Less expensive than cedar or spruce, hemlock is the hardwood of soft woods. This characteristic makes it a perfect wood for structures in humid environments such as docks, little wood bridge, fences, flower boxes and garden structures in greenhouses that can also become very humid.
Eastern hemlock, a wood well known in the eastern province of Canada, is appreciated for its rustic appearance with rich tone. In recent years, this type of wood has become popular for the structures, sidings and can even be used to build terrace. Because hemlock can easily cracked, attention must however be paid to fibre rolled up near the saw cutline when drying.
Known for its resistance to weather and humidity, hemlock nevertheless remains fragile to graying. If it is used in an apparent way and you do not want your wood to become greyish, you will have to add a finishing product to your hemlock siding. However, since it is an open-pore wood, it requires more product than another type of wood, but its protection is thus improved.
5 FACTORS TO CONSIDER TO CHOOSE A GOOD OUTDOOR FINISHING PRODUCT
A good finishing product for your exterior hemlock sidings will first of all be easy to apply, will allow the wood to breathe, will be durable, will give a finish that will respect your tastes and will be easy to maintain.
1-EASY TO APPLY EXTERIOR FINISH
If you want to save on the cost of exterior cladding materials by choosing hemlock rather than cedar, for example, you may also want to reduce application costs. Some products can be quite durable, but need professional skills to apply. It will be very advantageous to choose an easy to apply finishing product so that you can apply it on your own.
2-A FINISHING PRODUCT THAT ALLOWS THE WOOD TO BREATHE
Many wood species are sensitive to weather and moisture. The finishing products are therefore designed to offer water repellent properties. In the case of hemlock, its opened pores make possible to manage the internal moisture well and thus confers its great resistance against rottenness. However, if it is a nonporous film that achieves waterproofing of the finishes, moisture may remain trapped in the wood and may cause untimely decay. Thus, it is important to choose an exterior finish product that allows the wood to breathe well like ALIS 579.
3-A DURABLE EXTERIOR FINISH
One of the most important factors to consider is the durability of the product. Depending on the project, the surfaces to be protected can be horizontal or vertical. This factor makes a big difference because, where some products performance can be acceptable on vertical surfaces, it can be quite different with horizontal surfaces. Most paints and dyes found in large-area stores perform reasonably on vertical surfaces under the condition that they are not exposed to excessive UV and weathering. However, high-quality natural stains and oils saturate the pores of hemlock deep down, do not form film on the surface and do not flake. In addition, the stability of natural pigments compared to synthetic pigments maintains the colour of your outer hemlock siding longer and saves you a few years in maintenance.
4-A RICH FINISH THAT ENHANCES THE BEAUTY OF WOOD
The reason why people look for wood flooring is often for their charm and natural aspect. It is much easier to control colour and final appearance with paint or an opaque stain. However, if the purpose of using exterior cladding is to see veins and wood colour, these will be masked. On the contrary, a translucent stain or natural oil will bring out all the veining of the wood.
5-EASY-TO-CLEAN EXTERIOR FINISH
Whatever the quality of the finishing product, one day or another, your exterior hemlock siding will have to be maintained. If a good surface preparation is necessary before any finishing work, it is preferable to choose a product that does not flake, is easy to maintain and requires little or no sanding at all when applying again. This factor is especially important for horizontal surfaces such as terraces, little wood bridge and docks.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO APPLY THE PRODUCT?
When the hemlock is freshly sawn, its moisture content may be quite high. It is then important to achieve a moisture level of at least 20% and ideally 15% before applying your exterior finish. Hemlock also tends to twist if it dries too fast. We must therefore put the hemlock boards in the shade and allow only a slight breeze to speed up drying at the risk of having to plane all over again.
The ALIS 579 terrace oil and the DONNOS 223 fence oil are natural finishing products that are easy to apply. By saturating the wood in depth, the natural oil does not form a film on the surface, allow the wood to breathe and does not flake. By applying the products to the natural oil in a thin layer, it is ensured that no accumulation of natural pigments is created and that they are prevented from peeling. This will even increase the covering power of the finishing product. In addition, no sanding will be required during maintenance.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, here is the ALIS 579 full line of product on exterior pine (smaller boards) and hemlock (larger boards).
ALIS colour board on elmlock and pine thanks to JM Tradition
You are looking for a finishing product for your outer hemlock siding project right now? Download our ultimate guide for a perfect protection of your exterior wooden surfaces.