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Need advice on restoring pigment of fir porch

The floor of my screened in porch is douglas fir. I washed it with a mildew stain remover, but now there are areas that are all bleached out and the pigment is gone. How can I restore the pigment so that the floor color is consistent? Also, I'm thinking of finishing with a satin spar varnish, to provide a harder finish that is less impervious to mildew. What do you recommend?

Re: Need advice on restoring pigment of fir porch

Spar varnish is not impervious to mildew.

What was/is the existing finish?

Does rainwater get on this floor? If so, then a combo deck stain and water repellent product may be your best choice. Hopefully it stains the lighter areas to blend back in. Test in inconspicuous area first......as if such a thing really exists. ;)

An alternate approach would be to sand the floor to recover a uniform color. The wood isn't likely bleached very deeply. Yes, the "natural" color of the wood floor will be some lighter after sanding than before you cleaned/bleached it, but just give it some time and a "natural" patina/aged color will develop again. If you do the sand job, you'll still need some type of finish on it, of course.

Re: Need advice on restoring pigment of fir porch

The existing finish was just a water repellent that I applied a few years ago. Rainwater does sometimes reach the floor during windswept rain storms. Since the porch doesn't get much sun, I get mildew stains. What finish would you recommend that would give a harder finish than just a stain/repellent? Anything that is good at repelling mildew & water stains? If I use a spar varnish, can't I just wipe thye stains off without them penetrating the wood?

Re: Need advice on restoring pigment of fir porch


Yes.....you could use a varnish or similar on the floor, but......if you're going to take that approach, please realize that a product rated for floors will be your best choice. If you want a satin finish, apply a gloss finish for the first coat(s) and only use the satin for the final coat. This because there are sterates in the semi-gloss and satin products to reduce glare and if you lay down several coats of that, the floor will become somewhat cloudy. IOW, you won't have the clarity of result that I suspect you'd like to have.

Now for the potential problems of using a film type finish on your floor:

If rainwater falls on this floor, it will flood down the T&Gs between the faces of the flooring strips. If that water comes in contact with wood that has no finish on it, it will wet/saturate that underlying wood. When that wood is wet, it will cause the finish above to lose its bond. When it loses its bond, the finish will peel off.

You can likely get some finish to flow down in the T&Gs, but whether you can get enough down there to prevent the peeling problem is questionable. And.......if the ends of the flooring boards around the perimeter of the room can't be readily coated, then water will have easy access to bare wood and will suck up into the end grain. Peeling will almost cetainly result if the floor sees much rainwater.

Once the floor starts to peel, you'll have alot of work in front of you to remedy the situation. This is why film type finishes aren't used on decks. Yes, they look ever so nice when new, but......the upkeep is a formidable task. Just ask any owner of a wooden boat.

Whatever route you decide to take, you can likely control the mildew problem with very regular cleanings rather than waiting until the problem is well established and the floor or finish has darkened from it. If you regularly wash the floor down with a diluted bleach water solution and then rinse well, you should be able to kill the mildew and prevent the staining of the underlying wood or the finish. IOW, nip it in the bud.

Commonly available water repellant solutions such as those used on most decks require renewal at least every two years as a rule. That's just the way it is. But a thorough cleaning and application of more water repellant is far easier than stripping or sanding off peeled film type finish and reapplying that. That's why film type finishes (be those clear finishes or deck paints) aren't usually used on decks these days.

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