about 2 years. We have tried nearly every product out there and have found Sherwin Williams Deckscapes Oil Based Toner works the best. It lasts longer than most of the other products we have used and it is very easy to wash off and reapply when the time comes.

Caring for your freshly sealed deck is no different than how you care for most other exterior walking surfaces. Start by occasionally rinsing your deck floor clean. Next, it is important to keep running water (such as from your roof) from constantly splashing onto your deck floor. This will rapidly wear off any coating that has been applied. Finally, remember this is a floor that is exposed to much worse conditions than any other floor in your home. It is constantly subjected to rain, snow, ice, sun, running dogs, kids toys, sliding patio furniture, grease dripping from your grill and who knows what else. If you consider that you clean your interior floors every week, to wash and reseal your deck floor every couple years is a deal.

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