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Over the past few years we’ve developed a lot of information about the importance of pH as it relates to preparing a home for the application of a finish. Following are some of the reasons why pH is important and the consequences of bare wood being either too high or too low in pH and its impact on the appearance and performance of our finish systems.phbarewood1

Wood has a natural pH of between 4 and 6. Any pH number lower than 7 is acidic and those above 7 are alkaline; therefore, a pH of 4-6 is slightly acidic. That’s because all wood contains some acidic components like tannic acid. However, most cleaning products like bleach, TSP (trisodium phosphate), and detergents have a high pH (alkaline or basic). Whenever something that is acidic comes in contact with something alkaline and water is present, one thing that is certain is that a chemical reaction will occur. If we are dealing with only two or three inorganic compounds, the reactions are fairly predictable but wood consists of a multitude of organic compounds which differ from species to species. Even within individual species, the chemistry may be influenced by the nutrients in the soil where the tree was grown or it may vary from heartwood to sapwood in the same log. In other words, whenever the surface of wood is exposed to a substance with a high pH something is going to happen, and it may not always be predictable.

Do you think your utility bills are too high for the size of your home? Is your home drafty or uncomfortable? Does water condense on the inside of your windows? Have spiders, ladybugs and other insects invaded your living areas? The first step in resolving all of these issues - and more - is an energy audit conducted by a trained professional with the proper tools and equipment. But is it worth it?

Whenever the outside temperature is at least 20 degrees lower than the temperature within a home, it’s a good time to find any gaps that may be leaking air. All you’ll need is a small pail of warm water, a piece of chalk, and a perhaps a ladder  depending on how high the ceilings are. If you dip your hand in the water then run your wet hand over the interior walls, keeping it about 6”-12” away from the surface, you will easily feel any cold air leaks that are coming through the walls or around the windows. As you move your wet hand closer to the wall you can pinpoint where the leak is located. Be sure to mark those leaking areas with the chalk.

Can Lifeline™ Interior stains be used to finish interior floors? Technically the answer to this question is yes, but we rarely recommend them unless whoever is going to be finishing the floor fully understands the characteristics of water-based, transparent stains and knows how to apply them.

Flavonoids are colorful compounds that are present in most plants. They are what make red beets red, and blueberries blue. They are also responsible for giving flowers their broad range of colors.

Trees, too, contain flavonoids, with some species containing more than others. In some types of wood, these flavonoids are apparent right from the start. The wood may be yellow, red, or other color, depending on the species. But in several species of wood, these colored flavonoids may not become visible unless the wood is exposed to some type of acid.

Porch and deck handrails present a real challenge to film forming finishes, especially if they are new. Here’s why. Round handrails are typically fabricated using green wood. Once in place and begin to dry, handrails shrink, crack, and develop fissures to relieve the stress due to shrinkage. There is no way to prevent this from occurring. If a finish is applied before these fissures open up, and once they do open, they provide a path for water to soak into the rail behind the finish. When the sun comes out and the rail heats up, the water turns into water vapor which may exert enough pressure to actually push the finish right off the wood. In winter months, the water in the wood will freeze and expand and that, too, can pop the finish off the surface.

Applications of all Perma-Chink exterior finish removers, cleaners, stains, topcoats and sealants can be a bit of a challenge in extremely hot weather, which we consider over 90°F. However, if you know what to expect and avoid you can easily cope with applications during the hot summer months. We’ll address each of our product lines individually. And for all our products, we recommend keeping the product pails out of the direct sun on hot days to minimize the heat build-up.

applyingborates2Ever since Perma-Chink Systems introduced borate treatments to the log home industry over 20 years ago, its products have been the preferred method of protecting log homes from wood-destroying insects and decay fungi. We are still the world’s largest supplier of borate-containing preservatives for log homes, and although there are other borate-based products now available, most are based on technology developed by Perma-Chink Systems back in the late 1980s.


For many years the product of choice for cleaning bare wood surfaces was a solution of chlorine bleach and water, perhaps with some detergent or TSP (trisodium phosphate) added to help clean the wood. When correctly applied and well rinsed, bleach solutions can work fairly well most of the time. However, household bleach does not come with a set of directions for using it on wood, and even within the log home industry there is no agreement as to how to properly use bleach.

Drying times and curing times relate to two entirely different processes that occur in water-based polymer systems. All water-based products, be it stains, paints, or sealants, contain a percentage of free water, hence their description as water-based.

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