The surface protector acts to prevent the wood protector from leaching out until it has cured. The wood protector undergoes a chemical reaction with atmospheric carbon dioxide to deposit insoluble silica particles in the wood. Light scattering from the silica particles gives an even, silvery-grey appearance to the wood surface, looking just like weathered wood.
The silica envelope that forms is completely stable to ultra-violet light, unlike oil and varnishes, which are based on carbon chemistry. It is the even-ness of the silvery-grey appearance that is one of the most attractive features of the product.
However, the product needs to be applied correctly in order to obtain optimum performance. Factory finishing is always the best option because the product can be applied under controlled conditions.
The product works best when there is good penetration of the wood material – rough sawn surfaces are always preferred. Where planed surfaces are specified it is important to sand the surface to break through the machining glaze that is often present in order to allow the product to penetrate the wood.
Curing is also accelerated with higher temperatures, but applying in direct sunlight is best avoided, since rapid drying of the water-based product will limit diffusion into the wood.
Application in damp, cold conditions is also to be avoided, since curing is slowed down and there is a risk that the wood protector will be leached out before curing has occurred.
For these reasons a factory-applied finish by a SiOO:X accredited treater is always the best option. The treatment can be applied using brushing or spraying and good penetration is the key to good performance.
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