9 Creative Projects for Spring 2017

With spring in full swing and summer quickly approaching, it’s a great time to get outside and get your yard fixed up so you can be ready to enjoy it when summer arrives.While Preserva Wood has long been used to stain fences and decks, there are many other exterior wood projects that can be taken to the next level with a simple coat of stain. We’ve put together a list of fun projects, ranging from simple to complex so you can make the most of your yard.

Simple Projects  

Cedar Planter

If you’re looking to fix up your front porch, our favorite way is by adding some plants in beautiful wood planters. By building your own, you’re able to get the exact size and shape you’re looking for. As an added bonus, you can stain them so they match the theme of your house, porch, or yard. Cedar has been seeing a resurgence this spring and we love this cedar planter from The House of Wood.

Adirondack Chairs

There’s nothing better than relaxing in your yard on a warm summer night or weekend afternoon. Adirondack chairs are great to sit back and enjoy the evening with your family or with your favorite new book. Check out this quick tutorial from Popular Mechanics and you can have a set of these beautiful chairs in no time. Better yet, you can use Preserva Wood to make sure they match your deck, fence, and the rest of your yard.  

If you’re looking for a fun and simple way to enjoy a nice glass of wine while relaxing in your new adirondacks, check out this awesome wine caddy with space for 2 glasses and the bottle over on the Rogue Engineer.

Wood Pathway

There are many ways to make a beautiful pathway through your backyard. You can use stones, concrete and now… wood. We love this new take on a the traditional pathway through your garden, grassy, or other frequently traversed areas. Simply take several pieces of wood of equal size and properly treat them following the steps in our “Successful Exterior Wood Projects” post. Once the wood has been treated, dig a shallow path, place the wood pieces in the pattern you want, and pack them in with dirt so they won’t slip around.

For complete step-by-step directions, head on over to FunkyJunkInteriors.

Medium Projects

Wood Ice Chest

We all love having ice cold drinks at our backyard BBQ’s and parties but ice chests aren’t typically the very aesthetically pleasing. This is a great way to take an ordinary ice chest and not only improve the look of it, also make it easier for everyone to grab drinks because the frame raises the chest off the ground.

Interested in making this one? Head over to LumberJocks for full directions.

Wall Planter

Want to grow vegetables, herbs, or flowers but don’t quite have the room in your yard? These amazing planters attach to your fence or home so you can save space and still enjoy the beauty of fresh plants in your yard. By making your own, you can choose to keep the stain consistent with the color of your fence and deck or change it up and add some contrast.

Looking to add some space saving planters to your yard? Head on over to the Rogue Engineer for full directions.

Table with built in ice tray

Picnic tables are a great place to sit down for a meal with your family and friends on a warm summer night. Unfortunately, the benches aren’t always the most convenient to get in and out of. Luckily, you can eliminate at least a few reasons to get up during the meal with a built in ice tray down the center.

Head on over to Today’s Homeowner and for their simple, easy to follow directions.


Complex Projects  


If you’re looking to make a major upgrade to your home or garden, a pergola is a great way to transform your backyard. Depending on your needs, you can attach curtains for shade, string lights if you love hosting backyard dinners, or simply use the pergola as a way to section off a portion of your yard for an outdoor kitchen or lounge.

We love this amazing Pergola with swings and a fire pit from Remodelaholic with a materials list and step-by-step directions but there’s hundreds of designs on Pinterest so you can find one that fits your needs.

Detached Deck

While many times we think of decks as an attached addition to our homes, sometimes space and terrain don’t allow for that. Recently, we’ve been seeing more and more versions of detached decks, sometimes surrounding trees, pools, or simply built as platforms in your yard. We love these easy to follow directions from The Family Handyman, but there are many different tutorials online that can help you build the deck you’ve always dreamed of.

She Shed

While the man cave has been around for years, there’s a new version that we’re seeing more and more often: The She Shed. This is a fun, feminine take on the traditional escape or hangout. She shed’s can be used as craft rooms, offices, or simple peaceful escapes to read a book or write in a journal. The best part is these sheds are detached so the interior can be anything you want and doesn’t necessarily have to fit the theme for your house. Head on over to The Family Handyman for easy to follow directions and get inspired by the amazing interior on Designer Rachel Roe’s she shed over on St. Louis Magazine.

Have you created anything fun with Preserva Wood lately? Upload some pictures in the comments below! Not sure what color would look best, how much to use, or have questions on application? Comment below, give us a call at 800-797-2537, or email us at info@preservawood.com and we’ll be sure to give you a personalized response.

Tips for a Successful Project with Preserva Wood

We all want our homes to look professionally done but sometimes hiring a contractor isn’t feasible. While big DIY woodworking projects can seem daunting, they don’t have to be. However, there’s nothing worse than spending hours on a project with the expectation that it will turn out beautifully only to get to the finished product and realize it’s not at all what you wanted. Worse yet, something went wrong and you have to start all over likely adding work to get the wood back to its original state.

We’ve created this list to make sure your wood staining projects go off without a hitch and you’re able to achieve those professional looking results you desire.

Plan Ahead
If you’re reading this post, you’re already on the right track but there are a few more things to consider. Later in the article, we’ll talk about the need to clean the wood prior to staining, allow the wood to dry, stain your wood, and allow another 12-24 hours for that to dry. Weather can be unpredictable so we recommend staining in the late spring or summer months when there is less chance of rain in the area. You’ll want to avoid foot traffic for those first 12-24 hours so if you’re staining your front porch, use a side door or garage to enter the house. Lastly, if you’re planning a big outdoor bash, we recommend completing projects at least the weekend (5-7 days) before to ensure everything looks great and is ready for your party!

Use the Right Tools and Supplies
While Preserva Wood is easy to apply, there are a few other supplies needed in order to ensure a successful project. While at the hardware store or shopping online, we recommend purchasing the following to avoid multiple trips:

  • Pump sprayer (fences and vertical surfaces) or Paint pad/brush (deck and horizontal surfaces)
  • Rags
  • Mineral Spirits

Test a Small Portion of the Wood First
We recommend testing a small portion of the deck or fence first prior to completing the whole project. This will allow you to ensure the color of the stain combines well with the color of the wood and the surrounding aspects of your home and yard (outdoor furniture, color of your home, etc).

Prep your surface
Now that you’ve planned for weather and foot traffic, purchased all the supplies, and tested the wood, it’s time to get to work. The first step is to clean the wood to be sure the surface is ready for the stain so it can penetrate properly and provide the best possible protection and beauty!

To do so, thoroughly clean the wood with a mixture of soap and water, and use a stiff bristle brush on a pole to gently scrub the wood surface. Once clean, rinse with water until it runs clear. Then allow the wood to dry completely (typically overnight). A great trick we’ve found to ensure the wood is ready to be stained is to sprinkle drops of water on the wood to make sure the drops penetrate quickly.

Apply your Stain
Once the surface is prepped, you’re ready to apply the stain. Due to the natural properties of the product, pigment will sink to the bottom. Start by thoroughly stirring the stain until all the pigment comes up off the bottom. Repeat this process every 15 minute or whenever you add stain to the paint tray.

As mentioned in the supplies step, use a sprayer for fences and other vertical surfaces and a paint pad or brush to apply to decks and various other horizontal surfaces. Though a roller may sound quicker and easier than a brush or pad, using one will apply too much stain and result in a tacky appearance, ultimately ruining your project. We never recommend a roller.

Once the stain has been applied, you’ll want to wipe up any shiny spots within 30 minutes of application. If it is a large project that will take longer than 30 minutes to complete, break the project into sections so there’s time to wipe up any spots within that 30 minute window.

Clean Up
Now that the stain’s applied, there’s just one very important step left. Preserva Wood is a combustible product so make sure to clean all rags, brushes, and sprayers and tightly seal the cans. To properly clean the rags start by soaking them in water, wring them out, then lay them out to dry in a safe place away from heat or other ignition sources, preferably out of direct sunlight. Next, clean brushes, pump sprayers, and any other tools used with mineral spirits. Lastly, make sure the lids are tightly sealed on the cans of Preserva Wood. If you only have a gallon in a 5 gallon pail, transfer it to a 1-gallon can and seal tightly. Though these steps may seem like extra work, they’re critical in keeping everything safe.

We hope these steps have helped make you feel just a bit more prepared for your next big wood staining project. Still have questions? Shoot us an email, give us a call, or leave us a note in the comments below. You’re guaranteed to get a personalized response and we will do our best to answer any and every question to ensure every project is a success!

Concrete 101 – Etch, Stain, Maintain

Concrete’s popularity is on the rise. Long used as an exterior surface material, concrete is considered one of the longest-lasting construction materials due to its durability & sustainability. What makes concrete so durable and sustainable?  Concrete gains its strengths from its contents, a mixture of Portland cement, aggregate (rocks and sand) and water, mixed together to create a durable, long lasting product.  The use of concrete and masonry in many outdoor home-improvement projects has increased dramatically as homeowners are seeking out stronger, all-weather, and environmentally-responsible surfaces.

Coloring concrete and other masonry surfaces has become a popular way to increase the value of your home and the appeal of your concrete. In order to color your concrete with Preserva Products Colour Crete™ the concrete has to be porous and rough.  If your concrete is finished or polished you can return it to a porous surface by applying a product such as Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher.  Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher is a salt based product, since like dissolves like, it’s able to breakdown the calcium impurities in the concrete, resulting in an etched surface.  Etching the concrete allows stain to penetrate.

Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher is an environmentally responsible product that is used to thoroughly clean concrete driveways, sidewalks, walkways, patios, porches, garage floors, pavers, bricks, stone, and just about any textured concrete or masonry surface. Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher will remove dirt, grease, soil, efflorescence (salt stains) and other impurities in rough and smooth concrete surfaces that become slippery when wet.

Follow these simple instructions for Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher:

  • Cure concrete at least 30 days from initial pour before using Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher. Stains will not penetrate and paints will not bond if there’s excess moisture during application.
  • One gallon cleans 100-200 square feet depending on surface texture and needed cleaning.
  • Only apply at temperatures above 50*F and below 90*F
  • Sweep dirt/debris away with stiff bristle broom; do not use water.
  • Tools needed: stiff bristle brush or synthetic broom, garden hose with pressure nozzle, pump sprayer (optional), gloves, goggles, boots and 120-grit sandpaper to test against final etched texture (optional).
  • Apply Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher to dry concrete and allow penetration for at least 20 minutes – do not allow it to dry on surface. CAUTION: surface may be slippery when wet; walk with care.
  • Apply additional solution to areas that soak in faster or dry faster.
  • Scrub surface with stiff bristle brush or broom.
  • Product will foam as it dissolves impurities.
  • Once clean, RINSE THOROUGHLY with fresh water using a hose with pressure nozzle, ensuring that all solution and residue have been rinsed away.
  • Clean and rinse all tools/equipment thoroughly with cold water before they dry.
  • Once concrete is dry, make sure all efflorescence, oil, and other contaminants have been removed. Concrete’s texture should at least be as rough as 120-grit sandpaper. Repeat application process until desired results are achieved over entire surface.

Once the task of cleaning and etching is complete, the concrete is ready and able to absorb and bond with a coat of Colour Crete™. It’s now time to stain with your favorite shade of Preserva Products Colour Crete™ which is available in Gray, Terra Cotta, Sandstone, Sage and Adobe.

To maintain and care for your concrete, clean with a detergent based cleaner and garden hose annually. Touch up with Preserva Products Colour Crete™ every 3 to 5 years.

Sit back & enjoy the color.







Color your Concrete with Colour Crete

Add some ‘Colour to your ‘Crete! Stain it yourself with Preserva Products Colour Crete™!

Updating your concrete with our easy to apply products has never been simpler. Clean up and give greater appeal to your concrete and masonry (old or new) with Preserva Products Colour Crete™ and Preserva Crete™ product lines.  Colour Crete™ gives your concrete and masonry surfaces a whole new look, that’s easy to apply and hard to beat.

What’s our secret? Unlike other products that only coat the surface, Colour Crete™ uses a special formula that penetrates beneath the surface and develops a deeply anchored bond with concrete and other masonry surfaces. This deeply anchored bond results in longer lasting, beautiful penetrating color in the concrete.

Select your color carefully and follow the application instructions on container. Do it yourself and achieve long-lasting professional results fast. From patios, porches, driveways, and walkways, to elaborate outdoor kitchens, poolside environments, terraced areas, stepping stones, cultured stones and even interior concrete & masonry, do-it-yourselfers in growing numbers have been inspired to create richer, more colorful-looking surfaces.  Environmentally safe, you can use Colour Crete™ stain on any porous masonry surface.

Looking for the acid stain look but not wanting to work with corrosive acid… Colour Crete™ is a perfect alternative!  Professional Looks, without the Professional.  Have concrete tiles around your pool?  Give those tiles a splash of color with Colour Crete™, instantly updating the look of your pool area.

What you’ll need to get started: Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher, Colour Crete™ Concrete Stain, Colour Crete™ Satin Finish or Preserva Crete™ (optional), broom, hose with pressure nozzle, paintbrushes, rollers, or pump sprayer, paint can, drop cloth and masking tape.

Colour Crete™ Instructions:

  • Preparation- Before applying Colour Crete™, sweep or brush surface to remove debris. Surface should be clean and free of grease/oil. If water applied to the surface soaks in easily, then it’s ready to stain. If efflorescence (salt stain) is present, remove with a quality environmentally safe product such as Preserva Crete™ Cleaner & Etcher. Rinse surface to be treated thoroughly with water (until water runs clear) and allow it to dry fully before applying stain.
  • Concrete Curing- Concrete can cure for up to six months after the initial pour, releasing moisture as it densifies. Allow at least 30 days from initial pour for moisture to evolve and surface to appear uniform. Excess moisture at the time of application will effect penetration of the stain as well as the consistency of the final effect.
  • Test- Prior to application, Colour Crete™ should be tested to determine your satisfaction with the final appearance. Test on a small, inconspicuous area and allow to dry fully before evaluating final appearance and color satisfaction (wet surfaces appear darker).
  • Application- Colour Crete™ should be applied liberally using a brush, roller, or pump sprayer. Do not allow stain to pool on the surface! Brush excess material into more porous areas until the stain has fully penetrated the treated surface. To create a darker tone, allow 30 minutes of dry time between first and second coat. A second coat of Colour Crete™ should only be applied if it is able to penetrate. One coat only on smooth surfaces. Coverage will vary between 60 & 200 square feet per gallon depending on porosity and surface condition (rough surfaces will use more stain). Apply above 50*F and below 90*F.
  • Special Effects- You can achieve special effects by blending tints of Colour Crete™, wet on wet, for desired results. Allow previous coat to begin curing (15-20 min). Colors will not blend if previous coat is fully cured. Test first to be sure to achieve desired results.
  • Use product as supplied, no thinning necessary. Visit our web site at www.preservaproducts.com for application methods, faux techniques, and additional information and ideas.
  • Water Clean-Up & Storage- Colour Crete™ is user-friendly and environmentally safe, meeting all US and Canadian air quality regulations, while offering ease of clean up with soap and warm water (clean applicators before product dries). Colour Crete™ does not contain hazardous raw materials and is considered to be a “low voc” concrete stain. Please use as directed DO NOT FREEZE. If freezing occurs, dispose of remaining stain in accordance with local regulations and DO NOT USE!

While Preserva Products Colour Crete™ gives vibrancy to your concrete; it doesn’t make the concrete water resistant. If water resistance is desired, finish by applying Colour Crete™ Satin Finish or Preserva Crete on top of your Colour Crete™ application. If desired result is a soft sheen look, apply Colour Crete™ Satin Finish.  Colour Crete™ Satin Finish is a silicon based product that creates a water beading protective seal.  When applied over the Colour Crete™ the existing color becomes darker.  Apply Preserva Crete™ over your Colour Crete™ if you prefer to keep the color as is.  Preserva Crete™ is undetectable by the eye.  Application of Preserva Crete™ is especially popular where winter brings freezing temperatures with snow that freezes and thaws.

Treat yourself and your concrete to a little color this year with Colour Crete™. Neighbors will be envious of your beautifully updated concrete and your concrete will thank you.


When to Use Preserva Wood®

Which Preserva Product stain is right for your project, Preserva Wood or Architect Series?
 stain opacity scale
Preserva Wood (a transparent or toner) is about 25 and the Architect Series (a semi-transparent) is about 50 on this scale.
On the opacity scale, zero is clear and 100 is solid. The lower the number is on the scale, the more natural the appearance while the higher the number is on the scale, the less natural in appearance but longer between maintenance coats.
To decide between the two you should determine…. What type of results do I want? Do I want a rich or natural look. How often would I like to reapply the stain?
Preserva Wood is a Transparent Toner Wood Stain developed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to highlight the natural beauty of wood. This unique formula uses organic oils and resins combined with ultra-fine reflective pigments to give you the best protection possible. Whether it’s the summer sun’s UV rays, or the winter’s rain and snow, Preserva Wood will protect your fence, deck, or siding for years to come. Offers serious protection from the sun and rain while being simple to apply and maintain. This true-oil,penetrating satin and sealer is preferred by homeowners and contractors because it is easy to apply and simply lasts longer than other wood stains.
Preserva Wood: Transparent Features & Benefits…
  • Natural looking protection
  • Natural Wood Tones
  • Trans-oxide pigments
  • True Oil Based Wood Stain – Deeper penetration into wood
  • Easy to Apply – One Coat Application Only!
  • Penetrating technology
  • UV inhibitors
  • Long Lasting Protection – Easy to re-treat without stripping!
  • Organic Oils, Resins & Reflective Pigments – Protects your wood from sun and water damage
  • High Solids Formula – More value for your dollar

When to use Preserva Wood® Architect Series

We can help you understand the difference between Preserva Wood and Architect Series.
On the opacity scale, zero is clear and 100 is solid. The lower the number is on the scale, the more natural the appearance while the higher the number is on the scale, the less natural in appearance but longer between maintenance coats.
Stain Transparency Scale

Architect Series (a semi-transparent) is about 50 in opacity and Preserva Wood (a transparent or toner) is about 25 on this scale.

In order to decide between the two you should ask yourself…. What type of results do I want? Do I want rich or natural look? How often would I like to apply maintenance coats?
Preserva Products Architect Series is a Semi-Transparent Wood Stain, developed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to provide superior performance in an extreme environment. This high-end semi-transparent penetrating oil stain utilizes the best long oil alkyd resins and reflective pigments, so you get the best technology available for wood protection. Offers better hide than transparent stains, giving you a more uniform look while still highlighting the natural grain and overall beauty of your wood sided home, fence or deck. This true-oil, penetrating stain and sealer is recommended by architects and contractors for extreme protection.
Architect Series: Semi-Transparent features and benefits:
  • More Pigment than Preserva Wood
  • Enhanced UV package
  • Superior hide
  • More uniform appearance
  • Penetrating technology
  • Longer lasting
  • Extreme Wood Protection
  • True Oil Technology
  • Rich Deeper Tones
  • UV Protection
  • 1 – Coat Stain
  • Longer Lasting
  • Easy to Apply
  • No stripping to re-treat
  • Moisture Protection
Designed for extreme wood protection and long lasting beauty.

Cleaning instructions for your fence

Is there any preparation prior to applying Preserva Wood? Absolutely! Clean your wood!
Simply go to homedepot.com and order Preserva Products Wood Renewer & Cleaner, a safe and effective
product designed to clean and, in most cases, brighten weathered and dirty wood. Our Renewer &
Cleaner is water based & eco-friendly. Our Cleaner does not contain strong acids, corrosives, or bleach,
so you and your wood will both be safe. One gallon of diluted Cleaner will clean between 200 and 400
square feet of exterior wood, depending on its condition. Four gallons of diluted Cleaner should clean
approximately 1,200 square feet. The Cleaner will not clean off mold or mildew so be sure to take care
of that separately prior to your cleaning project. For the best results, please review the instructions on
the label before beginning your project!
Simple Steps for cleaning your project:
  • Prep the wood by sweeping or brushing excess debris from the surface.
  • Mask off any metal trim that might discolor when exposed to chemicals.
  • Our Cleaner is supplied as concentrate and must be diluted before use. DO NOT use full strength! Add 3 gallons of fresh water to one gallon of Cleaner to make 4 gallons of ready-to-use product.
  • Excess material can be stored in a sealed plastic container.
  • Cleaner works best when applied to damp wood, best to also make any plants or vegetation around the wood damp prior to cleaning.
  • Test a small area and let dry to ensure satisfaction before you clean the entire project.
  • Apply to wood by using a pump sprayer and pre-soak the wood.
  • Allow Cleaner to soak into surface for 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse well using a garden hose and pressure nozzle, or use a pressure washer on a low pressure with a broad fan to prevent damage to wood. Rinse any and all items that the cleaner may have come in contact with.
  • Allow wood to dry completely (24-48 hours) then do the water drop test! Sprinkle a few droplets of water onto the clean wood. If the water soaks right in then your wood is dry and ready to absorb a quality oil based finish such as Preserva Wood.
Now it’s time to apply your favorite Preserva Wood or Preserva Products Architect Series.

Before and After Project Photo Contest

Enter the PreservaWood Before and After Photo Contest!


Win Prize Wood Stain Cleaner

Snap a picture of your project before and after using our products to enter. Win a free gallon of your favorite Preserva Wood True oil stain and sealer, plus a bottle of renewer and cleaner.

The perfect prize for the next time your wood needs to be reapplied. Use the true oil stain that is easy to maintain! No stipping necessarry on new wood.

Submit before November 25th, 2016


*Stain prize is for Preserva Products only. Winner will choose from our popular Preserva Wood line and Architect Series. Submit your pictures through our website contact form.

Wood 101

Should all wood be stained? What does stain do for wood?

Do these questions come to mind when you think about the wood around your home?

show deck

Many people are under the impression that staining your wood is only for cosmetic benefits. While a color tint will help you decide which stain you prefer, the real reason to apply stain is PROTECTION.  While wood in general is a very hearty material, without any protective stain wood is exposed to moisture, nature’s elements and air-borne particles continually.  Untreated wood results in graying, splitting and splintering.  Even dry rot will occur at a faster rate for untreated wood.

To really understand why wood needs protection, one must understand the basics of wood and even more so one needs to understand the basic cellular construction of wood.

All wood that has been cut is left with a surface that is made up of open cells. These open cells form catch basins where microscopic air-borne particles can come to rest.  Air-borne particles such as spora from trees and bushes, emissions from air pollution and dirt are all particles that can get into those catch basins and become one with the wood.  Once the air-borne particles become one with the wood there is a negative reaction which is a gray color, resulting in tired looking wood.  When you stain with an oil base stain such as Preserva Wood the stain dries within the wood and unites with all particles on and in the wood. When wood is not cleaned before staining the air-borne particles become part of the wood. For this reason it is so important to clean wood before every application of any stain.   Did you know that even brand new wood needs to be cleaned?  Some may be surprised to hear this, this is because moisture, nature’s elements and microscopic air-borne particles are everywhere and unavoidable.

When you apply stain to wood, the process of filling up the catch basins begins and this results in fewer places for the air-borne particles to hide. Each time you apply stain to your wood, the cells get coated and this results in less open space for air-borne particles to hide.

Wood should be cleaned semi-annually, once in the spring and then again in the fall. When it’s time to re-stain your wood it’s important to note that Preserva Wood stain will cover more square footage on the second application.  This is because the cells have already absorbed stain during first application, this stain remains inside the wood even after being cleaned.

After first application of Preserva Wood, all protective ingredients remain permanently as part of the wood. Your wood is protected and ready to face nature’s elements & air-borne particles.

So should you stain your wood? In short, YES!  Wood needs protection and applying stain will prolong the life of your wood.

We hope you found this information helpful and informative.

Happy Staining,

Preserva Products