At Mr. LongArm we continue to do extensive testing with our WoodMates tools (in our R&D Department and in our own homes). We’ve experimented and put these applicators through their paces. So now it’s time to share with you eight tips for getting the most out of your WoodMates.
1) START WITH A BARE DECK
For the absolute best results, make sure you take the time to fully clean away dirt, grime and old stain from your deck. This means you might need a TeleWash and your favorite deck cleaner in a bucket. Or, if you decided you don’t like the color of stain you previously chose, or you have some algae build-up you might have to bust out the power washer if you’re experienced in using one. You don’t want to use too much force and damage the wood. Whatever the case, start with a bare deck, and let it dry for 24-48 hours.
2) RINSE THE PAD BEFORE USE
The fibers on a pad are called flock. Here’s the straight truth: all pads will shed a bit of flocking when they are fresh. To keep fibers from getting on your deck it’s as simple as rinsing your WoodMates pad with some running water.
3) MIND THE GAP
So your deck is clean and dry, you’ve got your WoodMates and you are ready to stain! So here’s a tip for the best looking final product: Stain in between the boards first. If you stain the gap first, and then the boards on each side of it, you will ensure that any uneven amount of stain is evenly spread across the visible parts of your deck. Alternate between the gaps and boards as you stain your entire deck. See #4 for more on this.
4) GAP STAINING
And speaking of staining in between boards, if your deck boards happen to be pretty far apart you can have some aesthetic issues if you don’t stain far enough down into the gap. Enter the premium 12” applicator, it’s built-in gap tool quickly stains both sides of boards. Plus, you can remove the pad and reposition it like the adjacent picture and increase the length of the gap tool to a max distance of about 2”, which should allow you to reach the entire depth of your deck boards.
The Premium Tool is not the only WoodMate able to get in between boards. The 9” Standard applicator has a beveled edged pad, and just like the 12” the pad can be readjusted to get a little further down if necessary. Just remove the pad from the hook and loop system and reposition as shown in the picture.
5) DOUBLE ENDED STAIN TOOL
For detail work in really tight spaces the same pad repositioning trick can be done with the Double Ended Stain Tool. Remove the wrap around pad and reposition so the pad attaches only to one side of the hook and loops. Doing this cuts down on roughly half the thickness of the tool and lets you get those professional quality finishing touches.
6) THE 2-in-1 CONTOUR TOOL
For many around here the Contour Tool has become our favorite in the WoodMates line. Before we came to market your choices for painting spindles and balusters was either a paint brush or a messy glove. Aside from making quick work of those tasks an oft forgotten hack for the Contour Tool is that you can flex the pad outwards and use it as a quasi-paint brush, to get into crevices or to paint slightly larger surface areas. BONUS TIP: If you don’t want to sit around and wait for your deck to dry in order to stain the railings and balusters, do them first.
7) CLEANING TIPS
Water-based paints and stains clean-up with soap and water. Mineral spirits will make short work of clean up when using oil-based products. Follow up with soap and water and wring out like a sponge. Boom! Ready for next time.
The one exception is the 7” basic, we’ve found that mineral spirits, which is designed to dissolve adhesives, will dissolve the adhesive that holds the 7” pad in place. Simple soap and water and a little elbow grease will leave the pad useable for your next job. Use a paint stir stick to wring the 7” out before you store it away.
8) WARNING – NO POLYURETHANE COATINGS
The viscosity and quick drying nature of polyurethane could eventually pull our pads off the hook and loops. We do not recommend WoodMates staining applicators for these types of floor coatings.