The first question to consider is do you want to apply a color to your wood surfaces, or do you want to retain the wood’s natural color? One reason for adding a color is to even out the overall color of the walls. Even if only one species of wood is used for interior surfaces, there may be slight color differences from log to log that disrupt the uniformity of a wall. A colored stain will help diminish these differences. Another reason for applying a color is that over time, sunlight coming in through the windows may darken exposed surfaces. There are ways to slow this process even on unstained surfaces, but the application of a pigmented stain will slow this process even more.
Let’s assume you’ve decided to add a bit of color. How many color coats do you need to apply? As opposed to exterior surfaces, it’s more a matter of obtaining the color you want than being concerned about long term performance. If one coat works, that’s all you’ll need. If, after two coats, you want your walls a bit darker, there is no problem applying a third coat. One thing we do recommend when applying a color to bare wood is to add a dose of UV Boost to the first coat of stain. It helps make the wood UV stable and further reduces the “picture frame” effect on areas that are protected from exposure. Since it only works when applied to bare wood, it does no good to add it to subsequent coats.
But what if you decide not to apply a colored stain to your walls? In this case we recommend that the bare wood be first primed with Prelude™ Clear Water-Based Wood Primer. Prelude seals the wood surface, so you’ll use less Acrylic or Sure Shine Gloss or Satin, and since it already contains UV Boost, it adds UV protection to the wood.
If you have applied Lifeline™ Interior stain or Prelude, do you still need to apply a clear topcoat?
Yes, the formulation of Lifeline Interior, Accents and Prelude is designed for flexibility and excellent adhesion to wood but the polymers we use to attain these attributes are slightly soft, and dust and dirt can adhere to them. When top-coated with Acrylic Gloss or Satin or Sure Shine, the finish surfaces become much more impervious to dirt pick-up. Since they are slick and smooth they can be kept clean with much less effort. The bottom line is that the application of Lifeline Interior, Lifeline Accents or Prelude should always include applying either Acrylic Gloss or Satin or Sure Shine over them.
Equipment to Have on Hand
Ladders, ladder jacks and platform, if necessary
Paint mixer (available from Perma-Chink Systems or most paint stores and DIY outlets)
High quality paint or stain brushes (this is not an area to cut costs)
Clean rags and sponge
HVLP Hand Sprayer
Spray equipment if desired
Do not use a standard airless sprayer inside a home, especially if it is furnished. The use of airless sprayers will result in overspray getting on areas that you may not want stained. A much better option is buying or renting an HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) sprayer. HVLP sprayers are available for less than $100.00, but don’t hold a lot of product at a time. The real advantage to HVLP sprayers is that overspray is kept to a minimum, plus they are very easy to handle and control.
Preparing Interior Wood Surfaces Prior to Applying a Lifeline Finish
Interior walls and ceilings must be cleaned prior to finishing but if your home is furnished you are somewhat limited in the available cleaning methods since the use of a pressure washer is typically not an option. If you want your interior walls smooth, sanding may be your only choice. As opposed to exterior surfaces you can buff interior wood surfaces using 100 grit or finer sandpaper or 120 grit Osborn Brushes. Although your interior wood surfaces may appear to be clean, they are never clean enough to apply a finish to them without first washing them with an appropriate cleaning solution like Log Wash™.
Step 1: Mix one half or one cup of Log Wash Concentrate with one gallon of warm water, if available, in a pail.
Step 2: Apply the Log Wash solution to the wall with a rag or sponge. Allow the solution to remain on the wall for about 10 minutes.
Step 3: Using a clean rag or sponge and a pail of clean water, wipe the Log Wash solution off of the surface. Frequently rinse the sponge or rag in the pail of water and occasionally exchange the water in the pail with clean water.
Step 4: Allow the surface to dry before applying the first coat of finish.
Applying Lifeline Prelude, Interior Stains and Acrylic Topcoats
Step 1: Remove the lid from the pail and stir the contents for at least 5 minutes using an electric drill and a paint mixer. Be sure that all of the pigments are uniformly dispersed throughout the product. Mixing is also required for clear Lifeline products such as Prelude and Acrylic Gloss and Satin. When mixing Acrylic Satin make sure that none of the flatting agent remains on the bottom of the pail.
Note: When using pigmented stains we recommend “boxing” containers as they get close to empty. When a container gets down to about 1/4 full, mix up the next container you plan to use and pour about 1/4 of it into the previous container, mix them together and then use the mixed stain to continue. This ensures that there will be no noticeable color difference as you go from one container to the next. It is not necessary to box Prelude, Acrylic, or Sure Shine.
Step 2: Use a high quality brush or HVLP sprayer to apply the first coat of pigmented interior stain or Prelude Clear Wood Primer. Start the application at the top of the wall and work your way down. This avoids having to set a ladder against a wet finish and allows you to work out any drips and runs that may occur during the application process. Be sure to back-brush the finish as you move along.
Step 3: Work on one or two courses of logs at a time. Lifeline finishes are made to go on in thin coats, do not flood the surface with product. Continue brushing until you have spread the finish out as far as it will go.
Step 4: While maintaining a wet edge continue the application process until you come to a break point like a window frame or butt end of the log. Never stop in the middle of a log. If you do, you will end up with a lap mark that will be difficult or impossible to hide.
Step 5: Continue the application process working your way down the wall until the wall is completed.
Step 6: In the case of a pigmented interior stain, allow the finish to dry before deciding whether you want to apply an additional coat. The color will change as it dries so don’t make your decision until the wall is completely dry. Do not attempt to sand or buff Lifeline color coats or Prelude.
Step 7: Once you are satisfied with the color, apply at least one coat of Lifeline Acrylic Gloss and Satin using the same application technique as the color coats. Once the first coat of Acrylic Gloss or Satin has been applied and allowed time to dry, the surface may be sanded smooth using fine sandpaper. Sanding will not be necessary between subsequent coats. If Sure Shine Polyurethane Premium Finish is to be used as the topcoat, read the next section.
Step 8: Clean brushes and equipment with soap and water.
Applying Sure Shine Polyurethane Premium Finish
Step 1: Remove the lid from the pail and gently stir the contents of the pail with a paint paddle. Do not use a paint mixer or vigorously shake the container. It will entrap air into the product. When mixing Sure Shine Satin, make sure that none of the flatting agent remains on the bottom of the pail.
Step 2: Sure Shine is best applied with a high quality brush or short bristled paint pad using slow, even strokes. Vigorous brushing will form bubbles in the film and result in a rough surface. The viscosity of Sure Shine allows a thicker coat to be applied than when using Acrylic Gloss or Satin. You will still need to backbrush but use smooth, slow strokes.
Step 3: Once the first coat has completely dried, the surface may be sanded smooth using 180 grit or higher sandpaper. If the surface is the slightest bit soft, sanding will generate little pills of finish and make a mess of the surface. Sanding will not be necessary between subsequent coats.
Step 4: Clean brushes and equipment with soap and water.
Maintenance of Interior Surfaces
Maintenance of interior finished surfaces is fairly simple. A once a year cleaning with a one cup per gallon Log Wash solution is all that you’ll need to do. You don’t need to use a lot of water. Just wipe the surface with a rag dampened with the Log Wash solution and then go back over it with a rag and clean water. To avoid any water spots you can wipe the surface again with a dry rag.